Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume21 Chapter 4
Chapter 4: I’m No Messiah – Battle_of_Scotland.
Something flapped in the wind.
It was a thick and tattered cloak. A few thick paper cards flowed out like embers or flower petals.
“Westcott, the Lady of the Masquerade Ball,” muttered a voice.
His voice vanished into the empty air and no one responded.
“Waite, Felkin, Brodie-Innes.”
Yet Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers was not defeated.
In fact, he felt fulfilled by the lack of response. No unnecessary fighters would get in his way. The others could concentrate on the carriages or whatever else. The Golden cabal used group magic ceremonies resembling stage plays, but that could weigh him down at times.
From here on, it would be one-on-one.
It would be one solo performance against another.
Nothing else was possible.
He was confident his enemy was alone as well.
The Golden leader understood the meaning of this church too small to be listed on any map.
A silver girl threw open the double doors and stepped out.
That was Aleister Crowley.
She was probably the only magician from the Golden cabal’s founding period who had overcome the past century under her own power instead of relying on tarot cards.
A surprise attack was not necessary at this point.
Nor did they need to raise a loud war cry or use gigantic superweapons.
The silver girl appeared to have received some first aid, but Mathers was as familiar with military matters as magic and he could tell there was something off about how she carried her weight and positioned the trunk of her body. She was clearly covering for the pain of her wounds.
Aleister would not allow any random victims from the usage of magic, so she kept it all contained inside her own body.
She could not have relied on healing magic. She might save someone else’s life, but she could not save her own life. Because if she stayed true to her principles, the healing magic would heal her body, but then the side effects and reactions would damage her body. That destructive cycle would tear her body apart like she had thrown herself into a giant blender.
Thus, all of the supernatural that the silver girl had desperately scraped together would be converted into attacks. Mathers could sense how she lived her life like a thoroughly sharpened spear. This formidable foe prioritized her principles over her own life.
The two magicians simply faced each other.
The first to speak was Aleister.
“I have one question first.”
“What is it?”
“You abandoned the corpse hidden in Edinburgh Castle. Why? Why are you so intent on settling things with me? Wouldn’t it be better to protect that trump card and then change your medium just like the black cat witch did?”
The silver girl paused for a beat, but then she mercilessly tore into him.
“You’re twisted. You aren’t the original Mathers, so your connection to me doesn’t really exist.”
“To be honest, none of it really mattered. Not the fate of the world and not what happens to me.”
He readily admitted it.
The man who had gone by the name of Mathers did not try to dodge the issue.
“When you get down to it, we are no more than defenses built by Great Demon Coronzon for her purposes. But whether that is all I will ever be is my decision, not hers. I am the same as the magician who once built the Golden cabal. Tell me not to go and I want to open the door and go. Tell me to stop and I want to do it.”
It was wrong to say he loathed Aleister Crowley.
It was also not quite accurate to say he found Coronzon to be a nuisance.
If someone placed those two’s heads on the table in front of him, he would likely brush them aside without batting an eye. He had no interest in an easily-won result.
In other words…
“Once you start on something, you can’t stop. This is that hopelessly childish side of your personality, isn’t it?”
“I am working on it. And perhaps there is nothing I actually want to do here. When I translate something into another form, I may just be working to subdue that which continues to elude me. And no matter what form this resistance takes, I will be the one to decide how it ends. I too consider the remains in Scotland to be an interesting toy and your fixation on them is meaningless to me.”
“Do you remember the name of the woman you loved?”
“Mina Mathers. What of it?”
The words came too easily.
He showed no hesitation or pause when it came to love or romance. And he had never commented on the absence of his wife from the Golden magicians prepared by Coronzon.
That name was no more than a piece of data within the “background” provided to him.
With that in mind, Aleister slowly shook her head. This was her hated enemy. Her hatred had been so strong that killing him any number of times would never have been enough. Not even the Battle of Blythe Road had satisfied her.
And yet she had seen something different when she saw Mathers with that woman. She may have learned more from him then than from any of the magic tricks he had taught her. She had wanted a marriage like that. She had wanted to build a family. She had envied him.
Aleister could feel the sadness inside herself.
It saddened her so much to see Mathers like this.
And that was why the silver girl did not hesitate.
