A city existed on the west side of Tokyo that took up one third of the metropolis’s area.
It was known as Academy City.
That city of science was a collection of cutting edge technological knowledge. It was the central point of a powerful influence on the entire world using the interests, predominance, and certain sort of trust and faith that reside in the keyword of “science”.
Eighty percent of the residents were students.
For that reason, the city was made to push an image of safety and trustworthiness to the forefront, but information was strictly controlled below the surface. Many systems were laid out throughout the city in the name of preventing the approach of any terrorists or spies, be they industrial or working for a nation’s government.
One area of the city had an especially strong focus on that side of things.
In that area, a Western man arrived at a “multi-story inn” meant for sightseers from outside the city.
“I try not to be surprised by much, but this is just insane.”
On the outside, it looked like a standard rectangular building.
But the interior was mysteriously constructed so that each floor contained an entire one-story high class Japanese inn, garden and all. It was similar to several dioramas of Japanese buildings stacked on top of each other.
The design may have been created due to a lack of land or it may have been that common sense in Academy City was as different from the rest of the world as its technology was.
Either way, the man from outside the city simply could not get used to seeing it.
After making sure the middle-aged waitress who had shown him to his room had left, the man pulled out a small computer. Without worrying about security or the risk of being traced, he connected to the network by plugging a cable into the port supplied in the room.
As he downloaded a few files stored online, the voice chat sign lit up.
He clicked to connect and a calm female voice came through.
“Did they get through?”
“I’m doing it now.” The man frowned slightly. “When you told me the download password, you should have specified whether the letters were uppercase or lowercase. If I hadn’t noticed and entered it wrong too many times, I would have been locked out.”
“Surely you know this is not my area of expertise.”
“There is such a thing as being too ignorant.”
He knew saying that would solve nothing, but he said it anyway.
And as he expected, the woman showed no sign of caring.
“I followed your instructions,” she said. “I doubt Academy City will detect it like this. The internet is convenient, but they completely control that field.”
“Academy City naturally monitors all data in the name of catching industrial spies. If you fill normal text with dangerous code words, their equipment can analyze it immediately.” The man opened the files that had finished downloading. “But that is only for their field. They know very little about the magic side. This city has been thoroughly optimized. If you try to hide it, they will certainly find it. Trying to sneak around like that will only get you caught faster. That is why you should not even try to hide it.”
The files contained a few different diagrams.
They were a type of magic circle.
With Academy City’s printing equipment, they could be quickly mass produced without destroying the magical symbols.
“Those circles were not mentioned in the meeting with them.”
“I doubt their lukewarm methods will be enough.”
The Western man accessed a map site and looked up a few photo studios. The arrival of digital cameras had put all of them in a crisis situation, but the man wanted their developing and printing equipment to accurately produce the magic circles he was going to use.
Naturally, the circles were a secret matter, so he would have to temporarily turn the printing technician into a puppet.
“If I try to do something within Academy City, I will eventually be caught. That means I need to construct a plan where it is too late for them by the time it has been revealed. If I act while taking some losses into consideration from the beginning, I can achieve a certain level of freedom even within this optimized city.”
“Just to be sure you know: it is possible you will not be able to return alive even if our goal is achieved.”
“I have worked that into my plan as well.”
“And it has been given tacit consent. Not by Academy City, but by our higher ups. We do not want the balance between magic and science to collapse. Everyone is aware that problem is much more important than the official reasons given. For that reason, I expect this situation will not be as bad as they say. Still, I doubt it will be so easy that I escape unharmed.”
After retrieving all the information he needed for the magic circles, the Western man disconnected his computer from the network.
He then headed for a photo studio.
The worker at the studio was an ordinary person, but he or she would end up being involved in magic even if only slightly. No matter how careful the man was, some risk remained that this person would become further involved in that hidden portion of the world.
But the man continued on regardless.
This showed just how urgent the situation was.
“…I’ll make you pay later for forcing me to carry out this kind of dirty work.”
Academy City was known as a city of cutting edge science and a psychic powers development institution, but nothing particularly strange or distinctive could be found in the scene of the students walking to school in the morning.
Normally at least. But on this morning…
“Communication error. You cannot currently enter the Venus Probe Project Race. Please try again later.”
