Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume10 Epilogue
Epilogue: What does the Right Hand Grasp After the Fighting? Finale_∞.
“Yes. If we were to interfere, would this be the time?”
It may have been wrong to refer to that place as dark. In fact, the word “place” was not entirely accurate either. Non-existent things could not be explained. Nevertheless, a few voices lurked within where no one could interfere.
“We have no more attachment to Othinus herself, but this ending could hinder Kamijou Touma’s future. Then again, I doubt anyone but us could resolve this now that a magic god is involved. It would be a shame to have the direction thrown off so much for something so trivial.”
“High Priest, we’re thinking about influencing events by interfering with the existing world, aren’t we?”
“Don’t worry, Nephthys. The old man isn’t so foolish he wouldn’t calculate all that out. This shows just how different an existence Othinus was. Although I doubt she realized the truth behind Gremlin.”
“Othinus was a failure.”
“She reached the level of magic god, so there is no reason to be that cruel.”
“High Priest, you’re as kind as ever when it comes to judging others. If it didn’t come from looking down on everyone, you might have actually achieved enlightenment.”
“Nephthys, we are all lacking in some way. Othinus was remarkable yet went a bit too far, but that is just the kind of person Gremlin gathers.”
“Gremlin, the name of a plain fairy that is not dyed in the colors of any existing religion.”
“Instead of being a fusion of science and magic, it’s an organization that every magic god of every religion can take part in equally☆”
“Oh, Niang-Niang. Where have you been?”
“The concepts of distance and time don’t matter here, remember? And I can’t leave regardless. Even if I did, I’d just end up gathering unwanted attention on a global scale like Othinus. I was a hair’s breadth and an infinite distance away.”
“Does the same go for the others?”
“Old man, did you start forgetting things once you became a mummy? The zombie girl, the chimera, and everyone are here. It’s just in destiny’s hands whether we run across each other in this place where the tiniest gap extends to an infinite distance☆”
“If you think about it, you could call this our way of being ecological. We do it because the world is too small for us to live in, but it isn’t easy putting up with being here.”
“That’s why I’m so mad at Othinus for being so selfish☆”
“Yes, but the strength of the world was enough to withstand everything she did. It will not have any real effect on the situation.”
“Then can we continue as planned?”
“Most definitely, Nephthys. The High Priest has just corrected the disorder caused by Othinus. From here on, Gremlin will show its true value.”
The conversation came to an end. In that place that did not exist in the world, they prepared to scatter apart.
But something happened a moment before they could.
“Hello there. I’ve finally found you, Gremlin.”
The darkness audibly split apart.
An external power caused a vertical tear.
Othinus and Kamijou Touma had been wrong about one thing.
They had thought that world of darkness had been the full extent of the world. They had assumed that pitch black despair had been the product of destroying everything and leaving nothing at all behind.
But in truth, there had been one more layer. It was as uniform as a thin membrane, it had not even the slightest seam, and it could not be detected or destroyed by anyone, but one last phase had existed.
This black world was the place not even Magic God Othinus had been able to destroy.
“Someone” narrowed their eyes at the intense white light from outside.
That “someone” watched as the perpetrator set foot in that divine territory.
“I had noticed you had not shown yourself recently, but I see you were busy with a touching side job.”
The hoarse voice went on to speak a somehow nostalgic name.
“Aleister Crowley the Human.”
This magician had silver hair that reached his ankles and wore a green hospital gown. That human looked both male and female, both childlike and aged, and both saintly and sinful. His expression as he answered could have been interpreted as any number of emotions.
“Letting Othinus run free would have been a problem, but I left that to the strength of the world. The world was temporarily led to destruction as a result, but I still had to prioritize this. It wasn’t easy converting coordinates filled with non-existent numbers into decimal.”
Their safe territory was gone.
They would now be thrown out into the existing world and pursued by the people who lived there.
“Someone” spoke after calculating out how much this truth would influence their plans.
This “someone” spoke with a graceful voice.
“Your attempt to destroy magic is quite eccentric as well. If you had turned that obsession in the right direction, you could have been a part of Gremlin too.”
“I made some adjustments to myself to ensure that would not happen. That way I can control something different than you bizarre magicians who can only live in a distorted phase.”
“I see,” replied “someone” with a hoarse voice. “I am only an outsider, but is science really wonderful enough to indulge yourself in to that extent?”
