Chapter 8 - Incomprehensible
Kihara Amata slammed down the headset, almost breaking the phone in the process.
You have got to be fucking kidding me, Aleister! Amata scowled in such a way that would give Accelerator a run for his money in terms of 'ominous', or just 'freaking crazy'. "I'm being forced onto a job that's pretty much baby-sitting? If this is actually some sort of crazy research, I can probably live with that…
"But to just put up some kind of sham to keep that kid's power hidden to a extent? Go get some other lackey of yours to do this shit for you, you bastard."
Amata continued to fire off expletives he didn't have the guts to say in front of the General Superintendant. So what if this Kamijou brat defeated Accelerator? He could to the same himself, given the right equipment. These espers are nothing more than lowly research material, and for a researcher like Kihara Amata himself to go this far, for a kid that's only alive because the absolute ruler of Academy City is wiping his ass for him and forbidding other factions from hunting him down, really pisses him off.
Still, being the researcher at one stage in charge of Accelerator, it makes a good smokescreen to make it seem like people are taking this seriously.
It certainly beats having the Professor of MEMBER showing up, in any case. There's really no point having underground organisations buried so deeply in the Darkness of Academy City if they get called up to the surface for PR grunt work. Compared to the Hound Dogs, people like ITEM and MEMBER are more valuable and so secrecy is necessary.
And then there's also the fact the Professor is obsessed with 'formulas' and mathematics. Should he start to study Imagine Breaker, something that cannot be understood with Science alone, Aleister might need to find someone to replace him as he bangs his head on the metaphorical wall trying to solve the impossible using limited tools.
Standing up from his desk, Amata swiftly put on a white lab coat and exited the room, slamming the door. With only minimal care done to ensure he looked presentable to others.
It's not every day Kihara Amata is forced to act civilised and pretend to be a respectable researcher.
With the Daihasei Festival in a few days, work was already piled up for the various teachers of Academy City. Thus, when the teachers that also have Anti-Skill duties were notified they had extra work to do, supervising a student's additional system scan many grumbles were heard.
Yomikawa Aiho was noticeably not one of those teachers. Having seen firsthand Kamijou Touma's ability during the siege at the underground mall, she already knew there was something up about that boy. She didn't look deeply into it due to being laden down with other things to do as part of Anti-Skill, and frankly despite her curiosity her duty is to ensure the boy's safety come first. She had been in a few cases where Academy City's scientists basically treated children as sub-human and did all kinds of horrible things in the name of Science.
She wanted to make sure Kamijou won't end up as another one of those victims.
Next to Yomikawa, Tsukuyomi Komoe is nervous at the upcoming test. While the tiny teacher was happy that her student is finally on his way being recognised as more than just a lazy slacker, she is cautious that he got dragged into something like with the silver-haired nun's case again.
"Would Kamijou-chan be alright…?" Komoe wondered.
"Don't worry about it, Tsukuyomi-sensei." Yomikawa assured her. "Despite the questionable reputation of the researchers in charge today, I'll be keeping a eye out for the boy. I'll make sure he'll be alright."
"Eh? Questionable?" Komoe said in alarmed tone. "How bad is it?"
"Um, well… wait, he's coming over this way, you can see for yourself." Yomikawa said as she caught sight of the person in question.
Approaching the teachers is a researcher wearing a typical white lab coat associated with people in that profession, over a black shirt and long pants. Over the upper left side of his face is some sort of tattoos that gave people the impression he's some sort of maniac.
"Hello, ladies." Amata gave a smile in what he thought was supposed to be a dazzling one, but it just looked borderline sleazy to the two teachers. "I'm Kihara Amata, and I will be the researcher in charge of the experiment today. Pleased to meet you."
"Ah, um…" The pink-haired child stammered in front of Amata's imposing look. "I'm Tsukuyomi Komoe, Kamijou Touma's teacher. This person here is Yomikawa Aiho, also a teacher at this school and the one in charge of security for today."
Amata stared incredulously at the child-like creature that said she was a teacher. Words failed him at how ridiculous the situation seemed to him.
