There was a boy named Kamisato Kakeru.
Or perhaps it would be best to say there “had been” one.
He had been the kind of normal high school boy one could find anywhere.
Or at least he had never missed a chance to say so.
At one point, he had belatedly realized he had been given a power that did not suit him at all. But sadly his sensibilities remained those of “a normal high school boy”, so he lacked the flexibility needed to adapt to this sudden opportunity. This psychological phenomenon was not all that unusual. For example, he could not have been the only one that, when looking at the lottery tickets for sale, would think, “winning first prize would be great, but if I really did win it, it would tear my current life apart.”
In a way, Kamisato Kakeru had won a lottery he did not remember entering.
He thought this unasked-for fortune had torn his life apart.
Even the things he had already possessed seemed to change in his view. Just like an unexpected financial windfall would cast a dark light on anyone approaching with a smile on their face.
What had that boy felt after all color seemed to fade from his world?
He had felt intense anger toward the lottery runners who had selfishly selected him and he had concluded that eliminating them from the world would negate that selection.
It was simple enough to say, but that boy had actually acted on it. He and the more than 100 girls following him had found the beings known as Magic Gods, cornered them, and hunted them down. And he had used the very right hand that those Magic Gods had given him.
For better or for worse, that should have tied up all the loose ends in Kamisato Kakeru’s story. But he had chosen a poor location for his revenge: Academy City.
A single scientist greatly changed the history of the world.
Her name was Kihara Yuiitsu.
She had grown cruelly involved when Kamisato Kakeru had killed the golden retriever that Academy City had sent as an assassin.
She had bluntly accepted the power of the boy who had destroyed the being she looked up to as a teacher, and then she had calmly sharpened her fangs as she waited for the chance to take his head.
The result had been a draw due to injury.
But Kihara Yuiitsu had severed the very right hand that made Kamisato Kakeru special and transplanted it onto her own wrist.
Act Two had begun in an Academy City with a temperature of 55 degrees Celsius.
Kihara Yuiitsu had created “something like a soul” from the four classic elements and placed them in a flesh container known as a reduced life form. By sending out these artificial life forms known as Elements, she had worked to force Kamisato Kakeru out of hiding even if it meant turning her own home of Academy City into a sea of blood.
Kamisato had learned of the Elements’ weakness to high temperatures and filled Academy City with microwaves emitted from satellite orbit to restrict the Elements’ movements while he searched for Kihara Yuiitsu.
This battle also ended in a draw due to injury.
Kihara Yuiitsu had been defeated, but to prevent the suicidal ignition of some rocket engines, Kamisato Kakeru had attached World Rejecter to his wrist once more for a final attack that would annihilate himself.
With that, the boy had been erased from the visible world.
And Kihara Yuiitsu had once more taken his right hand.
She spoke to the girls who had been left behind:
Kamisato Kakeru has been destroyed, but he is not dead. If the gate known as World Rejecter is used, there might be a one-in-a-million or one-in-a-billion chance of rescuing him. Are you sure you want to bring that down to zero?
That bound them.
She had easily completed the curse that Kamisato Kakeru had most feared: the owner of the right hand became the ruler of the girls.
To test the strength of this curse, Kihara Yuiitsu had given her first command:
Kill Kamijou Touma. I will use that to measure the loyalty of my new tools.
Kamijou Touma ran with all his might through a gray city that showed no signs of recovering from its collapse.
He was accompanied by the one girl who had not been bound by the curse: Fran.
“To hell with all of that.”
Alongside this ally who could turn on him at any time, the spiky-haired boy gave a roar of defiance against the unreasonable world.
“I’m done not acting like myself!! I’ll show this world just who Kamijou Touma is!!!!!!”
This is the story of the 48 hours until Academy City recovers from its great disaster.
This is the story of a boy attempting to save Kamisato Kakeru despite being told how impossible that is.
And that boy woke up in a gray and chilly city.
It was an unreasonable chill that both stabbed at his skin and caused his organs to shiver from the inside. But once he thought about it rationally, he realized this was how things should be. It was December 9, so it was midwinter. It went without saying what would happen to someone lying on the freezing asphalt in nothing but a swimsuit.