A boy named Kamijou Touma stood still in the middle of the pathway.
He held a cell phone in his right hand and a project page on a popular SNS could be seen on the small screen.
“…What are you doing?”
A girl called out to him from behind.
She was Misaka Mikoto. She was the ace of the prestigious Tokiwadai Middle School and Academy City’s #3 Level 5. She wore a white short-sleeve blouse, a beige summer sweater, and a gray pleated skirt. She had let out that confused question when she had realized the person blocking the flow of students heading to school was someone she knew.
The person in question, Kamijou Touma, was trembling.
“The entry page for this SNS project race has frozen because too many people are accessing it. But the next deadline is in 10 minutes! I don’t have time to wait!!”
“That’s the project linked with the Venus Probe Contest, right? With that ridiculous number of unmanned probes being launched into space, you have to predict which team will make the first discovery, right?”
“If you choose the probe to make the discovery, you get entered into a lottery for the right to name the discovery!!”
“Yeah, but even getting put into the lottery is still nowhere near 100% odds of getting to name it. That SNS has almost 1.5 million people on it in Academy City alone.”
“But I want to give an asteroid the name Kamijou Touma!!”
“Isn’t this contest about probes being sent to Venus?”
“I want to become a constellation in the night sky!!”
“That just makes it sound like you want to die.” But then a puzzled look appeared on Mikoto’s face. “Actually, I’m surprised you’re playing with something like this. I thought you weren’t too interested in this kind of thing.”
“My cell phone’s OS updated automatically recently and the SNS appeared then. The two companies must have some kind of agreement.”
“I-I see. By the way, how many friends do you have on there? I-if you just tell me your registration number, I could send you a request…”
Kamijou frowned because he could not quite make out what Mikoto was mumbling.
And then something turned his thoughts in a completely different direction.
“Touma!! You forgot to prepare a lunch for me again!!”
The loud voice of a pure white nun cut in.
Her name was Index.
She was gathering a lot of attention from the students heading to school, but she paid them no heed and continued toward Kamijou and Mikoto.
“Honestly, you always do this, Touma! Meals are the foundation of proper living!! What am I supposed to do if you neglect to make me one!?”
“…Can’t you just make your own meals?”
“People who know how to cook just don’t understand!!”
“I don’t think you should just give up because you don’t know how! And at any rate, I left you a lunch in the fridge!! Since you can’t use the microwave, I made you a giant vegetable and pork salad that doesn’t need to be heated up!!”
“I ate that snack ages ago!!”
“Can you please explain to me why you look so proud about that!?”
Mikoto had been completely expressionless for a while now.
And then she asked a question with her head tilted in puzzlement.
“Um, sorry to interrupt, but why are you acting like it is normal for you to make that girl’s meals and to look after her?”
“Fgh!? O-oh, um…!!”
“And I really want to know why you are yet again making me so angry for no reason!!”
“I’d like to ask why you suddenly started biri biri-ing!!”
“Everything is good in tempura! What is the mysterious reason behind the bitterness disappearing!?”
“They’ll even eat okra and bell peppers! I couldn’t believe my child who used to take chopped bell pepper out of fried rice was eating a bell pepper that had only been sliced in half! (39 year old housewife)”
“These are the impressions of the individual and the same results cannot be guaranteed for everyone.”
With the trouble on the way to school over, Kamijou had parted ways with Index and Mikoto and peacefully sat through his lessons. It was now after school and he was sitting on a park bench while reading the advertisement emails sent to his phone via the SNS that was quite popular lately.
That normal high school boy named Kamijou Touma gave a quiet sigh.
“That’s a bible we don’t need at my place.”
After all, his roommate was hardly a picky eater. She would start chomping into the hard noodles of instant ramen well before the three minutes were up, and she seemed perfectly delighted with it. The Kamijou household valued quantity over quality. What he wanted was information on sales that allowed him to acquire large amounts of food cheaply.
But the girl sitting next to him did not look pleased.
Index was peering at the cell phone screen from the side.
“Mh, you can’t do this, Touma! Food is one of the foundations of human life. You need to always strive to improve yourself!!”
“Then why don’t you try to improve yourself by learning how to cook!?”
“By the way, what are we having for dinner tonight?”
