Toaru Majutsu no Heavy Zashiki Warashi ga Kantan na Satsujinhi no Konkatsu Jijou - LightNovelsOnl.com
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The Circ.u.mstances Leading to Waltraute’s Marriage A boy falls in love with Waltraute the Valkyrie and Waltraute is dragged around by that boy. That should have been all it was, but the next thing she knows, she is frying Odin and destroying Ragnarök. Part 1 However, they were unable to return home. Part 2 “………………………………………………………………………………………………………” Kamijou Touma, Index, Misaka Mikoto, Quenser Barbotage, Heivia Winch.e.l.l, Milinda Brantini (aboard the Object), Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu, Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ Yukari, the Yuki Onna, Anzai Kyousuke, Higas.h.i.+kawa Mamoru, Bunny Girl Karen, Nanajou Kyouichirou, and Satsuki all stood in complete silence on the Divine s.h.i.+p Skíðblaðnir’s deck. After so confidently declaring they were going home, here they still were. Their surroundings had seemed to blur, but they found themselves standing in the exact same place again. A few hours seemed to have pa.s.sed, Waltraute and Hel were gone, and the absence of the previous heat left them feeling even colder about being stranded here. It was the same feeling as waiting to scare some people during a test of courage, but having no one walk down the path and realizing you had been left all alone in a haunted area. The search for the culprit soon began. “Is this what I think it is?” asked the Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+. “Did one of us want to have some more fun and didn’t want to go back, so they ended up shutting down the entire process?” “You mean someone is keeping us from going back?” asked an enraged Misaka Mikoto. “Well!? I don’t really get what’s going on, but boys!! I’m sure it was you as gave us dirty looks!!” “What!? Wouldn’t it be you girls who don’t want to go back? After all, you’ll be thrown out in the streets wearing nothing but your bikini armor!!” “And whose fault is that!? I’ll fry you!!” Starting with Mikoto and Heivia, sparks flew between the girls and boys. The only one they could rely on here was their big brother in spirit, Kamijou Touma. “C-calm down,” said the gentleman. “We all want to get back home, so instead of fighting, we should try working togeth-…” “Shut up!! Let’s attack him first!!!!!!” the rest shouted. After they created a great cloud of dust filled with flying star marks, they stood around the pointy-haired idiot who could only crawl along the deck with his clothes about to fall off. “I-I really think this treatment is unacceptable…” No one listened to what the b.a.s.t.a.r.d said. “Anyway, if we don’t solve this problem quickly, we might be stuck here forever!” (Index) “Quit trying to take the reasonable side!! I hate when people try to stay so pure! You’re so full of yourself!!” (Anzai Kyousuke) “I don’t like how heated up you get. Should I cool you down?” (Yuki Onna) “Um, is it just me or are all of you so preoccupied with finding the culprit that you don’t care about getting back to our worlds?” (Bunny Girl) “I’ve never liked this place! It’s supposed to be a legit fantasy world, but there’s no sigh of a nude Witches’ Sabbath or a cursed swimsuit that makes any girl who wears it h.o.r.n.y!!” (Quenser) “I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re trying to say, but I can a.s.sume you’re saying you want me to kill you, can’t I?” (Satsuki) The second round began. Some might wonder which side would win in a serious conflict, but generally, the girls were far stronger. If the boys could be seen as a p.a.w.n with a chance to be promoted, the girls were all rooks and bishops. They might have been able to strike at the weaknesses of any one of the girls, but there was nothing they could do when an Object, some Youkai, a Level 5, and a Killer Queen all attacked at once. And after thirty seconds, all of the boys were forced to crawl along the deck with their clothes about to fall off. “Wh-why don’t you get that no one wants to see this!? This is where the armor is supposed to break for a nice ill.u.s.tration!!” “And all of you are too powerful!! Did you create an angry beauty barrier or something!?” The victors were not about to listen to the complaints of the pummeled ones. The girls began planning while looking down on the boys as if they were dung beetles. “So what should we do now?” “Hmm. Whether intentionally or not, I think someone is interfering with the process to take us home.” “In other words, we can get back if we slaughter all of the despicable guys?” “Starting with all of them would be too cruel. How about we kill them one by one and see when the sparkling transportation effect comes back?” They were about to see firsthand how executions were used as public entertainment in Medieval Europe, but something stopped them. Or rather, a bigger problem fell on top of them. Waltraute, the fourth Valkyrie sister, and Hel, queen of the underworld and second head G.o.d, crashed down like a shooting star while tearing at each other’s hair and clothes. “Gwoooooohhhhhhhh!! Just give up already, you d.a.m.n thief!! I already know you took that boy down into the underworrrrrrrlllllllllld!!” “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!? I know you’re the one that dragged him up to the heavenly world, you murdererrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!” The others had no idea what these two were talking about, but fortunately, their collision with the deck did not create a giant crater in it. Instead, they tore up the ground like a plane making an emergency landing and they slid toward the others. “Um, I think this is bad news. A fight between people on the level of G.o.ds isn’t the kind of Absurdity you run into every day!” “Aren’t they on a complete collision course!? G-get out of the way! Everyone get to the left and right!!” On Mikoto’s instructions, Index, Satsuki, and the other girls scrambled away. And like bowling pins, the pummeled boys were sent flying into the air. But the G.o.ddesses paid that tragedy no heed. “Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die!!” “Do you want to try starting Ragnarök again!? Well, do