“Those four hidden letters form a holy square which cannot be uttered by human mouths. The Y-H-V-H which indicate God himself are hopelessly inadequate and the puny human body cannot fathom his true essence.”
“Oh?” said Mathers with a slight movement of his eyebrows.
He understood Aleister in his own way.
Something opened within her black cape.
The silver girl held an old bible.
She did not look away with sour grapes, she did not engross herself in magical research as a form of protest, and she did not wail until her throat threatened to tear because God had looked elsewhere.
Her childhood had ended.
“But people seek salvation. They seek a salvation they can understand with their knowledge. So let us construct a bridge by adding a Sh. The five holy letters are Y-H-Sh-V-H. That is, the Son of God. By combining the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, humanity can see salvation for themselves!!”
A white light flashed.
The silver girl was purified. White wings formed a halo above her head, a sweet aroma scattered around her like lily flowers, and she was enveloped by a purifying light.
This was the Aleister Crowley.
The more someone knew about that human, the harder they would find this to believe. There was simply no way that the Aleister Crowley would hold the Christian scriptures and preach the power of the trinity. This human had worked past that. So she could overcome her own inferiority complex and mental scars and so she could protect the small building behind her. So she could prevent the destruction of the formless things residing within that church.
Mathers’s expression wavered slightly behind his witch’s hat.
That man had laughed.
“What did you see, Aleister?”
“The same thing I saw at the Battle of Blythe Road. Something I doubt you have ever seen.”
“Then I have no choice but to respond.”
The Golden leader could not have expected this.
But he was quick to react once the problem facing him became clear. Mathers really was a genius. He was, after all, the man who had worked with Westcott and the others to construct the initial Golden cabal before Aleister joined.
He came up with this off the top of his head.
“INRI are the four letters carved into the original cross. Their vibration fills even the dead with life. Complete my incomplete body. Purify my flesh with those holy letters!!”
He actually chose the same system.
Mathers also used a word referring to the Christian Son of God. He gave them equal conditions as if choosing an identical weapon. He seemed to be saying he would beat his enemy down with nothing but pure skill. Mathers really was Mathers. No magician was better than him in the field of text.
The darkness was swept away.
It was white against white.
But that was not just due to Aleister and Mathers’s magic.
The night would end soon.
The light of the dawn burned slowly up from the eastern horizon to wipe away the darkness in the sky.
In other words, the time had come for the world to be dyed golden.
Everything picked up speed once it got started.
Aleister and Mathers faced each other in the dawn-colored world.
There was no cue.
They had spoken a fair amount about why they were fighting, but that may not have mattered much.
This was because Aleister was Aleister and because Mathers was Mathers.
They had learned together, spoken together, and laughed together, but they had also loathed each other, opposed each other, and tried to kill each other. They had possessed exceptional talent even for Golden magicians. Their paths of study had been incomprehensible not just to normal people but to the other Golden magicians as well, so they had been branded eccentrics. It may have been like how rounding off the corners of a diamond required striking it against another diamond of the same strength.
Thus, this had begun naturally, smoothly, and as a matter of course.
Two roaring gusts of wind spiraled around at the same time.
First, Aleister charged in at close range and Mathers struck back.
The silver girl held a twisted silver staff that became a palm tree and gained a weight far greater than its volume or density suggested. When Mathers blocked it with his fire wand and wind dagger, an unsettling crater appeared at his feet.
Aleister traced her fingers along the outside of the bible she held.
She linked herself to the many legends derived from that book.
“St. Christopher repented after serving the devil in search of the greatest master. The son weighed as much as the entire world, so that saint – when he could not bear the weight and nearly drowned – saw his true lord, the Son of God, in the staff he carried!!”
“The son was blessed with oil.”
But Mathers was not crushed by the weight of the world.
His four Symbolic Weapons came apart.
“It is not unusual to see angels before him. Thus, the archangels of fire, water, wind, and earth will naturally descend to guard him!!”
One wielded a sword, one carried lily flowers, one protected an adventurer, and one guarded the gates of hell.
All of a sudden, there were four of those winged higher beings.
Each of them carried enough firepower to obliterate this unclean world. The pressure from Gabriel alone had caused the entire world to audibly strain to the breaking point when driven down from heaven by Angel Fall.
But Aleister simply twirled around.
The bottom of the palm staff scraped against the ground, orange sparks scattered, and it set ablaze.
