~Lightning and Wind~ Chapter Eight
Mikoto leaned her back against the wall of the hotel room, staring at the clone of her that was lying on the bed motionless. There was nothing that could be done by the magicians, as her problem existed in the depths of science. She would remain like that, as a broken doll, until a miracle occurred.
Powerless. That’s what she felt. Unable to save anyone in the facility—anyone who treated a Sister like a real person couldn’t be bad—and too slowly to redirect the bolt that sent Lessar and her into the trees below. Had someone not healed her, would she even be alive?
Mikoto had considered praying—which was saying a lot coming from an Esper—when the door was suddenly kicked open. A pure white being with red eyes seemed almost angelic in the florescent light. But she knew this man already.
He was a killer.
Mikoto looked at him with shock and terror. Fear and anger began welling up like geysers as Accelerator’s eyes met hers. She felt like nothing more than an insect to him. He wasn’t all that interested in her either.
But then he turned his gaze over to the sleeping Sister. Was he going to kill her? Had the experiment resumed?
The racing thoughts in her head caused her to decide her fate, then and there. Even if the clone of her was now a broken doll, she wouldn’t allow him to destroy her. Without asking or even considering the consequences, she prepared to unleash her signature move on him. Accelerator looked unfazed by the killing intent, as he flipped the electrode on. Manipulating the vectors at his feet, he vanished from sight for an instant and had plowed his elbow into Mikoto’s stomach, causing her to kneel over in pain.
“The Original…huh?” Accelerator rolled his eyes. “Perfect, just perfect. Did you even consider that unleashing the attack would demolish this room right on top of her?”
“What are you doing here?” Mikoto asked, struggling to pick herself up. “Y-You came to resume the experiment, didn’t you?”
“You shouldn’t even be in this type of situation,” he told her, ignoring her accusations.. “This world is one of darkness, even deeper than anything you’ve ever stepped in. People like you should stay in the light, away from the darkness. Otherwise, it’ll swallow you.”
“You’re giving me advice?” Mikoto stared in disbelief, heat rising from her lungs. “After everything an evil bastard like you did, you’re trying to be helpful? Are you trying to wipe away yours sins? Do you think I’ll forgive you after you killed over 10,000 of my sisters!?”
“What? You want me to say I’m sorry for killing them like pigs to the slaughter? I could tell you that, but it wouldn’t change anything. What’s done is done. Whether or not I regret it doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is what I do from here on.”
He walked up to the doll that was once a clone of the Level 5 and placed his hand on her forehead. Manipulating the disconnected Sister’s brain in a method similar he did to Last Order, he connected to the countless, individual ties between the brain and the network, and rebooted them, reconnecting the once severed connection. The pinnacle of Espers was using his completely overpowered abilities—which were at the level of a third-tier angel, at the very least—and skills to save a single girl and bring stability to the network of nearly 10,000.
Eight opened her eyes, finally awake.
Accelerator flipped the electrode off and began walking off with his cane.
“What are you playing at?” Mikoto asked, electricity resting in her palm. “You think you can come in here and play hero? Do you think that if you do one good deed, you can redeem all the evil you’ve done? Save one to make up for the rest you’ve killed?”
“I don’t have to answer you,” he leaned on the cane at the entrance to the door. “Good? Evil? Those are only roles that society came up with. I’m beyond them. As for you, either you get stronger, or leave before you get killed. Having the brat cry because of the death of the Original would only cause me more headaches.”
Mikoto prepared to blast him, until Eight spoke up. “Please do not attack him, asks Misaka with sincerity.” Her words halted the attack of the electric princess. She then thanked Accelerator.
“Tch…such stupidity,” he mumbled before walking out and shutting the door.
Birdway called another meeting to order. All the previous members were in attendance, with one exception.
“Where’s short-hair?” Index asked.
“She’s taking care of her sister,” Kamijou responded.
