Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume19 Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Are you Prepared to Distort the Laws of the World? – Human.
He was panicking.
The spiky-haired high school boy named Kamijou Touma was aware of that as he ran through the late night city.
Smoke rose from a hospital so thickly that the countless raindrops could not soak it and wash it from the air. At the moment, that had become an unmistakable landmark from anywhere in Academy City, so he ran toward it through the light cold rain.
Settling things with Aleister in the Windowless Building during the day was all well and good, but some time had passed and the situation had completely changed.
And he should have realized something.
If everything Aleister Crowley said was true, then the relationship diagram with Lola Stuart in the center had to be entirely reevaluated. All of the assumptions about who was safe and who was dangerous that had built up from there had lost all meaning.
Aleister had gone on ahead in her silver-haired girl form. Of course she had. Between land, sea, and air, the most important one to secure was air superiority. That broom allowed her to fly around in the air like some kind of cheat code, so he could never keep up with her speed.
And of all things, their destination was that hospital that was always taking care of Kamijou.
After he climbed the chain-link fence and jumped inside the grounds, he saw that.
Something was waiting on the asphalt in the cold rain…
Inside the yellow-glowing Processor Suit…no, inside the humanoid Bank, Hamazura Shiage groaned within the hospital that had been badly damaged by the blast.
Something odd had happened.
None of the windows along the hallway were broken, yet from the point A. O. Francisca had been standing, the inner wall, an empty hospital room, and all the walls from there had been utterly destroyed like a small airplane had crashed through them. There was of course no sign of the wanted criminal and rebar, power cables, oxygen supply pipes, and such were sticking out of the breaks in the walls.
The baby seated in the smooth woodwork stroller lightly waved around her red and yellow trumpet toy. The wooden wet nurse in a dress spoke up like an interpreter.
“Proxy Message: There is nothing strange about this because that was not physical damage. No laser or beam shot through here. A. O. Francisca was filled with that illusion, so his body jumped to the side all on its own, breaking through the walls and hospital rooms on the way out of the building.”
Lilith in the stroller did not seem particularly irritated by Hamazura’s dumb voice.
In fact, she narrowed her eyes happily.
“Proxy Message: Perhaps it is for the best that you do not understand. Magic is not something to feel proud about knowing. As someone who was crushed and killed by the friction between phases, I have the right to complain about it. And if you don’t know magic, that means you have lived an upstanding life without trying to cheat, my awkward babysitter.”
With that said, the stroller turned and carried Lilith off somewhere else.
Even if she was really just a baby in a blanket, she still managed to act imposing.
“H-hey, where are you going…?”
“Proxy Message: Oh? You’re still worried about me even after learning I am a monster baby? Carrying a big baby around would only wear you out.”
He was supposed to be in the very center of it all, but the dumb delinquent did not understand anything of real importance here. Still, when he heard what Lilith said, Hamazura stood back up under his own power. If thinking about it was not enough to figure it out, then he would have to go see it with his own eyes.
There was only one thing he could trust here.
No matter what bizarre things she was doing, that baby was undoubtedly Lilith. And without needing Aneri to perform any calculations, he knew the baby he had been protecting all this time did not have any ulterior motives or ill will.
Lilith raised her small hands when she saw the knight in special armor standing beside her stroller.
“Proxy Message: Your straightforward honesty is both admirable and foolish. But, well, I like that a lot more than someone who tries to act the intellectual and ends up drowning in their own schemes.”
“Proxy Message: That is a virtue of yours, but you should also learn to be a bit more cautious. Thanks to that, your girlfriend seems to be in a very bad mood. Just make sure you do not get me wrapped up in your flirting.”
“No, you have it all wrong! She might have that bewitching young woman made of wood speaking for her, but it’s actually that baby there! Remember that this is Lilith and focus on your desire to protect! Protect, okay!?”
While the dented suit clamored on and on like that to the miniskirt Santa who had shown up, the wooden stroller continued down the hall, the wooden wet nurse in a dress carried it down the stairs, and they all made their way out into the cold rain. When Lilith saw Hamazura grab a forgotten plastic umbrella from the umbrella stand at the entrance and open it, she raised her hands in satisfaction and the stroller moved underneath it.
And outside, the miracle baby saw…
In front of the hospital on that December night, heaven was weeping.
A magician had stopped flying with a broom and instead placed her feet on the ground.
It was Aleister Crowley.
That human had once fought a battle that washed out blood with blood, used that battle as fuel, and utterly tore apart and eradicated the Golden magic cabal. Now, she gently grabbed the wide brim of her witch-like hat and pulled it deep over her eyes.
The cold raindrops had soaked her clothing, her hair, and her skin.
She did not bother to wipe away the liquid running down her cheeks as she encountered a phenomenon that could not be explained using the world’s rules of causality.
She recognized vestiges of the past in the stroller made from wood that interlocked like a three-dimensional puzzle, the similarly-made toys floating around the stroller, and most of all in the wooden lady in a dress.
The stroller contained a baby that should not have existed.
Flanked on either side by a member of the city’s dark side, that life breathed and opened her eyes of her own will.
She rolled over.
A mercilessly full-powered swing hit that human in the cheek.
The baby used a rattle far too large for a baby.
However, it was made of the same sort of wood used for bats, so a solid hit would be more of a disaster than a punch. After that struck Aleister in the side of the face, a rocking horse and a miniature piano crashed into her. Finally, the wooden lady who had pushed the stroller took a running start and hit her with a dropkick that had the wooden figure’s full weight behind it.
Aleister was hit by every attack.
The ones most flustered by this unexpected turn of events were the outsiders watching on.
Hamazura Shiage and Kamijou Touma cried out at the exact same time.
“Ahhhh!? What was that!? Lilith, wait! What are you doing to that girl!?”
“Aleister, what did you do this time!? It’s time you learned what was accepted by the eccentrics of your Golden cabal won’t fly in modern society!!”
Hamazura and Kamijou exchanged a puzzled glance in the cold rain.
Before they could answer any of their questions, Lilith rudely pointed her red and yellow trumpet toy toward her “father” and borrowed the wet nurse’s voice to yell at her.
“Proxy Message: How immature can you be, you bastard!? Why do you look like that? I was hoping for the emotional reunion after a miraculous revival, so why are you looking even girlier than me!? How am I supposed to face a father who went through a surprise sex change and might even be cuter than his own daughter!? If you could have done this normally, this would have been the perfect tearjerker, but you just had to ruin it, didn’t you!?”
