Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume8 Epilogue
Epilogue: Lance. Lance_of_"Gungnir".
Birdway guided the rubber military boat through the steam covering Tokyo Bay.
In addition to her, the boat contained Kamijou Touma, Index, Misaka Mikoto, Lessar, and the calico cat.
A gray curtain that could cause one to lose their sense of direction filled the space around them evenly in all directions. The scenery looked like some kind of eerie illusion rather than a part of Tokyo.
“They have to have noticed us,” said Birdway quickly.
Even now, those sparks floated down around the rubber boat because it was moving above a certain speed. However, Birdway did not wait around for them. She kept the boat running at full speed and passed by the sparks before they could materialize as fire figures. The fire figures therefore lost sight of their target the instant they were born, so they sank into the ocean without doing anything.
Thinking back, Kamijou realized it had been Níðhöggr that initially attacked the supersonic passenger plane. No flame figures had appeared inside the plane. They may have divided up which targets they went after.
The rubber boat continued toward Sargasso with an eerie trail of orange light behind it.
“Gremlin will have long since noticed our approach. The question is whether they’re too focused on producing the lance to send anyone after us or…”
They then heard a low rumbling as if from an earthquake.
A giant mountain-like shadow suddenly appeared in the gray fog surrounding them. They had to have been a few kilometers away still, so the overwhelming scale squeezed at Kamijou’s chest. This was even larger than the dragon from before.
That giant humanoid shadow rose over five hundred meters from the surface of the ocean. Kamijou’s common sense was shaken by the thought of something that large standing on two legs.
“What…is that?” he muttered. “Is that part of Gremlin, too? How much nonsensical power are they hiding!?”
“This is the group that sent a mobile fortress several dozen kilometers long flying through the air. Don’t act so surprised to see an enemy measured in kilometers.”
If they had truly wanted to destroy Tokyo, they could have done so at any time.
The only reason the city still retained its form was because the strategy they chose had happened to be one of distributing what people stood to gain.
“Don’t let it get to you,” snapped Birdway. “We can’t get past without defeating this thing. If we focus our attacks on a single leg and keep it from moving, we can get past. Don’t forget that this is just the opening act. We’re here to stop the production of the lance.”
Before Kamijou could respond, the giant shadow split into a few chunks and sank into the ocean.
“Before you start asking questions, shut your mouth and hang on!! You don’t want to bite your tongue or get thrown out, do you!?”
After a lag of a few dozen seconds, a great wave mercilessly struck the rubber boat. Birdway tried to keep the front of the boat as perpendicular to the wave as possible to ride over it. A few undulations measuring several meters passed by. The rubber boat was light and it could not right itself very well. It could have easily capsized.
“That’s the cornerstone of Sargasso’s defenses, right!? I doubt it would crumble on its own. Did someone take it out!?”
“Don’t ask me!”
“Isn’t there only one option if it wasn’t us?”
Lessar’s comment caused Birdway to frown as she desperately worked to control the combined tiller and engine.
“You mean it was done from within Sargasso?”
Amid the many remains of ships making up Sargasso sat a single plate.
The plate was made from dried clay and a dark red heart sat atop it while continuing to beat.
It belonged to Mökkurkalfe.
Mökkurkalfe was an enemy of Thor in Norse mythology. It was an artificial life form that was made from a mare’s heart contained within a giant mountain-like body of clay. The legend said the mare was so cowardly that Mökkurkalfe could not fight properly and Thor’s servant destroyed it.
So if the defective heart was replaced with a more powerful item, one could create an overwhelming power worthy of being an enemy of the gods.
A slender arm held that heart.
It belonged to Lightning God Thor.
As if acting out the legend, that boy picked the heart up from the plate while ignoring the iron-smelling liquid staining his fingertips and palm.
No. Technically, that was not what was happening.
He may have looked exactly the same, but this boy was someone other than Lightning God Thor.
He did not hesitate and no change came over his voice or expression.
The boy crushed the dark red heart. With the sound of a rotting fruit being thrown against a wall, the remains of the heart fell to the ground like kitchen trash. Immediately afterwards, one could hear the deep sound of something large crumbling.
“What are you doing?” asked a girl’s voice.
This blonde-haired, green-eyed girl had one eye covered by an eyepatch and wore a witch’s hat and cape. Despite her lovely appearance, she was known as a magic god and held the power to end the history of humanity at any moment. She was a rare life form that sought that lance not because she lacked power but because she had too much.
She was Othinus.
The girl had suddenly appeared behind this killer disguised as Lightning God Thor, but he only shrugged.
“I just thought it was about time.”