“Eh? I think the udon is getting close to its expiration date. If I add some random decorations and boil it in a pot…”
“We had that three days ago!”
“Then what about chilled udon? That would be great for the summer.”
“That was exactly what we had for lunch five days ago!”
“Oh, c’mon!! Don’t use your perfect memory for things like this!!”
That girl named Index had the special talent of never forgetting anything she learned. That ability had been used to have her memorize every line and character of 103,000 grimoires from around the world. She now functioned as a grimoire library.
However, Kamijou tilted his head in puzzlement.
“But if you can remember everything perfectly, can’t you remember the flavor of a luxurious 8000 yen sukiyaki set while eating chilled udon and be perfectly happy?”
“Ch-chasing after that kind of empty happiness does not fill my stomach!”
“Then can’t you remember what it feels like to be full…?”
“That would make me the same kind of sad person as the lumberjack rejoicing because a fairy tricked him into thinking the sawdust and leaves are piles of gold. I don’t want-…”
Index suddenly trailed off.
This was due to a bright white flash of light.
That brilliant light shot up from one area of Academy City and vertically towards the heavens.
It shot higher than the buildings and then higher than the clouds.
“Hyah!? Wh-why does that keep happening!?”
“They’re rockets. You wouldn’t think they were being launched all the way over in District 23 given how bright the light is.”
The light caused at launch was so bright, a notification had been sent out warning drivers to be careful. Recently, they had been fired at a rate of about one every 10 minutes.
The countless contrail-like trails of smoke created by the launches seemed to create a tower reaching up to heaven.
“Supposedly, the launches aren’t just coming from Academy City. There’s a rush to launch rockets from facilities all around the world. I hear there are about 400 rockets entered in the Venus Probe Contest. Anyone is free to enter, from projects put together by the EU and other groups made up of multiple nations down to regional efforts run by local shopping districts.”
But no one could hope to rival Academy City on the technological front.
After all, the technological level inside and outside the city was said to have a difference of 20 to 30 years.
The other nations were seeing if they could use quantity to defeat the great technological quality of Academy City. That less-than-intelligent plan was the only one left to them.
But even so…
(What do they get if they win?)
There was the naming of a newly discovered asteroid or mountain on Venus, but the amateur high school student Kamijou Touma could not think of any real merit beyond being recorded as the first to discover it. He wondered if they would give it the name of a convenience store in order to advertise.
The project might not have had an obvious objective such as the retrieval of some new and unknown material that would revolutionize Earth’s technology or contact with some aliens hiding behind the rocks.
Apparently, one of the most important efforts was to find materials altered by oil. The bodies of living creatures would break apart underground to form oil, so that discovery would prove creatures had lived there in the past. However, Kamijou was not sure what people gained by finding those traces of past creatures. Finding traces of rice in a rice bowl did not make that rice come back.
(This would be easier to understand if I could see something obvious people gained from this beyond simply making a historic discovery.)
Then again, if some obvious gain was found, it might change the field of space exploration from being about spectacular romance to being a fierce competition.
As Kamijou thought about all that, the girl next to him who lacked any scientific knowledge began trembling.
She said, “Y-you mean the science side has started to seize a portion of the starts that lie at the base of modern Western magic!? If the composition of the planets is changed, it would destroy the basic foundation of magic… But we will surely change to meet the demands of this age!! We will deal with this like the Japanese dealt with the arrival of ideas from the West!!”
Kamijou tried to get a response from her, but Index seemed to be getting poor reception so she simply continued trembling.
Kamijou decided to just let her continue trembling. He looked blankly into the sky as a few more rockets were launched.
“But are they really launching 400 of them? It seems like space debris would be a problem. If there is energy being emitted from Venus, won’t they start being repelled by a mountain of debris?”
In the end, the biggest problem to deal with was what to have for dinner.
“No one ever plans things out in this age when they can just go get the ingredients at the supermarket right before making the meal.”
“The problem is that you are too careless, Touma. If you had a perfect memory like me, you wouldn’t need to keep an account book for household expenses!”
“Then how about you actually use that perfect memory of yours!? If you do, you’ll notice that the problem is that you eat any ingredients I try to stock up on!! That is why I can only buy ingredients for that day and that day alone!!”
