Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume18 Epilogue

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Epilogue: Bursting Malice – Devil_in_Evil.[edit]

It was all over.

When Kamijou gasped for breath and looked around, he found he was no longer in outer space. He was in an artificial space full of crude machines which was large but felt cramped.

And the Black Cat Witch smiled thinly beyond her veil.

After a quiet bow, she too slowly vanished.

The Windowless Building had been destroyed and its master had stepped down from the stage. Had she known this would happen?

“Touma!!”

He heard a voice from surprisingly close by.

He looked over in surprise and saw Index there.

“What? Where were you all this time?”

“That’s my line!! Honestly, why did you have to go so deep inside!?”

“? ???”

Kamijou did not know what exactly had happened, but he was glad they were together again.

As for Tsuchimikado…

“Aleister was…knocked out? I can’t believe it.”

“You’re pretty damn bloody, you know?”

“I risked my life to save my sister.”

His tone made it clear that was not a joke. He pointed his thumb back over his shoulder to show Kamijou where the condensed shadow sword was no longer in Tsuchimikado Maika’s flat chest.

Kamijou looked back over at the collapsed magician.

“I hope this will rid him of whatever was possessing him, but he was an exceptional case since he assumed defeat and failure. Just to be sure, it might be a good idea to have you and Fran meet up with the Anglicans outside the city. To see what’s going on here.”

The impregnable Windowless Building was in ruins. Kamijou saw a middle school girl wearing a bulky mass of steel fly by outside.

At any rate, this was over for the time being.

And so they decided to search for some kind of exit.

But just before they could, a far too light sound filled that space.

Where did it come from?

Kamijou Touma, Index, Othinus, Tsuchimikado Motoharu, Karasuma Fran, and Tsuchimikado Maika all turned toward it.

It came from the “human” named Aleister Crowley.

He lay collapsed on his back, but a thick blade appeared far too suddenly and mercilessly pierced the left side of his chest.

The grimoire library spoke the name of that deadly weapon.

“The Sword of Damocles…?”

Immediately, light exploded from the wound and gravity seemed to vanish for Kamijou’s group.


“Hm, hm, hm, hm, hmmm☆”

Now that everyone was gone, someone appeared as if to view the magician whose heart had been skewered.

She had incredibly long blonde hair.

She wore beige vestments.

She was the Anglican Archbishop who had snuck in while disguised as part of the recovery team positioned outside the city to assist with Karasuma Fran’s covert mission.

She was Lola Stuart.

“This sword cautions the powerful who lack resolve. Originally, the legend was recreated as a test of courage for royalty and nobility to prove their worth, but if you choose the right target, you end up with this. A decent plan for the sword meant to fall on you, don’t you think?”

No, not everyone else was gone.

The man who had supposedly lost his heart opened his eyes.

“What is the meaning of this?”

“Checkmate,” she simply said. “You seem to be just barely staying conscious with the blood remaining in your veins, but as the blood flow to your brain stagnates, it will only take a few minutes for your thoughts to grow muddy and ultimately stop altogether. At this point, I doubt you can even refine your life force into magic power. Nor can you maintain a quasi-immortal state by distorting the circulation of your life force using the attraction of an extremely great being like Westcott did.”

“…”

“No one knows who Academy City’s Board Chairman is. No one will notice if the individual closed up in the Windowless Building changes. I will make good use of what you have built up: the science side. Half of the world. Once I have that, the power balance with the Roman Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church will be decisively overturned.”

The magic side and the science side.

And the magic side had its own internal power struggles.

…Just how ugly was the human world? That was all Aleister Crowley could think. This woman did not even know why he had split the world in two. He almost smiled at the fact that she was several steps behind a mere high school boy.

But then the holy woman said something the magician did not expect.

“Hey, Aleister. Didn’t you find it odd?”

“Find…what odd?”

“My name. My. Name.”

Aleister was unsure what she meant, so the woman wagged her slender finger.

“You can whine about your daughter all you want, but aren’t you being a tad coldhearted? Aleister, I know you’re well aware you were far from the sort of moral man who would wed only the one wife throughout his life. You married multiple times and you also had mistresses. And so Lilith was not your only daughter. Hm? Well? Do you still not recognize my name???”

“It…can’t be.”

“You look like you can’t figure out how you never remembered it before now. Now, one more thing. It’s time for a review. You absolutely detested Mathers. Not only was he an excellent magician, but he also called himself a highlander and hoped to restore an old royal house. So much so that it troubled the other cabal members. Now. Then. Which royal house was that?””

“…The House of Stuart… No, it can’t be, no!!”