you!?” In this battle of G.o.ds, they teleported from point to point and the shockwaves of their clashes arrived after a short delay, but then Index muttered something. “Hmm. I think maybe we weren’t the cause. These rampaging G.o.ds may have destroyed the laws of this world. With polytheism, each G.o.d is essentially a.s.signed part of the world’s formula.” “I-Index, you just said something really important. …That means you attacked us for no reason, you perverted nude cape girrrrrrrlllllllllllllll!!” History was written by the victors, so Index and the other girls did not listen to their complaints. More importantly, the proper resolution was rolling around in front of them. “So if we stop their fight, we can get back to Academy City?” “There might be more than one cause, but a fight between a Valkyrie and the second head G.o.d is undoubtedly one reason. So either way, we need to stop them.” “Um, does that mean we’ll have to step in between two furious G.o.ddesses? It looks to me like they’re about to start using some ridiculous overpowered attacks that directly destroy each other’s existence.” It was not often that the bunny girl looked like she wanted to run away, but that just showed how dangerous the situation was. So the gentleman known as Kamijou Touma gave his own suggestion. “Why do all of you a.s.sume it has to come to a fight!?” “I don’t want to hear that from the guy who immediately clenches his fist when faced with any kind of problem!!” “No, the key to a battle is the speech!! So, Waltraute, Hel! What happened? If you like, you can discuss it with Kamijou Touma, the boy who ended World War Thr-…” “Shut up, you worm!! Get in my way and I’ll kill you first!!!!!!” “Shut up, you worm!! Get in my way and I’ll kill you first!!!!!!” The boy was left with his clothes in an even more precarious position. No one wanted that, so they were fortunately just barely hanging on. “Bh…bfh. Bghbfh…” “You really are stupid. This is what happens when you try to judge a raging G.o.d by human standards. You should count yourself lucky that you aren’t suffering from a strange fever brought on by divine punishment.” However, the G.o.ddesses seemed to feel a little guilty for attacking a normal person on pure momentum, so they cooled down some. “T-Touma sacrificed himself for us…” “You’re just saying something that sounds meaningful to distract us from what happened before that, aren’t you!? If this is how this world works, I feel sorry for the people who live here!!” Waltraute and Hel had cooled their heads enough to hold a conversation, so they explained the situation. Apparently, the small boy who was always with Waltraute had vanished. “I got some help from Hliðskjálf, the throne that lets you see across all nine worlds, and the Norns, the three G.o.ddesses who make unchangeable prophecies. Those G.o.ddesses have even seen the result of Ragnarök, but not even they know where that boy is. That means he must be in the underworld where the power of the G.o.ds doesn’t reach!!” (Waltraute) “Yes, but Niflheim contains the villa of the priestess spirit that even Odin bowed down to and asked to prophesy for him! And she claims that boy isn’t anywhere in the nine worlds! I can only imagine the G.o.ds are using their greater spiritual power to jam the priestess!!” (Hel) The G.o.ddesses pointed at each other and pleaded their case to the audience. Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu finally recovered and got up. “So you’re talking about that kid who’s always grabbing onto your waist? He seems a lot like me, so do you think maybe he got caught up in some trouble related to something non-human?” “Uuh!? Th-that isn’t it!!” “But you can see the entire world using the prophecies and viewing devices in the heavenly world and the underworld, so I’d think you would find him if he had been abducted by someone or just gotten lost.” Index tilted her head as she spoke, but the G.o.ddesses jabbed each other’s cheeks with their extended pointer fingers. “Weren’t you listening!? She’s clearly lying!!!!!” “Weren’t you listening!? She’s clearly lying!!!!!” The Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ and Yuki Onna both sighed. “Does everyone turn into an idiot when they become a G.o.d?” “If so, I want to stay a mere Youkai forever.” A step away, the bunny girl observed them even more lukewarmly. “(Well, it’s always the ones who say that that end up going three times as far when the same thing happens to them.)” At any rate, it seemed they had to do something about the boy who had suddenly vanished, so Mikoto looked back and forth between Waltraute and Hel. “Um, if we’re a.s.suming one or both of you are lying, how about we try that ‘compare their stories to find the truth!’ thing?” “Will that really work under the rules of the G.o.ds?” asked an amazed Satsuki. “To me, it seems like anything goes with them.” It seemed unlikely to work, but they could only search for a hint from what the two G.o.ddesses had said. “I got some help from Hliðskjálf, the throne that lets you see across all nine worlds, and the Norns, the three G.o.ddesses who make unchangeable prophecies. Those G.o.ddesses have even seen the result of Ragnarök, but not even they know where that boy is. That means he must be in the underworld where the power of the G.o.ds doesn’t reach!!” (Waltraute) “Yes, but Niflheim contains the villa of the priestess spirit that even Odin bowed down to and asked to prophesy for him! And she claims that boy isn’t anywhere in the nine worlds! I can only imagine the G.o.ds are using their greater spiritual power to jam the priestess!!” (Hel) Satsuki held her head in her hands because there were a few things she still did not understand. “Um… What even are the nine worlds anyway?” “Well, this entire Norse world is supported by the World Tree Yggdrasil. The nine worlds exist on its roots, around its trunk, or at the end of its branches and altogether they form the Norse world.” “To name them, there is the heavenly world of Asgard, the giant G.o.d’s world of Vanaheimr, the human world of Midgard, the underworld of Niflheim, the giant’s world of Jötunheimr, the elf world of Alfheimr, the dark elf world of Svartálfheimr, the