Well daaaamn. Is she kidding me? This had to be a joke, if Academy City had already reached something like reversing the aging process Aleister wouldn't be stuck in that vat of his and locked himself inside a impregnable fortress. Some kind of test subject for experimental drugs then?
Nah, impossible. There's no way someone like that would be let loose in public like this.
"If you're supposed to be a reputable researcher, then what's with the tattoos?" Yomikawa narrowed her eyes. To her, Kihara Amata didn't look 100% trustworthy. Then there are the rumours on what the Kihara family have done in their research, as shown by the earlier case of Therestina. Her words shook Amata out of his reverie as she stared at Amata's face.
"Legacy of a misspent youth." Amata shrugged. "And really now, is a member of Anti-Skill supposed to judge another person's character solely by appearances? That's discrimination, right?"
Yomikawa clenched her teeth, and ignored his comments. She thought to keep a eye on him to make sure nothing goes wrong today, however.
"Anyway, like I said I'll be conducting the research today. How about things on your end?"
"Well, Kamijou-chan has already arrived and is warming up." Komoe gestured at a spiky-haired boy over on the field, dressed in a set of PE uniform typical of a ordinary high school. "We can start when you're ready. So what is going to happen here?"
"Just some tests." Amata said vaguely. "We have a Level 3 hydrokinesis user here to test the versatility of Kamijou's ability, just to get a guideline of his capabilities. The real fun starts when the Number Seven goes head to head with the kid and we start pushing their limits."
"And there's no chance of them getting hurt?" Yomikawa checked.
"We've minimised it." Amata said as if it was really the case. It's not like he gave a damn what these kids does to one another. "Anyway, we've arranged a doctor to be on hand so if anything happens help will be available. You have nothing to worry about."
"I'll take your word for it." Yomikawa's tone made it absolutely clear that if it doesn't turn out alright he's going to be in deep trouble. Amata only smiled in reply, while inwardly wishing he brought some of the arsenal the Hound Dogs have in their possession. A Desert Eagle would be lovely right now. Or a rocket launcher.
A few more fake words of concern later, Amata left the teachers to get started on this sham of a experiment he was saddled with today.
"He hasn't shown up yet?" Amata sorely wanted to strangle the Level 5 brat when he gets here, but he had to keep up appearances. "Just what the hell is that kid thinking? It's way past the time when we're supposed to start."
"W-well…" Even toned down, Amata's death glare sent shivers to the bearer of bad news. It felt like Amata would have just pulled out a gun and shot the guy to relieve some stress in a different situation.
"Whatever. Let's start without him, the mock battle is at the end anyway. We'll begin the tests on Kamijou first." Amata disregarded the minor inconvenience. "Get those machines up and running. That Level 3 hydrokinesis user is here already right? Get him to test out the area of effect of Kamijou's ability. Let's at least get some of this crap done."
With Index being taken care of by Tsuchimikado Maika, Touma sighed in relief knowing someone is keeping a eye on her. He didn't want her to come along to something as troubling as this, and after a explanation filled with jargon Index opted to just stay home.
The thought that if Index came along and memorise some sort of trade secrets of the Science Side that'll lead to political troubles between the two worlds never occurred to him.
Though right now, there wasn't anything that Index would have been in trouble if she had known; there was a large piece of machinery pointed at him when some water user was shooting at him, but that's about it. He was soaked in a few places, which so far let the testers know his ability is only located in his right hand, and he can't shift that ability to another hand or some other part of his body.
His right hand was conspicuously dry in comparison to his drenched shirt, a testament to the fact no matter how powerful the esper attack thrown at him was as long as it touches his right hand it will be negated.
Aren't we done yet? Touma thought. He didn't really know what was going to happen in this test, so he has no idea how much longer this will be taking. Sure, there was something like a mock battle at the end of this, but he has no idea how long before he'll finally get to that stage.