“Um, if we’re talking about immaturity, Lilith, I think we also need to address how you were a baby just a bit ago and now you’re causing all sorts of paranormal things and acting like you know better than everyone else…”
“Silence, babysitter!! Whose side are you on, delinquent!!!???”
She was being entirely unreasonable, but if you analyzed how Lilith blushed, swung her arms around, and acted like this was a betrayal, you would discover the shocking truth that she had actually grown quite attached to Hamazura. But Hamazura was dumb and he secretly rejected Aneri’s offer to display the result of some calculations. The world was a complicated place.
How was a daughter supposed to react when she showed up to the emotional reunion with her father only to find that father had transformed into an incredibly immature and cheeky little sister character? Was this more bad luck for the human who would transform any failure and defeat into her own power? The situation was simply the worst, but this was no time to be relaxing.
Yes, none of this was over yet.
Aleister had descended to the surface and Lilith had left the building because they had some other objective.
A form was curled up and straining to move on the wet asphalt a short distance away. The Processor Suit was identical to Hamazura Shiage’s which was switching back and forth between yellow and red. A wanted criminal wore that humanoid form of the Bank. A. O. Francisca was there giving off a flickering red light.
However, his suit did not seem to be fully functioning either. That suit had taken Hamazura’s fist which could have punched through a nuclear shelter, a kick from Lilith’s “wet nurse”, and Aleister’s magic. Those few but powerful hits to crucial parts of the suit seemed to have done serious damage.
Presumably as some kind of safety measure a white gas sprayed out. It may have been steam from the joints or a coolant.
But that must not have been enough to contain the damage because the visor cracked with the sound of thin ice splitting.
All the red lines covering the Processor Suit vanished.
And it all led up to a light tone much like a small bell made of glass.
A. O. Francisca’s hidden face was finally revealed. But Hamazura only tilted his head when he saw the answer. Yes, he had started this as an outsider.
So it was Kamijou Touma who spoke up instead.
He recalled what Aleister had said after becoming a silver-haired girl.
They had been unable to regroup with magical Tsuchimikado Motoharu or scientific Misaka Mikoto. Someone was getting in their way. So they had to figure out who their suspects were by thinking about who could do something like that.
That meant it had to be someone with knowledge of both sides.
Tsuchimikado Maika and Index were too far on one side or the other.
“Thinking back, Tsuchimikado Motoharu’s actions were odd.”
The bundle of papers the size of yen notes…the incomplete protective charms being used as a litmus test withered and fell apart in Aleister’s hand.
“I am not talking about after you entered the Windowless Building. I mean before that, in that perfectly ordinary back alley. When I was preparing to take care of Karasuma Fran there, how did his bullet arrive in time? How did he think to go there with no hint whatsoever? The answer is simple: That was not a perfectly ordinary back alley. What looked like a normal metal door or manhole may have been merely disguised in that form at some point. Yes, to contain something that had to be protected even if that meant keeping out my Underline and restricting any reports back to me, the board chairman. That back alley must have contained the hidden entrance to a development space for the Processor Suit form of the Bank. I guarantee it.”
Tsuchimikado had supposedly been searching for a bargaining chip to protect his stepsister from Aleister. And what better bargaining chip was there than the Bank which collected all Academy City’s knowledge? But before he could swipe that, he had run into Aleister himself like the human had been waiting for him, so the plan had failed. Neither one had intended it. It had been the worst possible coincidence. Tsuchimikado had abandoned his plan, saved the girl who would act as a contact with the Anglican Church, and decided to escape outside the city instead.
But that meant Tsuchimikado Motoharu was not the one behind all this.
Then who was it that had reached the Processor Suit in advance and thus met all the conditions to cause this incident? Who had managed to interfere with Mikoto on the science side and Tsuchimikado on the magic side?
They had their answer.
“So it was Fran after all!?” shouted Kamijou. “Come to think of it, you did work for Lola Stuart, didn’t you!?”
Serial killers would not suddenly think to attack someone they had never seen or met from a country on the other side of the globe. Whether in reality or online, they would have to have some kind of contact with them, no matter how shallow. Otherwise, nothing would inspire the desire to kill.
However, Hamazura Shiage had no way of knowing when this contact had occurred.
It had happened early that morning. It had ended in failure, but Kamijou and the others had originally made their way to the city’s outer wall so that Tsuchimikado Motoharu and Maika could escape with Karasuma Fran.
And they had indeed heard the following exchange just outside the bus’s window.
“Hey, mister. Is this spot good?”
“Hamazura-kun, I am really grateful since we’re shorthanded at the moment, but why does a kid your age know how to operate a crane? Don’t you need national qualifications for that???”
“…It’s weird setting one of these up after using heavy machinery to steal so many of them.”
“Now I’m worried about your past!!”
So she had seen him.
That was why the wanted criminal had considered him as a candidate target. They should have never met, but that dumb delinquent’s face had still come to mind.
Of course, there may have been other reasons. For example, her many antennae may have detected Aneri’s presence hopping between all the devices around Hamazura. That way she could obtain a decoy with little connection to herself but who had enough power to not be defeated too easily.
“At the root of this all was Lola with her body hijacked as Coronzon’s avatar,” spat out Girl Aleister. “Someone who worked directly for her would have been in contact with Coronzon in secret, so it makes perfect sense that she would have messed with the girl’s body. And without the girl even noticing.”
Did the strained movements come from the Processor Suit malfunctioning? Or was there something wrong with the person wearing it?
With the Processor Suit hiding her girly bodylines and height, Karasuma Fran held her hands to her own face and then pressed her palms against the asphalt that was dark and wet with cold rain. Was she trying to gather up the pieces of the broken visor? That was Hamazura’s first guess, but he was wrong.
That demon-possessed girl did not even insist on bipedal movement.
With a low bestial roar, she pressed all four limbs against the ground. Her head hung low, showing off the top of her head, but then the spiky-haired high school boy gasped.
Kamijou had realized that this girl had worn a hoodie at all times. With the hood over her head, he had never actually seen the top and back of her head.
There was a face there.
Three blood-red jewels were embedded there, forming the kind of face seen in a child’s doodle.
“Al203 with a touch of Cr. …In other words, pigeon blood.”
Aleister gave a snorting laugh as she mentioned the alternate name of the highest-quality ruby.
He viewed the demon residing in the girl’s hair.
And he seemed to mock his own past deeds.
