Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume8 Prologue
Prologue: Return of the God of Magic. None_Signal_Island.
They were not recorded on any map or sea chart.
They were not treated as land under international law and they were not indexed for determining national territory or exclusive economic zones.
However, all local fishermen who knew those areas of the ocean knew of these “islands” and would never approach them.
They were known as a Sargasso, a ship graveyard.
But when magicians used that term, it did not refer to the area around the Gulf of Mexico. It referred to the mountain of sea wreckage that naturally gathered in areas of sea which met certain conditions: several currents striking each other, flotsam and driftwood gathering together like in the drain of a sink, and a reef or something else that caught at and allowed that flotsam to accumulate.
The remains of many different ships would gather there: fishing boats, transport ships, passenger ships, one-man kayaks, and military ships. Those corpses had lost the ability to sail on their own but were not so badly damaged that they completely sank to the ocean floor. They would be swept more than 100 kilometers over the ocean, gather in this one spot, and pile up into a mountain.
This created something like a giant ant lion trap that consumed that rotting wood and rusting steel.
Countless fragments and remnants would gather as more and more ships ran aground on the shallow reef. Eventually, the ground underfoot would be perfectly stable. It would become a true “island”.
Were there dozens of them or hundreds of them around the world?
No one had ever counted.
However, they continued to be feared as legends by the local fishermen.
And she had returned to one of those Sargassos.
“How are the preparations?”
She was Othinus.
The field of magic was kept hidden from the society at large and the concept of a Magic God had not been proven to exist even in that field, but she had taken a step into that territory.
Her external appearance was that of a girl of about fourteen. She had long, wavy hair and a glittering green eye. The other eye was covered by an eyepatch made of black leather. And it was not just that eye that was bound by leather. Her black outfit was wrapped tightly around her entire body and traces of a witch-like design could be seen here and there. For example, the cape and hat.
“We’ve gathered everything we need,” replied a magician named Marian Slingeneyer.
She was a Dvergr. In Norse mythology, those were the beings who created the weapons of the gods with techniques surpassing those of the gods themselves. In recent years, a theory had been created saying they were a small group of people rather than a fictional race. Marian was the legitimate successor to that group.
The many half-broken ships were sitting diagonally or toppled on their side, and objects similar to stainless steel ladders bridged the gap between them. The two of them safely crossed one of those alloy bridges illuminated by industrial lights.
“We used the massive volcanic energy at Hawaii as a reactor core, we carried out the holistic esper thought experiment at Baggage City, and…well, we failed to acquire Fräulein Kreutune at Academy City, but we filled that gap by acquiring a substitute. We can start at any time.”
“How is Bersi doing?”
“Well enough. He should be performing the final test on the parallel processor now.”
Gremlin had chosen Sargasso as their base for a few different reasons.
It was a good magical site due to the ley lines, it allowed them to remain hidden from the Anglican Church, Ollerus, and any others who might interfere, and it was simply an easy location to construct a fortress.
And there was one more reason.
Not only did it allow them to accomplish their goals from a magical perspective, but it also allowed them to borrow the power of science.
Their large goal required the installation and use of a large-scale and high-speed parallel processor.
Marian shrugged lightly.
“There’s nothing but junk piled up around here, but with fishfinders and marine radars, any proper ship is going to have a computer of some sort on board. All he’s doing is hooking together all of those and modifying them a bit to work in parallel, but it will apparently make a small supercomputer.”
Sargasso was made up of the ruins of ships that could no longer sail, but some of them had been swept away while their engine still worked. Using those engines as generators gave them a power source.
“As long as it helps create the lance, anything is fine,” said Othinus as if spitting out the words. “Will Bersi also handle this…whatever this thing in the cooler is. Academy City’s #2? Anyway, will he handle Fräulein Kreutune’s substitute?”
“No one but him can. After all, the point of that parallel processor is to send the proper signals in to make the substitute spit out Dark Matter in the form we want.”
The “#2” that Gremlin had taken from Academy City was more accurately “that which was once called Academy City’s #2”. A few of the organs from when he was a flesh-and-blood human had been preserved, but the Level 5 esper (?) known as Dark Matter had already freed himself from the constraints of a flesh-and-blood body. To put it simply, what they had at Sargasso was similar to the dregs or empty husk of the #2.
However, Gremlin’s goal was not to capture the #2 Level 5. It did not matter if this was just the dregs or the empty husk as long as they could draw out the power they needed for their goal.