"Sorry I'm late!" A voice cried out as someone is escorted to the edge of the field. Touma took a look at the source of the voice, and almost had a water missile impacting onto his face. The newcomer had messier, and less noticeably, spiky black hair compared to Touma, and has some sort of white headband underneath them. He is also wearing a white shirt and shorts kind of uniform, although his shirt was definitely not a standard part of a school uniform:
Seriously, who has the rising sun symbol blatantly marked onto a shirt like that? The shirt was probably more red than the white it was originally meant to be.
"Took you long enough to get here." Amata scowled in annoyance. "What took you so long?"
"Sorry about that." The boy said, looked genuinely apologetic. "I kinda got lost on my way here, and then there was this old lady nearby that needed help crossing the road…"
"…" Amata sorely wanted to shoot the whelp that made his life miserable. The fact the kid in front of him can take just about anything he can throw at him isn't helping, as he knows for sure he won't be killing anyone if he did try. Not that he cared about the death of someone else, just that he needed to keep up the act in front of these naïve people who doesn't have a clue what happens in the Darkness.
The fact that if he shot someone that won't die from a gunshot will blow his cover didn't occur to him in his annoyance. That's how far gone a person like Kihara Amata is.
"Whatever. Get going then, we've done the preliminary tests on your opponent already." Amata waved one hand as if to shoo him away, the other threw him a printout of what they found so far. "Go all out if you want. Just make sure whatever you do only aim for his right hand, the rest of his body can't handle esper attacks. We don't want him to die in a accident."
Frankly, if the Kamijou boy has to die he'd make sure it was no accident and ensure it would be a act of cold blooded murder. At this point, pissing off Aleister might even be worth it.
"Right." The newcomer jogged towards Kamijou Touma as the water user was recalled from the soon-to-be ground zero. After skimming through the few pages once, he folded the pages and placed it into his pockets as he took his place in front of Touma.
"Alright. I'm Sogiita Gunha, and I will be your opponent today." Gunha said, looking seriously at his opponent. With both of them have black spiky hair and a well-built but not muscular body, the two of them looked like distorted images of one another.
If it weren't for the fact Touma had a tired look on his face right now it might have made for a epic picture as the two faced one another, about thirty metres apart.
"I'm Kamijou Touma." Touma introduced himself. "I've been told I'm fighting you for this last part. Please go easy on me."
"I don't think so." Gunha said pleasantly, much to Touma's increasing horror. "I'm told you can negate anything as long as it is touching your right hand. It would be a insult to both our guts if I don't take this seriously."
"Wait, you don't have to push yourself like that…" Touma quickly said, but it appears Gunha wasn't listening.
"And it seems like I can go all out without having to worry about hurting you." Gunha grinned. "I'll be going all out from the start then. Brace yourself!"
"Fukoooooou Da!" Touma hastily brought up his right hand in front of him, and placed his left behind his right to reinforce it.
Just in time too.
Something like a block of distorted space formed in front of Gunha, and he smashed it like he was trying to punch a hole through it. A shockwave of sorts was sent in the direction towards Touma, something that while powerful didn't look like anything unusual by Academy City's standards.
Only Kihara Amata out of everyone present knew something behind Sogiita Gunha's ability. According to his files, Gunha distorts any kind of AIM field around him just by standing there, and without any good explanations from the other researchers involved. It could be some other kind of unexplainable force Gunha gives off that has no relation to AIM, but even then there is no real proof of that theory, just guesses.
Then, that wave of distortion impacted onto Kamijou Touma's right hand. The boy with a special right hand stood his ground, despite the tide of power flowing around him as his Imagine Breaker acted as a shield. Touma gritted his teeth, and if he still had his memory of taking on Innocentius' flame cross with his hand he would have likened the experience to what he had just withstood.
Seconds later the wave ceased, and only the ground in front of Touma stayed free of blemish while outside the parabola-shaped area around him the ground is filled with cracks.
"Well, that's new." Amata said conversationally and pulling out a cigarette as he did so. "It seems attacks past a certain threshold takes longer to negate. Want one?" He directed that last question towards Yomikawa and Komoe and held out his cigarette pack for them, as they approached him wanting to ask about Gunha and check if he's the Level 5.
