Author's Notes: I can't think of anything to say about this chapter. In terms of comedy I guess it would be my favorite? Anyway just to say something that a few of you might be wondering- The events of the novel are currently in the month of October I believe, so I've decided to add some tiny details into this fic. So if any of you are confused- Yes, Index does find out that Touma had lost his memories, No, Mikoto and her are the only ones that knows about it.
...I had a hard time writing about Necessarius.
"Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"
The [School Garden], is a large complex that houses five schools including the famous Tokiwadai Middle school.
The place is essentially is a mini-city within a city.
There's a large barricade that prevents outsiders from entering freely. It's separated into different areas, such as experimental facilities and housing areas. Even the shops that provide the daily necessities, such as a cafe or a clothes shop, are available. Despite these extra security set in place, it's not entirely difficult for friends to visit, and has becomes surprisingly easier during this period where most of the young ladies have returned home to spend the holidays with their family.
Taking advantage of this lax in security are Uiharu Kazari and Saten Ruiko.
"Shirai-san are you sure about this? I think we should check with Misaka-san first..."
"No problem, nobody knows Onee-sama the way like I do."
"But what if she has other plans?" Saten asked.
"Ohoho! I've already checked beforehand, Onee-sama's parents would be away doing what parents do best when their children aren't around-"
"W-When their children aren't around?" Uiharu fidgets awkwardly.
"The more important issue is how did you find out something like that!"
Saten had known that Shirai Kuroko could be rather... 'Open' about certain things, but still...
"-And since we're her best friends (Especially me) it would make complete sense that she would want to spend Christmas with us!"
"But how do you know if she's not planning a date with some guy?" Saten teased.
Kuroko felt a familiar stabbing sensation through her heart.
It was a danger that she had foreseen.
"Ehahaha! Saten-san surely you jest! Wouldn't I, Onee-sama's BEST friend and CLOSEST companion, would know if she was dating someone? Eheheh..."
"Well, I can think of several reasons why she wouldn't tell you-"
"What's that Uiharu?"
"You two are really... Oh fine, look I'm calling her right now okay?"
Kuroko pulled out her phone and speed dialed Misaka's number.
It answered on the fifth ring.
"Hello? Kuroko is it?"
"Hai Onee-sama, it's your BEST FRIEND and CLOSEST COMPANION Kuroko here! I was just wondering, seeing has how you absolutely have no plans, would you like to come to our Judgment Christmas Eve party? Oh, it's nothing big- just us girls hanging out together! Uiharu and Saten would be joining us of course seeing as how they would lead such lonely and uninteresting lives without us..."
"Tch...Anyway, so you're come right? You're definitely come right? Oh who am I kidding, of course you'll come, who else are you going to spend one of the most MAGICIAL nights with other than with me? Ahahaha...!"
There was a brief moment of silence on the other end.
Then it came like a freight train.
"...I'm so sorry Kuroko, I don't think I can go..."
"Yeah erm, something else came up and... Well, I've got plans already with someone (Index)..."
"I wanted to tell you sooner but I was caught up in all this mess (shopping)..."
"I'm really sorry Kuroko, but I'm sure you'll be fine without me (Company)... Bye!"
Click. Mikoto hung up,
The silence was deafening.
Then slowly... Like the calm before the storm, the uneasiness before an eruption, the stillness before the earthquake-
"WHO IS IT? WHO IS THAT BASTARD WHO STOLE MY ONEE-SAMA? D-DON'T TELL ME IT'S THAT APE AGAIN? EVERY SINGLE TIME HE GETS IN MY WAY! DON'T THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS? IT'S FREAKING CHRISTMAS EVE! RAAAAHHHH! I'M SOOOOOOOO PISSSED URGGGHHHHH!"
Kuroko bellowed like a wounded sperm whale.
"Wait…wait a minute, Shirai-san! Please calm down! What's going on?"
"It's too late Saten-san! Shirai-san has entered [Destroyer of Worlds] mode!"
"T-That's... A pretty cool title for someone who's anything but cool right now...!"
Through the eyes of her friends, Shirai Kurko appears to have 'hulk-ed up' and is now a 800 pound pink gorilla with twin-tails.
This Christmas just got heated up.
Refusing to be wrapped up like a cooked cheeseburger, Mikoto instead dragged Index around the 7th district looking for a suitable substitute.
Four hours later she definitely feels like a hammered piece of meat.
Doing things at the last minute is never a good thing. The feeling is indescribable, it's like you're punching yourself in the face because you HAD time to do it before, but chose to delay it for stupid reasons.
It's bad enough when it's someone else mocking you, at least you have options to shutting them up.
But when that annoying voice of logic is your own, you feel like choking yourself, or at least bonk your brain cage against a reasonably hard enough surface.
Last minute 'anything' is never fun.
Last minute Christmas shopping, is downright killer.
