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~ Lightning and Wind ~ Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten

 

“No!” Kamijou groaned, digging through the rubble—trying to open a path to retrieve the girls.

Index and Orsola tried to tell him to calm down, but it took one slap from Birdway to get the message across. “There’s no time for this!”

“But—” he started, before she grabbed his collar and yanked him closer.

“Our enemy is summoning a god that will bring the death toll skyrocketing, and only we have the power to stop them!” she said, as she shook him again, not including the fact that it would change the structure of society and make taking it all over more difficult.  “We are on a battlefield. The dead lay where they fall until the very end.”

The earth rumbled as battles inside the mountain took place, letting all of them know that they weren’t dead yet, but the point was the same nevertheless. “If you feel anything for them, you’ll steel your heart and climb to the top, so you can punch the one behind this—and the god if we’re too late—in the face! We have no choice but to press on!” Birdway told him, slapping him once more for emphasis.

Kamijou howled at the loss of his allies—unable to do anything to help them but go forward.

***

Electric sparks illuminated the darkness with dancing streamers of red and blue. The screech of clashing thunder reverberated in the closed cavern. The atmosphere itself was wavering from heat, as if it were a mirage itself. In a picture of the first circle of Hell, standing opposite of each other, the pinnacle of Science and Magic faced off.

Pel was not to be underestimated. Even without the support of the Kapua, the revealing of her sorcery name made the fight from before seem like a kiddy brawl. The moment she declared it, spiraling rings of flames appeared on her fingertips.

“Burn!” she screamed, and the rings were launched—growing in size until they were burning wheels. A quick shot of the railgun and the subsequent wind pressure had hit the rings and blown the flames that weren’t extinguished off course.

Dozens of hexagonal tiles rotated around Pel, throwing lightning at her from different angles, like they were attack drones from a certain mecha anime. They were no more than a distraction, and no greater attack could be launched due to the lack of space. With a wave of her hand, a fierce gale blew them off track and the lightning gouged out the surroundings.

Sweat drenched the electromasters, their clothes were soaked. The smell of ozone gradually rising set a time limit for the battle. While Lessar had shown that some magicians were able to survive temporarily without oxygen before, Mikoto and Eight had no such fortune. In addition to the fact that the heat was becoming unbearable in the confined space, this was literally the worst place possible for them to fight.

Not waiting for them to have a chance at counter attacking, Pel scattered a fine, red powder in the air and willed the wind to carry it forward. Mikoto called forth the iron-metal sand she had used to cushion her fall, and had it form a thick sphere of protection around them. The red powder combusted into a roaring flame that licked the protection Mikoto had thrown up—eventually causing Mikoto to drop it, in order to smother the flames and extinguish them.

Some of the sand was then used to form twenty-five clumps and sent flying at Pel. Pel prayed to her ancestor—not hoping for a miracle, but as a form of self-hypnosis—and her eyes burned with power. A wall of lava blocked the sand and was sent forward.

Mikoto and Eight combine their abilities to create a net of lighting that speared through the stone above and around the wave to disrupt it, allowing Mikoto to create a whirlwind of black and silver sand, buffeting the lava to peter it out.

Electric spears formed in a ring around the Descendant of Pele, crackling with power. She took aim and stomped on the ground. Like the hammer of a gun, the electric spears were sent towards Eight, who wouldn’t be able to shrug it off as easily as Mikoto. The spears would redirect themselves to attack the Sister from all angles, moving faster than possible for a person from the Science Side to even dream of avoiding, and skewer her—even with Mikoto standing in front of her.

Time slowed once again.

And Mikoto’s eyes became electric blue.

It started simple, using her electromaster abilities to give herself an electric massage. Then it became more advanced, slowly and slowly encroaching on her nervous system. It was something she kept to herself and developed further and further, only reaching a level where it could be performed at the risk of brain damage.

Using her personal reality to fire her brain synapses five times faster than normal, Mikoto’s reaction time skyrocketed, and her brain was able to process the full amount of information from her senses.  But all it would take was one mistake in her calculations, one error in judgment, or even being in that state for a fraction of a second longer than possible, and she would fry her own brain. She surpassed the natural limitations of the human mind by lighting the fuse to a bomb, which would explode if she didn’t cut the fuse soon enough.

