Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume9 Epilogue
Epilogue: Will You Accept It, or Not? Continue.
As he was standing on his feet, it may have been odd to say he had been asleep. He was unsure if a human could pass out on their feet, but that must have been what had happened as he had just woken up.
He was not in the pitch black darkness or the happy world. He was on a single giant island created from countless wrecked ships piled on top of each other.
This was Sargasso.
Once he recalled that name, Kamijou’s consciousness rapidly focused on reality.
(What is this place? Is this a paradise created for Othinus’s convenience? No, something isn’t right. Wait! Don’t tell me…!!)
It was enough of a shock for his heart to beat oddly.
(Did she return me? Did she rewind it all? But why!? This world where I was born should be a little bit different from her world!!)
He looked around in surprise and saw a few familiar faces: Index holding the calico cat, Misaka Mikoto, Lessar, and Leivinia Birdway. A black JSDF rubber boat was moored at the water’s edge.
Something other than the joy of this reunion caught at the edge of his mind.
It was too soon to relax. Some major trick remained. That warning came from the instincts at the source of his heart rather than from his reason.
And then he saw it.
The blonde-haired, eyepatch-wearing girl stood at the edge of the cliff created by a broken ship. When he compared their positions, he finally realized what was happening.
She did not hold the lance.
But otherwise, the situation resembled…
(Just before the world was destroyed? But Othinus became the victor of the era. She didn’t need to return to this point. The only reason I can think of is to…concede the world to me!)
Kamijou could not have returned here on his own.
Magic God Othinus’s cooperation would have been essential.
He did not know how much his words had gotten through to her. He could not guess what kind of change had come over her heart.
But there was something different about Othinus even as she gave an arrogant and evil smile.
She had not brought only herself back. The lack of the lance that symbolized her power proved that.
For an instant, he was unsure what to say to her.
She had been the one to initially create the situation, but she had also been the one to end it and return Kamijou here. If his guess was correct, she had abandoned her objective for this. So should he thank her?
As he thought about that, Index began speaking by his side.
She glared directly at Othinus.
“You’re Othinus, aren’t you!? You brought chaos to Tokyo and caused trouble for everyone!! We won’t let you do what you want anymore!!”
Kamijou truly stopped breathing for an instant.
That threatening aura and hostile tone of voice were not like Index’s normal self.
Yet no one found it odd.
Next, Mikoto, Lessar, and Birdway spoke.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but you got my mama involved in this! Sorry, but I’m not going to hold back!!”
“Well, let’s just get this over with. Just because we’re on the magic side doesn’t mean we want to be at war with the science side at all times. To be honest, the chaos Gremlin is causing is quite a nuisance.”
“You’re a bit too twisted for one of my research subjects. To be blunt, you’re not to my taste. People like you need to be crushed right away. Otherwise, you’ll go hide somewhere and cause problems later.”
Until that moment, Kamijou Touma had not truly understood just what it meant for Othinus to go along with his selfishness.
Returning Kamijou to his original world meant bringing Othinus there as well.
“You’re…kidding…” he muttered in a daze.
He could not keep up with the flow of time. His mind could not catch up to this scene that was best described as a “final battle”.
Othinus had conceded the world to him.
She had conceded everything to him.
She had wanted to return to her original home even if it meant making an enemy of this entire world and using the members of her own group of Gremlin. But she had cast aside the sole method of returning there in order to save Kamijou who had been wandering through another world just like her. He did not know what change of heart had led to that, but the result told him everything he needed to know. After everything had ended, something had to have happened.
Something had sprouted within her and now he had to fight her again?
He had to join together with all the other allies of justice and drive her away in the name of peace?
“No… No! Wait! That isn’t the case anymore!! So…!!”
Kamijou’s words did not reach those around him.
For one thing, he could not explain it properly.
He had no proof.
The world had ended, but it was back to normal now.
And in between, something had happened to reach some sort of conclusion between him and Othinus.
There was nothing he could use to rationally and objectively prove it.
The threatening noise of sparks burst from Misaka Mikoto’s bangs. Lessar and Birdway held up their respective spiritual items and muttered enchantments. Violent lightning and crimson flames swirled together and flew straight toward Othinus. Index sang an eerie song to prevent her from using defensive spells.
