Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume4 Period.21
The girl’s hair was up in buns on either side and she wore a large sweater. She wore a miniskirt and black stockings. Other than the precision equipment with small screens such as a smartphone and a 1seg television hanging from a string around her neck, she was a completely plain girl with no characteristics that really stood out. Few people would believe that she was a member of the Kiharas that shook the world.
She was Kihara Enshuu.
The girl was almost always cowering and she had actually been judged as not qualifying as a Kihara. She was unable to form the characteristic Kihara thought pattern and she had shown no positive research that would allow her to continue as a Kihara.
“Hey, over here. Over here!”
Hearing that familiar voice, Enshuu’s face lit up. She was not aware that it was things like that that made her not “Kihara-like”. The voice had come from within the garbage disposal facility, but Kihara Enshuu charged into the piles of stinking garbage without hesitation.
While a blackish liquid soaked into her clothes, she dug through the garbage and found a crushed wheelchair. When she dug further, she found the familiar face of a relative.
Kihara Byouri feebly smiled and said, “Ahh, I lost, I lost. Those outside of science really are something else.”
After speaking, she weakly tapped at her own legs. They had been completely crushed and now looked like warped metal baseball bats. On top of that, the robot parts that assisted in moving her legs had sunk into her legs. If you put metal pipes and someone’s legs in a press, you would likely end up with something similar.
“How could you lose, Byouri-obasan?”
“Don’t ask me. Anyway, Enshuu-chan, could I borrow a communications device? I want to open a port to Academy City and perform a proper realignment.”
“What are you using it for?”
“My wheelchair and leg assisting robot have been destroyed, so this is my only trump card left.”
“I’m worried about your body.”
“Just hurry up and give it to me.”
When more strongly urged, Kihara Enshuu removed the smartphone from her neck. It was something of a trump card for her, but she did not hesitate in handing it over to someone else.
Kihara Byouri altered the settings of the smartphone a bit and pulled something like a ballpoint pen from her pocket. She unhesitatingly stabbed it into her crushed thigh, but no blood came out. The tip of the pen glowed a pale blue.
“Signal received. Beginning form change of the #2 Level 5 Dark Matter.”
Academy City had seven Level 5s.
In the past, the #2 of those had suffered serious injuries in a battle with the #1 and had been literally ripped to pieces. Currently, those pieces were divided up and attached to a giant life support device that somehow managed to keep him alive.
However, whatever situation he was in, he was still a valuable research subject as long as his powers could be used. In fact, the Kiharas found it more convenient that he had almost no ego and would simply use his powers when the proper electrical stimuli were given.
“I thought it was built into the Dark Matter’s body because there was a risk of losing control.”
“It was. That is why I usually carry it around separate from my body as a piece of equipment. But if I worried too much about that kind of thing, I couldn’t name myself a Kihara. It is because we Kiharas take these great steps forward that we are able to clear the way to such unprecedented levels of darkness☆”
A strange cracking sound came from Kihara Byouri’s legs.
It sounded more like cracks running through plastic than it did anything that should be coming from flesh or bones.
Her legs that had been crushed and formless took shape forcibly from within. The remnant robot parts that had dug into the flesh and even the bone were pushed out of her body in the process. Dark red blood flowed out, but it stopped after a bit. It was as if the built up filth within her body was being expelled.
What were produced were beautiful legs without even a scratch on them.
The situation did make the use of the term beautiful seem out of place, though.
Protrusions that resembled blades or wings appeared from her knees and thighs as Kihara Byouri slowly stood up. She had removed the limiter from the portions of her legs made of Dark Matter. She had removed the limits usually in place to prevent it from eating into her normal flesh.
“Ransuu-chan’s fight with Útgarða-Loki ended as a tie. And I was defeated by that…what was her name? Marian something or other, I think. Anyway, one loss and one draw is not a very Kihara-like result.”
“Oh, right. I saw something who seemed to be Kagun-ojisan.”
“…Kihara Kagun? I knew he had disappeared from Academy City, but what is he doing here?”
“This is a problem.”
“Oh, dear. You don’t need to be so worried. The Kiharas will likely never be gone from this world. Well, if humankind itself is destroyed, that’s another story.”
“What do you mean?”