It was an insane technique that only the strongest Electromaster could perform. A technique she had sealed away out of self-preservation. And now, to protect her sister, she would unleash it.

Five Over: Spark Drive.

Mikoto—running the risk of frying her nervous system—used her abilities of electroperception to sense where the electricity would flow, control in order to slow them down and reposition them, while using Spark Drive to further speed up her reaction time. She twisted, grabbing the first electric spear, and used it knock the rest off course with a single arched swing and electrical discharge. Then she threw the electrical spear back, with a scream accompanying the toss.

Sensory overload kicked in just before the explosion from the attack, and she lost her ability to register sounds for a second. She was unable to hear Eight’s screams for her to move, as a stalactite fell towards her. In desperation, Eight unleashed the M.E.S.D.O and had the individual hexagons create a ceiling to protect her.

Pel controlled the wind and swung her fist like she was punching the air. Eight felt the blow as if another Pel was standing in front of her. It was followed by a directed, forceful blast of wind that knocked her into a thin stalagmite, which broke apart when she hit it. The Sister did not move again, and the M.E.S.D.O fell apart—the core in her hands.

Mikoto summoned the iron-metal sand and formed a shield to protect the fallen girl, exploding it outwards and branching into fifty tendrils that splintered even further. Thin threads of vibrating minerals chewed through the stalagmites, walls, and stalactites, sending stone crashing down all around the Descendant, who chopped the air diagonally with her hand.

The wind became visible, as a blade formed. It sliced through the stalagmites in the way like they were nothing. The razor gale cut into Mikoto’s shoulder as she turned to dodge—narrowly avoiding having her arm sliced off using Five Over: Spark Drive once again. For a brief moment, she saw red and collapsed on the ground.

The flames continued to burn, feeding off the oxygen that was becoming thinner and thinner. Mikoto’s sister laid on the stone floor, breathing dryly and fading with each breath. Although she expected nothing less than what Lessar told her about how serious magicians got once their sorcery name were declared, it really sank in here.

They were going to die here, if she didn’t do something.

Maybe it was the from the pain of the wounds she received, maybe it was the delirium from the heat, or maybe it was her dying brain’s final thought of salvation, but she decided to bet everything on the next three moves and stood proudly.

“Why won’t you just die!?” Pel screamed, scattering more of the combustible powder and entrapping them in a ring of flames.

Mikoto unleashed all the iron-metal sand she had left in the container, and willed it into the form of giant stakes. They fell all around Pel and—even though they were beginning to fall apart in clumps from the magnetism-disrupting heat—trapped her inside of that area for at least three seconds.

Mikoto gathered all of the electricity she could and condensed it into the form of a dense, heavy, and hard ball of lightning—three times the size of her fist. With a roar unbefitting an Ojou from Tokiwadai, she threw it at Pel as hard as she could. The magician caught the attack with her hands, but was sent skyward for the effort.

That was two moves. Now it was time for the finale.

Gathering all the iron-metal sand she could, she flipped a single tile from the M.E.S.D.O into the air and coated it until it was a sphere with a three foot diameter. Clenching her right fist as she had seen Kamijou do so many times, she one upped him by coating it with iron-metal sand as well. She chambered her fist back as the sphere fell down.

Mikoto didn’t want to resort to this. She wasn’t a killer, but she was now on a battlefield. This wasn’t some brawl between Espers that could be resolved with a few blows; it was kill or be killed. Lessar warned her about going easy, and she had been right. While the magician would probably survive what would happen next, anyone else would most likely have been killed.

Still, she wouldn’t forget this moment. All the events leading up to it were set in stone the moment she decided to follow that boy—No, young man would be more appropriate. No one who does what he does and faces what he faces could be called a boy.  But for the sake of her sister, who was barely clinging to life, and the sake of staying next to the one she loved, she shattered that naive innocence she held like an illusion.

She would never forget the moment she seriously shot to kill another human being.