And so Kamijou and Index entered a supermarket with the much too blunt name of “For the Athletic Type!!”
The white nun was known around the area as “the devourer”, so the old women running the samples areas began retreating when they saw her enter. However, Index did not seem interested in them.
“T-Touma! That flier says a blue-fin tuna dissection show is starting!”
“There is no way that is happening!! We just can’t!! Any kind of food prepared in the supermarket would destroy our budget. And what about that is athletic!?”
“DHA! I want DHA tonight!!”
“If that’s all you want, then take a supplement!! In fact, do you even know what that is!?”
Index tried to run off through the store, but Kamijou grabbed at the back of her neck to stop her. If he let that girl head off, he might be stuck having to solve the mystery of how a giant blue-fin tuna had disappeared from a completely sealed room.
“Index, we are here to get dinner for tonight. We are not looking for something to eat right now.”
“I see! So you’re telling me to find something even more delicious than blue-fin tuna!?”
Since he had no idea what that interpretation would lead to, Kamijou pretended to rub Index’s head and locked on with an iron claw.
He then dragged her to the section carrying all the special deals of the day.
“T-Touma, why does this area seem to be filled with a dangerous smell!?”
“Unfortunately, that is the non-monetary price one must pay to get a good deal. If you want something that is ‘guaranteed’, you need to head to an organic shop!!”
“B-but look at this: ‘Space Carrots! Such a surprising change in the carotene!’ Doesn’t that sound a bit ominous!?”
“Yes, it does seem a bit dangerous to just call it a ‘surprising change’. I’m not even sure if it has more of it, less of it, or if the structure of the carotene itself has changed. But look at this wonderful price! Only the strange products that are partially covered with research funds can be this cheap!!”
“The word ‘research’ scares me! And you just admitted it was strange, didn’t you, Touma!?”
“If it looks exactly like a carrot and tastes exactly like a carrot, then I say it must be made of the same stuff as a carrot. In other words…well, it’s all the same in your stomach!!”
“W-wait, Touma! What am I supposed to do if it tastes like a melon!?”
“Then you’ll know what it was talking about here.”
“The surprising change to the carotene.”
“I don’t want a surprise!”
But Kamijou doubted the vegetables could be too dangerous if they had simply been grown on a space station.
Kamijou looked over at some other ingredients while ignoring Index who was trembling while looking into the shopping cart.
This is what he found.
“T-Touma. Did you even read this!? It says: ‘Genetically Improved Lettuce #3. Three hundred different insects refuse to approach it. Sorry about #1 and #2!!’ I can’t trust this new technology of Academy City! What does it mean if not even bugs are willing to eat it? Really, what does it mean!? I want to know what exactly makes the bugs run away from it!! And the fact that a #1 and #2 disappeared into the shadows of history clearly hints at a dangerous conclusion!!”
Even so, the research assistance made the price quite attractive.
The essence of a journey in search of meal ingredients was to cross the tightrope stretched between safety and budget.
And with that in mind, what was he to do here?
Eventually, Kamijou and Index were released from the minor hell of the supermarket.
“We’re having mizutaki tonight.”
“I-I know what all the ingredients are, but I still feel the thrill of a yaminabe…”
The white nun seemed oddly disheartened despite the topic being food. This was an exceedingly rare situation, but Kamijou did not particularly mind.
“Huh? What are you doing here?” asked a middle school girl.
It was the girl Kamijou had met that morning.
She wore the uniform of the prestigious Tokiwadai Middle School and was one of the only seven Level 5s in Academy City. She was the #3.
She was Misaka Mikoto.
“The two of you are walking together carrying supermarket bags…? What exactly are you two doing!?”
“You can’t tell!?”
“So you’re saying this is exactly what it looks like!? That’s what you’re saying!? And you were together this morning too!!”
“We were discussing whether carrots grown in space and lettuce that no insects will get anywhere near are actually safe to eat! Leave us alone, little girl!!”
“Eh? …What? So is this like a research project???” Mikoto was rather confused, so she simply gave her own opinion on the matter. “When they say insects won’t get near it, that isn’t because it is emitting insecticide from the leaves. It just tricks the insects by emitting a material similar to the pheromones that increase and decrease the insect’s hunger. The researchers only strengthened the defense mechanism the lettuce already had.”
