Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume4 Main.30
Kumokawa Maria and Saflee Opendays unhesitatingly charged toward Kihara Enshuu. Amid the white blizzard, countless graphs flashed across the smartphone and 1seg television hanging from Kihara Enshuu’s neck and she shook the can of black tea by shaking her entire body back and forth as she held it in her hands.
“Minus 20 degrees. Minus 20 degrees. La la la.”
Only a large step away.
Kihara Enshuu unhesitatingly tossed the contents of the can toward them.
Saflee frantically stopped and Kumokawa Maria cartwheeled to the side to avoid it. The tea should have had steam rising from it, but it started to freeze in midair. The volume of objects changed when they changed state such as from liquid to solid. If they had been hit by the tea, it may have torn up the surface of their bodies.
However, it would not have been a fatal blow.
While continuing to cartwheel, Kumokawa Maria changed direction. By bringing down her long leg that was pointed straight up, she aimed for Kihara Enshuu’s head.
In response, Kihara Enshuu threw the empty can at Kumokawa Maria’s feet…or rather hands. Kumokawa Maria had to alter her course a bit to avoid it, and that created an opening.
“How naïve. How naïve.”
In the time she had created, Kihara Enshuu brought one hand around to her back. She pulled something out from her sweater. It was a multipurpose lighter. Unlike a normal one, it had a trigger like a gun and the opening was located thirty centimeters out from where it was held.
Kihara Enshuu took a light step back to keep Saflee Opendays in the edge of her vision as the older girl tried to circle around from a different direction. She spun the multipurpose lighter around on her index finger and then raised her arm.
She pulled her finger on the trigger.
A dry clicking noise rang out.
At a slight diagonal from the top of her head, the multipurpose lighter lit at a position just barely away from the nearby pile of plant factory containers.
A strange flame enveloped an entire container. Of course, a mere lighter could not produce such a flame. The extent and way which it spread was odd.
“You prepared oil beforehand!?” shouted Saflee as she protected her face from the light and heat.
“Not just that.”
The sound of something heavy sliding could be heard.
It was coming from the gaps between the containers. The second layer of containers was solidly sliding. Even though dozens if not hundreds of tons of weight were pressing down on them from above, they slid as if on ice.
“What makes skis or skates slide so well is not snow or ice. It is the water that has been melted by friction. …Isn’t that right, Amata-ojisan.”
“And when the resistance from friction is incredibly low, even something with hundreds of tons weighing down on it will slide well. Now, here is a question. If you remove the lowest card from a house of cards, what happens!?”
The hundreds of plant factory containers rained down from above.
One of the many piles of containers utterly collapsed.
Each container was like a die about two meters across. They weighed one ton. Having them approaching like an avalanche produced a nightmarish effect.
Smiling, Kihara Enshuu took two steps back.
Saflee had reflexively flinched as the giant bulkhead like containers crashed down before her eyes. Snow soared into the sky and then the container it had been covering flattened it back down to the ground. Fragments of the outer walls of and steel racks within the plant factories scattered about.
As that meteor shower of destruction rained down, Kihara Enshuu spun the multipurpose lighter around on her index finger and brought the opening up to her mouth.
“Yes, yes. Shouting so loudly is embarrassing, but doing so is what it is to be a Kihara, right?” she whispered into the weapon that had caused the disaster as if it were a microphone. She then raised her voice. “Okay, then! This exciting attraction that takes contestants from the audience has begun!! Now, will anyone be able to achieve victory and take home the prize!?”
As she shouted, Kihara Enshuu waved the multipurpose lighter around some more. The container with the developing biological weapon within was not around her. She caused a second and third wave with the piles that had just barely escaped collapsing before.
Because containers were falling near Kihara Enshuu as well, she was unable to see what was happening to Saflee and Kumokawa Maria.
However, she could gather information from the sky above using a helicopter-like toy that was linked to her smartphone. If all the piles collapsed that she assumed would, it would all be over. Kihara Enshuu had set the containers to avalanche down on everywhere but a very small safe area.
That was what a Kihara was.
The resourcefulness or battle ability of the opponent did not matter.
They shook the stage of the battle itself, destroyed the pre-established rules, and defeated the excellent students who did so well in the preparations.
(The containers are falling around me too, so they will function as a giant hurdle keeping them away.)