underground world of Niðavellir, and the fire world of Muspelheim. Odin and the other G.o.ds rule them all, but Surtr and I have essentially hacked in and overwritten some of them with our own rules.” “That’s why the power of the G.o.ds wouldn’t be able to find the boy if he was hidden in Niflheim or Muspelheim! Because they’ve hacked them!!” “What!? You G.o.ds are the ones who rule the nine worlds, so you’re the first ones to suspect when someone goes missing there!! This is like having to worry about a global corporation’s authorized spyware!!” “I’ll kill you, you thief!!” “Shut up, you old wife!!” The G.o.ddesses started heating up again, so Index threw Kamijou Touma between them. At this point, it was a miracle his clothes were still hanging onto him. After the G.o.ddesses calmed back down, Quenser suddenly realized something. “Hm? So you can only use your power inside those nine fields? That’s like having a set range for your spy satellite.” “Only inside? But that’s everything.” “But…” He pointed in a certain direction. He pointed off of Skíðblaðnir but not toward the land. In other words… “Based on what you said, wouldn’t he be in the ocean?” Part 3 The situation led to an inevitable change. Yes. If they had to search the ocean for the little boy, they all had to change into swimsuits!!!! Index → Equipped: School Swimsuit (White) Misaka Mikoto → Equipped: Racing Swimsuit (Black) Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ Yukari → Equipped: Bikini (Red) Yuki Onna → Equipped: School Swimsuit (Blue) Bunny Girl → Equipped: One Piece (Purple) Satsuki → Equipped: Monokini (Yellow) Waltraute → Equipped: Dressmaker (Pink) Hel → Equipped: Two Piece (Green) Normally, a change to swimsuits would be a wonderful reward, but tragically, the swimsuits actually looked more normal than what they had been wearing before. But regardless, the girls sent a rush of complaints Waltraute’s way. What even was a dressmaker anyway? Mikoto got things started. “Hey, what kind of old lady terminology is that?” “I-I am not an old lady!! That isn’t quite the right genre!!” “And why is the oldest one of us wearing a pink one piece with a short frilly skirt!? That’s the kind of swimsuit a parent buys their kid and makes them wear, isn’t it!?” “We do not have this kind of clothing in our world, so I have no idea what is right and what isn’t.” “Teacher, since you mentioned it, I don’t know the different between a bikini and a two piece. Both of them show off the navel, don’t they?” “Shut up, old lady #2. A bikini is held together by strings while a two piece has cloth around the shoulders and back like a tank top. In other words, a two piece is a large category and you get a bikini by removing more cloth and making it more revealing. Got it?” “And a monokini is?” “From the front, it looks like a one piece, but from the back it looks like a bikini. I guess it has a nude ap.r.o.n kind of effect.” “Um, and a school swimsuit and a racing-…” “No matter how I explain those, someone’s sure to argue against my definition as pa.s.sionately as a religious debate, so search for the answer at your own risk.” There was no explanation for the boys. None was needed. At any rate, they had finished equipping their new outfits. “Okay, now we need to search for that boy. If he’s in the ocean, a certain someone’s home would be my first guess.” “Oh? Does Norse mythology have something like Ryugu-jo?” The generally immortal Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ seemed carefree enough, but Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu grew pale next to her. “Um…if we’re going to some place on the bottom of the ocean…” “Yes?” “How exactly are we going to get there?” In her frilly skirt swimsuit, Waltraute jerked her thumb back toward the ocean and sounded like she was announcing their execution. “We dive, of course.” Part 4 The nine worlds of Norse mythology were said to have been created from the corpse of a giant named Ymir. The ocean was no exception as it was supposedly made from Ymir’s blood. The ma.s.sive ocean that surrounded the entire Norse world was ruled by a sea G.o.d named Ægir. And a certain G.o.ddess was his wife: Rán. While Ægir was the ruler of peaceful seas, Rán was the ruler of especially stormy seas. She would use her large net to capture humans who were thrown out into the ocean and drag them down to the bottom. That may paint the picture of an evil G.o.d that devoured human souls, but she only dragged down the souls she took a liking to and she gave them a special reception in her undersea palace. In a way, she may have been something like an extremely predatory Otohime. Although, she was still a wife. “Fis.h.!.+” A small boy raised his hands in joy in the undersea palace ruled by that sea G.o.ddess. “Wow!! There’s so many fis.h.!.+” Despite being called a palace, it was several dozen kilometers across, so it could be seen as a tenth world that was not contained by any of the other nine. It also helped indicate the scale of what people in the Norse civilization thought of as a “world”. A transparent dome covered the entire palace with room to spare and it also protected several other buildings built from piles of ma.s.sive carved stones. The overall size was easily one hundred kilometers across. The level of technology could be seen in the decorative waterways built along the stone-paved roads despite having gone to the trouble of holding back all of the seawater. A tall woman stood next to the boy. She had white skin and black hair cut to shoulder length. She wore a long dress so thin that any kind of backlight revealed her bodyline below and some accessories made from sh.e.l.ls adorned her hair and wrists. “What kind of fish is that?” “A striped beakfish.” “It’s so s.h.i.+ny and cool. …Voom voom! And it’s fast!!” “It is delectable when grilled.” “It’d be sad to eat it, so no thanks.” In this Norse world, falling from a boat in your clothes was a death sentence for anyone but the most well-trained warrior. While being less technologically advanced than the G.o.ds, the humans had named themselves Vikings and used extremely well-made high speed s.h.i.