After that last attack, it appeared the question wasn't necessary.
"Smoking is forbidden on school grounds." Yomikawa said, not really paying attention to Amata's words. She knew from that time fighting that terrorist at the underground mall Komoe's student there can negate abilities, but a Level 5's?
She didn't quite expect that.
"Unless you have air purifiers set up, that's the only exception to when you can smoke." Komoe clarified, politely rejecting the offer for a smoke.
"You're kidding me? That's some pretty harsh rules there." Amata sighed.
"More importantly, why did you let Sogiita there fire a attack off like that?" Yomikawa said through clenched teeth. "Something of that level might have hurt Kamijou!"
"Academy City exists to push the limit of science and our understanding of it; some risks are to be expected." Amata shrugged. "Besides, we have that frog-faced doctor here with us. It's not like anyone will die under his watch."
"That's not the point." Yomikawa grabbed Amata's collar. "The safety of the students comes first. It's our responsibility as teachers to have that as our priority. Don't forget that."
"Duly noted." Amata said dryly, placing one hand on Yomikawa's and squeezed, forcing her hand off him. "Though I find it disappointing that you don't have faith in your students, Miss Yomikawa. They're not exactly little girls that need to be protected, they know how to handle themselves.
"And the next time you try to grab me like that I will retaliate; Anti-Skill or not, I have a right to self defence when threatened without good reason." Amata smiled thinly, cracking his knuckles.
He certainly don't mind if this bitch is picking a fight with him. Men or women, adult or child, it doesn't really matter: if they piss him off they will die, period.
"I'm impressed." Gunha said, with that grin still on his face. "You have guts, Kamijou. They were right when they said you can take whatever I throw at you."
"Thanks for your compliment." Touma said, huffing and taking deep breaths. Even with Imagine Breaker, it doesn't change that scary things are still scary.
Even if Gunha's attacks wasn't AIM field based like a electromaster's or pyrokinesis, it was still of supernatural origin. That made it possible for Imagine Breaker to negate the attack, and to avoid being pulverised by that 'amazing punch'.
"Now I want to try something else. You might want to get your guard back up." Gunha said as he hopped back a few times, putting more distance between the two of them.
"Uwoooooh!" Without warning, Gunha sped up to twice that of the speed of sound and slammed a fist into Touma's right hand he held out in front of him, with sand clouds billowing out behind him as he charged. Touma didn't even had time to blink before a loud 'Crack!' rang out, and Gunha ended up falling on his butt as his power suddenly disappeared on him.
"…" The two boys looked at each other, not quite sure how to take this turn of events.
"That's… good. Very good." Gunha's face split in a wide grin. "That's some great guts you have, taking that attack head on. Now…" He stood up, dusted himself off, and jumped ten metres back like it was nothing. "It's your turn. Come at me with your attack, and I will block it like you just did. It's only fair you get a chance to strike back head on like a man."
With that, he held both arms out in front of him like he's pushing against a wall. Seconds later a slab of something shimmered into existence in front of him, looking like a spatial distortion crammed inside a smooth glass container of some sort.
"Ultimate Defence! Now, show me what you can do!" Gunha's voice called from the other side, which from Touma's point of view it's like trying to see through foggy window and the guy on the other side is made of smoke.
Whatever… I just have to go hit it with Imagine Breaker, right? Touma thought exasperatedly. Being on the receiving end of someone talking non-stop made him wonder for a moment if anyone else thought that when he fought them.
Touma charged forwards, his right fist swung in a wide arc and impacting onto Gunha's shield in such a way if it was a normal concrete wall Touma felt sure he would have broke his hand in a dozen places.
As the right fist smashed into the barrier, the usual sound of 'Crack!' rang out. The surface of the barrier begin to show fractures like broken glass, before collapsing into itself entirely and the whole thing started to shrink inside like being sucked into a dark 'hole' where Touma's fist came in contact with the shield.
As Gunha and Touma widened their eyes at the spectacle in front of them, the orb of unidentifiable blackness exploded outwards, with the resulting shock wave crashing into the two at point blank range.
