Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume11 Epilogue
Epilogue: A Certain Exit — No.05_Closed(and_Next_Door).
“I see. So, Touma, you took off your cast even though you’re not a doctor and that’s why you’re in so much pain now? It sounds to me like it was entirely your own fault.”
“Why are you being so cold!?”
“Hey, don’t give him any attention. He’s the type that will grow addicted to the kindness people show him when he has a cold. We need to correct his behavior before it becomes a habit. Simply put, ignore him.”
“You’re being downright coldhearted, Othinus!”
“I don’t have to hold back anymore, right? I can go ahead and bite him, right?”
“I hope you aren’t looking down on me because I’m only fifteen centimeters tall now. Do you want me to show you what happens if I jab an arm or leg into your eye or ear?”
“Wait! Stop! Especially you, Othinus! That would be actual torture!!”
After the storm passed, Kamijou Touma escaped to the hospital courtyard while trembling like a weary old man. At the end of November, the courtyard was plenty cold even in the sun, but it still seemed to function as a place of healing. He spotted some other people here and there.
As he sat on a bench and let out a heavy sigh, someone gently sat next to him.
“It’s been a while☆”
Kamijou frowned when a girl with waist-length honey-blonde hair spoke to him. For one thing, she was really close. Far too close. He hesitantly moved away while asking a question.
“Um, who are you?”
“Ah ha ha. Don’t worry. That’s the normal response. You always forget me right away.”
“Hm? That’s the same Tokiwadai uniform Misaka wears. Wait, are you really in middle school???”
“Heh hehn. You can make a thorough inspection if you want. I’m quite proud of what I’ve grown here.”
For some reason the girl responded to his impolite gaze by brushing her hair from her shoulder and meaninglessly puffing out her chest. He could not figure out what she was trying to do.
“Hmm, have we met somewhere before?”
“Well, you might not want me to mention it, but…is this the smell of your hair? That honey scent seems somehow familiar.”
“Ah ha ha. …Sigh. That’s just not fair. There shouldn’t be any chance left, but that’s going to give me some hope.”
“Just talking to myself. Someone you know may use the same perfume or shampoo.”
“Is that it?”
Kamijou tilted his head, but the girl moved onto the next topic.
“Do you have anything to ask about Mitsuari Ayu?”
“Mitsuari? Oh, that girl from yesterday. But why do you know about that?”
“Sigh. You remember the enemy but not the one you saved. That really is a strange memory ability.”
The girl sounded exasperated.
“The Five Over and Outsider prototypes were completely destroyed and I was just about to clean up the design data. That means there’s no chance of Mental Out being mass-produced and spread around the world, so don’t worry☆”
“Mental Out? Oh, right, right. That person was involved in this! Huh? But what kind of person were they again?”
“It’s fine if you don’t know. As for Mitsuari Ayu herself, she was officially sent to juvenile hall for a juvenile crime, but who knows what really happened. However, I do know she ignored her organization’s plans, went on a personal rampage, and gathered power by helping herself to items from a variety of different positions, so it’s possible a number of different assassins will be sent after her. We probably need to watch over her for protection more than making sure she doesn’t head back to the dark side. But leave all that to me. You don’t need to worry about it.”
“Is that so?” muttered Kamijou.
The girl seemed to scoot even closer and looked a little irritated at how little he reacted.
“By the way.”
“Why did you suddenly show up at that artificial lake last night?”
He looked up at the blue expanse of the sky overhead.
“An upperclassman told me that ‘it’s her birthday today, so how about setting a flower out for her’. I didn’t know what she meant, so I thought I would visit that mountaintop to find out.”
A somehow kind look entered the girl’s eyes.
It was a strange look much like someone giving applause even after the magician revealed how the trick worked.
“So who are you anyway?”
“You’ll just forget, so it’s hard to work up the motivation to name myself. Instead…”
Just as he heard that last word, her face suddenly moved in close and he felt the soft sensation of her lips on his forehead.
“Wh-what are you doing!?”
“Ah ha ha. Don’t worry. You’ll forget all about it soon enough.”
The girl with honey-blonde hair gave a teasing yet somehow sad smile as she stood from the bench.
She said one last thing without turning back.