A few tears fell from her eyes, as she used her coated fist and struck the sphere with an electrified blow.  The electricity flowed and activated the tile, strengthening the bond between it and the sphere-coating it was in, making it as hard as stone. Leaving a translucent, orange tube-like trail behind, the ultimate railgun was launched at the airborne magician.

The magician’s eyes were wide, as the blow struck her head-on and launched her—along with the flames and heat that were caught in the updraft—through the solid stone that made up the mountain.

***

Crystalline spears fell from the sky, shrouded by the pure white blanket of infinite snow that howled in the raging winds—in other words, a localized blizzard. A fearsome gale shattered the spears to shards and scattered them all over the frost and snow, as a black silhouette stood in the center of a twister, with red lines standing out against the black.

“Ugh…”Lessar moaned, breathing heavily with the effort it took to maintain the twister. It was only because of the protection of Ullr—also known as Ollerus when Latinized—the Norse god of snow, bows, and skiing, also the stepson of Thor himself that she wasn’t freezing to death. The shield bracelet she was given by Bayloupe had runes to protect against the cold, as Ullr was also the shield-god as well.

What she wouldn’t give to be able to rest somewhere warm, preferably a hot spring, maybe with a little company to help with the boredom. But such trivial thoughts had to end now. She had declared her sorcery name—no mercy was to be shown.

Grabbing the twister using her Steel Glove, she redirected it towards the Descendant before her. Poli had not gotten off unharmed from Lessar’s attacks either. She had just as many superficial injuries and was unable to influence her mentally due to the focus on the battle. She exceeded at subtle manipulation, not pure mind control.

Raising a wall of ice, the twister was dispelled in multiple directions, washing over the snow and kicking up a puff of flakes. Lessar dashed to get a running start and leapt over the ice wall, her Steel Glove being used like a lance pointed downwards. Poli jumped back and narrowly avoided the shock wave that followed the impact.

Ice blades formed around Lessar and came crashing down. Using the Steel Glove, she swatted what she could into pieces and pressed forward; ignoring the cuts she received in the process. None of them were too deep anyway; she would be fine if she avoided the vitals being struck.

Under normal circumstances, she would have been a little more vain about her body being ruined, but not now. This was a duel to the death, and she’d rather live with a few scars—and possibly be pampered by Kamijou—than die in the snow filled cavern. Not that she wouldn’t have the others at New Light do something about her skin being ruined though. Lancis was decent at healing.

The rumbling of the cavern was not due to their battle alone, but the subsequent battle in the next cavity over, between Pel and the Misaka sisters. Lessar worried about them, but first things first. Deal the magician in front of her. If she survived the battle but was injured to the extent that she couldn’t stay awake, then Lessar would bind her and be done with it rather than finishing her off.

If not, oh well.

Poli crafted an ice javelin and stepped in to confront Lessar. Flashes of streaking, translucent blue were countered by steel gray strikes from the Steel Glove, which had focused the four points into a cone shaped spear point. The strikes reached the pinnacle of normal human speed, to the point where even a minor mistake in dodging could be fatal.

Yet, neither were ordinary humans—but magicians. Breaking through limits and smashing them to pieces was a requirement.

Fatal blows were unleashed on each side. Narrowly avoiding precise hits using their own weapon, while trying to land an equally precise strike, the young women threw away anything resembling a second thought and focused on piercing the opponent. It would have been a beautiful display, if not for the inherent violence, blood, and killing intent.

A strained grunt came out of Poli’s mouth, as the steel lance invaded her territory. The small girl before her had far less reach that someone taller than her. The range—even with the Steel Glove—should have put Lessar at immense risk. Yet, even the strikes that should have left a gaping hole—fatal or not—in her tiny body seemed to slip off her like she was covered in oil.

The thoughts that surfaced to her mind were quickly suppressed when Lessar jumped and rotated a few feet in the air, placing her foot on the ice javelin as she fell and embedding it into the ground. A wide swing forced Poli to release it and dodge, before the lance carved out her throat and separated her head from her body. Stumbling back, the Descendant willed a multi-layered ice wall to appear before her and protect her from the magician.