“That demon appeared within a magic circle drawn with the blood of three doves. I suppose this is meant to be the same. And if they let those sweet words manipulate them, anyone would immediately fall to that influence.”
“Come to think of it, were you also the one who invited the Anglican recovery team just outside of the city so you could cross the wall and escape? I am guessing you would have chosen the Amakusas led by their Saint, but…I see. That answers another mystery. I had been wondering how the physical vessel of Lola Stuart managed to enter the Windowless Building so easily. …Curse those diligent Asians. Did they let this happen without knowing what was ‘inside’?”
Fran’s head jerkily swayed.
That crimson was even more sinister than the Processor Suit’s warning lights. It looked like a red-eyed and mouthed beast tilting its head.
Even a layman like Hamazura could tell something by looking at that girl wearing the wreckage of a suit.
“…She isn’t in control.”
He had no reason to defend her.
He could have played the victim card and simply called her a hated enemy.
But he did it without even thinking.
“That’s nothing like with Aneri. There’s nothing worse than a supposed ‘mirror of truth’ that only maliciously spits out lies and falsehoods. We can’t let that evil continue!!”
“Of course not. Fran never would have used the name A. O. Francisca otherwise. Even with that thing ruling her and messing with her mind, she still did her best to leave some kind of hint.”
A sinister howl rang through the moonless night of frigid rain.
Immediately, a great wave of deadly presences pushed in from all directions. They were organism weapons that had disguised themselves in the 130cm and 32kg form best suited for this civilized metropolis. They were Mimetic Predators. Spiky-haired Kamijou Touma groaned when he saw the deadly weapons that had taken on the forms of so many different kinds of girls.
“This makes sense too when you know Fran is at the center of it all. She took inspiration from the Kamisato Faction to create a method of managing such a large battle force.”
“This is the Loch Ness experiment.” Girl Aleister remained entirely composed. “I never did master that, but as a side effect, a few half-formed spirits apparently welled up all on their own. Heh heh. Although everyone made a huge fuss about them being a surviving dinosaur and then some third-rate newspaper gave them such an adorable name. In Karasuma Fran’s case, it seems she is intentionally guiding that magic experiment to failure to mass-produce monsters with immediate strength and chewing power. …That said, taking a truth no one managed to discover for so long and redefining it as ‘something able to take on any form’ is quite a unique idea. First implants in the head and now the Loch Ness monster. Was this all meant to match her image as a UFO girl?”
“Proxy Message: So what are you going to do about it, dad?”
Lilith seemed to challenge Aleister by borrowing the mouth of the wooden wet nurse that’s mixture of Japanese and Western made look like a Tennyo or a lady in a dress.
“Different avatars have different levels of authority and different roles. It is a master and slave relationship, so there is a clear difference in precedence. The familiarity with Lola who has been controlled for many long years will be much greater than with this Fran who would only have made contact a few years ago at best.”
“Wait, what are you talking about?” asked Hamazura. “Avatars? Like in online games? So is it like when you train your main swordsman, a gunman meant for ranged battles, and a priest for use against undead enemies, but you still end up training the main one to a higher level than the others???”
“Proxy Message: Do not cluelessly butt in, babysitter. Your example is actually harder for me to picture. …But thanks to this, the control over that girl seems weaker than for my little sister. If you see killing her as the only option instead of taking a sample of this weaker toxin, then there is nothing you can do next time, be it an antidote or a vaccine. Right, dad?”
With a sticky sound, the many organism weapons approached the quadrupedal beast. That group had artificially reproduced just the violent side of the Kamisato Faction. This was the return of the great force that had greatly shaken Academy City.
And the silver-haired human responded while watching it happen.
“Then this is a touchstone. I will test everything I can here to ensure I can make an effective attack next time, Coronzon.”
The first move was made not by Hamazura or Fran but by the Mimetic Predator cytoplasmic organism weapons surrounding them.
The lack of any real sense of fear must have shortened the time needed to think.
Hamazura tossed the cheap umbrella to Takitsubo in her midriff-baring miniskirt Santa outfit so she could keep it held above the smooth woodwork stroller.
“Take care of Lilith.”
“Proxy Message: That is not a job for your pure girlfriend.”
For some reason, Lilith made an exasperated comment.
A moment later, the gaps of the armor in Hamazura’s Processor Suit were dyed fully red.
An Aneri-guided kick caught an organism weapon in the very center. His foot sank into the flat chest of what looked like a small girl in a frog raincoat and launched her backwards to take out more of the organism weapons with her.
That was the strategy he had worked out before, but if he kept this up, his armor would be worn down through contact with them.
And while he could knock them down to temporarily stop them, he did not know if he could permanently stop them. They were simply taking on a human disguise and did not actually have human organs, so their apparent vital points were meaningless.
That was when Kamijou Touma dashed through the rain.
When his right palm struck the belly of a Mimetic Predator rolling on the wet asphalt, the organism weapon finally melted like cheese over a flame and dissolved into the rainwater.
“! Can you use that to destroy the jewels on that Fran girl’s head!?”
“If I can touch them without getting my hand bitten off! But that’s a lot like snatching the jewel from a lion’s collar!”
Was this a step forward or a step back?
With as scraped up as Kamijou was, his right hand looked pretty unreliable, but Hamazura decided it was better than nothing.
Hamazura would knock them down while Kamijou finished them off.
(Is there nothing we can use as a weapon…?)
Hamazura clicked his tongue and looked around the parking lot. Thanks to the patients arguing over at the entrance, the parking lot was not entirely empty, but it was still past three in the morning. There were far fewer cars than at a supermarket during the day. Among those, Aneri ignored the obvious cars and instead placed markers on things like the metal poles or thick chains in front of parking spots or manhole covers.
But perhaps Hamazura should have been more aware of the risk he made by taking his eyes of the battle right in front of him.
He heard a straining sound.
And then the many organism weapons fled to the left and right, like the parting of a sea. They had been so reckless before, but they were afraid of something. And that something raced down the opened pathway at blinding speed.
Her Processor Suit’s lights had gone out, so it had to have ceased functioning.
He was hit by as much pressure as a catapult meant to break down castle walls.
It sounded just like an explosion.
A. O. Francisca…no, Karasuma Fran destroyed the dull armor joints with her own strength as she launched a fist toward Hamazura’s visor like an artillery shell.
Without Aneri’s assistance, that would have smashed the special armor along with his skull.
By moving his arms and legs in accordance with the markers, he managed to supply a slight blow to the bottom of the incoming fist’s wrist and diverted it just barely out of the way. As the fist shot by overhead, Hamazura swept Fran’s ankles out from under her, grabbed her slender arm, and slammed her back-first into the asphalt.