"Guaah?" The two was blown back, flying a identical arc in the air before landing unceremoniously into the dirt.
"Ow… what the hell was that?" Touma got up, clutching at a sore spot on his head. Apart from that, he seems unharmed otherwise.
"Beats me. I just poured my ability into a shield and condensed it as much as possible." Gunha shrugged as he sat up, placing one hand on his neck as it creaked. "I had no idea what would have happened if a negating punch tries to hit it."
"You're kidding me? Are you telling me you used something that might have gotten both of us killed!" Touma roared back, certain this all had to be some kind of joke.
Knowing Touma's luck, that might not have been a exaggeration.
"Of course." Gunha said that like it was obvious. "It takes guts to do something like that. As men, we should challenge the impossible and overcome anything that stands in our way! Anything is possible if we try!"
"…" Touma tried to suppress the tick in his eye after hearing Gunha's words. He failed miserably.
"You know what? I don't care anymore." Touma sighed. "Let's just go ahead and beat each other up. I don't want to deal with your train of thought any longer."
"Fine with me." Gunha said with that same wide grin like he's enjoying every minute of this.
It took every last bit of Touma's willpower not to break down and curse the heavens for sending him into this conflict. It must have been some sort of karma that he's fighting someone that talks even more than he does about his ideals in a fight.
"No. Freaking. Way." Mikoto felt her jaws drop as she saw the two spiky-haired boys going at one another in their 'duel'. Similar responses were on the faces of Saten, Uiharu and Kuroko, but Mikoto's expression was the result of a different reason than the intensity of the attacks launched.
The Seventh Level 5 fighting the idiot was the same guy she fought next to a certain vending machine back in July, the one that took her Railgun (at 30% of her full power) in the face and just caught the projectile with his teeth. People normally remember the guy that catches your strongest attack like it was nothing.
Still, if it was him… guess that idiot will be alright then. Mikoto sighed in relief.
Hearing about a Kihara would be heading this test gave all of them a bad feeling back then. The time with Therestina, plus Kihara Gensei's plan with Child Errors to make the crystallized esper essence made them certain there's more to this than meets the eye.
Then there's also the unknown Level 5; Sogiita Gunha. Supposedly a 'black box' that people aren't even sure if he's a Level 5, like Kamijou Touma, a person they're not sure if he's a Level 0. Making two unknown factors clash and see what results might sound interesting to the higher-ups, but Mikoto's worried that it might end up like the fight with Accelerator all over again: Touma getting beaten up and getting hospitalised.
For all their enthusiasm at seeing Mikoto's 'boyfriend' in action, there is a undercurrent of worry among these girls. Even with Anti-Skill on the scene, they still want to know for sure something bad won't happen.
However, if it was this idiot (Mikoto felt she needed a better distinction between Sogiita and the other idiot) then it's not like Touma will be sent to the hospital from a malicious attack.
Then again, it looked like Touma will be sent to the hospital anyway from what Sogiita is using to attack him. While having the two taking turns to punch one another (or in Gunha's case, throw around attacks made of incomprehensible power) actually makes it easier for researchers to collect data, there's still a chance for accidents.
Just because Sogiita is too honourable (or another way to look at it, too stupid) to use anything other than taking turns to attack one another, it doesn't mean Touma will be safe.
"You know, you still haven't thanked me Misaka." A smug voice said next to her.
Mikoto grimaced, and turned to look at the speaker. Misaki looked over on the battlefield in interest, when Gunha formed a giant club about three times his height using his power and swung it at Touma like trying to hit a home run. Touma blocked it, and seconds later the club dissipated like water vapour.
"I'll consider this as you making up for your words earlier, Shokuhou." Mikoto grudgingly thanked Misaki. It wasn't like Mikoto could have made her way into the test site, not when Anti-Skill members are everywhere. When a Level 5 is involved, the higher ups definitely held nothing back. Using Kuroko and Uiharu's status as Judgment members was out of the question, as Kuroko is on sick leave, and Uiharu's on probation. The hacker was allowed back on the team since Daihasei Festival is coming up in a few days, but her authority was severely restricted.