“Well, reflecting his desires when choosing a temporary name was more of a special service for him. You seem to have thought you summoned me at a later date, but I was actually already summoned before that.”

Only one thing came to mind here.

Memories of the desert came flooding back.

After discovering an abyss which could not be passed even when binding the tarot cards with a path, he had summoned a demon to cross that abyss, but he had realized his own failure and commanded it to leave.

In a way, that name was as meaningful as Holy Guardian Angel Aiwass’s and perhaps even more so.

“…Coron…zon…?”

“I was given just the one command from Mathers: Pretend I had been summoned by you, Aleister Crowley, and then guide you to ruin. I hid within a mountain of papyrus to travel from northern Africa to England and manipulated the powerful historical side of the nation more than the mystical side, but while I was granting people’s wishes for fun, I was bound by a contract. Aleister, he is often overshadowed by you, but Mathers was quite skilled.”

“It” laughed with a mocking tone.

But did “it” really point to the woman before his eyes?

“And that command did not vanish even after his death, so here I am still obediently following it. Well, I failed to hijack your body, so I ended up choosing a different avatar.”

Her family name of Stuart was borrowed from the true summoner’s obsession.

Then what about the first name?

Where had that come from?

“Yes, yes. Poor Lola. The second daughter bound by the threads of fate to a failure of a madman.”

“Damn you…”

The blonde hair bound behind her head was so long that it fell to her hips even when folded over. Once she undid the pure gold clasp, it spread out like a glowing carpet and wriggled behind Lola’s back.

The devil resides in women’s hair.

This seemed to follow that old witch tradition.

A giant and sinister demonic face appeared in the golden waterfall like a tattoo covering her entire back.

She wrapped her arms tightly around the bewitching body contained inside the beige vestments and her back shook profanely as she laughed in mockery.

This was the face a father least wanted to see.

It was also the face that a beloved daughter would least have wanted him to see.

And as if to divulge it all…

“She normally insulted you constantly, but in the end she was tearfully pleading for you: Father! Father!! Help me, father!!!!!!

“Damn yooooooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!”

Reality showed no mercy.

From the beginning, Aleister Crowley’s wish would never be granted.

Because he had condemned himself to that fate.

A sticky sound rang out.

The sound moved inside the stabbed magician and the being known as Coronzon had a new avatar. The hole in the chest did not vanish, but that was a convenient location. As long as no one touched it from above the clothing, no one would notice it was there. And he stayed holed up in his fortress anyway, so there was little chance of that happening.

He remained on his back and his sprawled out silver hair began moving on its own. It was not visible because he was lying on top of it, but there was likely a demonic face in that hair.

NT Index v18 316.jpg

“Heh heh.”

And.

This time, there truly was no one else in this cold space, so the demon contained in a beautiful woman laughed.

“Heh heh heh!! Hah hah!! Hee hee!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”

Coronzon had her own objective.

But for a while, she felt enough joy to forget even that. She simply could not help but savor the delight of having carved out a father’s dignity using the hand of his beloved daughter.

(Now, I’ve finally cut my ties to that piece of shit Mathers. I no longer need to keep my good deeds and bad deeds in tune. And just as I hoped, Aleister raised an interesting toy. It was worth waiting this long.)

Lola Stuart had always been known as someone who kept her good deeds and bad deeds balanced as if to keep the scales level.

But that restriction had only been to provide an explanation and to calm the waves when she took an action that seemed out of character. But now that she had fulfilled her contract with Mathers, that restriction was gone. And a summoned being would not just disappear on its own. They would only leave once the spell user took responsibility and exorcised them.

At that moment, a communication spell chirped and a voice reached Lola’s ears from a remote location.

“Archbishop, it’s an emergency!!”

The giant face disappeared into the golden waterfall on her back and its roaring ceased. The beautiful leader picked up the gold hair accessory from the floor and almost seemed to be humming as she asked a question.

“What kind of emergency? After today, I wouldn’t even be surprised to hear London had fallen.”

She made a joke on a whim.

But the very next moment…

“You knew!? Word really does reach you fast!!”

“…Huh?”

“A largescale attack is underway in Canada, Australia, and the other British Commonwealth nations! Britain itself has taken some damage. The knights are currently holding it back, but the outskirts of London have already fallen!! They say if the enemy constructs a base here, it could become a long-term battle!!”

“W-wait, what, hold on! What exactly is happening over here!?”

“I repeat: simultaneous largescale attacks are underway in the British Commonwe- bgyuh!?”

The transmission ended.

No, someone else began speaking over the communication spell.

“…Do you still not understand?”

It was an impossible voice.

But Lola Stuart did not look toward the communication spell or toward the empty shell of an avatar pinned to the floor. She looked in a different direction.