With a rumble, the parking lot ground shattered and sank down.
No, it did not stop there. The overloaded special armor finally reached its limit and completely split and broke apart. The suit may have read in the electrical potential difference on the surface of her skin because the girl inside was exposing her soft skin with a bikini. She may have been using some kind of gel or cream to more efficiently read her bioelectricity because the way the raindrops bounced off her skin was not normal.
But the girl’s expression did not cloud over at all as she lay on her back.
At this point, the Processor Suit may have been no more than a hindrance holding her back.
No, it was a more fundamental issue.
(Tch!! Looking at her expression isn’t going to help regardless! Our real enemy is the pigeon blood “face” made by the three jewels in her head!!)
The Al2O3…no, demon-possessed girl raised a bestial roar.
A closer look showed there was no connection between the roar and Fran’s own breathing and throat movements. It was unclear how it worked, but the “voice” was coming from the jewels on top of her head.
She got up like a clockwork doll.
Hamazura threw a kick on reflex. He aimed for the girl’s face which was at about waist height. Only after throwing it did he realize Fran’s face and body were no longer protected by armor, but now was not the time to worry about that.
He felt the blow land, but his Processor Suit’s red warning only strengthened.
A fist immediately flew as a counterattack.
Fran could not harness the strength of her legs or hips for this attack, but when her small fist struck Hamazura in the lower belly, he and the sturdy Processor Suit were launched 7 or 8 meters back. If he had not twisted his body and changed his landing point based on Aneri’s instructions, he would have crashed into Lilith and Takitsubo with the momentum of an artillery shell.
(Are you serious? How was the Processor Suit actually holding her back!?)
“Don’t think of Fran like a normal girl just because she looks slender. You might have some extra armor protecting you, but she’ll take off an arm or a leg if you let your guard down.”
He received some good advance from Everyone’s Big Brother: Kamijou Touma.
This was probably the kind of advice that would save his life.
“Be careful! Fran was a magician who specialized in star and space magic. I can’t even imagine how dangerous she is now that her power is being boosted!!”
“If you can’t imagine it, how am I supposed to get what you mean!? I’m having trouble picturing this, so what actually does star magic mean!? Don’t tell me she’s going to summon a meteor or something!!”
“Oh, but Fran did drop that giant space sta-…”
“That was supposed to be a joke! If you’re just going to give some horrifying example with a straight face, then stop talking!!”
Hamazura gulped when he heard a straining sound.
It came from Fran who was down on all fours. She kicked her right leg at the wet asphalt like a bull preparing to charge and the second face on the top of her head was shaking. But with her Processor Suit destroyed and only a bikini and her soft skin remaining, how was that girl producing that sound? And that previous attack did not seem like something she could pull off without mechanical assistance.
“She’s had her muscles and skeleton messed with…? No, it could be worse. If she only had the limiters in her mind removed, who knows how much that attack just now messed up her insides!?”
“It is unusual to hear of someone’s body growing feebler after being possessed by a demon. When a power similar-but-distinct-to Telesma is poured into the preexisting pathways for their life force, the avatar will grow stronger. I suppose it is like an instant version of a Shakti master. It is an easy way to draw out plenty of power, but it is still no more than a forced emulation. The program is being forced to run while ignoring any compatibility issues with the OS, so who knows what kind of errors will occur. This is not suited for long-term use. If the pathways for her life force are fried, she may not even be able to continue living.”
The way Fran kicked at the ground with her right leg, snorted, and slowly shook her head was just like a bull eyeing its prey.
Before she could target Takitsubo or Lilith in her stroller, Hamazura smashed a nearby car’s window with his elbow and pulled out a heat-insulating sheet made of what looked like aluminum.
When he beat the air with it so it would spread out and draw the bull’s eyes, Fran kicked off the wet asphalt with all four limbs and mercilessly charged toward Hamazura.
Outside the chain-link fence, another pair confronted each other on another battlefield.
They were both colored white.
One of them, the #1 with white hair and red eyes, spoke with exasperation in his voice.
“I really don’t think this is my specialty.”
But the other one did not reply.
The white figure simply stood there with an unnatural light glittering in her eyes.
No, that was no mere light.
Two triangles irregularly overlapped in the iris area to form a bizarre design.
And that form spoke.
“Chapter 3, Verse 8: Area scan complete. John’s Pen mode will now exterminate the enemy.”
They should have imagined the possibility.
Lola Stuart was Archbishop of the Anglican Church.
The fact that she had been corrupted would entirely change the relationship chart that Kamijou had built up over time and used to determine who was safe and who was a threat.
Even Karasuma Fran had been negatively influenced as a magician who worked directly for Lola.
Then what about this case?
The grimoire library whose perfect memory had been used to memorize 103,000 grimoires.
Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
And who was it that had the physical key to forcibly control Index?
A pure white beam sliced through the night sky as it swept by over Kamijou and the others’ heads.
It did not matter who it had been aimed at.
Nor did it matter that someone flying through the air might have controlled the wind to knock the girl who produced the beam toward a more appropriate opponent.
At any rate, she fell right next to the spiky-haired high school boy named Kamijou Touma.
The short girl had long silver hair and wore a teacup-like nun’s habit with gold embroidery on white fabric.
Kamijou held his side and groaned in pain.
“I thought everyone had just been separated when that idiot Aleister launched his rocket, but you were taken over too, Index!?”
“She is not an avatar. Lola…no, Coronzon is merely abusing the preexisting external control device.”
“It’s the same either way!!”
With Fran and Index, they would be attacked on either side. And both girls possessed brutal firepower. Kamijou and the others could easily be caught in a hopeless crossfire here in the parking lot.
“Search out the control circle,” whispered the human who pulled her witch’s hat deep over her eyes. “It has to have appeared somewhere on the grimoire library’s body. And you must have done it once before. Even if you no longer remember it, the facts engraved in history have not changed.”
Kamijou felt an intense pain run through his right temple.
He had no way of determining whether it was a real pain or a phantom pain coming from a part of him that no longer existed. Regardless, he held his head and staggered while doing his best to face his enemy.
An emotionless face.
A bizarre pattern in the eyes.
He had no memory or recollection of this. And yet the silhouette of the missing puzzle piece in his head seemed to be shouting at him.
Do not allow this to continue.
Rescue that captured girl no matter what.
A lithe black cat ruled over the late night of Academy City as cold rain poured down.