Even teleporting in wasn't likely a viable option, as even if they can get in there's just no way they can watch the mock battle without being exposed.
"Really now, that's the best you can do?" Misaki sighed. She wanted to say her words were only due to Mikoto trying to electrocute her, but starting another argument now wasn't a good idea.
After getting in on the pretence of being a student studying on medical applications of her ability, Misaki managed to gain entrance into the test site as a assistant to Heaven Canceller. The frog-faced doctor owes her a few favours from helping to save some patients anyway, and considering the connections the good doctor has Misaki jumped at the chance to gain his trust when he had asked.
Making these other students the same didn't take much convincing on her part to the doctor, with Heaven Canceller agreeing to support her deception. It was almost like he wanted the extra firepower the Railgun can give, should someone decide to interrupt the test…
"Thanks, Shokuhou-san!" Saten said with a smile. Here she was, looking at a legend of Academy City at work and he's everything the rumours said like he would be.
It appeared Saten got over accusing him being a two-timer. And the other things like the rumours about the things he got up to with Mikoto. Her friend denied anything like that with him, and she decided to trust Mikoto in that.
Though from the way Mikoto was furiously blushing at the claims made it obvious to Saten there's more than just 'nothing' between them. If Mikoto has really fell for him that badly then Saten is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, since there must be something good about him that would make Mikoto fall for him.
Worst case scenario, there's always the baseball bat to settle things. No one messes with her friends.
"Though is it really a good idea letting us in here like that? As a rival for his affections, won't it be bad if you bring Misaka-san here as well?" Saten asked.
"Wha-?" Both Misaki and Mikoto looked nonplussed at Saten's words.
"I didn't come here for stealing Kamijou-san's heart, I'll assure you that." Misaki stated without any room for misunderstanding. Her plans was to allow Mikoto to get in without ending up in a scandal, since for all she knows the Railgun is that rash to the point she'll charge in with a half-baked plan.
While it doesn't matter to her personally what Mikoto does, Misaki had planned on just pushing her with Touma together and that's that. If Mikoto is deliriously happy in love then hopefully she'll leave her alone, and Mikoto making her own reputation worse would not help that.
"Really? You're sure you're not here for Kamijou-san?" Saten teased. "You do know you're blushing right now, Shokuhou-san?"
"What?" Misaki quickly placed a hand on her cheeks to check. Even with her control over minds, she can't control herself to the extent involuntary actions are eliminated. Misaki can't exactly rule out that maybe subconsciously she is here for the young man she met recently, and she's been reduced to the same dishonesty like Mikoto who just can't face her own feelings…
"Not really." Saten said with aplomb. "But the fact you rushed to check meant you're really here for him but didn't want to show it, right?"
"You're…" Misaki opened her mouth to object, but she struggled to find something that won't be mistaken into painting her as the same kind of tsundere as Mikoto is. In the seconds she failed to come up with a suitable excuse that won't be misunderstood Saten smiled in triumph, sure that Misaki is another girl in love.
Sometimes being too smart means thinking too much, and hesitation can often be worse than a misguided choice.
"There, there." Saten patted Misaki on her shoulder. "There's really nothing to be embarrassed about, falling for a good person. Although I will be supporting Misaka-san's efforts, I'd still like to say 'good luck'."
Looking at Saten's smug smile, Misaki's mask covering her annoyance almost slipped.
Calm down. You're a high class lady, not some kind of rash and violent shrew. High class ladies don't waste time doing petty revenge on a normal girl, not when it doesn't benefit her in any way…
Misaki kept a smile on her face, albeit it has hardened somewhat after hearing Saten's words.
Only another explosion where Gunha and Touma and fighting stopped Mikoto from a indignant outburst that Misaki was scheming something.
Uiharu's 'squeee!' at the love triangle playing out in front of her was similarly lost in the sound of the explosion.