A great roar exploded out. One section of Sargasso was filled with a pure white flash of light.
It came from Mjölnir who was connected to Thor.
She had also been helping Marian Slingeneyer with the production of the lance.
“I doubt that will be enough to kill her, but it should be enough to keep her out of action for a bit. Now, Othinus, how high on your list of priorities is the Dvergr?”
“Show your true self. Do you want to die in disguise?”
At some point, the boy became a young man. He was tall yet somehow melancholic. He had the expression of someone who was a bit disappointed with either life or the world.
He too was an existence of whom legends were told in some places.
He was Ollerus.
Originally, he would have been the magic god of the modern age. However, Othinus had usurped the single method and chance.
His role was that of an old god.
He was the ruler of the old laws that was to be defeated in order to prove the new god’s power and legitimacy. Ollerus had been dragged down to that position, but he was still qualified to confront the single person to have reached the territory of a magic god.
The eyepatch-wearing girl narrowed her eye and lightly touched the brim of her witch’s hat with her slender fingers.
“Why are you here? You have risked your life for this plan, so I doubt that was it. If it was, I will kill you right this instant and return to producing the lance. I am a god of magic that can bend the laws of life and death to help me in my fight. Did you think someone’s life or death would be enough to stop my plan?”
“I’m glad you didn’t see through my plan all at once. That puts my mind at ease. It looks like your infinite possibilities sent your power in the negative direction.”
“I can only add humans to the ranks of my Einherjar,” muttered the girl in disappointment. “I have no way of sending a god to join them. I will truly obliterate you. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Ha ha ha. Don’t get so pessimistic, Miss Almighty Magic God. No one can stand on your level at the moment. Don’t treat me like a true monster just because you’re lonely.”
The girl known as a magic god closed her single eye just once.
It looked like she was trying to take her mind off of some truly hideous clown.
An instant later, the slight space between them was filled with tens of thousands or even hundreds of millions of strange explosions.
If the theory of relativity that summarized the relationship between time and space would allow a black hole-like object to exist under certain special circumstances, the extreme compression of space by their frightening clash may have twisted the continuity of time.
That was how extreme this series of attacks was.
A wall of explosions completely filled the space between those two monsters. It showed no sign of ending and seemed to completely ignore the concept of numbers.
“I thought you had a bit more sense back in Baggage City,” said Magic God Othinus while only slightly opening her lips. Despite the noise from all the explosions, her voice sounded oddly clear. “But it seems I was mistaken. Or did you lose your mind at some point? Either way, think about it from the perspective of those who have to deal with you. The world does not revolve around you. Only I may claim that.”
“I never thought I could win with this cheap trick,” replied Ollerus carefreely. “And it does not matter if I don’t win.”
Immediately afterwards, Ollerus suddenly ended his side of the eternally even exchange of explosions. The eyepatch-wearing girl’s great number of attacks approached with the force of surging waves. Ollerus did not defend or evade. He instead stepped into the deluge of explosions himself.
His bones could be heard shattering and his flesh could be heard bursting.
An arm flew off, but Ollerus’s expression did not change even slightly.
Before it could, he rushed up to Magic God Othinus as quickly as possible.
His hand was palely glowing.
“Only someone who has touched the territory of a magic god can research one. And only someone like that can find how to oppose one!!”
He jabbed his palm into the center of the girl’s chest.
What looked like a stake made of light shot forcefully out.
“I will turn you into a fairy.”
The explosions disappeared.
In that silent space, Magic God Othinus’s eye was opened wide. Only Ollerus’s words filled the stillness of Sargasso.
“I built a spell out of a historical fact the great Christian powers carried out without realizing it. Simply put, they shrank down the pagan gods. The king of the forest transformed into a dwarf. The queen of the sea was remade into a female monster that sank ships. The god that is hit by this spell will be dragged down from the territory of a magic god and forcibly returned to the territory of a human!!”
One theory said the gods of the many old religions that conflicted with Christianity were reclassified as evil gods who fell under the category of demons. Those became clear enemies, but there were others that had been remade into beings that lived alongside mankind.
In other words, fairies.
These small neighbors were frightening beings that kidnapped people and ate their insides, but they would also help with one’s job or housework if certain conditions were met. The religious powers had once forbidden belief in them, but they had remained in the people’s hearts. These beings had not been completely remade as enemies or completely eliminated. Unlike the evil gods whose great power was recognized but were seen as merciless enemies, most of these had managed to remain unchanged in people’s hearts on the condition that they were made powerless or shrank down.
Ollerus had created a system from this and contained it within a single spell.