Kihara Enshuu smiled as she fired flames at a nearby plant factory to collapse the pile due to the reduced friction provided by the film of water.
(The enemy is blocked by the mental wall of fear and the physical wall of the obstacles. Once they are unable to move and can only cower in place, I will finish them off with a solid carpet bombing!!)
But immediately afterwards, Kihara Enshuu’s thoughts were cut off.
Kumokawa Maria’s long leg had come roaring down onto the top of her head.
The obstacles were two meter dice. Kumokawa had run toward the container, jumped up on its wall, climbed up with both hands, rolled across the top, and brought down her heel while dropping down next to Kihara Enshuu. Explained step by step like that, it was not impossible. Someone who had trained as a street performer may have been able to pull it off in one long flowing motion.
However, hundreds of containers were raining down.
If even one of those hit her, it would have crushed her body.
The odds of success could not even be guessed at. Normally, that would have put mental restraints on someone. She should not have been able to pull off that series of athletics.
Someone bound by the fear of a Kihara should not have been able to do it.
“Gh…Gah…gah…!! Did my Kihara not activate properly so it did not act as enough of a restraint!?”
Kihara Enshuu moved back away from Kumokawa Maria with the unnatural movement of a toy missing a gear. She left the safe area she had set up for herself.
Meanwhile, Kumokawa Maria realized the value of the spot Kihara Enshuu had been staying in, so she simply stayed where she was.
“You are quite different from the Kihara I know,” she said while breathing visible breaths. “I do not think Kihara Kagun would prepare all this. If he was that skillful, he would never have caused that incident and left the school.”
“Do you think you have defeated the Kiharas just because you pushed back Amata-ojisan?”
The pattern of the graphs displayed on the smartphone and 1seg television hanging from Kihara Enshuu’s neck underwent a clear change.
The girl’s lips moved.
“Ransuu-ojisan, Gensei-ojiisan, Byouri-obasan, Nayuta-chan, Yuiitsu-oneechan, Jouryuu-oniichan, Konshou-oneechan, Chokuryuu-kun, Doutai-ojisan, Kagun-ojisan, Bunri-oniichan, Sousai-chan, Kenbi-obasan, Bunshi-oniichan, Therestina-obasan, Kouten-oneechan.” With her arms spread wide, Kihara Enshuu announced, “I may indeed lack something as a Kihara, but I am supported by the combat patterns of five thousand Kiharas!! Mere undergrowth that has not taken a step into the darkness of Academy City cannot hope to break this great tree!!”
She was inputting new combat patterns.
The Kihara was budding.
Faced with that monster…
Without hesitation, Kumokawa Maria stepped outside the safe zone and planted the bottom of her foot in Kihara Enshuu’s cheek.
In that instant as her cheek was distorted into something ugly, Kihara Enshuu’s expression was one of pure confusion. Kumokawa Maria followed through her kick all the way to the side.
While letting out that cry that did not form any words, Kihara Enshuu collapsed on top of the snow. Kumokawa Maria paid no heed to the containers raining down from overhead and stepped forward. She was going to finish this. She would defeat Kihara Enshuu and destroy the mold being turned into a biological weapon.
Kihara Enshuu continued to retreat as she stood up while holding her bloody nose and mouth.
“There are two reasons that you lost,” said Kumokawa Maria. “I don’t know about this five thousand Kiharas thing, but how did you analyze their combat patterns? Did you give them a psychological test? Did you borrow the help of a Psychometer? Or did you just stalk them and watch them? Whatever you did, I have one thing to ask you. Did you truly succeed in analyzing their combat patterns 100% accurately? Do you really think someone who has to supplement her own skill with external sources could perfectly come to that result?”
“You look like you don’t like what I’m saying. Then let us put it to the test. One thing that caught my attention was your use of the name Kihara Kagun. If you can truly replicate his skill, I will be unable to resist.”
A clear change came over the smartphone and 1seg television hanging from Kihara Enshuu’s neck. The countless graphs gave her power.
“Yes, yes, I understand, Kagun-ojisan. In this case, a Kihara would do th—!!”
“I don’t think so.”
Kumokawa Maria took a large step forward and punched Kihara Enshuu's head on with her right fist.
