test 2 Picture
“…What is this?”
“It’s the new salsa burger meal. Ugh, they tried too hard to make it unique and ended up making the flavor way too strong. And it’s spicy!! I can see why the standard large burger never stops being the best seller.”
“That’s not what I meant, you idiot!! We! Are!! Enemies!! There’s something wrong with us eating together like this!!”
“What? Is it that odd for us to have a bit of a chat? Whether I was a member of GREMLIN or not, I’m betting you would be treating me differently if I was a short girl with large breasts that clearly wanted you to protect her.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“That’s why I tried to make this easier by disguising myself as a girl you know.”
“Come to think of it, how did that work?”
“You wouldn’t understand me if I got into the details of the magic, so I’ll try to keep it simple. In Norse mythology, when the thunder god had his weapon stolen, he disguised himself as the goddess of beauty, Freyja, in order to lure out the thief. I put together a disguise spell based on that legend, but that means I can only disguise myself as girls.”
“…How did you know about what Misaka and I said back in Hawaii?”
“When that argument happened, the F.C.E. surveillance network that used cameras throughout America was still running. In other words, it all went straight to GREMLIN. I’ve gotta say, Misaka-chan is quite the young lady.”
“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!! My yoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!”
Thor gave a cheerful smile as Kamijou held his head and wailed.
“Don’t worry about it. With the life you live, you can’t afford to get embarrassed over every little thing like that.”
“How can you say that!? Are you trying to pick a fight after all!?”
“In a way, I suppose I am,” said Thor as he lightly shook his blond hair that reached his waist. “But the type of fights you saw in Hawaii and Baggage City are not my type of fight. That kind of thing is no fun. Of course, I suppose I am a villain if I use that as the basis for my decisions.”
“C’mon, eat. Don’t just sit there. I’m paying, so you might as well eat as much as you can, right?”
Thor must have not liked spicy foods because he seemed to give his tongue a rest with a bite of salad or sip of soda between each bite of the salsa burger. Since he did not seem to like that kind of food, he may have been won over by the temptation of ordering a new item on the menu.
Kamijou grabbed the wrapper for his hamburger while making sure not to get any red sauce on his fingers.
“…So what did you want to talk about? Are you here to make a declaration of war?”
“This would be a lot simpler if I could. Even without doing that, the situation here is tangled up in a complicated mess. Basically, I want to clean up that mess before getting to the real issue at hand.”
“What are you talking about?”
Thor spoke a single name.
With that name spoken, Kamijou knew he could no longer remain wholly uninvolved.
“He told you some things without giving you any proof while looking down on you the entire time, didn’t he? And now you have grown rather nervous about what crisis is going to occur. Am I wrong?”
“…Without giving any proof? Are you saying he was lying?”
“You are afraid of being made to fight according to someone else’s wishes again, aren’t you? Like with Leivinia Birdway in Hawaii or Kihara Kagun in Baggage City.”
“Don’t glare at me like that. We know we are at the root of it all. But do you truly believe that just because we in GREMLIN are the villains that Ollerus is wholly good and just simply by opposing us? Or to go even further, can anyone who resolves his problems with violence truly be considered good and just?”
He was no longer referring only to Ollerus. That last comment denied all the actions Kamijou had taken up to that point.
And even Kamijou was not so sure he was wrong.
For example, there was Tsukuyomi Komoe.
For example, there was Last Order.
For example, there was Oyafune Monaka.
A truly good person and a truly just person may have been someone who was able to choose to not fight even in a crisis and yet was still able to save their enemy with that choice.
That was a territory that lay far, far ahead of Kamijou who would clench his fist without thinking whenever a problem occurred.
“Now, let’s talk about Ollerus. Let’s talk about that man who relies on violence just as much as we do in GREMLIN,” said Thor as he put ketchup on a nugget. “He did not come to Academy City alone.”
“He brought the Saint named Silvia, Fiamma of the Right who was the true leader of God’s Right Seat, a Valkyrie named Brunhild Eiktobel, and Leivinia Birdway, the boss of the magic cabal named the Dawn-Colored Sunlight. Every one of them is enough of a monster not to lose to your average member of GREMLIN. They go well beyond the level of a normal magician. …Basically, they detected our movements and gathered in Academy City to stop our plan.”