The word “fairy” was not all that rare. Religions did not treat it as taboo and it filled children’s fairy tales and picture books. However, very few people had accurately extracted their true form and original role from the flood of information. It was similar to how the great mixture of information on the modern internet diluted the trustworthiness and credibility of the information found there.
And that was why only one who had taken a step into the territory of a magic god could extract the spell to kill a magic god.
It was a twisted method, but it was obvious what would happen if that spell struck Othinus who had reached the territory of a magic god.
“Even if all of mankind worked together, they would have no way of opposing the being known as a magic god. And that simple truth does not change even when one includes those of us who only barely remain within the territory of a human,” said Ollerus.
He spoke of the beginning of a certain death.
“So instead of trying to bring mankind higher, I will drag you down. I will tear off your wings, strike you from the air, and throw you to the throngs of people who can only crawl along the ground. …This is the end. Even if humans cannot kill a god, we can manage against a fairy.”
The eyepatch-wearing girl twisted her body and a groaning voice escaped her lips.
Was she trying to endure the pain?
Was she trying to suppress the rapid change occurring within her body?
Ollerus assumed that was the case.
But he was wrong.
He was naïve.
Othinus’s shoulders shook and her voice reached his ears along with her sweet breath.
“Thank you, Ollerus.”
For an instant – just for an instant – even Ollerus’s mind went blank.
He could not even imagine why that girl’s shoulders would be shaking as she suppressed laughter.
That was why it took him a moment to realize it.
Despite having pressed his palm against the center of the magic god’s chest and having fired the stake of light into her, the tip of that stake had not stabbed into Othinus. It was not that a thick wall had appeared to stop it. Ollerus’s senses told him it had long since extended all the way out, but Othinus’s senses said it was only partway out.
“It is a simple thing, Ollerus. A truly simple thing. I deceived your senses. You gave your victorious speech before you had pulled out your secret weapon. That is all. And once you know the trick, sleight of hand has nothing left to surprise you.”
Ollerus frantically tried to pull his arm back, but he was too slow.
This had been a one-shot suicide attempt. He had given no thought to a way out.
Magic God Othinus did not hesitate to grab Ollerus’s wrist.
“I can make use of this now that I know it exists. It may have been a waste of time for you, but it is an unexpected reward for me. After all, I finally have a way of finishing things with this damn annoying person from my past! You brought the means of your own defeat!!”
A great noise rang out.
Othinus had slammed her other hand against the young man’s chest. Her hand was palely glowing. A sharp stake of light stuck out from her palm, thoroughly destroyed the interior of Ollerus’s body, and forcefully shot out his back.
“Ha ha ha.”
She pulled back her hand and the stake sticking from it.
The young man’s body staggered.
The eerie and overwhelming presence from before was gone. It had all vanished.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
The eyepatch-wearing girl’s back arched backwards as she laughed.
It was as if she felt this was much more of an accomplishment than completing the lance.
The young man spoke even as it appeared he would collapse at any moment.
“My first hope failed, but my second hope is still on track.”
Magic God Othinus’s eyebrows moved in pure confusion.
A moment later, another fairy stake accurately pierced straight through her heart.
She did not even have time to turn around.
She mercilessly filled the space behind her with explosions that’s numbers reached at least nine digits. Something was crushed and a great roar stabbed through the wrecked ships piled up around them.
She could not breathe properly.
Othinus turned around with the awkward motions of a machine in need of oil. Finally, she saw the second attacker.
“Fiamma…of the Right…!?”
“I performed a valuable experiment back in Academy City.”
The one-armed young man wearing red gave a slight smile while half-buried in the wreckage of ships.
A dark red liquid trailed down from the corner of his mouth.
“I checked to see whether I could completely hide my presence on a battlefield filled with powerful members of various powerful groups. It seems my method was effective even on a magic god. …And thanks to that, I managed to hit you with the fairy spell.”
“I…” Ollerus brought a knee to the ground in intense exhaustion but still spoke with the expression of the victor. “I no longer have any interest in being a magic god. But I could not allow someone to misuse that which I had hoped to be. To stop you and take away your status as a magic god, I do not regret giving up that which makes me special. …You misread that about me, didn’t you? That’s why you thought you had won from the moment you turned me into a fairy.”
Now that it had come to this, the completion of Gungnir did not matter.
It was not a spiritual item that amplified a magician’s power. It was nothing more than a tool to control a magic god’s great power and make it easier to use. Now that Othinus had lost her power as a magic god, it would not benefit her in any way.
It was all over.
The infinite possibilities had left her grasp.
As those thoughts filled Ollerus’s mind, he saw something he could not believe.