Bersi, the magician who had once been known as Kihara Kagun, had been literally working day and night as he prepared the parallel processor needed for the Dark Matter. There was no inconsistency in his movements. He had been working for dozens of hours at an even pace like the second hand of a clock or a conveyer belt.
And there was a good reason for this.
He had truly died once and had been brought back by Magic God Othinus as an Einherjar.
Othinus silently looked upwards.
A giant transport ship had broken in half at the middle and that break rose up like a cliff. It had broken due to the welding points corroding and coming apart with age and exposure to the sea breeze. On the deck over ten meters up sat a boy with long blond hair.
The magic god called his name.
“Once the lance enters the actual production phase, we will be unable to move. You know what you must do, right? Destroy everyone who gets near.”
“Got it, got it. Either way, it doesn’t look like there’s much for me to do here. How much of Gremlin’s resources are you planning to use to intercept any attackers? Can I use Mjölnir?”
“She will be used to support Marian.”
“I see.” The lightning god Thor let out a light sigh. “In that case, I feel sorry for our enemies.”
“Do not head out as the lightning god. Start as the Almighty Thor from the beginning. You can use anyone and anything you want outside of Marian, Mjölnir, and Bersi. I will even lend you the goddess Freyja and the giant Mökkurkalfe. At any rate, if anyone tries to interfere, give them a death at sea.”
“Will do,” casually replied the lightning god Thor as his legs dangled from the edge of the transport ship. And then, “But will anyone really attack with such interesting timing?”
“They will,” replied Magic God Othinus immediately but with no real emotion. “But not because the Anglican Church or the Roman Catholic Church are effective systems and not because Ollerus and his group are powerful. …It is because of my infinite possibilities as a magic god. My odds of success and failure are always half and half. The more work I accumulate towards success, the more a card leading to failure will grow somewhere in the world. It is like a shadow that follows my every move.”
“That isn’t good. Does that mean the enemy heading this way is you yourself?”
“Yes, in a way. I am telling you to knock back the misfortune that I call in. Do not think you can manage this with any normal amount of effort. This is on a level high enough to bind a magic god.”
Having said that, she motioned for Marian to follow her and then headed toward one end of Sargasso. She was likely headed toward the passenger ship that Gremlin used as a living space. It even had an undamaged indoor pool. That would be the ideal place to create the lance.
The lightning god Thor lay down on his back.
He stared blankly up into the sky and thought to himself.
(Now then. Is it about time for me to cause some real damage?)
Anyone who looked at that long blond-haired boy would have said he was the lightning god Thor. However, he was actually Ollerus, the man who should have become a magic god. He had used a high level disguise to change his looks and infiltrate Gremlin.
His objective was simple: stop Gremlin from creating Gungnir.
Magic God Othinus had obtained frightening power, but that power was too powerful. She could not fully control it herself. Having infinite possibilities sounded good, but it meant she had all positive possibilities and all negative possibilities. In this state, it was impossible to predict whether she would win or lose a game of rock paper scissors with a child.
No matter what she did, the odds of success and failure were always half and half.
To solve that dilemma, she had to twist those even odds to one extreme. To do that, she needed a single lance:
Once Othinus obtained that, the world would literally come to an end. There would be no way of reversing the situation. A single human will would bring about a world where the infinite reaches of history would be eternally under a tyrannical rule.
Even Ollerus would have a hard time defeating Magic God Othinus in a direct fight. And if Ollerus could not do it, it would be reckless to leave it to anyone else. That meant he had to wait. He had to wait until that true magic god had her hands full with the construction of the lance.
(For now, I’ll check on the location.)
Ollerus looked up into the sky while lying on his back.
On the way here, he had been inside the hold of a cargo ship, so he had not been able to check on the position of the stars or anything else. For that reason, he had infiltrated his enemy’s base while not knowing where it was. He had ways of gathering information while speaking with the other members, but he would stand out too much if he alone began asking questions like a tourist.
(I need to know where this Sargasso is. Once I know that, I can draw in the Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, or another major force that wishes to defeat Gremlin. I doubt that will be enough to defeat every last member of Gremlin, though. They’re all too skilled in their own individual ways.)
He stared up at that dead-looking sky that did not contain a single sea bird.
(Once her hands are full with this important work and an obvious enemy has arrived, even Othinus will be distracted. An opportunity for me to stab from the side will come. It will all come down to an instant. This will truly influence the flow of history from here on.)