He sat up.
His fuzzy mind started working again.
He reached his right hand toward the side of his neck to crack the bone, but belatedly realized it was not working right.
His hand was missing. His wrist simply had a rag wrapped around it.
(Oh, that’s right. Since we settled things with Yuiitsu, the Elements will have stopped and Fran could end the microwave heat wave meant to stop them.)
It felt strange.
He could never speak with or contact them again, but the effects of their actions could still reach him here.
(But…this is kind of moving. So this is the abyss.)
This was not heaven or hell and it was not a strange world of swords and magic where his soul had been reincarnated. It was based on Academy City, but there was no one here. If the single line of time was seen as split into frames like a film, then normal people only perceived about 10 frames per second. If the actual amount of information was seen as 30 frames per second, then there were excess frames that acted like gaps.
From that perspective, World Rejecter, which had been a certain boy’s right hand, would shift people and objects into those excess frames. That meant those people and objects could never interact with anyone despite being in the same world. If some subliminal footage was slipped in between the frames of a movie, the characters in the movie could not perceive the subliminal soda bottle.
The boy could not even guess what would happen to him now. He could not interact with anyone but himself in this world. He would truly have to be self-sufficient here. Even if he could find food for today, his future looked bleak. He might be just fine, but he might collapse from hunger, thirst, or the cold before the first day was out. And even if he was physically fulfilled, he might break mentally. His only option was to try out whatever he could. There were no more rails laid out by anyone.
“What a pain. …Hm?”
He suddenly looked down at his right hand and something occurred to him. The hand itself was gone. He had been blown away by World Rejecter, so it made sense that the target had been set as “everything but the hand”. If World Rejecter had come with him, it would only have continued blowing him away forever.
But that was not what caught his attention. It was the lack of bleeding. It was not quite a bandage, but an old rag had been lazily wrapped around his wrist and it had absorbed too much blood to tell what color it had originally been.
Unless he had woken up once before, stopped the bleeding, and collapsed again, there had to be someone else here.
“Oh, I get it…”
When he stood up and looked around, he saw things other than himself lying around: Scraps of metal that had likely been weapons, the remains of some truly gigantic rocket boosters, a ton of dirt, and a dried mark on a wall that had originally been bubbles. Those were likely things he had blown away with his right hand, although he was having trouble remembering them all now.
And there was no reason only the objects would have come here.
It would have been odd if some other people had not already been here.
(But in that case…)
That was when he heard a footstep.
He turned around and saw a girl there. Her black hair was cut at shoulder length, she had skin too sickly to even call pale, and she wore a short China dress.
The boy had looked around a moment before and there had been no one around then, but this girl had arrived right in front of him in the intersection of two large roads with nowhere to hide.
The newcomer spoke her name.
“You got that right.”
Even now, her tone was light and jocular.
And she was not alone. He suddenly sensed presences all around him and gazes stabbing into him. He did not turn around this time. A great pressure was keeping him from moving.
Who had been the most remarkable people he had erased?
All of them were gathered “here”.
Like a forest rustling in the wind or a swarm of bugs crawling along the ground, Kamisato sensed something bizarre near his ears. This was something other than a so-called sixth sense. It may have been like the tinnitus or sharp headache some people felt when entering a haunted location. Or it was like the building rooftops, shadows below cars, and gaps between walls and vending machines. Once you started thinking about those places, it started to feel like someone was watching you from there.
Furthermore, the boy no longer had his special right hand or the 100 girls around him.
“Well, we have some choice words for you after we gave you a gift and you slaughtered us with it…”
Niang-Niang smiled cruelly toward that exposed soul.
He would have died of blood loss if they had left him alone, but they had gone out of their way to stop the bleeding and keep him alive. And the reason why could not have been more obvious.
“But let’s leave it at this: it’s time you had your ass kicked by every last Magic God.”
Or perhaps this was Limbo, where the souls of suicide victims wandered.
All sorts of redness arrived from 360 degrees to assault Kamisato Kakeru who had nothing now.