“I am a girl you once saved. Feel free to think of me like that☆”
There was actually a short continuation to the past shared by Shokuhou Misaki and Kamijou Touma.
The student group called Deadlock had attacked them with their Queen Divers that used countless wheels and jet engines to produce overwhelming speed. They had offered to spare Kamijou if he abandoned Shokuhou and he had obviously insisted on fighting to protect the girl. However, he had been unable to end it all unharmed.
Shokuhou had assisted using her remotes.
She had successfully reduced the number of targets surrounding them by having them take each other out or twisting their understanding so they charged in the wrong direction.
But it had not been enough.
Kamijou Touma had used his own body to forcibly hold back those she had failed to intercept.
Shokuhou still remembered the awful rusty smell that had filled her nose.
Once it had all ended and an ambulance’s siren rang through the night, the familiar boy’s arms and legs had been convulsing in a disturbing way she had never seen before.
“Stand back! Damn, he’s gone into shock. Just leave this to us!!”
The EMT’s tense voice had suggested this was a shocking sight even to those people who were used to scenes of bloodshed.
“The sharp fragments of a ruptured fuel tank tore into his stomach. You have to do something about that at least!”
“I know! But we can’t do anything right now. He’s convulsing from the shock, so any attempt at treatment would only open the wound further!”
“But he won’t make it to the hospital! Can’t you do something with your anesthetic ability!?”
“He went into shock because of the drop in blood pressure. Using an anesthetic would only lower it further and that could easily kill him! We can’t do something that dangerous!!”
The EMT had used his radio to contact the hospital, but that had seemed to be bad news as well. They had been told to use a different hospital.
They were not going to make it and he was going to die.
Shokuhou had clenched her teeth and made a suggestion.
“If there was a way to eliminate his pain without using anesthetic, could you give him emergency treatment here?”
“What are you-…?”
“I have Mental Out, a mental power ranked at Level 5. I can cut off his sense of pain using that. That should have the same effect as anesthetic without lowering his blood pressure any further.”
The EMT had seemed hesitant.
That would be taking a gamble with a patient’s life using a makeshift method not in any manual. And it could easily end up dirtying the hands of a normal person and of a child. Many different problems may have spiraled through his head.
But after he simply could not come up with an answer, he had slammed the radio mic onto the hook and spoke.
“If it has a chance of working, then let’s do it.”
There was one fact Shokuhou had not told the EMT back then.
Her power controlled people’s minds by manipulating the moisture in their brain. She had no guarantee her power would work properly when his blood pressure had dropped so radically and the moisture in his brain was out of balance.
Later, a certain doctor had told her the following:
“This isn’t really damage to his memories. It’s more like damage to the pathways that call in the memories. Even if the boy can talk about you, he won’t be able to remember you. If you think of the brain as storing people’s faces and names, you could say your section alone was physically crushed. I don’t think there is anything you can do even with your powers.”
But when she had done it, Shokuhou had not considered anything like that.
She had simply been worried about whether she could save his life or not.
She had realized nothing could outweigh that and so she had immediately acted.
Somewhere and sometime, she had spoken these words.
Since he would always forget again and again, the specific ordering of events may not have mattered.
“If someday you do manage to overturn the expectations created by the adults and you remember me…”
The timeline did not matter.
It may have been the past and it may have been the future.
At any rate, Shokuhou Misaki said these words.
“Then let’s have an important talk. A very, very sweet, kind, and important talk.”
She knew it could never be.
She knew she was simply dragging out an issue that had ended long ago.
In the farthest reaches of the world closest to him, that girl continued to wait all alone for a tiny miracle.
A golden retriever did not particularly enjoy taking walks at night.
The darkness produced idle thoughts and being near his workplace was the ideal environment for him to relax. Unlike the other Kiharas, he made no distinction between work and play but was not much of a workaholic either.
He was currently on his way to District 15 which was well known for entertainment.
It may have looked like the woman in a cheap suit and lab coat was walking her dog without a leash, but their relationship was nearly the opposite of that.
“Sensei, whenever you are ready.”
They stopped in front a high-rise building covered in glass. It was a giant aquarium called the Celestaquarium. However, it was less a place to observe aquatic life out of academic interest and more a place to build up the proper mood for young couples.
The golden retriever had a job to do here.