It doesn't matter if you live in the most technologically advance city in the world, human nature don't change as easily as the next cellphone model.
Shop owners, curse their blacken hearts, took this opportunity to sky rocket their prices, knowing fully well that their customers would not- no, they could not do anything about it. A simple box of chocolate could cost as much as a cheap computer- which probably isn't cheap at all.
But the prices wasn't the real killer, not for a rich little girl like Misaka Mikoto.
No the real nightmare was trying to squeeze through the hundreds upon hundreds of other last minute shoppers like herself, fighting to get a piece of anything for their Christmas gifts. These days there are mail-ordered presents that could be delivered to your door steps, but not even the new 'technology' and 'system' could hold out against the 'tides of darkness'.
Exhausted and hungry respectively, Mikoto and Index collapsed into their seat inside a family cafe.
They had spent the last four hours cruising the entire 7th district for any and every shop they could find, all while fighting high prices and thick crowds, but to no avail. Mikoto was pushed to the point where she had seriously considered tasering everyone in her way, but was able to get a grip on herself before she slipped into the deep end of the pool.
"I... Give up..."
"That's no way we could do this."
"The prices are highway robbery!"
"And the queues were insane!"
"You would think they were selling drugs or something? I don't care if it's made of gold or silver! 10000 yen for a box of anything is just criminal!"
"So very hungry..."
"OI! IS THAT ALL YOU CAN SAY?"
"But... I can't help it if I'm hungry...!"
Actually, given her past record, four hours of shopping before going hungry is considered a major improvement. It shows that Index really is giving her all for this... In her own little way, probably.
"Wow this is a rare combination, what are you two doing here together?"
Tsuchimikado Maika was assigned to Tokiwadai Middle School several times to take part in many functions so it's no surprise that both her and Mikoto were well acquainted.
"So how goes the hunt for Kamijou's Christmas present?"
"Never mind that first Maika! I'M HUNGRYYYY!"
"Eheh... I'll get you something to eat... But just to be sure- YOU ARE paying for it RIGHT?"
Maika directed her question not to Index, but to an exhausted Mikoto, who simply nodded her head.
"Heh so not only did you manage to recruit Misaka Mikoto into our cause, but you've been inflicted by the curse of the 'Last minute Christmas shopper' as well huh..."
"Don't look so smug it could have happened to anyone!" Misaka scowled.
"Ha Ha! Not me! As a first class maid-in-training we were drilled on the first day to always prepare everything days in advance!" Maika proclaimed proudly.
The Railgun grumbled at her defeat, Index on the hand other hand took this opportunity to ask the obvious question.
"Hey Maika, what are you doing in this cafe? I thought you were organizing the party?"
"Yup and this is part of it, some of my fellow maids-in-training work here for their on the job training program, so I thought of pulling some favors to get the food we need for the feast. Of course it's not for free, so I'm helping out with the work load in exchange."
Even Maika's working hard to get to make this a success...Misaka sudden felt ashamed that she couldn't do more to help.
Index probably felt the same way because it was then that she asked,
"Hey Maika, is there anything else we could help with? It's impossible to buy a present like this!"
The young girl placed her hand over her chin in a solemn manner.
"Hmmm... Well I guess it's a bit hard to get a gift at such short notice..."
"How about we help you girls here?" Mikoto suggested.
"Oh no need, we're good here besides-" Maika grinned sinisterly. "We maids can be quite territorial when it comes to stuff like that... Fufufu..."
"But now that you've mentioned it... There might be something you can do! And at the same time still get that present for Kamijou Touma!"
"What is it?"
Maika couldn't help but laugh at their sudden burst of enthusiasm.
"First thing's first, you two look like you've gone through a four hour grind-fest, why don't you head back first and rest. You can meet me outside of Seventh Mist tomorrow morning at nine."
"Fine... But are you-"
"Don't worry! I'll be sure to hook you girls up with a job best suited for you! DEFINITELY!"
Not sure what to make of that declaration Mikoto decided to change the subject.
"By the way, I haven't seen that guy all day..."
"Yeah Maika, you've said that your brother would be distracting him for us, what did he do?"
"Hmm, I'm not sure of the details, he just mentioned bring him on a wild goose chase..."
"As in... The character that was played by that man who was the 'Mask'?"
"Er...Yeah, but before that he was a fictional character created by Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as "Dr. Seuss", a famous author of numerous children books, almost too many to list out. The character called the [Grinch] first appeared in the 1957 children's book, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!". What people don't really know is that his books were a cover for a magic cult to transport their black grimoires under the watch of Necessarius."
Touma nodded his head slowly as he tries to take in what Tsuchimikado is saying.