Mourning clothes were decorated with cat ears and a cat tail. The black cat witch held a thick book in front of her quite large chest.
It really was an original grimoire which could overturn the laws of physics. No matter how much rain hit it, the cheap collection of loose leaf paper repelled the drops like it was made of plastic.
She was the one who gave humanity knowledge in the form of a grimoire. She was the lady who had been freed from the bonds of a giant parallel processing machine at the hands of Aiwass. She was moving toward the center of the commotion.
She honestly had no clear reason for her existence at the moment.
She was no more than a being who had been doomed to destruction but then saved by the whim of that Holy Guardian Angel.
She was an impossible parameter, unnecessary code.
But perhaps because she had retained the nature of the Thoth Tarot, Mina Mathers realized the value of that superfluity more accurately than anyone else.
(In the overall script, I may be no more than some garbage data, an alphanumeric string someone forgot to delete.)
She was not being cynical or self-deprecating.
The black cat witch was remaining positive as she came to understand her own “weapon”.
(But that means I could easily become a bug that freezes up the unfeeling pre-established harmony. Humans can be self-conscious, so they dislike viewing themselves as mere dust or garbage, but the truth is different. Every man and every woman is a star. No one in the world is unnecessary and everyone has an important meaning. Those sound like convenient lyrics targeting the world-weary, but if every single person is a crucial gear for the world, then no matter how hard the human race works, the most they can do is help turn the gears in the politicians’ clockwork machine.”
In other words.
Her conclusion was as follows:
(It is the being that should not have existed – that seemingly insignificant bit – that truly acts as the lock that freezes up the colossal program. The unnecessary garbage functions as a powerful safety device to stop the clockwork machine from continuing on when it begins moving in the wrong direction!)
The instant she entered the hospital grounds, Mina Mathers felt like all the puzzle pieces were gathering.
You must not forget.
That black cat witch held a legitimate original grimoire in front of her chest.
Kamijou Touma vs. Index.
That boy could no longer remember the battle which could be seen as the “beginning” for his current self, but he was just about to repeat that clash here.
However, a figure in black moved between them.
It was Mina Mathers.
She directly faced Index, who was being externally controlled, and she opened her original grimoire made up of loose leaf paper.
The view seemed to fill a certain individual’s entire visual world.
“Memorize this, grimoire library. Fulfill your original role like a machine and memorize the forbidden knowledge of your 103,001st grimoire.”
This was just how she worked.
She had no way of rejecting it.
Index had a perfect memory.
Whether she wanted to or not, everything in front of her would be etched into her mind.
“And have my toxin burn through the pathways of your soft brain. Even if this is entirely superfluous and no more than unnecessary garbage, even the slightest damage is enough. Just like flipping one Thoth card upside down, this poison will act as a medicine. Lola Stuart…no, Great Demon Coronzon. With my true freedom, I will fry the wicked controller you have embedded in this girl!!!!!!”
It was like watching a doll as the gears slipped out of place.
The girl convulsed like a high-voltage current was running along her spine and then she collapsed to the rain-soaked hospital parking lot.
“Do not worry. I merely removed the malicious program.”
The black cat witch spoke in a refreshing voice to the boy who rushed over and supported the limp girl.
Then she whirled around.
It happened just as the wooden wet nurse supporting the baby’s wooden stroller leaned unsteadily toward Aleister.
“You may be used to confronting a traumatic illusion, but do you fear actually touching her as a part of reality once more?”
“Or do you think regaining this means losing your excuse for destroying the Golden cabal since that was triggered by your daughter’s death?”
If resurrection had been an option from the beginning, then Aleister lost the primary pillar for his revenge taken at the Battle of Blythe Road. This could always be written off as more of the wandering so often seen in his life of failure and defeat, but those caught in the middle of it could hardly accept that.
…That was how it may have looked.
But the reality was different.
If Aleister had not hated magic and walked that thorny path, he never could have arrived at this overlapping phase that Aiwass had prepared. Lilith had been no more than a copied life force created by reading in the diagrams of her blood vessels and nerves, so he had needed to develop the technology necessary to create a vessel of flesh that could stabilize her. Only after reaching that point could he play the resurrection card. Otherwise, it would have remained as a cheap tearjerker where he threw that exposed life force out into the open world, knowing she would fall apart on her own before long, all so they could be miraculously reunited for just a brief moment.
And whether she was resurrected or not, the actions of Mathers, Westcott, and the other Golden cabal members would still have brought death to people around the world who were in the same circumstances as Lilith. In fact, if he had let the Golden cabal survive and thrive, it would have grown much larger. If he could face that tragedy and accept it as long as his own daughter was resurrected, then Aleister had no right to call himself a father.
If Lilith’s death was unavoidable, then the deaths wrought by his revenge should also have been unavoidable.
It may have been insulting to those cabal members who all had stories about them worthy of calling legends, but Mina Mathers could only view the destruction of the Golden cabal as their just desserts. Their human pride showed through from the moment they attempted to master magic, bend the laws of the world, and cut themselves free from cause and effect so they alone could escape retribution.
Also, Aleister had not trusted in the righteousness of god even before he aimed to become a magician. If the Golden cabal had constructed a spell to escape divine punishment, that human would never have allowed them to continue. When those transcendent ones attempted to wash all sin from their flesh and wield mighty power, he would have pursued them to the ends of the earth. It was laughable to think one could fully escape the laws of the world simply by fooling god. If he could not say that, then he was not Aleister Crowley.
It had all been necessary.
Thus, even if his life had been a humiliating series of failures and defeats, he had nothing to be ashamed of. No part of the path Aleister walked had been extraneous. Aiwass had prepared the opportunity, but could a human in a suit and tie have taken advantage of it, could it have reached a human passed out in a back alley after a night of cheap drinks, or could a human who compromised for the immediate advantage before his eyes have accomplished it? The answer was no. Until this very day, he had never stopped thinking about his lost family and had worked himself to the bone for those being tormented by the same unfairness. He had known it would mean reducing himself to a brutal villain walking a path of violence, but he had never thrown out his iron will. All so he could be given Lilith from a different phase and so he could give her a vessel of flesh. Who had both the technology needed to grasp at that tiny opportunity and the powerful will needed to protect someone from the malice of the world? Only that Aleister.
Even if the 7 billion other humans broke down to tears, Aleister here was different.
He had everything.