Even a monster like him could not believe it.
“Heh heh heh.”
The eyepatch-wearing girl had not broken.
But that could not be. Ollerus could not believe it. He could see no way it was possible. Othinus had been struck by the fairy spell and thus lost her power as a magic god. Creating the lance no longer had any meaning and Gremlin had lost the symbol behind the organization.
There was nothing that could lead to her victory now.
Or at least, there should not have been.
“Even if I do not win, that’s fine with me,” said the eyepatch-wearing girl in a groan. “What matters is unifying my infinite possibilities. Success and failure were always half and half. No matter how much experience I built up and no matter how great a defeat I suffered, it had no bearing on what would happen next time. I never knew which direction to work in or which way to turn. …I wanted the lance to escape that situation. Instead of having half success and half failure, I would have 100% success.”
“You can’t mean…”
Ollerus finally caught on.
But this truth was truly a nightmare.
“You can’t mean!!”
“I only needed it to lean in one direction or the other,” she announced as a grin split across her face. “It did not matter if I completed the lance and gained 100% success or became a fairy and gained 100% failure. My actions were sealed by the constant 50% balance between success and failure. I could never know if my actions had achieved heads or tails, so I could never know if I could build on top of that action. Moving forward with constant heads is one possible path. But if I know every path I choose will come up tails, I can achieve 100% success by always moving in the opposite direction of the path I choose!! Failing as a magic god acts as a guidepost towards success as a magic god!! …You two meant nothing from the beginning. Whether I won or lost, you could not stop me from becoming a complete magic god!!”
If she had won, she would have become a complete magic god.
If she had lost, she would have become a complete magic god.
“That’s why that Imagine Breaker was so irritating! In a way, it did hold the possibility of driving me to 100% failure, but its role as a reference point and repair point for the world meant it clashed with my desire to change the world. With that method of achieving 100% failure off the table, I had no choice but to invite 100% success with the lance. I never thought you would bring such an interesting alternative approach!!”
She had only needed to obtain one extreme or the other.
“Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! I was afraid of ending up in a twisted situation where I thought I was constantly failing but hit a dead end while walking down the opposite path. Once you reach my level, it is hard to experience such a thorough defeat that it is impossible to recover. That is why I had hoped you would do it for me. I knew you would eventually come to kill me! You really are a genius! Ha ha. A genius at being used by me no matter what you do!!”
By the point Othinus had built up that plan, her battle against the world had essentially been over. No matter what the result, she would accomplish her goal. The lance had not been an irreplaceable piece of her plan. It had been nothing more than one of a few different branches on a chart. And she had managed to hide that fact.
“So let me say it again: thank you,” declared the eyepatch-wearing girl with a smile splitting across her face. “To use your own words, the lance was my first hope and not using it was my second hope. I can’t deny that this is making me feel a bit ill, but the end result is the same. Now, the time has come for me to spread my wings. I will rule over this world in my proper form!!”
No one had done anything wrong.
Her plan had been made so this result would be reached no matter what anyone did.
Ollerus and Fiamma of the Right exchanged a quick glance.
And they both took action.
“Success and failure, heads and tails… None of it matters to me anymore,” said the girl with the smile splitting her face. She spread her arms as if welcoming an old friend. “After coming this far, do you really think you have any chance of fighting back? The two of you were only able to crawl through the dirt because you could not leave the territory of fragile children of man. Kneel before me as you witness history. This is 100% success!!”
The rubber military boat approached one end of Sargasso.
Kamijou Touma did not have time to be surprised that such a giant structure had been hidden in the middle of Tokyo Bay or that their base had been so close to Academy City.
He took a step onto that island made up of countless wrecked ships.
A strange sensation rushed up from his foot and stabbed into his brain. He thought he might pass out right then and there.
Something was wrong.
He almost doubted this was part of the real world.
He felt as if he had been plunged into a nightmare horrible enough to kill a human from shock and he could not even tell when the switchover had happened.
(This doesn’t feel real. Is this Gremlin? Are they able to twist the world this much?)
What had happened with the lance?
What about the magic god?
With those questions in mind, Kamijou saw something fall from the deck of a passenger ship that had broken in half.
It was the man named Ollerus.
Kamijou could not tell if the bloody young man was breathing.
“Hi there,” said a girl standing atop the passenger ship.
Kamijou’s head slowly turned in that direction. It was as if his head were being forcibly pulled up by an invisible wire.
He could not tell what was happening outside his vision.
Index, Misaka Mikoto, Birdway, Lessar, and the calico cat had been aboard the boat with him, but he could not hear any of them speaking and could not catch even a glimpse of them out of his peripheral vision.