“O-ohh…” groaned Index with a troubled look on her face.
Mikoto continued, “And even food not created in a test tube has its genetics altered in the form of selective breeding. Think of brand-name beef and rice. In fact, it would be hard to find food that hasn’t undergone cross breeding at some point. If you ignore all that and simply think of all genetic alterations as bad, you’ve left the realm of science. That would be more an issue of philosophy or religion.”
“Sh-short hair, I get the feeling you have completely fallen for the ideologies and dogma of science.”
But then Mikoto’s cell phone rang.
“Eh? Kuroko? …What? Wait, that’s actually really bad!”
She quickly hung up and looked over to Kamijou.
“The curfew is coming up soon, so you need to get back to your dorm right away!!”
“Listen, get back right now and do not leave your room! Understand!?”
Having said that, Mikoto ran off somewhere.
(What was that all about?)
Kamijou tilted his head in confusion.
“Well, it’s nothing new for her to be acting oddly. Hey, Index. Let’s get home.”
Index looked in a different direction as if she had just noticed something.
Kamijou looked over in the same direction, but he didn’t see anything of interest. He simply saw the usual scenery of Academy City.
“What is it, Index?”
“Huh? I think I saw that same thing earlier.”
“Well, yeah. Those wind turbines are located all over the city.”
“No, not that. Hmm…Huh? That’s odd. It’s true that it’s one of those ‘turbine’ things, but…huh? It should be outside my area of expertise, but for some reason I feel like it’s connected to my knowledge…”
That meant it would be related to magic rather than science, but Kamijou doubted the turbines that supported Academy City’s power would use any knowledge or techniques related to that.
“I might be able to figure something out if I check the ‘turbine’ I saw before. T-Touma, you go home ahead of me!”
“Eh? Wait a second, Index!”
“And I won’t be mad if you eat all of that suspicious dinner on your own!!”
“Ah, wait! Don’t tell me you’re planning to get a burger on your way! You don’t have any money!!”
Kamijou doubted he could chase after her with the shopping bags that weighed several kilograms in both hands. He looked around and spotted a coin locker with a refrigeration function he could leave them in. In order to avoid any unnecessary expenses or trouble for society, he prepared to chase after Index. But then…
He saw something glint in the sun.
It was at the base of the wind turbine’s pillar.
Only once he approached did he realize what it was. Some kind of thin, clear film had been attached to the surface of the round pillar. It was a rectangular optical filter about the size of a magazine. When he stared at it up close, he was able to see a strange pattern drawn on it with a slight color difference.
It was unclear what it meant, but it was unlike the sorts of diagrams and plans that Kamijou was familiar with.
And yet the pattern led him to suspect it had some sort of meaning even if he could not determine the specifics.
Ideology, religion, dogma.
It reminded him of those terms he had heard recently.
Kamijou looked suspiciously at the wind turbine and examined the clear film attached to it.
(I get the feeling this filter isn’t all there is to this. I feel like there is something else here.)
Had it been the filter that had stimulated Index’s knowledge? Or was it the “other thing” that Kamijou was vaguely sensing?
(Either way, this filter is definitely something magical!)
Kamijou focused his thoughts on the small goal in front of him.
He stretched out his right hand.
He stretched out Imagine Breaker.
It was limited to his right wrist and beyond, but he possessed the power to destroy any supernatural power of either magical or psychic nature.
His index finger touched the clear film.
In the next moment, the plastic-looking filter was smashed to countless tiny pieces with a dry bursting noise.
Something had been destroyed.
That meant the clear film had indeed used some sort of magic.
And just as that thought entered Kamijou’s mind…
Several pillars of fire suddenly roared up around Kamijou.
Kamijou let out that confused voice, but the situation was not going to wait for his understanding to catch up. The flames that had shot up began raining down from above.
(Shit… That filter was a switch!?)
It may have looked like a giant maw if viewed from the side.
And that boy’s body disappeared into the flames as if he was being devoured by that maw.
A helicopter suddenly landed on the road while ignoring all regulations regarding heliports. It and the pilot were the extent of the “limited cooperation” from Academy City. The red-haired priest who stepped out sighed as he grasped the situation.
His name was Stiyl Magnus.