Wrapping Lessar’s body was a thin armor of conflicting wind, conditioned to be released upon the veiling of her sorcery name. Extending it to her Steel Glove in two layers and forcing them to rotate opposite of each other, it became a drill. With a heave, the drill spear flew towards the ice wall whose defenses could rival a fortress.

The sound of shattering ice was deafening, as the drill tore through it all and narrowly missed the Descendant, instead blowing her away from the force impact next to her. Before she could recover, Lessar had covered the distance and threw a side kick straight into her stomach, with enough force to send her twenty feet back.

Lessar grunted as she reached for her Steel Glove, sweat dripping down her head. The kick was enhanced with a rune, but strengthening her body was never easy when it came to physical combat. It felt as though the force she put into it was sent back and made her bones ache. Fighting while her lithe body was being strengthened placed a huge burden on it—fighting after this would be difficult for the rest of the day.

“Why?” Poli asked, staring at the magician before her. “As strong as you are, why did you fight to help the Monster of Science?”

“Hah?” Lessar look shocked for a moment. “You’re asking that at this moment? We magicians follow our own path, regardless of what others think. I fought alongside him because it was the path I wanted to walk. ”

“You,” Poli’s breathing got heavier all of a sudden, “fell for him, didn’t you? To the extent you’d betray your own side? How foolish…”

“Is that so?” Lessar’s grip tightened on the Steel Glove.

“In nearly every legend involving one who betrayed for love, they are in turn betrayed. From Medea to Gunnlod, your fate will be the same.”

For a brief second, Lessar closed her eyes in thought. When she opened them, they showed more resolve than before. “So what?”

Poli was silenced by the rebuttal, clearly confused by it.

“I am someone who is true to themselves; I’ve never once lied to myself about my feelings or what I wanted to do with them. I want him to be safe, so I wanted him to be under the protection of the UK while benefiting it at the same time. Even if the world declares him its enemy, I will stand next to him, alone if I must.

“I know that I’m just another girl he saved, but that doesn’t matter. If feeling the way about him I do makes me crazy, then I’d rather be insane, falling into a pit of false ecstasy, than to wake from that deranged dream. I know he would never intentionally betray me or any of the others he’s attracted, and even if he did and it led to my death, it would be worth it.”

Lessar was not the only one who felt that way. All those girls he’s protected shared the same sentiments. Even if there was little chance of him falling in love with her, she wouldn’t yield—even if she was called worse than Freya in her attempts—although, she’d be willing to share him with Mikoto and a few others.

“Besides,” Lessar smirked, “one tale mentions that it was Gunnlod who helped him willingly, and he thought well of her in return.”

Realizing that there was no changing the young girl’s mind, Poli willed the snow to tumble toward her. Forming a tidal wave of snow and ice that would bury the dreaming romantic girl under a blanket of eternal sleep, Poli sought to end it all. “Then continuing dreaming for all eternity, inside the white winter’s embrace!”

Staring down a wall of death, Lessar planted her feet firmly on the ground. Her mind flashed back to the moment the others from New Light saw her off on this assignment. It was only because of them that she could now stand up to the wall of death.

On her Steel Gloves were runes carved by each of them, their feelings and powers, all gathered into the weapon that stood as their symbol. It began to glow white. Its form shifted into a curved shape. Placing one knee on the ground, in her hands was the transformed Steel Glove—the Steel Bow.

The Steel Bow in her hands felt heavy. Lessar was never one to use this type of weapon, but Skadi was the name used by two figures: the giantess goddess who stood next to Ullr as the goddess of bow hunting, skiing, winter and mountains, and a man who lost a thrall that was buried under a snowdrift, murdered by a son of Odin. This symbolized them both—as well as Ullr—in one artifact.

Wind gathered and formed an arrow. Charging the arrow with as much magical energy as she could, the bow string felt as though it would snap when she pulled back on it. Around Lessar, a small spiral began to blow away the snow in a perfect circle.

Klofna Austrvegr Snær!Split the Snow! Lessar proclaimed, and the arrow was released.

The air howled as it was split in two. Though the wind arrow had no actual physical presence, the moment it was fired, the blizzard and snow were parted before the arrow that seemed to embody the force of all the winds. Realizing the legacy of the three beings of Norse that it was based on, no amount of snow or ice south of Fimbulwinter could stop it.