Both Gunha and Touma were visibly huffing by this time. Touma gave up on even bothering trying to attack, as nearly every defence Gunha had when shattered did some unexpected things. Touma thought it is almost like a layered attack he had seen people practice for Daihasei Festival, when the telekinesis shell of a projectile is broken and the ball of energy inside it is released. Only in Gunha's case it was a lot more complex.
"That is some wonderful guts you have there…" Gunha said between breaths, inhaling deeply.
"Can we just stop now? We're not getting anywhere with this." Touma almost begged.
"Come on, we can still continue! If we're going to do it, we might as well go all the way!" Gunha denied Touma a easy way out. "It's not like you're on the verge of collapse or anything!"
"Yeah, well look at all the damage we've been doing to the school grounds." Touma pointed out. With the exception of something like a circle two metres in diameter around Touma, the entire field was covered in cracks. There was also one fissure a few metres wide down one side of the field, and a large hole on the other side. The last 'Maximum Amazing Punch' was just plainly over-the-top, and including the other attacks thrown around earlier it's actually more amazing the place haven't turned to dust yet.
"I don't know about you, but I'd prefer not to be stuck fixing this up before Daihasei Festival starts." Touma argued. "Let's just stop now, alright?"
"Don't worry about the field, Kamijou." Kihara Amata said through a loudspeaker. "This place will be fixed up before the festival, even if the whole place was bombed by a nuke. Just go ahead and play around a bit more."
Touma would have sworn Amata had a sadistic tone to his voice, even through the loudspeaker. It was like he enjoyed the look of 'Oh F$%#!' on Touma's face every time Gunha brought out bigger and progressively more logic-defying attacks.
"Well, unfortunately I have a appointment soon, so we are going to have to wrap this up." The frog-faced doctor's voice came through on another loudspeaker. "It'll be against regulations to continue without a professional medic on hand, so I guess we'd have to stop if I leave."
Thank you, doc. Touma sighed in relief as Amata ranted on how ridiculous that regulation is, and they should just get another doctor on hand if frog-face is busy.
"Well these two aren't going to last much longer anyway, Kihara-kun. Why don't just have them go at each other one last time and call it a day? Finish it with their ultimate attack or something." Heaven Canceller shrugged.
"That's a great idea!" Gunha was looking down as he heard how they're about to stop, but he brightened up as soon afterwards. Touma however shot a betrayed look towards the doctor that had patched him up time and again.
"Here I come, Kamijou!" With a exaggerated motion, Gunha pounded down into the ground. The same spatial distortion-like wave flowed off him, leading into a tsunami of force and concrete ripped from the ground that threatened to overwhelm Touma. Touma stared in shock as the attack swelled up high above him and then descended like few thousand tons of bricks.
If I live through this, doc, you owe me one. Touma thought grimly as he brought up his right hand.
The wave descended, and the 'Crack!' sound of negation unheard over the loudness that resulted in the crash. Gasps rang out from the sidelines, mingled together as many present feared the worst.
"There!" Someone pointed out. Lying down with a layer of dust covering him, Touma looked relatively unharmed even as he moaned a bit in pain. It appeared he was swept off his feet and then pushed down onto the ground, desperately holding up his right arm as a shield that narrowly allowed him to avoid being squashed. If there was more blocks of concrete ripped out from the ground that might not have worked, with physical obstacles unable to be blocked by Imagine Breaker. But since it was mostly supernatural force in that last attack the torrent of energy was the ones that came into contact with Touma.
"Where's Sogiita?" Yomikawa asked as she realised the other boy wasn't at where he pounded the earth. Amata pointed up into the sky, looking like he wished he had some popcorn.
Using that last tsunami, he looked like he surfed on the wave of that last attack and soared above Kamijou. Rising over the desolate battleground, a large rippling sphere of energy the size of a classroom was gathered in Gunha's arms and held above his head.
And it continued to grow bigger as Gunha's momentum slowed and he began to drop down, letting gravity take him.
"Meteor Smash!" with a burst of strength, Gunha threw it down at Touma, and as it fell below him he gave it another reinforced kick for good measure, shooting it down like aiming for a goal.