Kamijou could only watch.
He thought he saw Othinus smile slightly as the destruction reached her.
And a mere instant later, he heard a disturbing bursting noise and her small form flew through the air.
She made no attempt to defend or evade.
Kamijou’s lips trembled. He clearly felt they had done something horrible.
To him, that tiny scene looked like a delicate girl being cruelly beat down by overwhelming violence.
“What the hell…?”
Othinus was knocked backwards. She had been standing on the cliff-like edge of a giant broken ship, so her small form completely disappeared from Kamijou’s vision.
What had happened to her?
What was going on!?
“What the hell is this!? Othinus, you knew this would happen, didn’t you!? You knew this would happen if you saved me!!”
“Eh? Ah? …Touma!?”
“Wait a second! What’s wrong with you!?”
The next thing Kamijou knew, he was running.
The voices of his allies did not even reach his mind.
As he ran desperately across that ground made of countless wrecked ships, he cursed his own foolishness. When he thought about it, it was obvious. In his original world, Othinus had been the leader of Gremlin, the group which was threatening the world. The international coalition had been on the verge of attacking her. He should have been able to predict what kind of world she would find herself in if she gave him his wish and returned here.
If she had wanted to, Othinus could have opposed the entire world.
Not only that, but she might have won. It did not matter if she had the lance or not.
But she had changed.
Kamijou Touma could not determine which of his words had affected her so greatly, but she had changed. Most likely, she no longer intended to fight and had no intention of destroying this world. Kamijou had made that the case. He had broken her fangs and then sent her back to the battlefield.
“Othinus! Where are you, Othinus!?”
He searched everywhere.
There had been hints everywhere. There had been those countless cruel worlds that had been made to tempt him or mentally corner him. He had been pursued by the international coalition, he had seen someone else take his place, he had seen a world filled with smiles and peace that only needed him to disappear, and he had seen so many other types of despair and forms of hell that he had stopped counting.
But had Othinus truly created those on a whim?
What if she had modeled them after something?
For example, what if they were all based on the painful memories Othinus herself had experienced.
If that was the case…
“Dammit,” muttered Kamijou while almost in tears. His voice quickly grew to a shout. “When I said I couldn’t stand that place any longer and decided to flee that nightmare world, was I forcing that same nightmare onto you!? Are you experiencing the same world that made me give up!?”
He heard static.
Something hung from a cord caught on the edge of an old boat.
A female announcer’s voice came from that cheap emergency radio. He felt as if he had seen this in that nightmare world. Or perhaps this was the original scene.
“It seems a means of resolving the chaos in Tokyo has been found. We have information saying the coalition military is beginning an attack on the headquarters of the criminal organization behind it. …What are those? Missiles? No, there are far too many of them. I can see something that looks like shooting stars moving toward the center of Tokyo Bay!!”
Kamijou slowly raised his head.
And there he saw…
Othinus lay on her back.
In her blurry vision, the sky was filled with countless lights.
“The Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Heh… To think they would start getting along now.”
This was what she deserved. This was her punishment.
She understood that.
To achieve her goal, she had used far too many things. She had angered organizations around the world, driven fear into normal people who knew nothing of magic, and even trampled her helpers in Gremlin underfoot. Once Gremlin knew of her personal objective, they would likely rebel. They would say they had not risked their lives for such a petty thing.
No matter what happened, she had no future.
She had known that from the moment she had returned here.
She could win if she wanted to. She had intended to destroy this world from the beginning. But Othinus knew of no way to win while preserving this world. And if she could not do that, returning would lose all meaning. All that was left for her was to be attacked by everyone around her.
She had wings to fly through the air, but she would be slowly devoured by the ants on the ground.
The pain would likely last a long time.
That was the price she would pay for briefly obtaining someone who understood her.
Othinus had made her decision because obtaining that for even an instant had outweighed the next world she would have created.
“Honestly,” muttered Othinus as she lay on the ground and stared up at all the twinkling stars overhead. “You cannot kill a god with that, humans. I knew this would happen, but this is going to take forever. This is like wearing down bone with a file.”
She gave a small smile.
The stars fell.
But just before they did, someone stood in front of her.