+ps, but they did not do much to polish their personal swimming skills. That gave them very few chances to see the fish who swam freely through the sea. With that in mind, it was not surprising that the boy was in high spirits. “I never knew the ocean was so pretty. I thought it was a scary place.” “You weren’t wrong to think that. The ocean is the mouth of death. The question is whether you have the technology needed to overcome it.” “I want to show this to Waltraute. And to my parents.” “…” “I can’t? Is this a secret place?” “No, the ocean is open to anyone. The boundaries between worlds and the head G.o.d’s rule do not reach us. Still, I doubt may people would want to come here.” “What are you talking about? Everyone would love to see somewhere this pretty!” Rán narrowed her eyes and gently rubbed the boy’s head. “Can I come here again, Rán?” “Again?” “I need to get back home or my parents will be mad.” “…” She fell silent again. Her expression barely changed, but she looked somewhat troubled. “What is it?” “I am sorry, but I think you need to stay here for the time being.” “Okay! I’ll go tell my parents!” “…” “I can’t even do that?” “Soon.” Finally, she spoke while looking down at the small boy. “Soon, the sea will bare its fangs. The mouth of death swallows all. This is a mutation that not even the Norns were able to predict, but I doubt there is any changing the flow of events now. You and the heroes from foreign worlds smashed the plans of the second head G.o.d, so no one in this Norse world can stop you.” “Rán?” “So you must stay here until the calamity of the mouth of death has pa.s.sed. I am Rán, queen of the king who protects the tenth location which is not contained in the nine worlds. But while I will escape Ragnarök, I have been stripped of the right to influence major events such as Ragnarök.” The boy did not understand the workings of the G.o.ds. He did not know what she was specifically referring to when she said the sea was the mouth of death, when she said it would bare its fangs, or when she said it would swallow all. But… “Rán, if everyone’s in trouble, you have to tell them!” “…” “Rán! Can’t we have Waltraute and everyone else escape to here!?” “…” Rán could only give him a troubled look. He had not realized that she could not influence the general path of history. Even if she knew of the coming destruction, she had no way of stopping it. She could only use her power on the branches where it would not affect the trunk. She could not even speak a single word. She could not get out the words she truly wanted to say. If those words would influence any major events, she was forbidden to even open her mouth. “…” So this was all she could do. She could only protect people with methods that did not change history in any obvious way. But… (Here they come.) Without speaking a word, she looked away from the boy and straight up. A ma.s.sive transparent dome protected the palace and the surrounding buildings with room to spare. And now, the Divine s.h.i.+p Skíðblaðnir dropped straight down to break through the very top of it. (I cannot directly influence history.) As she listened to the shattering of the tenth world she controlled, Rán gave a silent, thin smile. (But if the branches I move manage to drag along the G.o.ds and the foreigners who overpowered them…!!) Surely, something would change. However, the sea G.o.ddess might be swallowed up and destroyed by that very torrent of change. Part 5 “So that’s what’s going on.” Loki, the man known as an evil G.o.d, leaned up against a stone wall in Asgard and faced the giant wolf named Fenrir. Fenrir could be seen as his child, his greatest masterpiece, or his anti-G.o.d weapon. “I am more sensitive to most when it comes to this world’s destruction. It comes with how I was created. So there is no mistaking it.” “The sea is the boundary between worlds. It surrounds our territory and possesses the power that separates us from the truly foreign.” The Norse world was composed of Yggdrasil and the nine worlds, so it had an extremely simple structure. It was just one continent with the world tree at the center. After that, there were only the various worlds at the end of the roots and branches. Then where was the sea? That was simple: it surrounded that one continent. Or more accurately, it was a ma.s.sive ocean with a continent floating in it. “That is why Odin can’t retrieve the souls of the humans who die at sea. The sea is the mouth of death, but that is because the people it swallows are dragged into the truly foreign. Sea G.o.ddess Rán is the one acting to prevent that.” “You are the one who summoned those heroes from truly foreign worlds. Did you not know what would happen if they decided they wanted to go home and tried to connect to those truly foreign worlds once more?” “Oh, c’mon. I’m the evil G.o.d who tried to change the outcome of Ragnarök. That was enough to satisfy me. Do you really think I had predicted what would happen after the battle?” “…” “But in a way, I suppose this could be used to overturn Ragnarök,” spat out Loki. “What lies beyond the sea? And I’m not talking about simply circ.u.mnavigating the world. I’m talking about ignoring the three-dimensional vectors and connecting to the truly foreign. The sea divides the worlds, but there may be a similarly great ocean on the other side of that invisible boundary.” “So they came here just fine, but repeatedly opening holes in such a short period of time could break the valve and the other ocean could pour into this world.” One only had to think about it. A Certain Magical Index. Heavy Object. The Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ of Intellectual Village. A Simple Series. The Killer Short Story Series. They had all come from a planet named earth, but all of those earths were likely different. And what would happen if a total of five truly foreign oceans were gathered in one place? The effect would be greater than fully melting the South Pole of the planet earth. Even fleeing to the tallest mountain peak would not save one from the mouth of death. In other words… “An extreme rise in the ocean level. The mouth of death swallows all, hm?” “You aren’t a.s.suming you’re fine because you live in the heavenly world above the clouds, are you?” “I’m not. All nine