As Poli watched in disbelief, she failed to notice Lessar slip under her guard and finish the battle with a single kick. A somersault kick—enhanced by the Uruz rune—sent the Descendant into the air, where the wall was suddenly destroyed by what could only be describe as a ray of lightning that was followed by a blazing flame tongue. Smashing its way diagonally upwards through the stone ceiling, it dropped the Descendant of Pele’s limp and weak body on top of her sister like a cast off.

They both fell onto the melting snow, unconscious.

***

“Whaaa—!!” Index screamed, as the ray of lightning shot from the other side of the mountain into the sky, followed a pillar of fire that could rival an eruption.

“See,” Birdway shrugged her shoulders at Kamijou, “I told you they’d be fine.”

***

Climbing over what was left of the wall between the two chambers, Lessar waved to Mikoto. “Nice shot!”

Mikoto sighed, noticing the superficial injuries on Lessar’s body. “Looks like you were involved in something too.”

Lessar chuckled. “You look worse than I do. Just hang on a second; I’ll take a look at your sister once I get these two bounded and—”

Lessar’s irises shrunk and she drew back the bowstring, aiming towards Eight—or rather the man standing over her, with the M.E.S.D.O’s core in one hand and a ritual dagger in the other. Dressed in black, with long dark hair that made him seem like woman, he smiled.

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” he said, holding up the core he stole from Eight’s unconscious body, the dagger positioned directly over her throat. “Well, I am busy so…”

He brought the knife down—ready to kill—when a bolt of lightning and a wind arrow blew him away…only to disappear like a mirage made of dark smoke. Lessar swore, her Steel Bow nocked and ready to fire again, when she heard a scream from the pair of Descendants. Her eyes widened once again at the sight.

“Master Milu,” Poli began, tears in her eyes. The tears froze as they ran down her face and shattered once they hit the corpse of her sister. A clean puncture wound straight to the heart had killed the Descendant of Pele. “Why?”

Blood began to flow from Poli’s mouth, the only visible sign she had been stabbed as well was hidden beneath her sister’s body. Waking suddenly after feeling the man’s presence, she tried to shield her sister when she saw the dagger that sought their blood as if it were alive. Poli awakened in time to cradle the falling body, and received a mortal blow as well, screaming in response to the betrayal.

“I needed the blood of a few gods—or their Descendants—to fully summon Kanaloa. From the very beginning, your sacrifices were necessary to ensure our victory and the downfall of the Science Side,” he said, as his body began fading away. “They will not be in vain…”

The cavern suddenly started to shake. Mikoto’s ultimate railgun had flown threw a great deal of it, making the whole section unstable. Stone began falling and would soon cause a cave in. Seeing that Poli would be dead within minutes from blood loss or the cavern collapse, he vanished completely, taking the core and the life of Pel—her sister soon to follow.

Mikoto grabbed her sister and ran to Lessar, who pointed in the direction of another cave mouth that would take them away from this unstable and collapsing space. When Mikoto handed her sister to Lessar, hoping to at least save Poli, a wall of ice appeared between the dying Descendant and the school girls.

“What are you doing?” Mikoto screamed, trying to destroy the ice with a few bolts. “This cavern is collapsing! You’ll die!!”

“I can’t…” she shook her head and held her sister’s body closer, “I can’t accept mercy from the enemy.” She hated the fact that she had to try and kill young girls who should be in school, but she refused to be saved by those on the side she fought against. Even dying and betrayed, she held one thing besides her sister close to her.

It was her pride as a magician, which told her to face her death with dignity and grace.

While she had no intention of trying to drag them to Hell with her, it was essential that she died as Milu had planned. Her death would summon the god to destroy the enemy that she had been taught to hate and had fought against. She had to die; otherwise her sister’s death would be in vain as well.

“We have to go!” Lessar said, pulling Mikoto while carrying Eight’s unconscious body towards the mouth leading out of the cavern. With one last look of the sorrowful scene behind the ice wall as they parted, the cavern crashed into itself and buried the Descendants.

***

“That was…” Mikoto started to say, but was unable to express just how…wrong that situation felt.