With their back to her, someone held their right hand up toward the heavens as if to protect Othinus. As if using a sturdy umbrella, that one spot was protected from the stars raining down.
That lone girl opened her one eye wide in surprise. She could not believe what she was seeing.
The boy spoke while still staring up into the heavens.
“You knew, didn’t you?”
“You knew this would happen!! You achieved victory in every possible way and you could have created any world you wanted, but you conceded it all to me for some reason. You abandoned your ideal to save me and you knew the entire world would attack you in exchange!! You kept quiet about that and saved me!!”
“So what if I did?" muttered Othinus with a self-deprecating smile. “Either way, I won’t last much longer.”
“I was creating the lance in order to control my power as a Magic God. But then Ollerus used the fairy spell he had developed in secret. At first, I used that to control my power in the negative direction to create another form of a Magic God. And I succeeded. At first, anyway.”
“What…are you saying?”
“An improvised method doesn’t ensure your safety. I could feel the cracks gradually running through the inside of my body. I could not use the lance and the fairy spell at the same time.”
Kamijou looked down at Othinus’s chest.
At the end in that pitch-black world, she had opened her other possibility as a Magic God by using the great scar of the fairy spell.
If that was making her suffer and he could negate that sort of spell with his right hand…
“It is too late.” Othinus spoke quietly from the ground. “It has already wreaked havoc inside my body. Even if you negate the stake with your right hand, the pain will not vanish. I will not conveniently return to being a mere human.”
She could not be saved.
Sooner or later, the good will and justice of the world would slowly devour her in her powerless state.
“Hurry and go,” she spat out while collapsed on the ground. “The coalition army you all prepared will soon attack as planned. I am slowly losing my power as a Magic God. With the entire world after me, I will eventually meet my end somewhere. There is no need for you to come with me. That would remove all meaning from returning you here.”
“But what will you do?”
A voice responded to her.
Painfully enough, that was the voice of the one who understood her enough to have taken her dream from her.
“You’re different now, right!? You need to atone for what you did and that might take a long time, but this is wrong. I no longer sense any evil in you that warrants killing you like this!!”
“You really are stupid. What good would it do to throw me in a prison cell? The official members of Gremlin would never accept it if I surrendered now. They would destroy even the strongest cell and hold me up as their symbol once more. The world’s leaders wish for a break from this chaos, so they do not want a repeat of all this. If they know I will simply be taken away, they will not imprison me in the first place. Killing me would provide more certain peace of mind.”
She had nowhere to run.
There was no safe place.
After all, the entire world hated her. She had done enough to be treated that way and she had shown no reluctance to do so.
There was nowhere for her to run.
There was nowhere for her to hide.
This was the end. Othinus herself had accepted that fact. The people of earth would take her life on this day. They would celebrate that fact and they might even create a new holiday to commemorate the coming peace.
They would happily live in a world without her.
Othinus’s thoughts were cut off by Kamijou Touma’s voice.
The boy who understood her spoke in a voice that showed he could not tolerate that.
“Then I will save you. Even if it means fighting the entire world!!”
The entire world’s hatred was focused on a single person.
That girl had been driven to the verge of death while all alone.
It may have started as something she deserved and the tragedy may have been a result of the world punishing people properly, but Kamijou Touma did not want to see the word “justice” causing someone to suffer like this.
He could not accept a future where people lived in peace after accepting a girl’s slaughter with a smile.
It was not that anyone was at fault.
The Anglican Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the United States of America, France, Academy City, Ollerus, Fiamma of the Right, Birdway, Lessar, Misaka Mikoto, and Index were all blameless. None of them set up this situation for malicious reasons.
It was simply an issue of shifted timing.
There was an interruption of time that only Kamijou Touma and Othinus knew about.
She had changed.
Unless he could find a way of explaining all that and immediately bringing an end to the fighting, he would have to fight them, even if just for the moment.
He could not let the good will of Index and the others bring about unnecessary bloodshed.
The boy had longed for this place so much that he had said farewell to all the smiles in the world.
And now he turned his back on it once more.
But that was not because he did not understand its value.
In order to truly return there, Kamijou Touma gathered strength in his right fist and silently made up his mind in front of a battered girl.
Clench your right fist to protect the life and smile of a single girl.