“Leave her,” Accelerator told them, apparently involved in this matter now. “Someone like her shouldn’t be involved in this sort of thing.”
“Be that as it may,” Mark Space began, “she’s invaluable at the moment. With so few numbers now, we need as many allies as we can obtain, in order to stop Mali.”
“Who?” Kamijou asked
“The ring leader of this operation,” Birdway added to the conversation. “It seems that this Mali is attempting to summon Kanaloa.”
Index swallowed. All the magicians got eerily quiet. Before Kamijou could ask, Index intercepted him. “Touma, Kanaloa is a god. Nearly as powerful as an Archangel, if we’re lucky.”
Now everyone who was on the battlefield in Russia was silent. They knew how strong the Archangel was, and if that power was put into enemy hands, it would be a hell on earth for all sides. But, if they used the Imagine Breaker…
“And before anyone suggests his right hand,” Birdway started, pointing at Kamijou, “according to the info we gathered, they were looking for that core thingy to sustain and regenerate Kanaloa’s existence in the world indefinitely. He won’t be able to negate it fast enough for it to work.”
Well, that plan was shot.
“Where’s this core at?” Accelerator asked. “It was the reason that facility was attacked according to the network, and the one who ran had it. But even she didn’t see it in her pouch. If we find it and destroy it, then his plans all go up in flames.”
“We don’t know,” Birdway said, “I sent the surviving members to search for it. They’ll scour or level that jungle in order to find it. But, judging by the flow of magical energy and information we gained, he’s planning to summon Kanaloa tomorrow. We leave in the morning.”
Kamijou and Accelerator looked at each other, seemingly having a telepathic conversation. Kamijou then raised his hand. “Does everyone have to participate?”
“No,” Birdway shook her head. “If you’re afraid to die, then you can run away. But if we fail, you won’t be able to run far enough to be safe.”
“Then can I ask to have someone left behind?”
Mikoto had been sitting on the rooftop for the last few hours, watching as the horizon went from twilight to night, thinking about everything that happened today. She was powerless to prevent her sister from becoming a doll, only for the one person she would never forgive to do what she couldn’t. Not only that, but he had a point. In Academy City, she could at least count herself as one of the strongest around, but so far it seemed like every other magician was even stronger.
“Misaka requests that you come inside before you catch a cold, Misaka asks sincerely.” Eight spoke from behind her, at the entrance to the stairwell. Mikoto was happy she could move around again, but right now she wanted to be alone and think things through. However, there was a question she wanted to ask.
That question was like water, ready to boil over and scald her if she didn’t ask. “Why did you stop me?
“Because Misaka did not want to see her savior and Nee-san fighting, Misaka says with while thinking of how to explain this.” Mikoto waited patiently until Eight spoke up. “Does Nee-san know about the Third Production Plan, Misaka asks in curiosity?”
“Third…” Mikoto mumbled, as she went pale from the thought. “No, you don’t mean—”
“—Exactly, Misaka says with a serious look on her face. The Misakas were all going to be disposed of and replaced by older versions of Nee-san.”
Mikoto’s heart skipped a beat. Despite everything that she went through to destroy the bases, despite Kamijou’s fight against Accelerator, and despite making peace with the rest of the Sisters, they were still going to be slaughtered. She began to shiver.
“That is why all Misakas have acknowledged Accelerator as one of our saviors, Misaka report with a smile on her face,” she said, watching the priceless expression on her sister’s face. “That man marched into the heart of the darkness and demanded that they halt the production, Misaka reports the administrator’s findings.”
“…Huh?” Mikoto was understandable confused.
“On the day that the virus was spread and all Misaka’s were unable to move, he saved the administrator, Misaka begins narrating his deeds,” she told her sister as she walked towards the edge of the rooftop, her tanned skin radiantly reflected in the moonlight. “In Russia, he even spared the life of the third generation Misaka, who sought to kill him, and once again saved the administrator.