“Yeah,” Lessar said, nodding in agreement. Betrayal wasn’t uncommon in their world, but to see how it happened in front of her and led to such an end…it still left a bad taste in her mouth, even though she had been fighting with mostly lethal intent. Those two believed in what they were fighting for, and in GREMLIN, but they were just puppets on strings to that person—sacrifices to be made at the very end.

Enemies or not, it still felt cold.

He had to pay.

But first they needed to figure out where the heck they were.

***

Milu placed the dagger containing the blood of the two Descendants into the center of the Eye of Kanaloa ritual circle he had constructed, deep inside the mountain. He then placed the core inside a replica of one of the machines that was inside the Academy City Facility. It took bribery and manipulation to get the blueprints to build it ahead of time, but the core was one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable.

The actual site where Kanaloa would be summoned was the ocean, right off the edge of the mountain, which was bordering it. The magical energy at the top was a false ritual site—a diversion to lure those who could sense magic to the top, since bringing along the Imagine Breaker meant they couldn’t just warp up there with him.

They’d never look inside the mountain, where the energy had been masked by the two Descendants. He would have to remember to have a memorial erected for those two as well. He didn’t want to kill them, but for magicians goals came before personal feelings.

The room itself had a foot of thick steel between it and the rest of the mountain, a top-of-the-line security system, and several anti-magician measures in place. Along with the claymores, and the remodeling of a few magicians to support the use of massive amounts of Kapua, it had cost Milu’s sponsors a small fortune to get everything set up.

But if it allowed GREMLIN to strike the heart of the Science Side, it was worth it.

The Eye of Kanaloa glowed blood red, waves of energy rippling from the circle. The machinery that the core was sealed in was now fully active and producing massive amounts of energy that would never decrease. It was then sealed in a twenty-layer barrier of magic that could regenerate, even faster than the Imagine Breaker could negate it—not that he could reach here.

Yes, they were that prepared to deal with him.

Now all that was left was to get rid of Birdway and the Monster of Science.

***

A sense of malevolence washed over Birdway and the others.

“Damn!” Birdway swore, gnashing her teeth. “We were tricked!!”

“Naturally,” Milu said, space warping in front of Birdway as he appeared. “We’ve planned for your interference for quite some time. Long before you fished the monster out of the Arctic Ocean.”

Milu snapped his fingers. A magic circle appeared beneath the magicians and sealed them away in a cylinder of light. “Forced teleportation,” Milu smiled. “Kanaloa will welcome you now.”

The magicians’ bodies began to break apart and vanish. Index looked over towards Touma, who was running towards them. With placing her hand on the glass-like cylinder, he almost reached it when she called for him.

“TOU—” Index never finished, as the forced teleportation spell spirited them away before he could reach it. With that, the Imagine Breaker was separated from them all, leaving the rest to fend off an angry god, while he had to face off against Milu.

Kamijou clenched his right fist.

Notes:

  • Five Over: Spark Drive—I did steal the Five Over part from NT1, it was too badass not to use.
  • The Ultimate Railgun, I got the idea from the PSP Fighting game of the series—her Final Overdrive to be exact. Looking at it, you’d guess that the technique would definitely be fatal in the game. I mean, she fires a thin coin at high speeds and expects the blow to not be like a bullet? I only wish I could play the Emiya theme when she stood proudly.
  • Medea…well, she’s the original yandere so I won’t get into that, but Gunnlod was assigned to guard the Mead of Wisdom until Odin…how do I say, “Hit it and Quit it”, drinking it all instead of three drops after sleeping with her for three days. Of course, as Lessar mentioned, another poem mentioned that she did help him out of her own free will.
  • Freya was a goddess that was “loose” according to the myths.  She also owned half of the Valkyries in Asgard.
  • I thought about having Pel and Poli survive and reform to become allies, but that was just not happening. These two fought a war against the Science Side and carried the lives of those they killed on their backs as their resolve—a path carved through corpses on a battlefield. You take that kind of conviction with you to the grave.
  • Alright, next chapter is Milu vs Kamijou, while everyone else does something productive—including Accelerator and more characters.

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