Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume4 Sub.04
Baggage City had previously been a regional city in Eastern Europe. For that reason, it had remained relatively untouched by history. The city was lined with rectangular concrete buildings, but this was primarily due to the city having been developed to combat the cold. The city had been forcibly taken over by the military during World War III, because it was expected to function well as a central point along the railroad network, so it would transport materiel to the front. However, before the urban buildings could be destroyed and the military facilities could be constructed, the war had quickly ended, leaving the base in a state of half-completion.
Normally, the city would have been returned to its original residents at that point, but that was not to be. It was said to be due to military interests, but a lot was unknown about the process by which the military ended up selling Baggage City to the Anti-Academy City Science Guardians.
The four dome-shaped arenas were the main symbol of the city and a cross-shaped causeway of high-rise buildings was built between them. The materiel and barriers brought into the city during the war gave a strange accent to the cityscape and a number of unmanned weapons that had not been returned to Academy City were set up in various places.
The lack of protest from the original citizens of this cherished city plus the strict guards held by the weapons gave Baggage City a very treacherous aura.
Or perhaps it was their plan to compete with the incomprehensible technology of Academy City.
(It doesn’t really matter.)
Saflee Opendays thought as she walked down the corridor that led to the ring.
(As long as I can accomplish my objective, it doesn’t matter whose help I get.)
Saflee took a step out into the immense light filling the exit of the tunnel.
A great explosion of noise rang in her ears, a combination of the loud music prepared for the tournament, of the spectators cheering in their seats surrounding the circular ring, and of the announcer shouting through the giant speakers. The roaring dissonance filled the giant arena, echoing right up to the top. The euphoria forced people into a more excited state, and filledthe contestants with wroth such that it was difficult if not impossible to remain calm. The noise alone was enough to get the contestants so worked up, that a violent fight between two berserkers would be innevitable.
The entire area had large enough area to play baseball or football in, and the ring where Saflee stood, had a diameter of 30 meters and was like a giant birdcage in the center.
Compared to normal martial arts rings, that was rather large, but compared to the size of the entire arena, it did seem like nothing more than a birdcage. The dome’s ceiling had several huge screens hanging down which were displaying information on the matches. This was mostly due to the distance between the spectator seats and the ring, but it did bring doubts as to what was gained by seeing it in person.
The instant Saflee exited the tunnel into the ring, separated from the crowd by a chain-link fence, a giant portcullis descended like a guillotine behind her, and barred her way back.
(The floor is reinforced concrete? Are they insane? A single throw could take out all of someone’s organs. This is more dangerous than some idiot with a knife or a gun.)
In contrast to her elegant-looking dress, Saflee wore only flat-soled sneakers on her feet, and she frowned as he checked the feel of the floor through them.
As she did, the shouts of the announcer who was keeping a safe distance reverberated throughout the arena as they were amplified by the giant speakers.
“This is the 35th match of the first round, but over 20 matches still remain! This is a tournament, so the first round is at the bottom of the pyramid and is the longest! Let’s get this over with and get on to the next match!!”
(What a horrible performance.)
“Over here, we have Saflee Opendays!! While all the others are strange people who insist their ninjas or UFOs or parasites will not lose to Academy City, this blonde fighter is taking on the Natural Selector with nothing but pure martial arts!! Should we call her reckless or should we praise her skill for making it this far unarmed? The time has come for her to prove her true worth!!”
The already bright stage lights focused on Saflee, causing her to squint and shade her eyes with her hand. However, it was not long lasting: as soon as her opponent stepped into the ring, the lights moved onto him.
“And over here, we have Osad Flakehelm!! He is the standard type of strange person to enter the Natural Selector! He claims to have independently discovered the secrets of the implant technology used by aliens and implanted it into his own brain. Will this match allow this man to prove the truth of his electromagnetic attacks with his many antennae!?”