He was a magician dispatched by Necessarius, the 0th Parish of the Anglican Church.
“…So it was failure,” he muttered.
The sea of flames was then instantaneously blown away with a great noise. When Kamijou Touma emerged from within, he was completely unscathed.
“What the hell are you doing!? Were those flames your doing!?”
“I won’t deny that, but you were not the intended target. And now I must ask you the same question: what are you doing?” Stiyl used the cigarette held between the fingers of his right hand to point at the wind turbine Kamijou had just touched. “How much do you know about what was set up there?”
“You mean the clear filter you set up? But more importantly-…!!”
“That is not all that is there,” said Stiyl, cutting Kamijou off. “I used that filter as a new magic circle on top of the magic circle that was already there.”
“…That was already there?”
“You can’t see it?” Stiyl continued while Kamijou frowned in confusion. “Well, it isn’t drawn using ink. The enemy probably used a powerful ultraviolet light. It’s the same as how sunlight causes a poster to fade. They drew the circle by causing the paint on the pillar to fade slightly. Naturally, this method violates the treaty between magic and science.”
Kamijou looked more closely at the wind turbine, but he still could not see anything like that. It must have been possible to create a magic circle with alterations so small an amateur could not see them.
“And why do you think I attached that magic circle made from special ink on a clear material? It was to interfere with…or rather, overwrite their circle. By adding my own circle on top, I could destroy their pattern. And when the pattern changes, the effects of the circle change. If I alter the effects the maker of the circle wanted, they will attempt to remove the filter I attached. Then when the trap activates, I can capture this hidden person…or so it should have gone.”
“Wait a second. Are you saying someone other than you did something to this wind turbine?”
“And the trap you set to catch them activated in vain…”
“That would be thanks to you.”
“Doesn’t that mean this magician is now aware of the trap?”
“You only just now caught on to that fact?” muttered Stiyl as he tossed his cigarette away.
A flame sword shot out forcefully along the path of the cigarette.
“But it was my own fault for not eliminating a known concern. I knew there was a risk of an ignorant amateur messing everything up.”
“The situation is urgent. And your actions here has upped the rank of the urgency,” said the red-haired priest with a light tone despite holding a weapon that could easily kill. “I do not have the time or the desire to deal with uncertain elements. Really, I should probably just kill you, but I will stop at simply beating some sense into you.”
Kamijou Touma’s Imagine Breaker was limited to his right hand, but it could negate any magic or psychic power. This of course meant it functioned as the natural enemy of those who wielded such supernatural powers, but his level of danger changed greatly depending on if it was his first fight with someone or a subsequent one.
Simply put, once the enemy knew about his ability, they could build up a strategy around it.
“First, I will not enter the striking range of your fist.” Stiyl took a step backwards. “And I will repeat attacks that cause definite damage to wear you down bit by bit.”
He swung his flame sword and caused it to explode to send shockwaves scattering.
Naturally, the damage done was greater the closer one was to the center of the explosion. Using the attack at a distance like that would lessen its destructive power and make it difficult to use effectively.
But he did not care.
He would wear Kamijou down little by little until he could no longer fight.
“Tch. So you had rune cards hidden around the turbine from the beginning!?”
“If I did not, this would not have been a very effective trap. The first wave keeps the target in place while I move quickly to the scene. Then, I would have finished off the target while their movements were dulled.”
Kamijou guessed Stiyl must have put a lot of thought into the placement of the runes. The spot Stiyl currently stood in and the routes he would move along would have meaning.
If Kamijou tried to simply charge toward him, something like a barricade might appear to block his path.
“Fighting on a stage you prepared ahead of time simply puts me at the disadvantage.”
“Then what will you do?”
“Run away,” he replied immediately.
Kamijou Touma then turned tail and ran as quickly as he could.
It may have looked foolish at first, but it was a decent choice for a battle against Stiyl. The magician’s magic was most effective on a field on which a large number of rune cards had been set up, so if he left that prepared field, Stiyl could no longer use his full power. That alone was not enough to defeat Stiyl, but it would give him the opening he would need for an attack.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t have thought of that when setting up this trap?”
Kamijou heard the roar of flames consuming oxygen as a pillar of fire shot up to block his path. He frantically stopped as that pillar took the form of a giant human.