Kamijou felt an ominous feeling in his chest when he heard that name.
The boss of the Dawn-Colored Sunlight. She had tricked Kamijou and the others when they went to Hawaii to resolve the situation there, creating a large crack between Academy City and its cooperative institutions. She had been one of the root causes behind the disturbance in Baggage City.
But this was no time to get caught up over that.
“What about it? Aren’t they here to protect the people of Academy City from the likes of you?”
“If so why did they choose to make Academy City the battlefield?” pointed out Thor in annoyance. He threw a nugget in his mouth and continued, “If they truly wished to protect Academy City from us, it would have been in their best interests to put an end to this before we snuck into Academy City. Simply put, it would have been easy enough to set up a defensive line around Academy City rather than waiting within. The sea around Japan or the mountains around the Kanto district would have worked nicely.” Thor licked ketchup and grease from his fingertips before continuing in a lower tone. “So why did they set up this great force within Academy City? They know how dangerous we in GREMLIN are. Surely they have taken into consideration the possibility that we have already made our way in by this point. It seems to me that they are intentionally setting things up so Academy City is involved. But what do you think? Does this seem like the work of pacifists?”
“Just as we have our own objective in GREMLIN, Ollerus’s group has their own objective. And they will use Academy City to carry it out. That is the meaning behind how they are setting this up. Who knows if it will work or not, but they want a conflict to break out in Academy City so the city’s defensive forces target us in GREMLIN. I doubt those defenses can actually kill me, but having to fight the Science side and Ollerus’s group at the same time would make things quite a bit more difficult.”
Every individual magician belonging to GREMLIN had monstrous powers.
But that was not the most frightening thing.
That would be the fact that those powers were wielded as a group.
“So you’re saying Ollerus’s group chose this location so events would stray from the standard pattern and interfere with GREMLIN’s teamwork?”
“That’s my theory anyway.”
Kamijou put his half-eaten burger down on the tray.
He had suddenly lost his appetite.
They were allowing the fires of war to spread through Academy City to carry out their own objective.
If that was true, the friend/foe chart had suddenly changed.
“…Do you know what Ollerus is after?”
“No. In the end, it really comes down to the antagonism between Ollerus and Othinus. They’re both monsters completely immersed in the territory of a Magic God. I have no idea if a mere member like me would be privy to the true intentions behind it all.”
“You’re telling me to trust you based on that!? That’s exactly the kind of thing an enemy would say!!”
“I never said to trust me, you idiot. I’m telling you not to rely too much on information from just one side. I’m sure Ollerus told you all sorts of things. So now hear what our side has to say. Once you’ve gathered as much information as you can, you can come to your own conclusion. The only way to escape being someone’s puppet is to think for yourself. And if you’re going to do that, the more information you have, the better. Am I wrong?”
“…Then what are you after? No matter which path I choose, I’m still going to be your enemy.”
“Even if we are enemies and we must fight eventually, I think we should have everything settled beforehand so we can fight with no reservations. To be honest, the situation surrounding you is pretty pathetic. Everyone is desperate to lead you around like a trained monkey so they can use your right hand’s power for their own benefit. A fight with you under those circumstances wouldn’t be any fun.What is your view of the situation?” Thor continued speaking as he battled the salsa burger even though it seemed clear he had already lost. “The thing is, Ollerus has shown off an odd characteristic at times. I don’t know if he has always been like this or if he became like this as he approached becoming a Magic God, though.”
“He is fundamentally a philanthropist. If he sees someone in trouble, he will use any amount of power to help that person. But he loses sight of his surroundings when that happens. To be blunt, he is a man who would slaughter a military force of 1 million to save a single child he had never met before. I do not know what Ollerus is telling himself his actions are saving here, but if it is something outside of Academy City, it is entirely possible he would see no problem with using Academy City to save it.”
It was unclear how much of what that boy was saying was true.
However, it was true that Kamijou knew nothing when it came to Ollerus. He had been saved by the man in Baggage City, but that was not enough to say that Ollerus was truly his ally.
It had been the same with Leivinia Birdway, the boss of the Dawn-Colored Sunlight.