He had nothing that could be called the strongest and he had no talent implanted in his mind. It was all knowledge that he had built up from the foundation with his bloody hands and that he had learned from his many setbacks and losses. He had been trained up because he did not fear failure and he had been given many lessons because he was willing to view his failures head on. And that had led to further strength. If he had chosen that path because he had talent, he never would have taken a step outside the realm in which he could naturally win. His horsepower was far greater than your average athlete or pianist. That human had begun by splitting the world between magic and science, effectively destroying the very realm suited to his own talents. He had smashed the greenhouse that would hinder his possibility of growth and instead improved himself in the unlimited wasteland.
So why would he hesitate now?
“I have an oracle from the higher being that sent this grimoire into the world.”
The black cat witch remained entirely businesslike.
Was that because she was a type of tarot that simply displayed a result?
“No matter what kind of human you are, you must never stop working toward being happy.”
She stayed true to her role as messenger.
Mina Mathers repaid her debt through that role.
Of course, this decision to continue to obey her administrator after being freed was entirely her own. If, like that great demon, she had chosen to harm others just because she had been liberated, she would only have proven her own wickedness.
“You did well enduring those hard times. You were all alone, clenching your teeth, and misunderstood by all, but you continued searching blindly through that unreasonable darkness. So Aiwass shall turn it all around. He promises you he will provide a blessing worthy of the many years of pain and shed blood, sweat, and tears you carry, so prepare yourself.”
It was a repeat of 1904.
In that fateful year, Magician Aleister Crowley had been given some words that greatly changed his life and he had also been given a new life, even as he knew it would be destroyed.
That was when he had chosen that thorny path, but another change had finally arrived. This was different from that path of failure and defeat where he accepted all pain and humiliation. This time, he was on the rails to success and victory.
“And I would like to add a message of my own.”
The processing device and card set that had originally formed Mina Mathers had been put together by that human to prove he was on the right path.
She had changed form and now relied on a different medium, but the black cat witch spoke all the same.
And there was a definite smile behind her thin veil.
“Do not fear and run from being happy, Aleister Crowley.”
That was when Lilith reached her limit.
She had originally been thrown out into the outside world as nothing more than a life force – the most basic of basics – with no physical body. She was never going to last long like that.
The floating rocking horse, piano, and other toys fell apart and dropped to the wet ground. The smooth woodwork stroller tilted and the wedges fell from the wooden wet nurse pushing it. Instead of a change, this was better called a return to normal. After being protected by so many mysterious phenomena, Lilith returned to being a mere baby wrapped in a blanket.
Only that immature life remained in the human’s arms.
It was like a repeat of the past.
That life wrapped in a blanket innocently reached her tiny hands toward her parent’s face. Lilith of course knew what that meant. She knew, but she repeated it anyway. She was telling that human to overcome this moment and continue on. She had set up that hurdle.
Only silence followed.
Then Aleister slowly – truly slowly – reached a trembling hand toward that fingertip.
The magician clearly saw his own daughter’s hand firmly grasp the outstretched fingers.
Electricity flashed around the human named Aleister Crowley.
Something that had been frozen solid for ages had regained the scorching heat of an electric furnace capable of melting special steel.
It was far too simple.
While watching Fran charge toward Hamazura on all fours, Kamijou was shocked to see that magician calmly take a certain pose with just one arm. It did not help that she could not have looked less like a father in a school uniform blazer, a witch’s hat, and a cloak.
Aleister’s Spiritual Tripping was a spell that hit the target with the destructive power they imagined when they saw the gesture.
But normally, there should have been no way to tell if she was holding a katana, a saber, a wooden sword, or a metal pipe. The ability to accurately instill people with an image of texture, sheen, weight, and hardness may have been proof of her top rate skill.
That skill was why the gesture naturally brought something to mind.
All she did was raise one hand to mime peering through a pair of binoculars. Even if it was clear those were military binoculars used to designate attack coordinates via laser or GPS, it should not have been clear just what kind of attack it would be. Would it be fired from a ship’s guns or dropped from a bomber? Would it be an anti-surface missile or an aerial bomb? Nevertheless, the precise image was drawn in the spiky-haired high school boy’s mind even though he had never seen the real thing.
Truly without thinking, Kamijou Touma forgot all about his own injuries and shouted in disbelief.
“An aerial support…Big Bang Bomb!!!???”
This was only targeted at the Mimetic Predators crawling around the area. And they had the misfortune to be biologically based instead of being inorganic weapons. They too could “picture” the weapon, so it was drawn with hopeless detail in the back of their minds. There was an explosion that only they could sense.
That 10-44 seconds may have been more valuable than an eternity.
Cold rain continued to pour down on the late night parking lot. Physically, not a single leaf floating in a puddle was harmed and not a drop of water was evaporated, but hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of organism weapons were blown into the air, swept away, vaporized, and thoroughly contaminated to the last cell. This was not just on a planetary scale. This blew away the entire “world” including every last galaxy and nebula. For those chosen as a target, there was no escape. The meaning of what was “possible” was cruelly distorted. This far exceeded a neutron bomb or pure fusion bomb and added a much-too-evil attack to human history.
But Aleister whispered.
That severe human had more to say.
“Blasting Rod. In other words, that power will be multiplied tenfold from my opponent’s point of view.”
She finally exceeded the limits of the existing universe.
This had originally been a secret technique meant to take on every last Magic God at once. Even if the one taking the damage had a limit to their imagination, her enemy’s mind would be mercilessly blown away by enough energy to create the universe ten times over.
Down on all fours, Karasuma Fran…no, the red jewel demon borrowing that poor victim’s body forgot all about charging toward Hamazura in his Processor Suit and tensed up when she thought about what this meant.
Why was she alone unharmed?
That was not Coronzon’s doing. Aleister had called her a touchstone. She was practice for saving a possessed avatar. That was why Aleister had not killed her. She had been intentionally removed from the list of targets and spared.
Aleister had control of the scene.
There was no overturning things with trickery at this point.
“Oh, don’t pretend to be a mere beast, Coronzon. You were always a whisperer. Although I will admit it is more frightening when the demon-possessed shout unintelligible nonsense instead of just making pathetic threats.”
This was a new voice.
It did not belong to the short bikini girl, but it also did not belong to Lola Stuart. It may have been an unprovable voice that sounded different to everyone who heard it.
“You can’t possibly do it. All you know is failure and defeat, so how can you save some-…?”
Aleister cut her off while holding the baby to her chest with one arm.
She sounded like she was trying to decide what to cook for dinner.