“All Misakas see Nee-san as a mother figure and him as a father figure, Misaka reports.” She turned and smiled, with the radiant moon behind her, painting a beautiful picture that was immortalized in Mikoto’s memory. “He would do anything to protect us. So we trust him in return, Misaka says with her heart.”
“But,” she clenched her fist, “he still…I can’t forgive him. No matter what he’s done since then, my anger and hatred won’t disappear.”
“Then don’t,” another voice appeared from the stairwell entrance. It was Lessar, in her night gown. “Sorry, I overheard the situation. You don’t have to forgive someone to work with them. This world is not one where you can expect to only fight alongside those you like or trust. Sometimes, we have to endure and work with the hatred, not give into it and let it compromise our goals.”
“Lessar,” Mikoto mumbled.
“He’ll be working with us tomorrow,” she began, explaining the mission outline to her. Mikoto wasn’t given the option of participating in tomorrow’s battle. Both Kamijou and Accelerator had requested that she not participate, before she stepped in too deep to get out, but Lessar decided she had a right to participate.
Mikoto was naturally pissed. She resolved to slap him so hard, his harem would feel it. The electricity she gave off left Lessar’s hair standing on end.
“The main reason for this was out of concern for your safety, after all the opponent this time could possibly rival an Archangel. But then there’s your emotional state too. Not to mention the fact that you’re still too green when dealing with magicians.”
“They can’t do that!” Mikoto bellowed. “Not after everything that we went through!!”
“Then, do you have the resolve to kill if necessary?” Lessar asked, a cold look appearing on her face. “This isn’t like the Shopping Mall Demonstration. These aren’t people being driven into frenzy by rumors; they are convicted magicians who will declare their Sorcery Names the moment we meet. Everything you’ve seen up to today was a prelude, the real battle is now.
“You know how powerful you are, and you know how devastating that power is. Out of the fear of severely hurting a human, you restrain yourself, but not this time. You’ve got to hit the enemy with everything you can if you want to stop them. If you hold back, you’ll die, and the enemy gets one step closer to their goal.”
Mikoto was silent.
“If you don’t have the resolve, then stay here with your sister,” Lessar turned around. “No one will blame you. In fact, it’s better if you don’t have to stain your hands with blood. If you want, I can have the other members of New Light watch you. They’ve made their decision: to stay out of it for the most part—minus some long distance observation.”
“No…” Mikoto looked up at the night sky. “I’m going. I swore, after I watched him go off to fight Accelerator, after I watched him go off to an unknown battle while injured beyond belief, and after I watched him disappear during the war…I swore to not stay back and do nothing. So that I’d never have to feel the pain of being left behind again—waiting for their return like some princess in a story.
“More than that, I wouldn’t allow friend to go off to fight alone,” she said while staring at Lessar. They’d only met once, before this week, but they had been in a life or death situation and gain each other’s respect then. Lessar had been straightforward and honest the entire time, never sugarcoating things.
The girls smiled at each other.
“Misaka is going as well, says Misaka, hoping to join in what seemed to be a bonding experience.” Eight added.
The resolve was solidified. The stone pillar that represented Mikoto was encased in unyielding steel that would never break.
- Kanaloa, a Hawaiian god. More on him next chapter.
- Angels are divided into three tiers, which split into three more tiers, in Christianity, the top tier being Seraphims—who take care of the throne of heaven—and the second tier being those who deal with heavenly government, and the third tier being messengers and soldiers, with Principalities, Archangels, and Angels being third-tier. The third tier interact the most with the mortal world. Wikipedia for more info.
- Short chapter because I wanted to get the boring stuff out of the way. I originally planned to have Accel give Mikoto a Hannibal Lecture, but I think I’ve pushed the angst angle way too far. No more angsty Mikoto from now on. She has her resolve, now let’s show what she can do with it.
- Next chapters will be mostly action, storming the castle, tying up loose ends, facing a god, etc.