worlds are protected by Yggdrasil. If it withers away, everything comes tumbling down and I doubt Asgard is an exception.” The world’s only land would be entirely lost and the mouth of death would devour humans, G.o.ds, and every other race alike. “This will be just like when Odin created the nine worlds and drowned every last one of Surtr’s giant ancestors with a great flood. But this time, no one will survive. The ma.s.sive amount of seawater flowing in from the truly foreign will easily ignore our world’s capacity. It’s possible it might even directly submerge the heavenly world.” “Sea King Ægir and his queen, Rán, will survive.” “But they cannot influence history, so their descendants will be unable to repopulate the land. We can’t expect them to copy Odin.” “Hm.” Loki brought a hand to his chin. “I do want to change the outcome of Ragnarök, but I also want to make a more beautiful ending than the one Odin’s imagining. The mouth of death falls short on that front.” “What are you going to do?” “Influence things. But they will be the ones to make the final decision.” This had to do with the worlds beyond the nine of Norse mythology, so the choice naturally went to the strangers and not the G.o.ds. “Will they return to their truly foreign worlds or will they stay here? They have two simple options.” Part 6 Even after the dome was destroyed, the undersea palace was not immediately inundated with seawater. This was of course a life-or-death issue, so several layers of countermeasures had been built in to handle unforeseen circ.u.mstances. And just such an unforeseen circ.u.mstance had occurred. Skíðblaðnir fell straight down and stood tall like a pillar instead of collapsing or breaking apart. Wearing her pink swimsuit with a frilly skirt and already in furious mode, Waltraute raised a Spear of Destroying Lightning, ran across the vertical deck, and approached from directly above Rán. “I’ll kill you, you kidnapping old hag!!!!!” “…” Meanwhile, a harsh look filled Rán’s eyes. That was all it took for seawater to surge from the waterways behind her, swirl around, and form two giant arms of water. According to legend, Rán had two weapons. The first was powerful arms that could grab and capsize any s.h.i.+p. The second was a magical net that could capture a drowning soul with 100% accuracy. Therefore… “Wha-…?” As soon as Rán threw her net, it bound Waltraute’s body as tightly as fishnet tights. Before she lost her balance in midair, something else happened. Those arms of water could grab and capsize any s.h.i.+p, so they grabbed Skíðblaðnir and mercilessly hit a homerun with Waltraute as the ball. A ridiculous explosive sound filled the area as the several dozen kilometer structure sent Waltraute cras.h.i.+ng through stone building after stone building. As Kamijou Touma and Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu wondered how they were going to get down while bracing themselves inside the s.h.i.+p, they fell here and there like an exploding bag of chips. The little boy shouted out as he watched on from the side. “Rán!! Don’t do that!!” “…” But the sea G.o.ddess did not answer. No, she could not answer. “Talk about an exciting welcome.” A voice came from overhead. Above Rán, the queen of Niflheim struck a daunting pose with her arms crossed. “But even if I lost the black world tree, don’t think you can take out the second head G.o.d!!” “…” Rán rested Skíðblaðnir on her shoulder and stared at her next target. Part 7 As all the others were scattered here and there, Kamijou Touma crawled along some stone pavement with the last remains of his clothes clinging onto him for dear life. “Oh, Kamijou Touma,” said a refined male voice. “What is this about you dying?” “I am going to die. I really am going to die with all this going on!! Do you people begin battling without giving any thought to making it a balanced fight!? And who are you anyway!?” “We are…” “The royal we!?” “We are the sea king, so that is to be expected. In fact, it would seem nonsensical to hear us say ‘I’ or ‘me’,” said the relatively harmless-looking man. “Let us get back on topic. We are Ægir, king of the Norse sea.” He was a king, so it was to be expected. It was possible he had halved Kamijou’s gold and dragged him out of the coffin. “By the way, that woman is our queen, Rán. But unlike us, she is incredibly aggressive, so whenever the mischievous woman takes a liking to a human soul, she drags them down to become a resident of the palace.” “Oh, so you’re one of the idiot couples you see in myths sometimes? The Greek mythology book I read in the school library the other day was awful! How do Zeus and Hera even stay at the top!?” “How rude. Rán is trying to save everyone.” “Hm?” “You see….” Ægir must have been very well-prepared because he pulled out a water tank and placed a cup inside. “This world’s sea is like this cup. But if you attempt to return to your original worlds, the cup will break. What will happen then? The water in the rest of the tank will come rus.h.i.+ng in. And do you know what will happen to the island inside the cup?” “……………………………………………………………………………………Sounds like it would be in a lot of trouble.” “It would in fact be in a lot of trouble.” Ægir nodded. “The world has two options: you can abandon our world and return to your own or you can give up on returning home in order to protect our world. Those are the only options.” “Um, so is Rán-chan on such a rampage because she’s trying to kill us and protect the world?” “How rude. As we already said, Rán is trying to save everyone.” “Could you explain that more clearly?” “Hm. The historical silencing is affecting her more strongly at the moment, so we should be able to speak more freely. …It seems to still be having some effect, though.” Ægir thought for a bit. “Very well. We will give you a direct answer that should get our meaning across even if our words are twisted.” “Please do.” “Rán is attempting to evolve herself by experiencing a battle that exceeds her limits. She wishes to become a ‘grim reaper of the sea’ who does not kill and has complete control over the sea that could cover the nine worlds. But if that happens, all traces of her current self will vanish and she will