“CT scans, MRIs, blood tests, gas chromatography, ultrasound, centrifuges, transmission electron microscopes, polymerase chain reaction DNA tests, and…yes, how about I prepare a cyclotron particle accelerator as well? With all that, slicing up Karasuma Fran’s body and inspecting the contents would be a simple task. …From head to toe, I can inspect every last molecule of her body. And that will tell me where your filthy traces have taken root and what I must attack to eliminate your influence.”
Spiritual Tripping only used the spell user’s gesture to paint a picture of the “weapon” in the target’s brain and create a foothold for influencing them.
Could it really go this far?
Did a forcibly implanted imagination really have such a wide range?
“It’s no Imagine Breaker, but I suppose I will reveal a little trick of mine. Do you know what this is?”
Aleister’s right hand moved. As soon as her fingers seemed to mime holding a pencil, the target’s scenery was entirely changed. The illusion danced like a spinning pen. It resembled a pencil, but it was not one. It resembled a highlighter, but it was not one. It resembled a tablet stylus, but it could not be one of those either. The target desperately tried to picture some other image to muddy the implanted one, but she could not keep up. As much as she wished otherwise, she could tell the color, shape, weight, texture, and sheen all accurately narrowed in on a specific “weapon”.
And once she knew what it was, there was no escaping the image.
Just like someone trying to forget the phrase “purple mirror” and only focusing on it all the more. She knew she was only restraining herself, but she could not control her own thoughts.
“Are you trying to bind me…human?”
“A single visual fixes the image in your mind, captures you in its grasp, and robs you of all freedom. Using this sort of exchange to seal off your opponent’s options and guide their thoughts into a dead end is a fundamental part of magical combat. And real experts place a great emphasis on the fundamentals. A true chef will train their skill to the point that they can surprise a guest with a simple fried egg.”
There was clear mockery in that smile.
It was the look of someone who had already secured their method of killing.
“That big bang…well, it was technically ten times that, but it created a great many things. Radiation was one of those and it is a powerful medicine that can be used for good or bad. As a powerful medicine, it cannot be taken lightly, but when used right, it can become a ‘weapon’ that saves the life of someone who cannot be saved by any other method.”
That grim reaper who had taken the form of a girl had robbed his opponent of her foolish hostage strategy that used her own body as a shield.
“A gamma knife. When a brain tumor is surrounded by the delicate organ and is thus inoperable, this medical tool can pass through their body and accurately burn through just the miniscule target. Oh, my apologies. Was that explanation unnecessary? I am sure someone as wise and knowledgeable as you was already well aware of all that.”
“And don’t worry. No matter how much Karasuma Fran struggles, 'I will accurately excise you and only you. Until not a speck of you remains. So rest easy and struggle all you like.”
“Devouring a live meal is nice every so often, don’t you think?”
No one and nothing could stop it.
A nightmarish operation made up of acrobatic actions had begun.
Between the Lines 4
This battle may not have had any real meaning.
Excising the demon infesting the delicate brain or heart was meaningless when the source patient remained elsewhere and could re-infect them. And it was Aleister Crowley herself who had launched the largest source of the disease out of reach.
That is, into space.
In the eternal isolation of the Windowless Building, the angel and demon approached the conclusion of their battle.
“…I see. So this is as far it goes this time.”
That pained voice came from Aiwass.
Avatar Lola Stuart’s slender hand grasped his neck and pointlessly lifted him from the floor in the weightlessness of space.
“After holding back with Lilith for so long, you must have known the importance of a physical vessel. Whatever you may be, an avatar is necessary if you wish to influence this physical world. You can try to fill the gap with tricks, but that is not enough to match my ultimate strength gained the proper way.”
Even now, Aiwass continued to smile.
“My fixation on the world of the living ended when Academy City’s AIM diffusion field was used to release Lilith into the world. I will resume observing from the background. Yes, Coronzon, I will relax and observe the story of a most foolish demon’s defeat.”
“Are you sure you want those to be your last words?”
“Then I will add a few more. …It is time you experienced the loneliness of Urashima Tarou, you mere debris.”
That was all.
Lola felt the sensation of something breaking and she casually tossed the remains aside. Aiwass’s presence had vanished from the body that simply floated instead of falling to the floor.
Lola took a breath and then set to work completing each of the necessary tasks.
She operated the banished Windowless Building’s helm to change its direction and fly back toward the blue planet. This was not enough to spell doom for the calamity named Coronzon. The building broke back into the atmosphere, tore through the upper atmosphere, and maintained its top speed while flying straight toward western Tokyo like a javelin.
What did satellite weapons matter? Who cared about ballistic missile countermeasures? Why even bring up anti-air defense weapons?
This was a fully enclosed environment built for space travel. Ironically, it was Aleister who had given the Windowless Building’s sturdiness the stamp of approval. It did not matter that they city had missiles, lasers, anti-air guns, high-power EM waves, and many other safety measures. It would all be turned to ashes when the building powered through it all and hit the ground.
Coronzon felt no fear of the scorching atmosphere.
She had a glass of water.
And if she was to enjoy that perfectly ordinary water to its fullest, she was the one who would have to change. Drinking it in an air-conditioned room kept at the perfect temperature was not enough. Leaving that room and crossing a scorching desert would work much better.
Coronzon’s true nature was dispersion. She destroyed the world’s laws like she was tearing apart two lovers. So this was only natural.
It was the same as ever-so-carefully building a house of cards or lining up dominoes.
To enjoy the destruction, she first had to create the thing to be destroyed.
(Those fools think they’ve won, but I’ll show them the usual failure and defeat.)
“My numerical value is 333 and my nature is dispersion. I prevent the true bonding of all the world’s laws and I bring endless chaos and destruction.”
She had of course never even considered braking.
She had such a great mass moving at such a great speed.
“My name is Coronzon. Now learn firsthand just what that name means!!”
As soon as the building hit, Academy City was wholly annihilated.
It began at one point.
From there, fearsome destruction spread in all directions. The skyscrapers released a great downpour of glass before they were torn from their foundations and thrown to the ground. The asphalt covering the surface was torn up and stripped away, the lines of cars were tossed into the air like paper boxes, and the schools, parks, music halls, movie theaters, and all other shelters were crushed with nothing to support them.
There was no escape.
For one thing, this was not limited to the one little city.
The fearsome impact and shaking sent an unbelievable amount of dust high into the sky where it blotted out the sun. This would bring on a hopeless age of winter. This was the same extreme cold that eradicated the dinosaurs which had once ruled the planet with their great strength, so furless bipedal apes had no hope of overcoming it.