Kamijou asked a serious question.
“Let’s say for argument’s sake that GREMLIN is up to no good and Ollerus’s group is not being exactly benevolent despite opposing them. What do you gain by explaining all of this to me?”
“Oh, that’s simple,” said Thor offhandedly. “GREMLIN has come to Academy City because there is something here we want. And Ollerus has come to Academy City to stop us. …I happen to know of a way we can completely dumbfound both of those groups as they take their annoyingly careful and hesitant actions. Don’t you think that would be fun?”
“The two of us can rescue the prize they are fighting over.”
“Lies? Secret plans? I don’t care about any of that. A girl named Fräulein Kreutune is being imprisoned. That should be enough for you to go save her. What does it matter if there is more to the story or if someone else has some other goal!? If there is a girl closed up in some dark room being treated cruelly, that should be enough for you to go save her! I thought that was who the ‘wonderful enemy’ I had imagined was! Was I wrong!?”
“Yes, you may have been used for other people’s plans in Hawaii and Baggage City. So what? What does that have to do with Fräulein Kreutune who is suffering now? Are your pathetic experiences enough of a reason to abandon her with a smile on your face!? If you truly think so, there’s no hope for you. The only reason you have just barely managed to get by in a world of experts for this long is that you have always been acting on a desire to rescue someone even if you did not always succeed in the end. If you lose that, your fist becomes nothing more than a tool for your own selfish desires!! Don’t you understand that!?”
The next kick sounded muffled.
This time, Thor’s toes had not reached Kamijou’s gut. Just before they did, Kamijou had blocked it with both hands.
“…Shut up,” said Kamijou Touma with a voice that seemed to come up from the depths of the earth. “How can someone from GREMLIN, the ones behind all this, say all that while looking down on me? Not even Leivinia Birdway’s plan was this bad. If GREMLIN hadn’t been going on rampages all over the place, none of this would be happening in the first place! The incident in Hawaii would never have happened, the incident in Baggage City would never have happened, and this incident regarding Fräulein Kreutune would not be happening!!”
“Were you even listening…?”
Thor lightly lifted up his right foot that had been blocked. It looked like he was just trying to remove it from Kamijou’s grasp, but instead of going in for another kick, he stomped the foot down on Kamijou’s upraised side.
The sound of the impact rang out.
“I’m going behind GREMLIN’s back to put a stop to Othinus and the other’s rampage!! The infighting in Hawaii? The destruction of Baggage City? Do you really think everyone in GREMLIN supported those things!?”
“I was wondering what Othinus was doing in secret while leaving me out of the loop, and it turned out she was pathetically working at tormenting the weak. Listen up. I have no grand plan. I just crush those I don’t like. And that’s why I have betrayed GREMLIN!!”
Thor swung his right leg back and kicked Kamijou in the gut with a similar motion to kicking a soccer ball as hard as one could.
Kamijou rolled a few meters to the side and Thor asked him a question.
“You’ve acted all full of yourself, but what do you have now? You keep denying other people’s opinions and suspecting them, but what does that leave you with? …I don’t know if you’ve gotten drunk on tragedy or if you’re just pretending to be clever, but you are not shining in the slightest right now. You were better when you were being tricked by everyone around you but were still reaching your hand out to help any crying girl you saw.”
“How many people do you think were in danger in Hawaii? Or in Baggage City?” muttered Kamijou.
He grabbed the edge of a collapsed table and slowly stood up.
“I don’t know either. More people than I could count were caught up in those incidents. A single decision by me could have increased or decreased that number!! And this isn’t just a number we’re talking about. These are lives of living human beings! What’s wrong with wanting to be cautious about that kind of thing!?”
“But is your hesitation really so that you can make the best decision?”
A sound like a spark rang out.
Some kind of bluish-white beam of light came from the lightning god Thor’s fingertips.
This was what his name referred to.
This was the scorching lightning that was similar to an electric arc and could slice through thick steel.
“If it’s really just that you’re afraid of choosing…”
“If it’s really just that you’re afraid of having to deal with the consequences of your decision.”
Thor took a step closer.
“If that is your reason for abandoning someone, then you are a true villain.”
It came in a horizontal strike.