Were they frozen in place like him?
Or, as much as he did not want to think of the possibility, had they disappeared somewhere?
Standing above was a human-shaped singularity that distorted the world more than a black hole.
Magic God Othinus alone smiled.
“It’s already over. You were too late. …But none of that matters now. This was destined to happen whether you were late or early.”
“…I was too late?”
Kamijou’s eyelids twitched oddly.
He could not believe it.
“Are you saying that the lance…that Gungnir was already completed!?”
“Oh, the lance,” said the eyepatch-wearing girl with the look of someone recalling a trivial fact. “Marian Slingeneyer failed. Hawaii, Baggage City, and the attack on Academy City over Fräulein Kreutune all ended in failure. Ollerus destroyed it all.”
He could not relax even for an instant.
Despite what she said, Othinus was not concerned or angry.
“But none of that ever really mattered.” The eyepatch-wearing girl gave a light shrug. “The lance was nothing more than an item used to complete my position as a magic god. As long as I had a way of doing that without using the lance, it didn’t matter at all. For example, there was the one and only means of killing me that Ollerus secretly developed.”
“Also, all of Gremlin’s actions may have been working toward the production of the lance, but that was not necessarily the only way of creating it. The method using Dvergr Marian Slingeneyer was just one more decoy. I could have made the lance on my own, but if I revealed that, all of you might very well have interfered. I went out of my way to gather those weaklings and had them carry out that decoy plan alongside my own. It was all so all of you would work to stop that decoy instead.”
“About what? That I could so easily overturn the assumption that there was only one method of producing the lance? Or that my subordinates and your comrades could be so easily deceived?” mockingly asked the eyepatch-wearing girl. “Did you know this? The Norse god from whom I took the name Othinus is known as the god of war, magic, art…and also betrayal. He would deceive people to spread chaos and cause unnecessary disputes all to more efficiently gain the souls of dead warriors. …All of your information about that lance was spread by me. Gremlin and its enemies were manipulated by the information they found where I had conveniently left it for them. No matter what anyone says, that is the truth. Even Ollerus was deceived.”
Kamijou could not keep up with the situation.
His brain refused to comprehend the information.
The great organization known as Gremlin had shaken the world so greatly, but all of that had been pointless effort that held no meaning?
Hawaii, Baggage City, and the fighting over Fräulein Kreutune had been nothing but a safety measure meant to hide the true time limit?
She had done it all alone.
The eyepatch-wearing girl known as a magic god had manipulated the entire world.
“Now, it’s time for some fun.”
Kamijou heard a sound like a rock landing in some mud.
It came from the head of the blonde-haired, green-eyed girl named Othinus.
The black eyepatch was pushed out from within. An object covered in a dark red liquid shot out from the empty eye socket. It continued on and on.
“Ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
The magic god laughed arched her back.
An unpleasant noise rang out.
The tip of the lance was not a sharply pointed blade like on a knife. It was a wide blade as if a double-edged sword had been forcibly attached. What would happen if that was forcibly dragged from her narrow eye socket? The sound of a joint popping continued on and on with a sticky sound mixed in. No, that was the sound of something breaking and splitting. Her eye socket may have been spreading and distorting like a hole in a rubber band. It may have even grown larger than the girl’s small face.
Kamijou Touma’s body froze as if paralyzed while he watched this overwhelming sight.
He could do nothing but watch.
He could not even guess how much pain that would cause.
He could not imagine what was going on in that girl’s head as she continued to smile.
A lance covered in a dark red liquid made its horizontal entrance into the world.
Othinus grabbed the Gungnir she had produced from within her own body and looked down on Kamijou once more.
Her face had returned to normal.
Had it truly possessed the strange elasticity of rubber?
Or had she somehow instantly repaired her smashed and destroyed skull?
“Either 100% success or 100% failure would have completed my status as a magic god.”
“Thanks to all of you, I have gained both solutions at once! Do not think of me as a mere magic god any longer. I will now show the world what Othinus truly is!!”
He shouted, screamed, and cried out.
Finally, Kamijou Touma was freed from the bonds keeping him frozen in place.
Without paying any attention to his surroundings, he ran so he could get as close as possible to Magic God Othinus. She stood atop the towering passenger ship, so there was no way the boy’s legs could have brought him to her. However, he was afraid his mind would collapse if he did not oppose her in some way.
Magic God Othinus lightly spun the lance around in one hand and pointed its tip toward the heavens.
She spoke slowly.
She uttered two short sentences.
“These small fights are such a pain. I think I’ll just end the world.”
And exactly as she had announced, everything was immediately destroyed.