But Coronzon did not let it end there.
Dispersion was a disposition found in everyone. Organizations split apart into small groups of friends which further divided to have time alone. But for Coronzon, that desire extended to the very laws of the world.
Cold, hunger, the fear of an uncertain future.
A fragile group unable to support their own lives would readily cling to a simple miracle.
And that increased the joy she felt in the moment she deprived them of that.
What if a single beam of light shined on a single point on the -50 degree planet like a spotlight? A gentle warmth, all the food and water one could want, and a place to sleep. That was all they would need to throw themselves into a hopeless battle where they tore at each other with their nails and bit chunks out of each other.
It was irrelevant whether or not the victor would actually be saved.
In fact, it would be even more fun to give the losers weapons so they could come back for revenge.
With the Archetype Controller, the demon could divide the winners from the losers and life from death.
“Heh heh heh.”
The Windowless Building itself was smashed to pieces.
The great demon inside her avatar looked absolutely delighted in the center of the massive crater.
This was an undeniable truth.
An unchangeable result.
Yes, the end of all human civilization had happened almost too easily.
“Pant, pant. That worked so perfectly. I had intentionally held this great chain reaction in reserve so I could truly enjoy it! Yes, yes, did you think you had won? Did you think you had ended it all without letting anyone die? Hahh, yeah right!! Why would I ever let that happen!? So what was it you did!? Relied on a shred of hope, got the help of a Holy Guardian Angel and an original grimoire, and worked together to bring about an impossible miracle? Was it the perfect setup!? Well, that wasn’t my doing! I was the toilet slipper! One stomp and it was all squashed flat, you fool!! This is it. Yes, this is it. I’ve finally done it. Heh heh heh. Yes, yes, I’ve felt this tension for so very long.”
She imagined it.
She imagined what her enemy had to have looked like as that fiery orange attack filled the sky overhead and yet had no way to avoid it or defend against it. She imagined the agony and screams of a father who could do nothing to save his daughter after having her returned to him after so very long.
A sensual stir ran through her body.
Taking decisive action was so much fun. Just like throwing out all of your old junk while remodeling your room.
She could not bear it.
For so very long, she had yearned for this feeling
The concepts of karma or “just desserts” did not matter. In fact, it was so much more fun when it was entirely unfair and absurd. When someone had built something up with extreme care, she would cause an unexpected coincidence. When people experienced great fortune, she would swat them all down to the ground and crush them there. And she would sneer at them all the while. That was a great demon. That was Coronzon. Someone who divided their actions between good and evil and sought excuses and justifications for everything they did would never even realize this form of entertainment existed.
She recalled foolish Aiwass’s command to never stop working toward being happy. But only the extremely ordinary would apply that concept to pursuit of the pleasure signals brought about by the basic necessities and in efforts to reproduce. Procuring food, preparing a bed to sleep in, and leaving behind descendants were all things that the millions of animal and insect species did every day.
But seeking pure cruelty or tormenting and destroying others for reasons other than eating or self-defense was something found in very few life forms in the natural world.
Humans were one of those.
The descendants of those apes who learned to walk upright and whose fur fell out should have been seated at the foot of a chosen elite’s table. But they were unable to fully throw out the animalistic and primitive desire for “happiness” and mistook the protection of their silly brain chemicals for acts of good or justice, so they could not reach out and grab the fruit that was hanging within reach. She could only call that foolish. They did not understand that the only reason they had let their true cruelty wither away unused was because they had given up on thinking and fallen to the level of a mere animal focused on thrusting its hips.
Coronzon was an intelligent lifeform.
So if she was to stave off boredom, she would do it in a way those common hip-thrusting animals could not.
She knew the polite way to deal in cruelty.
She was familiar with the courteous way to engage with others in cruelty.
She understood the graceful way to decorate herself with cruelty.
“Those non-functioning cruelty impotents thought they were so great.”
Lola laughed and spat out those words, but then she noticed something.
The stench of blood and flesh was missing.
Even if she had dropped such a large mass on Academy City and crushed the entire city, would it really be blown away so cleanly? It was a densely populated area with a population of 2.3 million. If she had squashed them all with the fly swatter, the powerful stench of death should have hit her like an invisible wall.
It was too clean.
It was too clear.
Yes, almost like…there had never been a human race on this planet.
Just as Lola grew suspicious, something reached her ears.
They were voices which sounded incredibly out of place.
“Huh? Hey, Nephthys, some neat-looking toy just fell out of the sky.”
“You’re right, Niang-Niang. It isn’t every day that someone wanders into this sealed timeline without permission.”
Lola Stuart was not so stupid that she did not know what this meant.
For one thing, it had been Coronzon herself who used Karasuma Fran to guide Kamisato Kakeru into Academy City so he would make a mess of Aleister’s plans. She had of course received reports on the annihilation of the many Magic Gods along the way.
“The exiled Magic Gods…? Wait, then this earth must be…!?”
“Hmm.” Despite the groan, the modified mini-China dress girl with pale skin did not actually seem to give it any thought. “This is a time-shifted place, much like the excess frames on a film, that Kamisato Kakeru’s World Rejecter exiled us to as a prison, right? Then did you maybe get caught by some part of relativity? Like how approaching the speed of light causes the flow of time to slow?”
“For example, if you set out on a long-distance space journey intended to leave the solar system and then made a U-turn, it’s possible you could have gotten shifted from your origin point and ended up on the time axis of this earth instead. It would take miraculous odds for it to happen, though.”
It finally hit her.
She realized why Human Aleister had launched Coronzon into space and why Aiwass had intentionally lost and made his exit before they arrived at this earth.
What was it he had said?
“It is time you experienced the loneliness of Urashima Tarou, you mere debris.”
And there was one problem more important than the logic behind this.
…Unlike the proper earth where 6 or 7 billion lived, this earth contained no lifeforms, human or otherwise. Here, there were only the Magic Gods who had mastered the field of magic until they had achieved the title of a god. Only those true beasts who were satisfied so long as they could wield their extraordinary power without being a nuisance and who were willing to engage each other in unceasing combat in this eternally-regenerating prison where they could go all out.
And now they had found a new toy.
A new rule, never before seen in online mode, had been added.
The Magic Gods gathered around, licked their lips, and spoke up in unison. Just as Coronzon herself had wanted, they did not even attempt to hide their extreme cruelty.
“Looks like we aren’t going to be bored for a while.”