transform into an entirely different G.o.d in both body and mind.” It was a ridiculous idea. It sounded like making a human sacrifice. It was true that would protect the lives of everyone in the nine worlds while also allowing Kamijou’s group to return to their homes. But… “What meaning is there in that?” “There is none. She is thinking too highly of herself. We sea G.o.ds cannot influence major events, so her idea is doomed to fail from the very beginning. Even if it all succeeded and even if she transformed into something else, she would still be unable to protect anything.” “That’s not what I meant!! Who would think they’d been saved if they were protected like that!?” “…” “I don’t know what exactly to do, but let’s go save her. Just tell me what I have to do!!” “We are the sea king. We cannot influence history. Just as Rán will fail, we too will-…” “Shut up!! That’s not what I’m talking about!!” Kamijou cut him off and stared directly at the surprised G.o.d. “Then why did you even speak to me!? Rán-chan’s your wife, isn’t she? You did something because you didn’t want to sit idly by and lose everything for a decent-sounding reason like saving the world and everyone in it, right!? Then stick with it to the end. You may fail, but the rest of us will make up for it!! What did you want to do from the very beginning!?” “…ell…” Ægir’s voice briefly faded. Something was obstructing his words. A cruel system was crus.h.i.+ng the bud of possibility and telling him not to change history and to simply watch the tragedy unfold. “Well…” But he seemed to shake it off His pride as sea king allowed him to temporarily overturn the rules of the world. “She is our wife and that would be meaningless if we did not save her.” The two of them stretched their legs on the stone pavement and clearly stood up. First, Kamijou and the others had to regroup. After that, they would rush onto the intense battlefield the undersea palace had become. “Let’s try everything we can think of. Even if that doesn’t turn up the answer, it should at least give us a hint. And if we gather enough hints, we should be able to come up with a completely different answer! So…!!” “Yes, we will no longer give up before even trying. We are the sea king, so we will have our way in the sea even if nowhere else!!” Part 8 The sea was beautiful, it brought blessings, and it was the mother of all life. But at the same time, it was a frightening mouth of death. Rán was the G.o.ddess destined to manage that mouth of death. (This still is not enough.) She held Skíðblaðnir in one arm of water and her own slender arms grabbed her soul-catching magic net while she quietly thought. (This still is not enough to change my divinity!! I must fight more and more and more!!) In that case, she needed to take responsibility for all deaths at sea, even if that was forced onto her from truly foreign worlds that were outside her jurisdiction. She named herself a G.o.ddess, so she had to protect all lives from that unreasonable mouth of death. “Rán! Don’t fight!! Waltraute and the others aren’t bad people!!” The boy shouted at the verge of tears from nearby. She glanced over toward him but said nothing. She had already decided she would protect them all. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!” Hel, queen of the underworld, cried out. She swung an arm horizontally and produced a giant sword of ice. But it looked like toothpick compared to Skíðblaðnir. It crashed into the s.h.i.+p on the first swing and the sinister ice that smelled of death and the underworld was smashed to pieces. Nevertheless, not a single shard fell to the ground. Their points all turned toward the sea G.o.ddess and they shot toward her from countless directions like precision guided missiles. Rán would soon be filled with holes, but she wrapped her soul-catching net around her own slender arm. She swung the arm around and intercepted every last shard. Not a drop of blood was shed. (This net captures souls. When it binds a soul from without, no attack can destroy the soul within!!) She counterattacked by throwing the net. It bound Hel’s entire body and Rán grabbed the long thread that closed the net. She swung the woman around like a morning star and threw her into the distance. Hel collided with Waltraute who had finally recovered and was attempting a surprise attack with her white horse. The two lost their balance and Rán smashed them from above with Skíðblaðnir. (My experience points will never leave the expected range if I only battle other Norse G.o.ds. To alter my divinity, it would be best to battle the heroes who have come from truly foreign worlds.) New footsteps reached her ears. “…” (So they’re finally here.) With colossal s.h.i.+p supported by the arm of water and her own shoulder, Rán turned around. These were strangers from truly foreign worlds. They were the final piece Rán needed to gain an abnormal level of experience and remake her body and mind into something other than a sea G.o.ddess. Kamijou Touma, Index, Misaka Mikoto, Quenser Barbotage, Heivia Winch.e.l.l, Milinda Brantini (aboard the Baby Magnum), Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu, Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ Yukari, the Yuki Onna, Anzai Kyousuke, Higas.h.i.+kawa Mamoru, the bunny girl, Nanajou Kyouichirou, and Satsuki all confronted her. The difference in numbers meant nothing to Rán, the dreadful G.o.ddess who ruled the stormy seas. And then, the swimsuit-wearing grimoire library spoke from the knowledge those 103,000 grimoires gave her. “Exorcism 1. As a symbol of driving out uninvited guests to a temple, a dodecagram is displayed on a circle with a s.h.i.+p travelling the stars. That refers to the gathering of the twelve signs of the zodiac and the one who desires our return via the heavens!!” (…?) That was a series of rules Rán was unfamiliar with. A moment later, Skíðblaðnir began emitting intense light. The s.h.i.