And of course, it was a job as a Kihara.
He turned toward the voice and found Kihara Yuiitsu with her heels politely pressed together, her hands clasped near her navel, and her head lowered to the proper angle all like a well-trained maid. She spoke in a dignified voice as if seeing the large dog off to the battlefield.
“Right. …You wait somewhere away from here. I have a feeling this will get rough.”
The golden retriever parted ways with the young woman and snuck inside the building on his own. The electronic locks and alarms he came across were of no use against him.
With all the lights out, the aquarium felt creepier than a hospital at night.
He boarded an elevator located where no normal visitor would ever find it, stood on his hind legs, and pressed a button with his front paw.
When expecting an indoor battle, one would normally never use the elevator. After all, you could be locked inside it or it could be dropped from the top floor. The fact that he ignored those possibilities suggested the golden retriever had done “something” to this building.
With a soft electronic tone, the elevator doors opened.
This was the top floor.
A blue world filled the entire space. In addition to a giant donut-shaped water tank, glass covered the entire ceiling and a massive amount of seawater covered everything. The lights of the city and the moonlight collided within the water and created spectacular artwork out of that light. This was a guaranteed date spot that lowly fashion magazines said was more effective than aphrodisiacs.
“I hope you will excuse me for this late night visit.”
The golden retriever walked into the center of that floor.
He was quite large for a dog, but he looked tiny compared to the aquatic life. The creature facing him beyond the thick reinforced glass was a giant killer whale measuring over five meters long.
This was the king of the ocean who had no natural enemies.
The golden retriever once more spoke to that white and black creature playing in the water.
“Do you think you can fool me by acting like an animal? Someone calling himself a Kihara has appeared to you. That alone should tell you how serious the situation is.”
After a few seconds, the creature finally looked the dog in the eye.
As the fierce king of the ocean’s mouth moved, the aquarium speakers produced the refined voice of a middle-aged man.
“Oh, dear. I thought she would be somewhat useful, but has she been captured already?”
This was a conversation between a large dog and a killer whale.
That may have sounded like something from a children’s book, but what lurked between them was far different.
This was the dark side of the city.
They were surrounded by an all too dangerous stench that symbolized that fact.
“How many sacrifices did it take to reach your current brain?” asked the golden retriever who bore the title of Kihara.
“Quite a few. The elephant and whale didn’t work. The capacity of their brains far exceeds that of a human’s, but they had difficulty accepting me. On the other hand, a gorilla or chimpanzee was too boring. They have intelligence, but the structure seemed more inferior than anything. However, I settled on a killer whale both for those anatomical reasons and because of my personal preferences. Not having to worry about wearing any clothes really does make you inhuman, doesn’t it?”
The overwhelming difference between humans and other animals was their brain structure.
That was something even children could sense despite having no understanding of anatomy or zoology. But perhaps that was because they could not think of any other way humans were superior to other animals.
But didn’t it seem odd?
What about the human brain was superior to others? From a purely anatomical perspective, an elephant’s brain was overwhelmingly larger than a human’s. Their bodies were larger too, so that was hardly surprising. Even if all the wrinkles in a human’s brain were stretched out to expand it, it could not match the elephant’s.
Nevertheless, the human intellect far surpassed an elephant’s.
No other animal had the intelligence or emotions of humans. Why was that? It was because those other animals lacked “something” that humans had.
So what if that insufficiency was filled?
More specifically, what if a human brain was broken apart, the minimum number of parts to make a human a human was attached to an animal’s brain, and an exchange of electrical signals was established?
As previously stated, plenty of animals had brains with more capacity than the human brain.
If that which made humans special was attached to those brains, was it not possible to create a superhuman monster?
That was exactly what had happened here.
“Shundou Toshizou. You are the representative of the adults who once tracked down Deadlock and lent them those Queen Divers you acquired elsewhere to steal Mental Out even if it meant sacrificing Shokuhou Misaki. You are one of those who ignored ‘our’ plans. …You were supposedly killed in a past explosion like the others, though. I must admit I am at least slightly surprised to find you had gathered the fragments of your brain and turned yourself into a monster.”
“Ha ha. I’d say someone who achieved so much intelligence by expanding a purely canine brain is a lot more of a monster than someone based in a human brain. And I’ve never heard of a dog with a lifespan of eighty years.”