"In particular there is one book that is well known to be dangerous- "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" on the surface is a simple tale about an evil person and his plan to take away Christmas from everyone. But if you think about it, if one could theoretically 'steal Christmas', wouldn't it be the same as having the power to 'deny the existence of the Son of God' since the festival was meant to celebrate his birth."
"Uh huh..." Touma responded slowly.
"So there you have it Kami-yan, in order to save the world from this great crisis, we must find the [Grinch] and stop him before he steals Christmas!"
"...And this Grinch is in Academy City why? If he really doesn't want to be stop, he could have picked Somalia, Cuba, or even Cairo..."
"Ah well, that's for us to find out right? Who knows what troubled soul he might be! Time for the good old Kami-yan intervention!"
Tsuchimikado swing his arm around Touma's neck like a hook and dragged him away.
This is all going according to plan.
Of course there's no such thing as a [Grinch], and poor Dr. Seuss was really just an author, and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" was nothing more than a timeless classic. Still, one has to give Tsuchimikado credit for spinning a 'convincing' lie like that. But given that Touma has had his entire world view turn upside down and every where around for the last few months, he's in such a complete state of open-mindedness that if Tsuchimikado had made up something about Unicorns that ride on silver moon beams and shoot rainbow out of their asses, Touma would lap it up in a heartbeat.
It was a magnificent load of crap, in the first place there were so many factors and symbols that goes in the Birth of the Son of God that it's impossible to deny his existence completely. The most laughable problem is also the most basic, even if the festival that man created called 'Christmas' was meant to celebrate his birth, the actually date that the Son of God was born into this world was nowhere near December, so the festival of Christmas has no magic link to him at all.
The two friend would spend a very long time looking for an over grown man covered in thick green fur with elongated limbs that doesn't exist.
In London's Lambeth district lies the women's dorm of Necessarius.
In terms of physical appearance, there was little difference between it and the other stone-built apartments along the streets.
"How about a Roast Turkey?"
"No courier would accept it."
"One thousand paper cranes?"
"They would be unrecognizable by the time he receives them..."
"How about we...?"
The situation is as such- Originally, both Kanzaki Kaori and Itsuwa... Er, just [Itsuwa], had an unspoken 'challenge' three weeks ago to see which girl could come up with a better gift for a certain someone...Two and a half weeks later, neither of them could come up with anything practical to work on.
With Christmas Day looming just around the corner, they decided to put aside their differences.
Better to come up with something together than to have nothing separately.
Another three days later and both of them still came up dry.
Even Stiyl had already gotten a 'present' for Touma – Illegal Cuban Cigars. Apparently he was quite 'unhappy' (furious) about not being able to visit Japan for the Holiday festivals, both Kanzaki and Itsuwa could understand, though his reasons (Index) might be vastly different from theirs.
"This isn't getting us anywhere!"
"Priestess-sama, maybe it's time for us to enlist the aid of some 'foreign' talent."
"What? It's embarrassing enough as it is for the both of us, we can't let anyone else know about this!" Kanzaki rejected.
"I don't think that's a problem... Tatemiya-san knows about it already..."
"WHAT? How did he- TSUCHIMIKADO!"
"Cough... It's not as bad as it sounds, I've already consulted with him about our 'issue'..."
"According to the substitute Supreme Pontiff 'I heard that Orsola have a plan already set in motion, why don't you ask for her advice?'"
Kanzaki looked puzzled.
"Orsola? Nothing personal, but she's not exactly the brightest lamp... What could she possibly be up to?"
"I'm not sure myself, but given that we're at our wits' end, I say we should try anything..."
"I guess so, at this rate we'll never get anywhere by ourselves."
It didn't take them long to track down the former Catholic Sister, who spends most of her waking hours playing in the Library, or being chased around by Sherry Cromwell... Or both.
And today was no different.
They found her sitting behind one of the desks humming away her favorite tune as she gently apply glue to the back of a photograph.
She was positively glowing when the two of them approached her.
"Kanzaki-san! Itsuwa-san! It's so good to see you two! What brings you here today?"
"Orsola-san, we were hoping you can help us with a little problem... Itsuwa, tell her."
"EH? I- Erm... Well, you see...It all started..."
(Five minutes later...)
"...So basically we need some suggestions for a Christmas present, and we're hoping you could share with us some ideas." Itsuwa finally concluded. "According to Tatemiya-san, he said that you were already working on something... That is related to our situation?"
Kanzaki cut straight to the chase.
"So spill it, what are you working on?"
Orsola beams as she lifts up the book she had been pasting pictures on to reveal her handiwork to them.
"I'm making a Gravure photo album for Kamijou-san's Christmas present!"
"Oh I see... WWHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?"
The easy-going Orsola either doesn't understand the situation or chose to ignore their outburst.
"It's going to be a "Women of Necessarius" Special! It would contain risque shots of every girl from the Church!"
Both Itsuwa and her Priestess-sama were both horrified and intrigued... But mostly horrified (intrigued).