“Is that all you have? You use the name of Kihara Kagun and that’s all you have? Then the quality of your analysis is as good as proven. You simply cannot replicate anyone with that toy. Really, all you can do is name Kihara Kagun or Kihara Amata beforehand to frighten those who know them.”
“Maybe with my sister, but that isn’t going to scare me.”
“I understand. In this case, Kumokawa Maria would—!!”
“Are you serious?”
Each time Kihara Enshuu’s movements changed, Kumokawa Maria used her four limbs in ever-changing attacks to beat her down. As Kihara Enshuu received countless counters, her looks changed. Kumokawa Maria ignored her and continued speaking. She may have only been so violent because they were both girls.
“Whether you have five thousand Kiharas or Kamijou Touma as your ten thousandth personality, that is nothing more than having the same cards as an opponent in a card game. You have not become Kamijou Touma. You have only put together the same deck as him. No matter what deck you put together, you are making the decision of which cards to use in battle on your own.”
That was why she could not win.
It was not about whether she had a rare card or not.
If Kihara Enshuu did not have skill as a player, that would not help.
“You set all the rules up perfectly, but you cannot role play properly. That is why you said such strange things for being Kihara Kagun. It’s the same in battle. Your mistakes in judgment changed the idiosyncrasies of the deck to something else.”
“With my intellect and with the use of any Kihara or Kamijou Touma or Kumokawa Maria, I can’t win?”
“To be honest, it feels like playing chess against a really shitty AI opponent.”
Kihara Enshuu’s eyes shook.
Even the synchronization between left and right ended.
However, she forcibly pushed away that confusion and hesitation.
The graphs on the devices hanging from her neck grew even more muddled. Ignoring the shake of Kumokawa Maria’s head, Kihara Enshuu shouted out.
“No, I will win!! I have a solution!! I am a Kihara too! A Kihara is a Kihara just by being a Kihara! That’s what Amata-ojichan, Ransuu-ojichan, Kagun-ojichan, and Byouri-obasan are all telling me!!”
“From the point that you think Kihara Kagun would say that, your analysis of him is clearly wrong. The Kihara Kagun I know would not say that,” muttered Kumokawa, but it did not seem to reach the other girl.
An odd clicking noise came from the multipurpose lighter in Enshuu’s hand.
To turn it into a weapon, she must have altered the emitter for the gas to turn it into something like a flamethrower.
With the strange graphs in her eyes, Kihara Enshuu charged forward.
In that instant, Kihara Enshuu had a single chance for victory.
It may have been true that she could not defeat Kumokawa Maria with the strategies from the graphs. However, she had one more Kihara. One Kihara remained to her.
That was Kihara Enshuu herself.
Because it was her, she did not need to analyze that Kihara and did not have to input the combat pattern in the form of graphs. Even if it was inexperienced, she had one final Kihara pattern.
Even if Kumokawa Maria had seen the weakness of all the combat patterns inputted via the graphs, Kihara Enshuu’s own pattern was different. If Kumokawa Maria felt relieved that she had a countermeasure against the combat patterns created from the graphs, that would open a hole in her security that Kihara Enshuu could get a finishing blow in through.
That was why she smiled.
And licked her lips.
She released the Kihara within herself and charged forward to roast the other girl with the multipurpose lighter that had been modified to act like a flamethrower.
Immediately afterwards, her thoughts were cut off. The Kihara in her vanished.
This had been caused by Kumokawa Maria’s leg. A merciless roundhouse kick had hit Kihara Enshuu in the temple.
“I told you there were two reasons you had lost,” spat out Kumokawa Maria as she stopped her rotation. She continued to speak to Kihara Enshuu who had sunk into the snow. “Even as you used all those decks, a hint of yourself remained. As you fought, that hint drew an outline. To put it simply, I was able to analyze your combat pattern before you ever used your own deck, so there was no problem. It was no threat. I was able to counterattack your deck easily. Just like with all the other Kiharas.”
A hard click rang out.
The multipurpose lighter Kihara Enshuu held spewed a two meter flame.
As she writhed in the white snow, Kihara Enshuu’s dark pupils stared directly at Kumokawa Maria.
“If you aim that at me, I’m pretty sure the reflected heat will burn you as well. Well, I doubt you’ll listen.”
She attacked again.
This was not one of the complex combat patterns like before. She merely charged.