“I doubt that samurai ant accomplished all that on her own. You were the one acting behind the scenes without her ever noticing, weren’t you?”
“Why should I care if you know that!? What can a puppy like you do?”
“It would seem you do not understand what position I hold within the Kiharas.”
“What, are you an assassin that can only wag at his owner?”
A tremendous sound burst out.
It sounded like the roar of jet engines and it came from a mass of two-meter spheres that rolled in from the four entrances located in a cross shape. Each one weighed over a ton, but they floated into the air using the powerful jets coming from the thirty-two deep holes covering them.
Those massive weights surrounded the large dog in no time.
“These are called Molar Teeth, but you can think of them like wrecking balls flying around without using a crane. They can be merely used as a massive weapon, they can be used to block bullets, and they’re quite good at pouring mental pressure onto your enemy. Overall, they’re quite useful.”
“There are thirty in all. So what can the puppy that came to kill me do about this? Hm? You can go around breaking the water tank if you like, but that just means I can wield my own power as the king of the ocean.”
“What, too scared to speak? Or are you hoping for reinforcements? I’ll have to abandon this body thanks to you, but I can always transfer my brain over to a new one. If I kill you, no one in Academy City will be able to capture me, so you need to die for my sake.”
“I can’t give this any better than a failing grade. I was actually a little hopeful when I chose my equipment, but it looks like that backfired.”
The golden retriever narrowed his eyes ever so slightly.
And that was all it took.
A moment later, the giant water tank that truly covered the entire floor shattered.
The king of the ocean was not surprised by the glass shattering. Given how much water the facility contained, breaking the glass would only turn the floor into a giant pool. And if he attacked the dog with his killer whale body, he could kill him instantly.
However, something was missing.
That something was the seawater.
Shundou Toshizou was quickly having his movements sealed like a fish out of water.
“There’s a hole in the outer wall?”
A dumbfounded voice came from the speakers.
The seawater was vanishing so quickly because it was flowing outside.
“Don’t tell me something fired on the building from outside!”
At that point, the killer whale’s voice came to a stop.
Several impacts struck him and several giant containers stabbed into the floor around the golden retriever. They all opened as if creating geometric nets and the dog was rapidly surrounded by countless machines, arms, weapons, ammunition, and armor.
It went beyond arming him and reached the level of building a fortress around him.
With the sound of a dryer, the mountain of weapons floated few centimeters off the floor.
The excessive pile of military equipment did not form into a robotic silhouette. It simply fired and simply killed. That far too villainous concept was revealed in all its glory.
On top of that, the Molar Tooth assassins had been crushed from the moment the containers had flown in. Those thick spherical shields could deflect a shot from a tank’s gun, but they had not stood a chance.
“What is that!?” groaned the king of the ocean who had been knocked into the air.
“All men love combining robots. Learn to appreciate it, young one.”
His weapons included guns, cannons, swords, spears, missiles, lasers, flamethrowers, liquid nitrogen emitters, and even molecular vibration electromagnetic wave emitters. And on top of those countless weapons, a small arm moved to place a cigar in the golden retriever’s mouth.
Even within that great torrent of water, he successfully lit the cigar.
“No, not that! Why is the water moving out of the way to leave a perfect circle around you!?”
The large dog’s blunt comment was accompanied by a puff of sweet vanilla-smelling smoke.
“The esper cyborg Rensa was created to crush the seven Level 5s in case they all rebelled against Academy City at once. My role is similar, but unfortunately, my target is not those homemade espers.”
“Then…what is your target?”
“Ladylee Tangleroad, Fräulein Kreutune, and Codename Dragon.”
“Oh, was that too difficult for you? At any rate, I am the safety when it comes to a realm that people like you could never comprehend. Normally, I wouldn’t need to deal with odd jobs like this.”
A tremendous roar burst out.
The golden retriever’s territory had only been a small circle around his large machine, but it quickly expanded. The water vanished and Shundou Toshizou’s borrowed killer whale body was thrown to a truly empty floor.
“Putting it like this might make him upset.”
It was like that king of the ocean was laid out on the chopping block.
And the chef who wielded great firepower spoke coldly while puffing on his cigar.