“Enshuu-chan, you lack a certain Kihara-ness to you, so you may not be able to tell yet, but that’s the kind of thing us Kiharas are. Even if we are all called Kiharas, we come in many different forms, right? Noukan-chan is a golden retriever with arithmetic circuits externally attached and you replace your thought patterns with those of other Kiharas because those ideas cannot be reproduced with a simple AI. …Kiharas are not limited to the form of people nor must they be linked by blood.”
That evil that appeared when science lost its purity.
That evil that had distorted history many times in the past was the true essence of those that were Kiharas. The whole world already detested them, but they would never disappear. When the Kiharas disappeared, humanity would have abandoned all the humanity in its culture.
Currently, the main faction of the Kiharas that included Byouri and Enshuu was indeed a single bloodline. However, as the previous examples showed, that bloodline did not cover all of it. And even if the Kihara bloodline were to be wiped out, a different bloodline would take up the name Kihara.
No one had ever decided on these things; it had merely come about that way naturally.
And it would continue to be that way as long as people continued to rely on the benefits of science.
“So do not worry, Enshuu-chan. The Kiharas will only be defeated when all cultures are wiped from this planet. I doubt the opponent we are fighting here possesses the power to do that, so we will not lose. Whatever happens, we will win in the end. Simple, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is, Byouri-obasan. What will you do now?”
“I will destroy everything starting with what I know. That’s how we always do things. First I will destroy this burnable garbage disposal facility used to heat the hot water and then I will find that Marian something or other and defeat her. All difficult problems can be solved by destroying one hurdle at a time.”
“Okay, okay. Then, I will help you,” said Kihara Enshuu in a very un-Kihara-like comment. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her treasure which was a photo showing a few members of the family. “Amata-ojisan, Ransuu-ojisan, Byouri-obasan, Therestina-obasan, Kagun-ojisan. Some of you are gone, but don’t worry. If all the Kiharas work together, we can surely overcome any problem.”
Hearing that, Kihara Byouri smiled. The word Equ.DarkMatter appeared in orange letters on the side of her legs.
While they were all in the category of Kihara, she felt no camaraderie for the others.
That was the proper Kihara way.
(Well, I would like to keep the finer points of controlling the Number 2 as my own personal technology.)
Kihara Byouri slowly approached the back that Kihara Enshuu had so readily shown to her.
While pretending to walk up beside her, she took her position for an attack of certain death.
(As I said, Kiharas come in many different forms. It is quite possible the loss of Kihara Enshuu will bring about a much more skilled Kihara.)
So she did not hesitate to go in for the surprise attack.
That white leg that was clearly created of something other than human flesh flew for Kihara Enshuu’s neck like a guillotine faster than the speed of sound.
Immediately afterwards, Kihara Enshuu swung her upper body around unnaturally and easily avoided that attack of certain death.
The photograph she had been holding floated in the air.
“Yes, yes. I understand, Amata-ojisan.”
As the handheld device, the 1seg television, and smartphone clanked against her neck, an eerie light was emitted from them. Confusing graphs writhed in the screens and her eyes absorbed them.
“When I say something like that, a Kihara would unhesitatingly go in for a surprise attack!!”
“…Tch!! Even if you’re inferior, I guess a Kihara is still a Kihara!!”
As she shouted, wing-like parts spread wide from Kihara Byouri’s thighs. That way, she could carry out actions that would be impossible with only two arms and two legs.
Kihara Amata’s thought patterns that were currently supporting Kihara Enshuu were primarily used to beat down a high level esper in a close quarters brawl. It was an effective strategy, but it of course had its weaknesses. Another Kihara would know how to exploit those weaknesses.
Kihara Enshuu grabbed the photo fluttering through the air between her index and middle fingers and then muttered something further.
“I understand, Touma-oniichan.”
This time, a chill ran down Kihara Byouri’s back. This was different. A possibility she had not expected had just bared its fangs. Her body froze in the fear only a Kihara could bring.
“At a time like this, Kamijou Touma would do this!!”
The thought patterns she had analyzed had not stopped at only Kiharas.
That announcement had been the worst one possible for someone of such great darkness as Kihara Byouri.
Kihara Enshuu mercilessly attacked with the very Kihara-like means of misusing good.