This too was not found in the bible.
In fact, she called on the name of an angel who had been criticized for not being mentioned in the bible.
“Uriel is the excommunicated angel, a demon who fell to the depths of the earth. Uriel is one of the seven who was driven from their throne of light for humanity’s convenience and is not found in the stories of God. The canon is absolute. In the name of Pope Zachary, I shall smash your angel worship and thus your harmony with those four!!”
First, a protective circle appeared around the silver girl.
Then great waves of explosive flames burst out across the 180 degrees in front of her.
The fires of hell erupted from the depths of the earth and rejected the protector of their gate. Just like a red light covering up red writing. Once one collapsed, the others were dragged down with it. The four angels dissolved like a false image and the massive flames continued on to burn Mathers.
“The son pointed his finger. The evil ones belonged in the pigs. And so the legion of evil spirits left the man’s body and entered the pigs, preserving the peace of this world.”
They were twisted.
All of the flames Aleister had created gathered at a single point, took the shape of a lightbulb-like incandescent bronze pig, and then charged at the silver girl who had supposedly created them.
As soon as he stabbed it from above with his wand, it burst and spewed flames in every direction.
The pure firepower may have rivaled a nuclear weapon.
Aleister’s words exploded out while she remained centered on the bible but felt comfortable enough to reach for support beyond that. Magicians were powerful once they had a boulder on which to anchor their lifeline.
“All is a creation of God, even the forces which have parted ways with him and lurk in the depths of the earth. My fingertips reach the Qliphoth! The appropriate knowledge drawn from there is neither good nor evil!!”
Instead of burning down the world in an instant, the flames burst and the embers transformed into sweet-smelling white flower petals.
No damage was done.
There was not a scratch on the small building behind Aleister.
Mathers smiled thinly.
He did not fall back. He did not scramble for a new solution. In fact, he took a step forward despite knowing the danger. And in response, the silver girl’s hand reached inside her black cape. She put away the bible and let go of her staff to free both her hands.
“You use that well.”
“So do you. You did well familiarizing your body with it.”
There were only a few centimeters between the two nemeses now.
The silver girl and the Golden leader glared at each other.
A moment later, their clenched fists mercilessly struck each other.
It was like a fierce rush in boxing.
This fight to the death was a contradictory mix of a short-term showdown and a test of endurance.
After coming this far, there was no need to fight in an elegant or clever way. Nor could they. They did not even consider dodging and they tried to secure their own safety and snatch at victory by being the first to knock out their opponent with a high-speed barrage. They were focused solely on wearing down their opponent like that.
Aleister caught Mathers’s fist on her forehead and her fist tore into his ribs from the side. Mathers stopped Aleister’s fist with a raised knee and swung his fist down for a harsh blow to the top of her head.
What did the heaven-razing hellfire matter?
Why should they care about the earth-cleansing deluge?
Those were no more than trivial effects. This was a true battle to tear down your opponent’s life. If anyone had witnessed this scene, the mere sight of it may have stolen their soul away.
The far-too-disturbing sound of human muscle and bone crushing human flesh and blood continued on and on.
Wearing down a diamond required dust from an equally hard diamond. Aleister and Mathers worked to punch, crush, and kill each other, but that had the effect of removing the excess of their souls and exposing the cores of their beings.
“I envied you, Mathers. Not that it means much to this version of you.”
“I was born into a privileged life. I had plenty of money in childhood and I lived off of my father’s inheritance to enjoy my adulthood. Yet there was not a single understander around me!! Mathers, I still find it hard to believe. What led you to create the Golden cabal? What was it I lacked!? Why was it you all those talented people gathered around!?”
“The man known as Mathers envied you as well.”
That response seemed to act as a dividing line.
Even as he accurately struck the silver girl in the temple.
There was even a look of enjoyment on that monster’s face.
“I lived in a corner of London. I was always struggling with money. I made my wife Mina suffer. Why was it always you? You effortlessly received more money than you knew what to do with, you had everything you could want, and yet you never accomplished anything with it all!!”
She did not waver.
In fact, Aleister threw her own fist straight up into the fist striking her temple. She targeted the wrist. Attacking a weak point was not the only way of preventing further attacks.
“Did you care about your family, Mathers?”
“I had no complaints with Mina.”
A dull sound rang out.