“None of you would understand even if you spent eternity trying.”
“Oh? And this has nothing to do with the single remaining tearstain in your journal?”
All expression vanished from the face of the human known as Crowley.
He held a twisted silver staff in his hand and his lips carried a single name.
That name had once been used by the man who led the world’s most famous modern Western magic cabal to destruction from within.
“You really are human. I’m a little jealous of that emotion, but that isn’t enough. I am about to tie it all together, so could you stick around a little longer?”
“Oh, you’re gonna tell him about that☆” said a girl’s voice with a giggle.
“This is about Aiwass, that cornerstone of your plan that you went to such great lengths to raise.”
The old man’s voice contained a cruelty unfitting to his age.
Far from reaching enlightenment, desire dripped from his words like juice from a thick cut of meat.
“It’s a complete failure, young one. You’re going to be at your wits’ end before long.”
A moment later, a clash occurred somewhere in the world.
When Kamijou Touma awoke, he was not in a Danish hospital surrounded by a foreign language. He was in the usual Academy City hospital room. He had a feeling the fact that he could call it the “usual” hospital room was a problem, but he felt as comfortable waking up here as he did in his student dorm.
He opened his eyes but could barely move his body and could feel bandages wrapped around him. He gathered all his strength to bring his right hand in front of his face, but the movement was restricted by an IV, a blood transfusion tube, and electrode cords. His elbow and most of the rest of his arm looked like it was covered in as many cords as a computer.
“Wait. Should you really be pumping so much stuff into me? That all looks disturbingly colorful! I don’t think they give you this much at once even in the great supplement nation of America!”
The frog-faced doctor entered after hearing the ruckus and gave an explanation.
“You should be more worried about your body that was in such a bad state that you wouldn’t have survived without taking these kinds of inhuman measures.”
“I already know that doctors say extreme things on the first day in the hospital to scare their patients. I saw it on a documentary! I won’t let you trick me like you’re training a dog!!”
“Well, I won’t stop you from thinking that if you want.”
“Eh? That was surprisingly dry… Ehh? Really? I really wouldn’t have survived without all this? I was wrong! A doctor that won’t say anything is the scariest!!”
“Healthy enough to shout: check. Okay, I think I can allow visitors now.”
With that, the frog doctor quickly left the hospital room and taught Kamijou just how frightening an unhelpful doctor could be.
Just as he left, someone else entered.
The first visitor was Index, that girl in a white nun’s habit with gold embroidery. Even in the hospital, she had a calico cat on her head.
“Touma,” she said as soon as she entered. “I think you have something to say to me.”
“Okay, let’s start by creating a comfortable atmosphere for conversation by not showing off our canine teeth like that.”
“Touma, I seriously look down on people who don’t say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’.”
“I would absolutely love to bow down to you in apology, but I can’t move with all of this on me!!”
As he struggled to move on the bed, he was as awkward as a battery-powered teddy bear that had been hit about three times with a hammer.
Index’s expression clouded over when she saw the bandages covering his right arm from shoulder to fingers.
“Are you okay, Touma?”
He fell silent as he too looked at his arm that had appeared from under the blanket.
“But I couldn’t do anything about Othinus. I think the cracks had already spread too far by the time she rejected being saved and started that final battle. No matter what I did with my right hand, it wouldn’t have changed the result.”
“What does it even mean to save someone?” Kamijou gathered some strength in his barely moving right hand. “She was smiling. Just before she fell to pieces, she was definitely smiling. Even with the way it ended and even with the hellish process leading up to it, she said she had already been saved. She smiled and said that had saved her.”
He did not think saving people was a simple matter, but he was still having trouble grasping the meaning of Othinus’s final smile.
Could he really view that as saving her?
Did it count as saving someone as long as they were smiling? Could an action that went against someone’s wishes be called saving them?
“Maybe I was too presumptuous to think I could save someone.”
His right hand could only destroy.
It was the opposite of the magic god that could create.
In that infinite hell, he had thought that was more than enough.
“But I wanted to see that smile in a different way. That’s all I wanted.”
Was that simply his own selfishness?
Was it not about saving or not saving? Was it about what he personally viewed as good or bad?
Whatever the case, that was what he legitimately thought.
Othinus had wished for and accepted her death and vanished from the world.
A bitter feeling ran through his chest, but he would have to accept it as fact and continue on.
He remained behind, so he had to live out the rest of his life.