“Have you ever heard of the special powered suit called the Anti-Art Attachment?”
A few minutes later, the golden retriever left the giant building and spotted the woman in a cheap suit and lab coat waiting among the crowd of onlookers while holding an umbrella.
“I thought I told you to wait somewhere else.”
“Heh heh heh. Yeah, but I couldn’t help myself.”
They boldly left the scene of the crime without particularly worrying about all the people around them. Even if they were seen here and even if dog fur and pieces of flesh remained on that top floor, no one would think he had done it. As an animal, he lived outside the laws that could only judge humans.
“What time is it?”
“It’s already four. How about getting a quick meal, sensei?”
“It would give me indigestion, so I would rather not. I may not look it, but I am an old dog.”
“Nooo, you’re a dandy gentleman!! I can’t get enough of that voice!!”
“I sometimes have difficulty telling whether you’re looking up to me or down on me. Either way, could you stop hugging my neck like that?”
As they spoke, the golden retriever sent a communication request that existed only in his head.
A hotline soon opened with the Windowless Building.
“Boo. Sensei, someone as important as you doesn’t have to suck up to that guy.”
“I appreciate your high opinion of me, but you are wrong. Besides, the Kiharas cannot defeat the ruler of this city.”
“Oh, you mean because of the Archetype Controller? That’s just cheating!”
Archetype was a psychological term for a common understanding or sense of values that developed as each member of a race or group dealt with an identical problem in the same way. These included religious concepts such as the palace of the gods being above the clouds and the prison for sinners being below the earth. In an extremely broad and shallow sense, the idea that the Japanese loved rice and Americans loved burgers was an archetype.
But what if you could control those?
What if you could create them, send them out into the world, and even destroy them?
“He was the one that used the terms Academy City, esper, and science side and tossed them inside a framework that could be called mankind’s worship of science. To go a step further, the category of the Kiharas is another example. That is why we cannot defeat this ruler. If he wanted to, he could cut us off from our surroundings using the archetype of heretical science and cause the very definition of our existence to vanish into thin air. We might manage to survive, but we would become defanged cowards. And I shouldn’t have to explain what happens to a defanged and declawed beast that’s thrown out into the wild.”
(On top of that, he brought glory to the archetype of modern Western magic during the Golden period and it is still strongly influenced by him. He could always use that archetype to affect the very foundation of today’s magic side.)
While keeping that part to himself, the large dog spoke to the person on the other end of the hotline.
He spoke to the city’s ruler, Board Chairman Aleister.
“I’m sure you were spying with Underline, but I dealt with Shundou Toshizou. That’s the last of the seventy-two requests you made. Every last one of those who grew during your absence and refused to regroup has been defeated. Are you satisfied with my work?”
“This is nothing more than the beginning.”
“Have you found something to make up for what happened?” asked the golden retriever walking with Kihara Yuiitsu. “It was clearly a mistake to contact the Magic Gods at that point. Did you finally learn your lesson now that you have to recover from getting a third of your body burned so badly?”
“It was necessary regardless.”
“You have a bad habit of sounding rational when you’re actually handling everything through emotion.”
“Scientists must be romantics and they must always work to fill people with dreams. Those are your words, I believe.”
The golden retriever sighed at having that pointed out.
If he could change his expression like a human, he might have smiled.
“You’re right. Romance is important. It is what separates the men from the beasts.”
“Am I wrong?”
“How about you ask your attending physician instead of me? But if I had to give an answer from a Kihara perspective, it would definitely fall on the evil side of good and evil. Not only that, but it’s a terribly bland sort of evil.”
The dog looked up at the starry sky as he spoke.
Those mysterious lights filled the city’s magazines as a symbol of astrology and other strange occult ideas unreachable with human science.
“But it would fall on the like side of like and dislike. It would seem even I have a heart.”
The blazing colors of dawn filled the sky ahead of them.
The purple of that starry sky which symbolized the mysteries of the world was gradually dyed orange.
“I have now returned order to your rule, just as you asked.”
The scientists spoke while facing that golden sunlight.
It looked like they were using human intellect to challenge the world’s irrational side.
“Now, how about you use the power I have returned to you. Use it to destroy all those irregularities known as magic.”
- Kanji: Anti-Magic-Type Powered Suit