But breaking a bone or two would change nothing at this point. Technically speaking, the Mathers here was not even human.
“Cold and dry,” said a solemn voice.
A stone spike appeared out of thin air and he forced it into his wrist to take the place of his bone.
Aleister was no longer focused on cheap tricks like that.
“Then why couldn’t you abandon your obsession with Scotland? Was the home you shared with your wife not enough!?”
“What about you? You were tormented, you raged at the unfairness of it all, and you were stricken with powerlessness, so why did you never seek some ‘nonexistent place’!?”
Fist flew toward fist, passed by each other, and struck the opposite face.
The sound of impact burst out.
They had not planned this. The ground gave way before their legs did. With nothing for their feet to grip, Aleister and Mathers slid just a bit apart.
And while they continued to glare at each other, the silver girl spat out some more words.
“If you had learned the warmth of a family, understood its value, and anchored your soul there, your heart would never have wavered so much. You would have forgotten all about your fixation on Scotland and you never would have been plagued by paranoid delusions that your position in the cabal was threatened. You never would have summoned Coronzon and targeted me and my family.”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Even after I struggled against fate and emerged victorious at the Battle of Blythe Road, I never did acquire something eternal. So I can never forgive you, no matter what. That life should have been beloved above all to you, so how could you trample on her and put her second, Matherrrrrrrrrrrs!?”
“Money, intelligence, looks, athletics, and magical skill. You had everything except love, so you can never understand what it is like to be so pathetically destitute.” Mathers gave a wobbly wave of his forcibly-attached right hand, but he showed no sign of pain. “Mina had artistic talent. She belonged to an elite family known to the public world for producing a philosopher. Her friend Annie had money and Westcott had popularity. …But what did I have? If I hadn’t claimed to be a Scottish noble and used my magical skill as evidence, I could only have curled up in a ball like the miserable wretch I was!!”
What was it that kind nun had said?
A lack of self-confidence led to insults and hostility toward others.
“You had to compare yourself to your own wife, Mathers?”
“I wanted to create a place for myself. I had to when everyone was trying to just give me one. Mina Mathers. I wanted to become someone sturdy enough to support that woman!! …But that is not the real issue.”
A wet sound followed.
It came from the silver girl’s right palm. No, it came from more than just there. Blood also sprayed from her left hand, right foot, and left foot. The bleeding kept Aleister from moving. Meanwhile, Mathers’s only injury was the one to his right wrist. Plus, he was an indestructible grimoire of tarot, so any apparent damage could be ignored.
Not even supernatural magic allowed one to ignore the limits of their physical body. Also, Aleister had excelled in the pantomime-like Spiritual Tripping. Grabbing a bible and drawing on its wisdom did not change the basic idea of contacting the supernatural. They were working to understand the great tree of magic by grafting the branch of the cross onto it.
This was a magical battle.
It could not have been more obvious what would happen if one of them lost the ability to freely wield magic.
A clear change came over the battle.
They had been wearing each other down to the limit, but they had come to a turning point.
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers.
The person going by that name finished his talk in a frighteningly deep voice.
“All of that applies to the Mathers who suffered in that ordinary home a century ago. It has nothing to do with me here and now. Quit running around making a mess of things. I will be the one to kill Coronzon. She will rue the day she created a monster like me.”
He was truly an indestructible original grimoire.
But that did not mean the concept of death did not apply to him. Had he already forgotten about Edward Berridge? To transform the grimoire’s defenses such that they could behave like humans, a massive amount of energy had to be constantly supplied from the ley lines running through the earth. By inundating space itself with just as much energy, the flow of power from the earth to the grimoire would be blocked and they would at least lose their human form and mind. In other words, Mathers would die.
(Aleister does not have the time or range of movement for that.)
Mathers was certain of that.
It did not matter how far the silver girl pushed herself or if she pathetically clung to him while gasping for breath.
Only those who remained focused on victory could overcome this cold choice.
(Aleister can no longer move her limbs, so she cannot use such a major technique. If I crush her here, I can continue on. I need no reason to do it. I simply must defeat her here!!)
The silver girl named Aleister Crowley shook her head.
She gave him a pitying look and said something that was not at all begging for her life.
“I misunderstood you.”