Someone stood where no one had been before.

Her long, long blonde hair began to wickedly writhe once more.

“…The Thoth Tarot? A grimoire that borrows people’s forms?”

“Is that what you think, or what you hope?”

There was not just one person there.

There was a man. There was a woman. There was an adult. There was a child. There was a saint. There was a sinner.

Aleister’s generic appearance had left those who saw him with a variety of impressions, but this very strange scene looked like each of those different faces had been isolated and brought to life.

“My soul shined with many colors.”

What was this?

Lola Stuart’s cheeks twitched as she made some guesses.

“That is because I had always sealed many different possibilities within my single body. But once I released multiple versions of myself into the world, it became apparent they would only clash and I could not expect them to work together. That is why I had to bind myself and contain every version of myself to a single coordinate. So as usual, I did not think it through and regretted my actions.”

The group spoke.

“Although when I punished Fiamma of the Right and other such times, a momentarily branched-off alternative version of myself would have been observable. I appear in an instant and disappear in an instant. And not through the use of teleportation. Yes, did you never think it could be explained using the obsolete concept of faxing?”

“Wait a second. You mean…?”

“This was bound to happen from the moment I left the life support device to resolve the Karasuma Fran and Kihara Yuiitsu problems. Even if Kamijou Touma and Lola Stuart had not appeared, I would have branched out almost endlessly. This will create every version of me born from the various ‘ifs’.”

Smiles surrounded her.

And they undoubtedly belonged to the “human” named Aleister Crowley.

“If the number calculated out by the former Tree Diagram and proven by the Reading Thoth 78 is accurate, the number of options available to me and the number of branches to which those would lead are 1,083,092,867. In other words, that many Aleister Crowleys exist as those many possibilities. You have witnessed that moment. Yes, no matter what you do now, you have only witnessed it. As if you are watching fireworks being launched from this single spot.”

“…”

“Now, now. How many times does it have to be said? Aleister Crowley does not care if he succeeds or fails. If I succeed, that’s wonderful. If I fail, I use that to continue forward. That is the plan based on my Thelema. So why did you relax just because you had won? It is true I did not arrive at the truth of Lola and Coronzon. You can even say I failed from the moment I had to once more dirty my hands with that loathsome magic. But did you really think you could change the trend I had created just because I did not know the answer and you outwitted me???”

“…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………!?”

A wet sound burst out.

But even though one of him was crushed and killed, the writhing whole declared war all the same.

“My plan has failed again. I will give you the alternatively-shaped temple known as Academy City.”

“My plan has failed again. I will give you the alternatively-shaped temple known as Academy City.”

“My plan has failed again. I will give you the alternatively-shaped temple known as Academy City.”

He said it far too readily.

And he overturned everything.

“And instead, I believe I will take your toy: all of the nations belonging to the British Commonwealth…including the United Kingdom itself.”

“And instead, I believe I will take your toy: all of the nations belonging to the British Commonwealth…including the United Kingdom itself.”

“And instead, I believe I will take your toy: all of the nations belonging to the British Commonwealth…including the United Kingdom itself.”


Kamijou Touma was thrown out into the empty air.

It took him a while to realize he had been tossed out through the damaged portion of the Windowless Building’s wall.

Even after he began to fall, he did not immediately slam into the ground.

Mikoto was flying through the air in the A.A.A. and collecting a few people from the air. But she could not arrive in time for the very last one: Kamijou.

He did not even have time to scream.

But his life was not crushed and lost.

Even though Mikoto’s hand did not reach him, something did suddenly interrupt his fall.

“Gweh!?”

He felt intense resistance in his neck. Only a little later did he realize the tip of some kind of stick had caught on the back of his collar at several dozen meters above the ground.

He heard a voice like a small bell.

“Do not swing your right hand at random. Destroy the broom now and I will have trouble ensuring either of our lives.”

“…Wha-?”

The voice was not at all similar.

This one definitely belonged to a girl of middle or high school age.

“The city’s core functions have been taken, but your Imagine Breaker and the #1 Accelerator are needed to contact Aiwass’s core. We will also receive backup from Aneri, the version of the Reading Thoth 78, aka Mina Mathers, which I had spread throughout the city after lowering it to a consumer level. Lola…no, Coronzon seems to think she has reached checkmate, but there are plenty of holes in her encirclement.”

However, a completely different name appeared in the back of Kamijou Touma’s mind.

Yes, the name of that magician.

“Allow me to introduce myself again.”

The girl smiled.

And that nemesis spoke like they were old acquaintances.

“I am Aleister Crowley. Or, one of his many possibilities.”


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