+p connected to the truly foreign was activating. However, the sea G.o.ddess was unaware of this method. They were opening a door to the truly foreign, but they were not using the sea. “The sea is a symbol of the world’s boundaries. It’s the most obvious symbol of ‘the ends of the earth’, but that isn’t the only such symbol in the Norse world.” Index pointed straight up. “There is also the sky. Even the G.o.ds of Asgard can only control the paths of the sun and moon, so a vast expanse must exist there that is not part of the nine worlds. If we pa.s.s through there, no seawater will enter this world even if it breaks a hole in the world. There is no need for you to change what you are!!” Part 9 “Over here, sister.” A carefree girl’s voice filled a territory even higher up than Asgard that was less the “sky” than it was “outer s.p.a.ce”. The small girl whipped a splendid horse and her cart was actually dragging around the entire moon. Another girl driving an identical cart casually approached from the far side of the sky. This other girl was dragging around the sun. “Sigh. Another exhausting day.” “If you stop, the wolves will come eat you.” “Why are we dragging around heavenly bodies when we’re just humans? Although it’s pretty amazing that humans can pull this off if we put our minds to it.” “Hey, hey. Things are getting noisy down below.” “I wonder if something’s happening.” The sisters of the sun and moon casually pa.s.sed the baton and the curtain of night fell. They were higher up than the peak of the world tree. This was the last remaining virgin ground that the G.o.ds had yet to develop and that not even the rooster on the peak of Yggdrasil could reach. Part 10 “Ah.” Rán uttered a meaningless gasp. Its lack of meaning may have been the only reason it was allowed to escape her mouth. Meanwhile, the situation continued to progress. Index’s words were not enough to create a miracle, but all of the strangers were gathering. Laws and possibilities unknown to Rán were scattered around like stars in the sky. So… “I use the rose symbol to bind the world’s name and set the s.h.i.+p’s course! The name of light is…oh, honestly! Isn’t there something!? It’d be perfect if we had something to take the place of a vortex of light even more powerful than the sun!!” “You can leave that to the Princess! You’ll never be short on power with a JPlevelMHD reactor working for you!!” “A vermilion door is reflected in the mind. Place a single charm on the forehead, close your eyes, accurately picture it in your heart, and…another gap!! To bypa.s.s the flow of power, I need a system other than spells!!” “Then do you think you can build it up as a Package? Hey, good-for-nothing Youkai, you have enough of a connection with Hyakki Yakou to know the formula for that, right? Hand over all the variables and this girl will arrange the rest!!” “Construct symbols in the four cardinal directions and the south-southwest entrance will call in power!! The torrent of swirling power is…here!! I need to create an exit that can’t be expressed with any of the cardinal directions!” “I think only the Absurd can satisfy a contradictory request like that.” “We will release the yoke of the flesh and ascend through the mental door and into the heavens! This resembles a mock funeral, so…last one!! I want to create a state of apparent death, so I need a great symbol of death!!” “Then how about the knowledge of the Killer Queen?” A tremendous light broke Skíðblaðnir down into a tremendous torrent. The pillar of light stretched endlessly upwards and looked something like a giant tower or elevator up to heaven. “…” Rán simply stared at it. As long as the sea’s limits were not broken, the nine worlds’ lives would not be lost. As long as the sea was not used in their escape, there was no need to keep the strangers here like human sacrifices. And there was also no need for Rán’s own transformation. This was a perfect result. It was what she had initially dreamed of. Yet as she faced it, she felt an ominous crawling of the muscles in her slender arms. The hand holding her soul-catching net squirmed as if to ruin it all. “Ah…” At that point, she finally remembered her own nature. The sea G.o.ds would not be affected by Ragnarök, but they instead lacked the ability to influence any turning point in history. Her being and her actions had been doomed to fail from the beginning. So the more she hoped for a happy future, the more her decisions would smash it all to pieces. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!?” She no longer had any control over her own actions as she swung around her soul-catching net. Like with a metal ball on a chain, she began building up centrifugal force in order to throw it. As the others performed their bold yet delicate ceremony, she prepared to destroy it all. However… “It’s okay, Rán,” someone said. First a pointy-haired boy and then several other people stood in her way. But they were not there to fight. They were there to protect her heart. “Ægir told me everything. I know the restrictions binding you and what you really want to do, so it’s okay. We won’t let you destroy your dream!!” “…” As usual, Rán could not respond. She simply twisted her beautiful features like a child on the verge of tears. But that was more than enough. Both sides rushed forward at full speed to begin their clash at the midpoint. The final battle was beginning. It no longer mattered whether they had stopped World War Three, run around destroying nuke-resistant weapons, or gone around confronting cutting-edge crimes that used occult powers. They charged forward only because they wanted to protect a G.o.ddess’s dignity and pride. Could they overcome the difference in strength? The Object and the Youkai were one thing, but some of them were mere high school or college students in every aspect except the workings of their minds. Wouldn’t they be torn to mincemeat? None of that was a problem. After all… “The sea king commands you as the one who can calm any storm by striking the waves with an oar.” A voice not belonging to any of the strangers rang out. It was the sea king. While Rán ruled fearsome stormy seas, the other sea G.o.d ruled the calm seas that brought blessings to mankind. “The stormy waves are forbidden to harm the children of men! The water must peacefully greet human smiles!!” Ægir’s words and his divinity calmed the stormy sea. Ægir and Rán’s power may have been evenly matched, but by stripping her of her weapon and