“There is something you cannot buy with any sum of money, something you cannot solve even with the greatest intellect, and something you cannot capture by running around the mountains or dressing up in the nicest clothes. That thing is love. That is the great treasure I so longed for. But, Mathers, I see now that you did not hold that eternal light any more than I had. I was wrong to direct such maddening envy your way.”
His personality had never been easy to control.
Even in the Golden cabal, only Westcott and Mina had managed to get along with him. Westcott had invited him to help create the magic cabal, but the two had ultimately split apart and led two rival factions.
The only one who had remained with him to the very end was his wife, Mina Mathers.
The love she had shown him was undoubtedly real.
“Mathers, you never accepted her love. No, you couldn’t accept it. It’s so silly, but you couldn’t accept it even as she stayed by your side and filled your world with such kindness. If you had only realized that, you would have found the greatest peace.”
“And this version of you? You have nothing. The Golden? The world’s greatest magic cabal? What value does that have? Don’t make me laugh, Mathers. Power is only a means to an end. Power without a goal is no different from an old piece of furniture sitting forgotten in a corner of the attic.”
That was Aleister Crowley’s answer to the Golden cabal.
It was a judgment only the one who had destroyed it could give.
One more red wound burst open on the silver girl’s side. First her limbs and now the torso that contained so many organs. That seemed to confirm the trend. There was a decisive difference in damage between Aleister and Mathers.
And yet it was Mathers who frowned below his witch’s hat.
He did not know where this was leading or what result it would have. Yes, no matter how trivial it seemed, there was now something on the field that Mathers did not understand.
“What is that, Aleister?”
“I don’t recognize it. I didn’t give you that wound!!”
“It is Stigmata. These marks are the proof of a Saint. When their purified body synchronizes with the Son of God, they gain the same wounds he received when crucified two thousand years ago.”
Wind whirled around the silver girl.
The number of wounds was not driving her closer to defeat.
They were a countdown to her ascension.
The two geniuses had both used spells based on the Son of God to build their bodies up to a higher level. So what had divided the two of them? Why did Aleister have these wounds while Mathers did not?
Yes, the Son of God did not use miracles in an emotionless mechanical fashion.
As proof, the legends did not work without a certain trigger.
The bloody girl explained.
“Magic power refers to the power refined from one’s life force. Magic refers the phenomena produced by that magic power. Therefore, all magic is supported by the original power born from the depths of life.”
These were likely words written in no grimoire.
After a century of study, she had surpassed even the original Golden cabal. And now Magician Aleister Crowley was enlightened to a single truth.
It was the most fundamental of all things.
But at times, something could only be conveyed when put to words.
“So magic is a system that gives physical form to the feelings you have for those that matter most. At times it heals and at times it harms. At times it draws them close and at times it pushes them away. All spells contain the true power that contains both happiness and fear as two sides of the same coin. Begone with you, emotionless and unfeeling one. The likes of you are not fit to use magic!!!!!!”
The countdown was complete.
The sinner had ascended.
To reiterate, the number of apparent injuries was irrelevant.
Inundating that space with energy would obstruct the transfer of power from the ley lines to the grimoire. That would cause the temporary human form and mind to scatter and erase his existence as an individual.
So to someone who had tried to judge the progress of the battle by physical damage, the ending arrived quickly, suddenly, and without warning.
But to someone who was looking at the bigger picture by focusing on the total energy in the world, this result may have been the end of a dizzyingly long journey. Just like stacking up small stones to ultimately build a giant tower, that magical battle may have required incredible effort and precise balance.
Looking back, Magician Aleister Crowley had indeed been someone who took a larger viewpoint in order to prevent the recoil of her magic from hitting a complete stranger.
Aleister had transformed into a mass of pure white light and Mathers could only smolder as he had no countermeasure for this.
So in that final moment, the Golden leader only stared at the approaching white light.
The Mathers here was an original grimoire created from tarot cards. The other Golden members were the same. That was why his goal had been to outdo Coronzon to free them all.
But had that really been the only method of saving them?
The Golden? The world’s greatest magic cabal?
What value does that have?
Those wise words had come so readily.
And that human could only speak them because she had lived through that era and had voiced her objection during the Battle of Blythe Road.
In truth, he may have wanted to free his soul with those two words.
He was known as the Golden leader, but he was a different person from the man who lived a century before.
And he said more with a definite smile.