She was prepared to be defeated herself as long as she defeated Kumokawa.
Even when cornered, confused, and unable to think properly, she was truly a Kihara in the fact that she chose the option of a more dangerous victory over utter defeat.
Kumokawa Maria spun around and attacked with her four limbs at angles that would normally be impossible.
With a dull noise, Kihara Enshuu bent backwards.
But she did not fall.
She was no longer acting out of reason or intellect. She was acting out of a purely instinctual Kihara part of herself. She did not have the normal thought processes that led to evading or defending when pain was coming.
Kihara Enshuu adjusted her grip on the multipurpose lighter.
She held her index finger down as hard as she could on the trigger-like portion.
That lighter that had clearly had the amount of outputted gas altered could fire two meter flames for thirty continuous seconds like a flamethrower.
“Time to dance in the flames, you whore!”
Immediately afterwards, a dull noise rang out.
Kihara Enshuu’s right hand was pierced through by a blade that looked like a gardening trowel.
It was the kunai used by the Kouga ninja.
Strength left her index finger.
Kihara Enshuu heard a voice even as she saw Kumokawa Maria’s knee headed for her temple.
The voice came from Saflee Opendays who had finally managed to climb over the containers blocking her way.
“I don’t really know that girl. I just invited in all the people I thought I could use. Did you not realize a ninja and a man obsessed with electromagnetic waves was here as well as that maid? Well, the ninja did sound me out first with a paper airplane.”
Kihara Enshuu looked over at the weapon located a bit away from her hand.
She focused on the words of Kumokawa Maria’s that slipped into her ears.
“That is how you properly use comrades. Not through combat patterns and decks.”
Immediately afterwards, a hammer-like impact knocked Kihara Enshuu completely unconscious.
A few of the piles of plant factories had been destroyed, but over half of them remained standing. A figure lay on her stomach twenty meters up on one of those snow-covered containers.
“They safely defeated a Kihara. By destroying the transformers, they have stopped the alteration of Ransuu-chan’s mold into a biological weapon.”
The voice giggled.
The owner of that voice that might sound gentle at first was Kihara Byouri.
Having finished tying up the unconscious Kihara Enshuu, her targets, Kumokawa Maria, Oumi Shuri, and Saflee Opendays, had all gathered in one place. They were chatting and joking to relieve their tension.
“Well, I suppose this is the time to target them. If I had interrupted the battle, they may have made unexpected movements that would throw off my aim. And more importantly, Enshuu-chan would have noticed me and attacked. Waiting for them to stop moving first is the best way to make them give up.”
Kihara Byouri pulled out thick metal nails.
An unpleasant noise like cracking plastic came from her arm.
Originally, it had not been just her legs depending on the #2’s Dark Matter. The alteration had reached her entire body. When Kihara Enshuu had seemed to borrow the strength of Kamijou Touma, she had been satisfied with just crushing Kihara Byouri’s upper body. However, Kihara Byouri could restore a crushed heart or ruptured liver with a single command.
And the alterations had gone beyond merely restoration.
“Form change. Reference: Skyfish.”
When throwing from a lying position, one could only use from one’s elbow forward, similar to in darts. As could be seen from the fact that a long throw in baseball used all of the thrower’s body weight, this limited the distance and strength of the throw.
However, the alterations to her body overturned this.
Something like pleats appeared on the side of Kihara Byouri’s right arm. Her arm took on the expected form of the cryptid known as the skyfish that could freely fly around at unseeable speed. With that arm, the light darts-like toss of the metal nail was enough to accurately pierce through the containers a thousand meters away.
“Our primary enemy is Gremlin, but our primary goal is to eliminate the Anti-Academy Science Guardians in control of Baggage City and anyone who would protect them. Only regret remains for those who put themselves in that category.”
One toss would end it all.
The enemy might flee at superhuman speed. But it would not last long. Kihara Byouri was looking down from above the piles of containers, so one would have to run down the long rows of containers to escape to cover. In that time, she would have eight precise opportunities to snipe and three hundred if she could fire continuously. Even if they did escape to cover, she had the piercing power needed to fire straight through the containers.
All that was left was the issue of probability.
Think of playing Russian roulette a hundred times with five bullets loaded. If the cylinder was rotated randomly after each shot, it was statistically possible to survive to the end, but how difficult that would be goes without saying.