“Hey, is it just me or are you acting like I’m dead?”
A familiar voice suddenly reached him and a small figure poked out from under his pillow.
The girl was only about fifteen centimeters tall, but her identity was plain as day.
“How? You were part of the reason.”
The palm-sized Othinus lay down next to his head.
“First, I had yet to put in the eye and was thus essentially a magic god and not a human. Second, you destroyed the fairy spell with Imagine Breaker before I fired the final crossbow shot, so I was not completely destroyed. Third, having her body crumble was not enough to kill a magic god.”
His mind could not keep up with the sudden explanation.
He immediately looked over to Index, but her eyes were opened wide too. Her 103,000 grimoires only had the knowledge needed to make a magic god out of a human, so they may not have included what would happen afterwards.
Othinus waved her index finger while lying face down.
“At that point, Magic God Othinus was 99% destroyed, but it seems the remaining pieces gathered together on their own. My body changed form somewhat and I can no longer use my former power, but it seems I have remained behind.”
It was absolutely ridiculous.
The idea of a human gathering together again after being smashed to pieces sounded like complete nonsense, but he could not question it further when he was talking about a magic god. If Othinus said that was how it worked, he could only accept it.
In fact, he himself had seen it happen before.
In that infinite hell, she had hidden the final crossbow shot behind herself and pulverized her own body along with his, but her body had soon regenerated as if nothing had happened.
(But would my body “automatically” re-form with no intervention from my will? I still have my questions about that.)
The small Othinus stared off into the distance, but Kamijou had a completely different question.
“So…can I touch you with my right hand like this?”
“Wha-!? Were you planning to touch me all over without warning me?”
“That isn’t what I meant! And stop snapping your teeth tougher like a bear trap, Index! With precedents like Kazakiri, I want to avoid having you vanish the instant I touch you with my right hand!!”
“There was no problem when you touched me as a neutral magic god. I can’t say for sure as we haven’t tested it, but my basic properties shouldn’t have changed with the downgrade in size.”
At that point, his brain finally caught up to reality.
Othinus was right in front of him. He could speak with her once more. As he thought about that simple and basic fact, he was not sure what expression was on his face.
At any rate, he repeated himself once more as if letting out what had gathered in his chest.
Othinus averted her gaze a bit, but another question entered his mind.
“Wait. Weren’t you supposed to be punished? You were supposed to be in an American prison, but did you get that changed to Academy City?”
She trailed off.
The cat on Index’s head had been slowly waving its tail in great interest, and it suddenly jumped onto the hospital bed.
More accurately, it jumped toward Othinus whose short form with glittering blonde hair looked like a lure.
Magic God Othinus had truly destroyed the world and repeatedly remade it as she saw fit, but she now felt all her hair stand on end next to the pillow.
“Wait…Y-you idiot!! This combination just isn’t right! I don’t know of any myths involving a one-eyed god being eaten by a cat, but… How about you stop staring and actually help me!?”
“I’d love to help, but does Robot Dance Kamijou look like he can do anything that skillful?”
The inevitable scream filled the hospital room.
Looking like a stolen fish held in the stuffed animal-like cat’s mouth, the fifteen centimeter Othinus stared into the distance.
She pictured the conversation that had occurred in Denmark after Kamijou Touma had fully lost consciousness.
She had spoken with the president and Queen Regnant via a radio thrown over by a soldier in a white ghillie suit.
“Looking like that, there would be no way to keep you from breaking out of an American prison. If you straighten your back, you’re only about fifteen centimeters, right? You could slip through the bars or even the food slot. If you abandoned your pride, you might even be able to escape by flushing yourself down the toilet. There’s no point in throwing you into even a maximum security prison.”
Once the president was finished, the Queen Regnant spoke.
“Even if your form and the total amount of power contained within it have changed, you are still closer to being a magic god than a human. You have been weakened too far to ever use magic again, though. To be blunt, do you even have a lifespan? If throwing you into a cell for a hundred years wouldn’t add a single wrinkle, imprisonment won’t accomplish anything. We need to create a new punishment that will be especially effective against you and only you.”
They were not her friends or her comrades in arms.
They had coolly analyzed her actions and they dryly gave their answer.
“You must forever watch the world of happiness you went as far as suicide to look away from. That is the greatest punishment humanity can give you now that we have achieved victory over a magic god.”
- The original term refers to a Buddhist high priest.