“So this is the true destroyer of order: Aleister Crowley.”
That white light burst through even the atmosphere and scorched the darkness of outer space.
Even if it could not destroy the original grimoire itself, inundating the surrounding space with energy would cut off the power supply from the earth.
So at the very least, he could no longer maintain his human form.
Large cat-like ears twitched in far-off Egypt.
A lady in mourning clothes raised her head while she followed the frog-faced doctor’s instructions.
She was actually a grimoire created by Aleister Crowley and set free by Aiwass.
But at this moment, she spoke one clear word.
It was all over, but the silver girl did not relax.
A great mass of power threatened to rear its head. Aleister knew all too well what would happen when she relied on magic, no matter what her reasons were.
The magic used by humans applied pressure to the world and its phases, irregularly creating something like sparks. And that distortion of the world would eventually find its way to some unsuspecting person.
She could not allow it.
Aleister Crowley had started a war to put a stop to it.
So the silver girl smiled and spread her arms to accept it.
“Come, occult. After all this time, I have finally found victory.”
There was a flash of light.
And then the sound of coughed-up blood.
Something could be heard coming apart and floating through the air.
Everyone noticed that change.
The Royal Family carriages had already entered Scotland. They would arrive at Edinburgh Castle before long. But a single attack now could tear apart the group of carriages and drive them to destruction.
Yet the attackers stopped.
The first to gasp was William Wynn Westcott.
That Golden magician had quasi-immortality.
He looked down at his hands and was left behind by that world of 180km/h. He had unintentionally come to a stop. And for each one of them that was missing, their stage play magic would fail even more.
“I’m…coming apart? Impossible. My quasi-immortality should never fail unless someone found the parchment I hid elsewhere!!”
Once it began, it progressed quickly. The carriages looked now like specks up ahead, but countless tarot cards were scattering there as well. It looked like confetti, but it had to be the Lady of the Masquerade Ball and Israel Regardie who had been trying to get their spells working again. They had already come completely undone.
“It must be our time, Westcott.”
At some point, Annie Horniman had arrived by his side.
Her outlines were slowly unraveling as well.
That attack had likely only been meant for Mathers.
But original grimoires like them were essentially indestructible. Instead of destroying the tarot cards themselves, Aleister had inundated this space with a form of energy to prevent the grimoires from absorbing power from the ley lines and that caused their human form to break apart and vanish.
In other words, that one attack had also affected the Golden magicians arriving in Scotland.
“This is all our bodies were in the first place. I had always thought it wouldn’t last.”
“It doesn’t scare you?”
But Annie smiled and only gave this response:
“If it was Mina suffering here with me, I probably would have tried to stop it even if I had to destroy the world to do it.”
Hurrying to rejoin the battle after crashing on the highway ended up being a bad idea.
John William Brodie-Innes in his black judge’s robe, Robert William Felkin in his contrasting black cloak and pure white suit, and Frederick Leigh Gardner in the thick long-sleeved shirt and comfortable pants of old-fashioned tennis apparel had moved off the highway and sat in a grassy field as they watched their own end arrive.
“So Master Mathers was defeated.”
They were not happy about this.
Experts or not, everyone feared death.
And on top of that…
“Gardner, you supported the Lady of the Masquerade Ball since you were part of The Sphere, right? But we’re talking about someone who could defeat Mathers of all people. Do you really want to challenge her head on?”
“Not a chance.”
The Lady of the Masquerade Ball’s worshiper smiled softly while audibly coming apart into cards.
“We weren’t even your targets and this is what happens? Crowley, I don’t even want to imagine what a direct hit would be like. I’ll take death here over seeing a monster like that up close.”
There was one person who could not see it that way.
They were inside an ordinary four-wheel-drive vehicle.
They had been racing down the highway after falling so far behind. They were only just now entering Scotland, but that should have put them further from the danger.
Yet Dion Fortune looked down at her hands and then at the rest of her body. It looked like she was checking the mud on her clothes.
It sounded like scattering cards.
That sound was far too unnatural, ominous, and absurd here.
The frilly dress girl smiled a bit at Hamazura Shiage’s voice.
It was a troubled smile.
She gave no explanation for what was happening.
It seemed perfectly natural.
It was like the world could not return to its proper state if it did not happen.
The girl crumbled and blew away.