However, despite being full of openings, Kumokawa Maria, Saflee Opendays, and Oumi Shuri were not pierced through the head or chest by metal nails moving at ultra high speed.
Just before beginning her attack, Kihara Byouri heard the sound of footsteps on a nearby container.
Kihara Byouri twisted her body up from her lying position and fired the metal nail in her right hand toward the source of the noise. She did not particularly care who it was. She merely fired the ultra high speed sniper shot at the target’s forehead and her aim was spot on.
The person was wearing a coat.
The person was wearing a full face helmet.
The thick nail sank into the forehead of the helmet and countless large cracks ran through it. The full face helmet completely shattered in less than a second. With the hard helmet destroyed, the person’s face was revealed.
His face was unscathed.
Normally, his skull would have been destroyed and gray matter would have spewed out.
More importantly, Kihara Byouri knew the man’s face well.
The metal nail that should have shattered his skull was deflected and fell to the ground somewhere while spinning.
The man ignored it and said, “I worked hard for this moment.”
That man who had survived that fatal attack took a step forward.
“I have worked hard for this delightfully Kihara-like moment by reusing Kihara Enshuu as bait in order to defeat my target. I did the same thing you did regarding Kumokawa Maria and the others. I waited for the moment when the situation calmed down. You had your wheelchair, your leg assisting robot, that formation of your legs using Dark Matter, and that body. To be satisfied that I have killed you requires proof that all of your safety devices have been destroyed.”
That was why he had waited.
He had waited for when she had taken a certain level of damage and lost all of her safety devices.
He had waited for the bare Kihara Byouri to appear.
He had waited for the moment when she confidently brought out her final weapon.
“Have you used up all your safety devices? Are you out of transformations? If so, I am quite glad. The chance to finish off Kihara Byouri has finally come my way.”
“I know that you resent the Kihara within you. Even if you were protecting the elementary school students from that attacker, you still chose to kill in order to resolve it. But isn’t it wrong to hate the other Kiharas because of it?”
“Something had bothered me,” said Kihara Kagun calmly. “It is true that I killed that attacker in order to protect the students. I was even cleared of all charges in court. But who was that attacker? He wasn’t just some villain who just so happened to cross my path and just so happened to make me take action, was he?”
“He was a pawn you prepared.” Kihara Kagun was not asking. “After all, you are a genius when it comes to making people give up. Burning away someone’s reason at the proper timing would not be hard for you. You cornered some normal child and turned him into an attacker. And if the basis of your actions lies in giving up…”
“But…” Kihara Byouri slowly stood up from her lying position and brushed the snow off of herself. “A Kihara that helps people. A Kihara that children look up to. As the one that gave up right away, that is a troubling possibility, isn’t it? As you are a representative of us Kiharas, I needed you to give up too, Kagun-chan.”
“I already knew the answer, but it still feels good to hear it from you. That trigger had more of an effect than you could have imagined.”
A Kihara questioning a Kihara.
A model response.
What that led to was of course not hope.
“So that attacker was just another victim.”
Kihara Kagun’s face held no expression but it still twisted slightly.
'Proper' anger was displayed there.
“I killed him as evil without thinking about it deeply enough. I sullied that victim of a child with the name of an attacker of young children and that label will never leave him. That is why I must at least carry out this revenge. As the two perpetrators of this wrong, this revenge will not be complete until one of us is defeated.”
It was not over just because he had discovered the truth. He did not plan to stick the person behind it with all the blame and run away.
He would settle what he had done.
The teacher that Kihara Byouri had once denied stood before her.
“Oh, dear. Now this is a problem. It seems you still have not given in, Kagun-chan.”
A cracking noise came from within Kihara Byouri’s smiling body.
She was clearly preparing for some kind of attack.
“The one you want to protect is not that attacker who is already dead, is it? It does not matter if it is someone you see has hope within Kihara like Nayuta-chan, someone from Academy City like Kumokawa Maria, or even outsiders like Saflee Opendays or Oumi Shuri. That is the type of teacher you were.”
The expert in making others give up smiled widely as she was about to redo her job perfectly.
“So make sure you give in this time. Making others give up is the one thing I will never give up on as the one who gives up on everything.”
The clash between Kihara and Kihara began.
- Kihara literally means "field of trees".