The bluish-white beam of light grew to about the size of a sword and mercilessly flew towards Kamijou’s neck. The beam explosively expanded. The scattered light melted a toppled table like it was cheese and set some burger wrappers on fire.
That electric arc that could slice through a metal plate over 10 cm thick like it was the paper of a goldfish scoop did not decapitate Kamijou Touma.
This was thanks to his right hand.
Kamijou Touma’s Imagine Breaker blew away the light blade that Thor had used.
“You’re taking me too lightly,” Kamijou said clearly while breathing heavily. “I never had any kind of overarching plan either!!”
Just as it looked like another bluish-white beam of light would appear from Thor’s fingertips, Kamijou dashed over and grabbed his right wrist. The blade that could slice through steel disappeared before it could fully form.
Kamijou did not wait.
While Thor was distracted by the vanished blade, Kamijou slammed his knee into his gut.
“All I hear is you shouting out whatever crap you like. What I don’t like is when I do what I want and someone else uses it to their own ends in some completely different place!!”
A dull noise rang out.
“I would stop a fight. Or I would save a crying girl. That was enough for me, but everyone else wouldn’t stop carrying on and would eventually lead it to some completely different conclusion!! If 1 plus 1 equaled 2, there wouldn’t be a problem. The problem is that it somehow ends up equaling negative 5 or negative 10!! Will this really end up saving Fräulein Kreutune!? Well!? Will it!?”
When he saw that the magician was unsteady on his feet, Kamijou let go of his right wrist and swung his own clenched fist toward the magician’s nose.
But Thor blocked it with his left arm.
At the same time, Thor tried to use a leg to sweep Kamijou’s feet out from under him. Instead, Kamijou stomped down on the lightning god’s foot.
“I’m sick of trying to save someone and only causing more suffering as a result!! That’s why I want to be properly prepared before taking action! Why don’t you understand that!?”
“Now you’ve said it…” muttered Thor.
He grabbed Kamijou’s collar with both hands.
He lifted Kamijou’s entire body up.
Kamijou’s feet left the floor.
“Is that why you end up never taking action at all? Because they don’t have some grand title? Because you don’t know them? Because you don’t recognize them? Because you’ve never met them? …You’re wrong, Kamijou Touma. You just gave your own answer. You just showed what stage you’re having trouble with. Just realize it already, you dumb bastard!!”
He slammed Kamijou’s back to the ground.
In all seriousness, Kamijou’s breathing stopped for an instant.
And then Thor’s fist fell down upon Kamijou’s face two or three times.
Kamijou did not even know how many blows he had received before he managed to twist his body and just barely avoid Thor’s next blow.
After that, the situation grew utterly confused.
They were both trying to get on top so they could keep the other from moving, but even that simple goal grew uncertain partway through. They would punch, be punched, and then punch again. As the exchange of blows continued, all their complex thoughts were torn from their minds.
It was unclear what exactly caused it, but Kamijou and Thor both suddenly stopped their scuffle. The right third of Kamijou’s vision was blurred. He had no idea how Thor had fared, but he was a member of GREMLIN. He surely could have used several pieces of magic that would blow away the entire fast food restaurant. He must have had a reason for not doing so.
As he breathed heavily, Thor asked his question once more.
“So do you want to help her or not?”
“If she really is suffering,” replied Kamijou while ignoring the people watching on from a distance. “But if you are trying to use me for your own ends like Leivinia Birdway and Kihara Kagun, prepare yourself. I will rescue Fräulein Kreutune even if I have to crush your plan.”
Hearing that, Thor gave a thin smile.
“Do as you wish.”
“I am taking action tonight. You choose whatever you think the best option is to save Fräulein Kreutune. It doesn’t matter to me if that is to help me or oppose me. …As long as you end up saving Fräulein Kreutune in the end, I don’t care what your methods are.”
Thor placed his hand atop a table that was still standing and wrote something on a paper napkin using a bluish-white beam of light. He showed Kamijou the writing burned into the napkin before tossing it aside. The paper napkin caught fire around the writing and burned away, leaving no trace of the information written there.
He turned his back on Kamijou and spoke softly.
“I will be there. You should be able to use that information to your advantage whether you plan to help me or oppose me.”