With the attack dropping down of the sky like the fist of an angry god, Kamijou didn't even have a chance to run as far away from it as he can. Standing up with a shout, he raised his arms up towards the sky like he was trying to catch a baseball, and the blow impacted onto him.
"Uwooooooh!" Touma yelled as his bones creaked, protesting at the sudden strain they're placed under. Cracks emerged and vanished consecutively on lower half of the sphere that is in contact with Imagine Breaker, and the ground fractured under Touma's feet.
Heavy gale slammed into the surroundings, threatening to blow away anything not bolted down. With a high-pitched 'Kyaa!', Komoe was lifted off her feet before Yomikawa grabbed the miniature teacher and anchored her down.
Amata merely put on a pair of tinted goggles and grinned viciously at the spectacle in front of him, completely disregarding the wind flapping and ripping his white coat.
He was the only one to see Kamijou Touma's legs gave out from under him, and the orb of destruction crushing him afterwards.
The orb blew apart skywards, like a volcano erupting. A few windows shattered on the buildings far away as a result, but after the initial explosion it was like it had never happened under the clear sky.
Sogiita Gunha landed in a crouch, causing another crater on the already destroyed field. He stood up, looked around and then laughed sheepishly.
"Guess I might have over did it…"
The machinery for testing was toppled over by the explosion, and quite of the few research aides was knocked unconscious. The Anti-Skills with their armour groaned as they got up around the perimeter, answering the urgent queries from their colleagues stationed elsewhere in the school about the current status and whether back-up would be necessary.
Kihara Amata got himself up from the ground, dusted himself off and approached Gunha.
"Not bad, kid. Not as good as the Number One, but certainly impressive." Amata congratulated Gunha. "That's some power you have."
"Kihara!" Yomikawa yelled from where she is, getting Komoe onto her feet. "What happened to your 'minimise threats' claim, huh?"
"Do you see anyone die around here?" Amata shot back. "Everyone's fine, so stop your yapping."
"'Fine'? How in the world do you call this fine!" Yomikawa has a policy not to use weapons on children, but then Kihara certainly doesn't count as a child that needs to be protected. "You have to be joking-"
Ignoring Yomiwaka's words, Amata walked over to another patch of ground and pulled someone up who was buried under the rubble.
It is Kamijou Touma. He looked dazed and bruised, but otherwise there's no damage to the unfortunate lad. Amata saw as Touma collapsed back then he tried to roll away, placing his right hand between him and the resulting explosion from when the orb came into contact with the ground to minimise damage. The explosion was less powerful compared to a condensed ball of energy, so as he rolled away to avoid being crushed he also managed to block the attack from hurting himself.
"Oi, Frog-face! Start treating these brats already!" Amata shouted. After suggesting the final clash between the two, Heaven Canceller went and checked up on the mobile hospital he had brought with him. The kind that looked like a tourist bus, 30m in length, and if necessary they can perform simple operations.
Wisdom from the doctor's old age told him the fight would obviously end like that, and decided to retreat into a safe place and let it play out without risk of getting injured. His battlefield is away from other people's, after all.
"Stop treating my patients so roughly, Kihara-kun." The frog-faced doctor said mildly as he walked back onto the scene of destruction. "The wounded deserves better treatment."
"That's why I'm leaving them to you instead of taking care if this myself. I've done what I came here to do, and I'm going to leave now." Amata said bluntly.
The thought of having to act any further made him want to just let loose, cover story be damned. With some more rough shouting, he managed to get the aides up and gave them instructions to salvage whatever information is left in the machine. Moments later one of the vans belonging to the Kihara Research Institute came to pick Amata up, looking like he's had enough of grunt work.
Heaven Canceller only shook his head and pointed Gunha to the medical area, with Touma being supported by him as the bruised kid limped along with the Number Seven.
*End Chapter 8*
Author's Notes: As Touma and Gunha never met in canon, I'm taking quite a few liberties with how their ability would interact. A lot of it is based on Rule of Cool, so forgive me if it doesn't quite fit canon mechanics.
The mobile hospital thing is from Vol13 Ch8 Pt3, if anyone's interested.