DISCLAIMER: Everything is owned by their respective owners. Persons, events and things described herein are works of fiction; any resemblance to real things is a coincidence.
The Third Lost Art
A Crossover Fic
Academy City, a city filled with various schools and universities located on an island off the coast of Japan, was said to be the paragon of science. A look at the city's technology would make one wonder if he wasn't looking at the future; everything could easily be ahead of the rest of the world by at least 20 years. One could even say that the latest devices unveiled outside the city were made from reverse-engineering that which was already phased out in it. Truly, Academy City had a monopoly on the world's latest discoveries.
If Academy City was the City of Science, one would not need to look far to see the City of Culture. Mahora City was on yet another island in Japan. It was a city that also specialized in education and the academe. Although its own technological level is not as conspicuous as the previous city, it was using the latest that could be developed outside Academy City. However, its main focus was not scientific development, but the discovery and preservation of various cultures around the world, especially those considered as long lost. One would not be wrong if one suspected Mahora of dealing with the occult; it is inseparable from some cultures after all. In fact, there was a seemingly magical feel to the place, made stronger by the ancient World Tree smack dab in the middle of the city.
These two cities did not particularly care for each other, as although their means are the same, their goals are not. It might be said that there was no conflict of interest between the two, as they had no real need to compete for funding and resources. The two cities had developed their own almost self sustaining economies, and were enviably called ideal places to live in. When a new development or discovery is announced by either of the two, Japan benefits either way, as various corporations invest in the hopes of having a slice of the pie. It was a win-win in the eyes of the world.
What people did not know was that the two cities were embroiled in a conflict beyond mere economics. There was no outward hostility, just plain apathy and feigned ignorance. Academy City had no room to study the cultural arts in its pursuit of development, while Mahora was about rediscovery of what has been lost. At the root, their ideologies were at stake: Academy City was a city of science, Mahora was a city of magic. Science's espers cannot use magic; magicians do not have innate abilities and must rely on external sources. It is rare for the two sides to meet, especially since the esper-magician hybrid program fiasco twenty years prior.
Mahora Girls' Middle School, Mahora City
Mahora's Konoemon Konoe had been expecting this visitor ever since the latter had disappeared from the earth decades ago. The person said to be the greatest magician to have ever lived on the Old World, a person who looked neither male nor female, neither old nor young, now stood before the wizened old man. As the two regarded each other, Konoemon chuckled.
"I did not know that you could leave that city of yours whenever you wanted. What can I do for you, Mr. Aleister Crowley?"
The General Superintendent of Academy City neither smiled nor frowned, his expression remaining as calm as ever. "This regards the Magic Side, Konoe. It seems the Roman Catholic Church is attempting a World Scale Magic here in your city."
Konoemon raised an eyebrow, before brushing his beard. "Which one is it? I believe you and your Anglican allies have already dealt with two of those, and rather easily at that. La Regina del Mare Adriatica, and Croce di Pietro." He grinned and continued, "what could stop an alliance that can deal with a large scale event like those and Angel Fall?"
"That may be the case." No change of expression at all. "However, I would rather ask for your cooperation rather than act aggressively. Your city does provide some of the best scientists in my city after all." Crowley thought for a while before continuing, "this concens the Third lost art."
Konoemon was surprised. To think that the Catholics were this desperate... "I see. The balance must be preserved. What do you wish to do? The third uses magicians as focal points. I have heard your students can't use magic at all."
"For starters, let us call this a cultural exchange program."
Tokiwadai Girls' Middle School, Academy City
"A cultural exchange program?" Mikoto Misaka had been called by the Tokiwadai principal to discuss another of Academy City's extra-curricular activities. As an esper that rose from the lowest ranks of Level 1 to the highly coveted Level 5, the brown-haired girl had always been chosen to represent the city as its public "Face". The Railgun was the best choice, for various reasons: for one, she showed that hard work paid off in the city.