The pictures were labeled and arranged according to the different departments within the church. All of them were taken within the confines of St George Cathedral or the female dorm itself. The subjects were all members of Necessarius in various postures and article of clothes- Though it's more accurate to say, lack of clothes. Another interesting feature is that most of them weren't looking in the direction of the camera, and those who do were red as lava.
"Quite professional don't you think? I've just finished collecting Agnese and the rest of the girls. They were being dishonest at first (Translate: "Outright Reject"), but after awhile of convincing (Translate: "Scamming and Brainwashing") and they finally agreed to my request (Translate: "Surrendered"). It wasn't easy, but it was well worth it seeing Agnese and Lucia in these 'dangerous' outfits! They are actually quite daring, don't you think?"
Flipping through the pages, the two Amakusa girls found the pictures.
To say that they were 'dangerous' was an understatement.
"T-This is... This has got to be breaking some rules!" (Like what?)
"Too hot! This is too dangerous! Priestess-sama is one thing, but this is taking it too far!"
"...What's that suppose to mean."
"N-Nothing Priestess-sama! Say, where's Sister Angelene? I don't see her any- OH MY WOW-!"
"I-Is that the same Angelene? She looks so... Different to say the least..."
Even Kanzaki Kaori was impre-... Erm, dumbfounded.
"Isn't it? I told her that she would make a lot of older men very happy..."
"Because they've always wanted a daughter!"
"No Orsola... I don't think that's what it means..."
"And look, even Sherry volunteered!"
"E-Even Sherry-san? Where? Let me see-!"
Itsuwa hastily flipped through the book till she finds the tanned skin and gothic lolita magician.
"...Orsola, why are all of these pictures of her asleep?"
Indeed, they were all pictures of Sherry Cromwell in her night dress, sleeping soundly in her bed in rather seductive positions.
Orsola flashes that radiant smile of hers.
"Well how else could have I safely taken them?"
"Does she... Know about this?" Itsuwa asked in a low voice.
Orsola simply smiled graciously, as if accepting a compliment.
Kanzaki Kaori finally had enough.
"ORSOLA! What were you thinking? You can't send this to Kamijou Touma! All things aside... No, there's just no reason to use this! Beside even that Archbishop would never sign off to this-!"
'Eh? But it was Archbishop-sama that gave me this idea in the first place!"
"She told me that it would make the 'best Christmas gift for a growing young man'!"
"THAT WOMAN WOULDN'T KNOW A GOOD CHRISTMAS GIFT IF IT SAT AND BURN ON HER HAIR!" Kanzaki exploded with saintly rage. "I'M GOING OVER THERE TO KNOCK SOME SENSE INTO THAT BIMBO'S AIRHEAD! WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?"
As her Priestess storm off to find Laura, Itsuwa on the other hand brought up an interesting issue.
"Wait, so does that mean you even gotten the Archbishop's...?"
"Yeah, but she said she wanted to use them for something el-?"
Like a prey that senses a predator closing in, Orsola stop talking all of a sudden.
"AHH! Sherry-san! What are you..."
"I'M GOING TO KILL YOU! COME BACK HERE YOU LITTLE-!"
"AHHHH! KANZAKI-SAN SAVE MEEEEE!"
Itsuwa stared in wonder at the sight of a beserking Sherry Cromwell in her night-wear tearing apart the Necessarius Library with a pillow, chasing after a frightened Urusla...
"Ah, what about my present...?" She wondered.
"So... What do you think?" Laura asked.
"Come on, it's not that hard! Who else would have received first look at a foreign blond beauty wear mind-blowingly seductive clothes... A mini-skirt Santa costume that can make anyone nosebleed had been specially prepared for this occasion. So what do you think?"
"It's intriguing enough to say the least, I think you actually have potential. You should quit being the Archbishop of a Church and start your new life as a professional gravure idol, it would make a lot of men very happy around the world for Christmas..."
The inverted General Director Aleister on her computer screen nodded ever slightly.
"Indeed, I foresee that there is no way this would have any negative consequences."
"Isn't it? I knew it was the right decided to try it on you first! Especially a person like you who is so 'clear of heart' that he never had to 'release his inner demons' should feel something after seeing that album-"
Aleister interrupted her with a frown.
"That's rude, even someone like me still has to 'release inner demons' as well from time to time. But I must say that this collection of yours would be an excellent material to do so... Perhaps some of the other Board Directors might appreciate such fine arts..."
Laura dropped her comb in shock. Her intention was to make him felt awkward and embarrassed, but instead Laura's master-plan had backfired spectacularly.
"W-WAIT! ALEISTER! I DON'T WANT YOU TO USE ME AS YOUR...!"
The slightest hint of a grin form on his face.
"...That was a joke."
Truly a Christmas miracle by itself.
* End of Part Two *