power, she was weakened to the point that even a mere high school boy could oppose her. The truly foreign protagonists rushed forward to do the seemingly impossible and save a G.o.ddess. Behind them, Index spoke the final words. “Return everything to its rightful place! We follow the aforementioned exorcism process to expel ourselves from this land and become the light in the heavens!!” They had bought the time they needed. Rán…no, whatever was behind Rán’s movements had failed to interrupt Index’s ceremony. So Misaka Mikoto’s body floated up into the air. Quenser, Heivia, the non-human Youkai, and even the two hundred thousand ton Object did the same. All of the strangers gathered in the torrent of light. No one could reach them anymore, so this truly was goodbye. “Ha ha!! See!? Changing history feels great, doesn’t it!?” As Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu floated toward the sky, he made a gun gesture toward Rán and shouted that comment her way. Floating upside-down, Kamijou Touma gave a comment of his own. “We have to leave now, but there’s nothing we can do that you can’t. You understand now that you saw this, right!? You don’t need to give up on anything from now on!!” “…” Rán silently looked up at them. No. This time, she fought against the rules of the world with all her strength and moved her lips. Thank you. Immediately afterwards, the torrent of light took the strangers away and launched them beyond the heavens. This time, they truly did leave the Norse world. Part 11 Not to ruin the moment, but didn’t Kamijou Touma have Imagine Breaker? “H-huh? Now I’m worried… No, it’ll be fine. This time, we built in the Object and the Package and whatever all that was!! So one little right hand isn’t going to ruin it all, is it!? I really don’t want to end up back there after showing off like that!” But despite his shouting, he did not really know where he was. He could vaguely tell he was moving at tremendous speed, but the wholly white scenery gave him nothing to compare to. Just as a fighter jet or s.p.a.ce shuttle’s speed was difficult to grasp at a distance, his senses could not keep up with it at all. And he suddenly noticed that Index, Misaka Mikoto, and the others were gone. He did not want to be left alone, but like the world of a Zen dialogue, this place made him realize he could only be giving a monologue if he was alone and therefore he had to be alone. “Wait… Don’t tell me I can’t reach Academy City but I also can’t get back to the Norse world. Please no!! Wasn’t the one infinite h.e.l.l enough suffering for one life!? And come to think of it, it was all connected to a Norse G.o.d last time too!!” Just as he was about to begin crying, a girl’s voice entered his head. “I had a feeling this would happen.” “Birdway?” “……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………” “Yes, yes!! I get it!! It’s Othinus, right!? You two sound a lot alike, so it’s hard to tell without a visual!!” “If you’re doing that well, I suppose you’ll be fine wandering in the void for a few years.” “Not happening! I’d have several different kinds of breakdowns!” “Fine then,” said the voice in his head. “I’ve already lost my power as a Magic G.o.d, but as you mentioned, I still have the Norse symbolism. I’ll set my existence itself as the address and drag your body out.” “Um… What about my right hand?” “What? I don’t care about a hand that can be crushed by a Magic G.o.d-cla.s.s attack. I can force it through with brute strength. That’s why they call us G.o.ds, you know?” A moment later, Kamijou Touma’s path was corrected as casually as someone grabbing his shoulder from behind. And… Part 12 “Ah!?” Kamijou Touma woke up. He was curled up in the bathtub of his student dorm’s bathroom. “H-huh? Was that a dream?” It seemed far too vivid for that, but he got up regardless. And then he realized two things. First, the toilet had been shut off at the source, so the water had stopped. And second… “What is this? Why am I wearing a swimsuit?” He felt an unpleasant sensation run along his spine, but staying here would answer nothing. Instead, he tilted his head and opened the bathroom door. There, he found fifteen centimeter Othinus and the silver-haired nun waiting for him. However, the description “who wore a teacup-like white habit with golden embroidery” no longer applied. After all… “Index-san, why are you wearing a swimsuit?” “Come to think of it, we never did do anything about my Walking Church being burnt. Touma? What am I going to wear now?” Jinnai s.h.i.+n.o.bu was chased around a thatch-roofed house by some Youkai and a demon. “Ahhh!! Why is everyone wearing swimsuits!? This feels like when everyone decides to go for a picnic without telling me! But leave the swimsuits to me. A succubus in a micro-bikini is clearly superior to a Zas.h.i.+ki Waras.h.i.+ in a normal bikini or a Yuki Onna in a school swimsuit!!” “You brought me a souvenir, didn’t you? I smell the ocean, so I’m at least hoping for some fish.” “One of you is a global demon and the other is a deadly Nekomata. Even if you’re joking, you could easily kill me if you slip up and use too much strength! Of course I’m going to be afraid!!” Anzai Kyousuke and Higas.h.i.+kawa Mamoru woke up on a university lecture room bench. The two of them were wearing swimsuits out of season and it felt like the professor had mistaken it for them taking club activities too far and was about to have them leave the cla.s.sroom. The bunny girl was not there, which was not surprising given what had happened in the past, but… “It’s kind of hard to accept that she really isn’t here.” “Hey, stop that. Even speaking of that kind of possibility can call in the Absurd.” “Yeah, but it really wouldn’t surprise me to find out she’d made a secret comeback somewhere.” “And I’m telling you that mentioning that is going to make this a preview of things to come!!” It was said a swimsuit-wearing killer wandered the filthy back alleys night after night. “Kyouichirou, it looks like my ident.i.ty is being distorted.” “Don’t worry. You were weird enough alrea- bgh!?” “Sorry, it’s hard holding back quite enough.” And in the very, very end, Quenser and Heivia were left holding their heads in their