He was a large topless man almost 2 meters tall, but his weapon was very odd for a street fight or a tournament ring. The silver umbrella-like object in his right hand was likely a parabolic antenna and the object in his left hand was clearly a TV antenna. The backpack-like parts on his back had a number of arms sticking out each of which had something like a fishing reel attached. They had metal wires in them, so they were likely antennae as well.
With both contestants out, the cheers were stirred into a frenzy to the point of no individual voice being distinguishable from the rest. However, Saflee could hear mockery was mixed in with the cheers.
(I do understand.)
Saflee thought silently as she flexed her fingers, extending from her fingerless gloves.
(Everyone views things as doubtful as long as they are not from Academy City. Even if you are recognized as legitimate, that only comes after Academy City has something to say about it. You are always kicked to the sidelines and looked down on by average people who are not specialists but still act like they know what they are talking about. I do understand the desire for a chance to turn things around all at once in this world.)
It was unclear what it meant, but Osad pointed his many antennae toward her.
(That is the point of Natural Selector. If these bizarre people are sent after each other until one reaches the top, they can show the world that something other than Academy City has appeared in this world. We have no intention of sitting idly by while we are driven off to the edges of the world. We intend to take this new global standard for ourselves.)
“I have an announcement!” said the invisible attack specialist, barely moving his lips. “Five seconds after the match begins, there will be a burst of microwaves that will accurately target the fluid in your semicircular canals. It will be at a level you can resist, but do not raise your head. Doing so will likely make you vomit. I will try to make you faint as quickly as possible, but there is a danger of your windpipe becoming blocked.”
“Accurate and quick, hm?” With a small smile, Saflee lightly punched her open hand to get her blood flowing. “I don’t like saying anything about the style others use, but isn’t that pretty boring? And as grand as the term electromagnetic attack sounds, its effects are relatively subdued and you can’t see them. Having something that is easier to understand can act as a weapon in and of itself. The lack of that may be why everyone has been treating you as a fake.”
“I do not enjoy unnecessary destruction. Praising those who minimize the destruction required to achieve their goals is done worldwide.”
“What world are you from? At the very least, the small world I am from where people decide things with their fists does no such thing. Also, not all destruction is bad. If you treat everything as precious, you’re just going to end up owning a house of trash.”
“Are you saying you enjoy destruction?”
Osad’s expression made it clear he found that hard to understand, and Saflee nodded in response.
“I do. Once you start to enjoy it, you start to pursue the exhilaration it gives you. And then you start to desire purer and purer destruction. Someone like you speaking your hatred of destruction is like someone acting like they know what an authentic pizza restaurant is like after eating a frozen pizza from the supermarket. To be honest, it pisses me off a bit even if you meant nothing by it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The level of destruction changes depending on what you destroy and how you destroy it. For example, no one likes hearing some kid crying. Even if you’re trying to destroy some giant robot or crushing the entire mafia, the value is brought down if some kid is left crying in the process. That is why those pursuing the exhilaration of destruction will act to avoid things like that. The purest destruction does not scare people; it moves them.” Saflee paused for a second. “And so I have looked into the fact that you have threatened one of the doctors in charge of measuring our damage.”
Osad’s eyebrows twitched.
“I also know that your 3 year old daughter was captured by…self-proclaimed MIBs was it? Anyway, by people who value profit over all else.”
Osad’s body started to visibly tremble.
“I hate this kind of crap, so I took care of all of them for you.”
Saflee Opendays pointed back over her shoulder with her thumb. Osad froze when he spotted a familiar face mixed in with the great crowd.
“This is what destruction truly is. Didn’t I tell you? It’s the pursuit of that exhilaration. Destruction taken for that reason is not some simple evil. True destruction is something those who love verbal violence will never reach because they mix all kinds of violence together in just the one word. Although I did just fail in that regard after having someone peek on me changing,” said Saflee as she punched her open palm again. “Now that I’ve given you a nice little tutorial, how about we actually enjoy this? The exhilaration that comes from ridiculous levels of destruction can’t be beat.”
In the place of a gong, a loud electronic buzzer rang.
The two intelligent beasts were removed from their restraints so they could clash.