This was Innocentius.
This spell had the greatest destructive power out of all of Stiyl Magnus’s spells. On a field supplied with rune cards, that mass of 3000 degree flames could immediately regenerate and attack no matter how many times it was destroyed.
Kamijou Touma’s right hand could destroy it, but it would simply regenerate as soon as he did. If Innocentius stopped him here, Stiyl could freely move to attack.
“Isn’t it a bit early to be using your greatest technique?”
“After all.” Kamijou Touma grinned. “If you don’t place it in between us, I can negate all the other magic you use as I run straight for you.”
What Kamijou had been afraid of was that Stiyl could always use that “greatest technique”.
But now that it was already being used, he could find a way around it.
“I’ve never heard anything about you being able to use more than Innocentius at a time. …You haven’t made any advances since the last time I saw you, have you?”
Stiyl frantically tried to give further instructions, but it was too late.
Kamijou turned around 180 degrees and immediately ran straight for Stiyl. Innocentius pursued Kamijou from behind, but it was not fast enough to move in between him and Stiyl. No matter what traps might lie between them, Kamijou could negate them all with his right hand as long as they were not Innocentius class. The red-haired priest detonated his flame sword again and again to hold the boy back, but the distant shockwaves were not enough to completely stop Kamijou.
By the time Kamijou was in range of the full effects of the flame sword’s shockwaves, his right hand could reach the priest. He threw his fist towards the flame sword swinging towards him and negated the magic.
And that meant…
Kamijou’s foot slammed powerfully down right up in front of Stiyl.
He poured his full weight into his tightly clenched right fist. In the follow through of the strike on the flame sword, his fist flew forcefully for the tall priest’s jaw.
The great noise and impact that Stiyl had been expecting did not come.
“…Why did you stop?”
“Is there really any reason for us to be fighting?” replied Kamijou immediately.
The fist that had stopped right in front of Stiyl’s face moved once more and lightly tapped Stiyl on the jaw.
It had either taken Index a while to notice the disturbance or she had been obstructed by some kind of trap because she only arrived after it was all over.
“Touma! Why are you fighting a magician again while I was off investigating the magic circle at the base of these ‘turbines’!?”
“That’s right. Thanks to this boy intruding once again, we at Necessarius are even busier than we were before.”
“I’m mad at you too! You’re an expert magician, so how can you go all out against an amateur like Touma!?”
When Index yelled at him, Stiyl quickly turned his back and shrugged.
Because he had turned his back, Kamijou was unable to see what expression was on his face.
Kamijou was not sure he wanted to know.
And so he intentionally changed to subject.
“Stiyl, who is this magician you’re after? What are they trying to do in this city?”
“Do you feel responsible because you ruined my trap?”
“No, you idiot. This is our city.”
Stiyl clicked his tongue.
Stiyl must have managed to compose himself because he turned around before speaking.
“The enemy this time is a magic cabal that uses Hindu mythology. It is known as the Gate of the Gods Come from the Heavens. It is a small organization of only about 50 people, but that means the individual members’ pure ideologies will not throw the entire group into disarray. In other words, it would be difficult to invite any of them to compromise which makes them quite dangerous. …Their characteristic trait is their method of training their physical bodies to the limit using extreme exercises, fasting, and the like. And that is also one of the reasons behind their conflict with Academy City.”
“The scientific training methods Academy City has developed calculate out the optimal values for eating, exercising, and resting. To a magic cabal that views pain that exceeds one’s limits as the path to a body that exceeds its limits, Academy City may look like a cowardly group taking the easy route to strength.”
“So these people who take issue with Academy City have snuck into the city and drawn magic circles on wind turbines all over the place? …That can only be bad.”
“It is unclear how far they have progressed, but they are most likely using Agni’s Festival Fire. It is the same method used to attack a large sports gym in New Delhi two years ago.” Despite his casual tone, Stiyl informed them of something very, very bad. “Agni is associated with fire and lightning and they are using him as their symbol. Simply put, the spell allows them to alter the output of the electromagnetic waves that are normally flying every which way. They can use that to cause a large scale disaster. …If they activate Agni’s Festival Fire on this scale, Academy City will be turned into a giant microwave oven.”