"Yes. As the Ace of Tokiwadai, we expect the best from you." Tokiwadai was one of the most prestigious schools in the city, portrayed as a school for highly refined ladies with strong abilities. This was another reason why she was picked; apparently Number One and Number Two could not be relied on in times like this. As the Number Three of only seven Level 5 espers, the burden fell upon her.
"I am honored." As the principal explained the details, Mikoto's mind wandered. She had read of Mahora City, and often she wondered what studying there would be like. However, having lived in Academy City all her life, she immediately dismissed the notion.
When the principal finished, Mikoto rose and bowed before leaving. After closing the foor behind her, she sighed in relief before wondering how come the Queen was never chosen in her place. Perhaps that troublesome ability of hers would be less suitable than straight out electricity?
"Speak of the devil," Mikoto thought. In front of her was a girl with long blonde hair, with eyes that seemed to sparkle all the time. "Not to mention that figure... Is she really just in middle school?"
"Ah, it's Misaka." The smile on the Queen's face was more of a playful grin. As a telepath, it seemed she could read minds and control others at will... Except for a select few. And Mikoto just happened to be one of them. "Is this because of that vending machine again? Always a delinquent, Miss Ace?"
"Tsk, Misaki Shokuhou. What is it that you are doing here? Has the Queen's reckless use of her power finally put her in trouble with the administration?" A tic had appeared under Mikoto's eye. She had always thought of the Queen as an annoyin meddler.
"It's not like my Mental Out does not affect them either, you know? As for the reason, I believe it is the same as yours." Misaki winked. She defensively placed a hand in her bag, fiddling with something inside - as if threatening Mikoto with something, should a fight break out.
"Shokuhou, come in." The principal's voice cut the would-be fight just in time.
"Then, I'll be going. Stay sparky," Misaki said as she entered the room with a "shit-eating grin" as Mikoto called it. Mikoto fumed, but she let it go and stomped away. She would need to go to Seventh Mist later to shop for clothes.
A Certain High School, Academy City
"Kami-yan yo!" Motoharu Tsuchimikado called over his spiky haired friend, who sighed as usual.
Touma Kamijou knew what this implied. Whenever Motoharu called him, it usually meant trouble. Every single time.
"What is it?" The annoyance sept out of his thoughts and into his words. His fellow Level 0 just grinned, before telling him the news.
"Word has it that there's trouble brewing with the Catholics again. Something about a chalice something or other."
"The seriousness of the situation doesn't match your cheerful tone."
"After all, you're being dispatched again. Aren't you glad about that right hand?"
"What misfortune." Touma looked at his right hand, the one that held the strange Imagine Breaker. It was unique in that any and all supernatural phenomena, from magic, to esper abilities, to even his own good luck, could be canceled by it. Truly a formidable power if used by the right person.
Motoharu himself isn't too bad either. He was a self-proclaimed double agent, an esper-magician hybrid. Although espers would be wounded when channeling mana, his own Auto Rebirth ability healed all wounds. He doesn't know when it could fail, though, so he keeps to underhanded methods... like manipulating Touma.
"Apparently you'll need to head to the 7th District later to meet the other participants. The cover is a cultural exchange trip."
"Can I opt out?"
"Sure, if you want to lose the chance to get extra credit. Apparently this is the only way you won't get held back this year."
"It was worth the try."
Mahora Girls' Middle School
"Ah, Mr. Negi, I have a message from the Headmaster." Takamichi T. Takahata called out to the younger boy, who had just finished teaching for the day.
"Mr. Takahata?" Negi Springfield waved farewell to some of the students before walking up to his mentor.
"He wants to put you in charge of the preparations for the Mahora-Academy Cities Cultural Exchange Festival."
"But... I don't know if I can do it..." the auburn-haired boy bit his lips, feeling a bit nervous.
"Don't worry, you have everyone's full support. The whole city is looking forward to this." Takamichi looked over to a bunch of Negi's students, who seemed to be waiting for the boy. "Your class would be willing to help, as usual. Oh, and report to the Headmaster for further instructions.
"Roger that," Negi said with a smile.
As the boy left with his students, Takamichi grinned. "An intervention, eh? "