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
A Certain Student Dormitory, Academy City
Touma Kamijou was eating dinner with the freeloading English nun. Earlier, the latter had been chomping his head, and perhaps by now it could be called a habit.
"Anyway, I'm going to stay in Mahora City for a week, so is there some other place you can freeload at?" Touma knew the supervisors of the trip wouldn't allow a supernumerary, and a non resident at that.
"Touma, that's rude. You intend to leave me alone and hungry?"
"You have Sphinx. Anyway, I'll try to ask Ms. Komoe to take care of you for a while, since I doubt you'd survive anywhere else."
"..." Index glared a bit at Touma. "In that case, Touma, you wouldn't need the information that Mahora is a city of Magic."
"... What? I thought it was the City of Culture?"
"I guess linking culture and religions to magical concepts is too much for that puny brain of yours,Touma?" Index smiled proudly, her hands on her waist.
"Well, you have a point. But why would Academy City send Science-minded students to such a place?"
"It's probably politics. With the trouble brewing, I won't be surprised if the London Clock Tower allies with the Catholics. Mahora probably suspects this, and both Mahora and Academy City are in Japan after all. Shared resources and the like."
"London Clock Tower?"
"The Magic Side has 3 prominent types of groups: churches for religious magic, cabals for research and gaining magical power, and we have organizations, whose members team up for the political power and research funding. Currently, the 3 largest organizations are the London Clock Tower, Mahora Magical Research Society, and the Atlasia Foundation in Egypt."
"Wait, if the Clock Tower thing is in London, wouldn't it be under Necessarius? And I thought the Anglicans were friendly with Academy City."
"Touma, isn't it obvious? They would side with the largest magical group in the world because they desire power as well. And they would be much happier if Necessarius wasn't holding them back. After all, the enemy they see is the Science side."
"... Man, what am I getting myself into? Such misfortune."
Mahora Classroom 3-A
The girls of 3-A hadn't gone back to the dormitories yet, and were all caught up in the upcoming event. Fabric and cardboard were everywhere, and the costumes were starting to shape up. A replica of the Round Table lay half-painted at one corner, as the Library Exploration Club girls had gone off to buy drinks ("gonna get some tomato juice", Yue was saying). Chisame was even helping with the technical side such as light and sounds programming ("it's not like I'm doing this for your sake, teacher," she said). All of them were helping in some way or another, which made their adviser warm and fuzzy inside. Something bothered the boy mage, though.
"Ayaka, how are the preparations for the play?" Negi Springfield had seen the classroom transform again into a props room as his students started making the costumes and equipment that they would need.
"Everything is going as planned, Mr. Negi. Please don't worry too much and do your best at patrol." Ayaka Yukihiro smiled at the boy, but he seemed a bit nervous.
"What about the practices?" Sure, the props would be top-class, but they were worthless without good actors and a well-written script.
"The script is being reviewed by Nodoka and Yue, and as for practice..."
"In short, it's going to be a narrated impromptu play." Chizuru said. "Natsumi was suggesting that it would be better to involve our visitors in it, so that everyone would have fun together."
"Ah! That's great! Can I see the script?"
"Sorry, sir, if you knew what to do, the Academy City actors would be at a disadvantage, won't they?" Ayaka shook her head. "If we let you read it, it can't be called impromptu."
"You have a point..." Negi said with a nod. But I still feel uneasy about this.
Setsuna Sakurazaki was sharpening a Western sword. She was more used to single-bladed Japanese swords, like the katana and nodachi, so this sword got her interested. The steel blade had two edges, which brought emphasis to the sharp tip of the sword. So it is more of a piercing and bashing weapon? she thought. A katana is better suited for slicing and slashing... It won't hurt to try this out. Might even be handy.
The golden hilt had a guard that stuck upwards in a U-shape, with traces of blue designs on it. There was also an engraving on the side. Excalibur, huh? There were reports in the Eastern Japan Magic Association about the sword's appearance in Japan, and of its destructive capability, and there were retrieval efforts, but the sword itself was never obtained.
Setsuna was surprised at the prop's detail as compared to the reports, but then she remembered that Yue's Orbis Sensualim Pictus was one of the materials used for their research.
"As expected of our Library Explorers, huh?" Mana Tatsumiya had come over as well. "Even the sword that was the model for Excalibur was done pretty well." She held up a sword with Caliburn engraved upon it.
"Indeed." Setsuna took a moment to admire the other sword. "How was patrol?"
"There were some stragglers, so I took the opportunity to make them go home." Mana glanced down to her left hip, where a tell-tale bulge told of a hidden M9 pistol.
"... What exactly did you do?" Setsuna said, her expression saying here we go again.
"Just kidding. There were a few interesting things... Did you know there were some girls from Academy City stationed here already? You can tell it's them from their futuristic goggles."
"Ah yes, I saw the report. Well, they shouldn't be linked to the Magic side, so we don't need to worry about them."
"And then there were eyewitness reports of duels breaking out in alleys."
"Not so strange, delinquents are everywhere after all."
"Said places had residual traces of mana discharge, which pointed to the use of artifacts or historical weapons."
Setsuna was taken aback. No delinquent could have done those. "Alright, my shift is coming up. I'll have some shikigami patrol as well."
Anglican Church, Mahora City
A figure stood outside a branch of the Anglican Church in Mahora. Its, or his, blonde hair and blue eyes would stand out anywhere, and he wore a roughly hewn breastplate over leather clothes. He had a sword strapped to his left hip. His eyes darted left and right, but his figure was that of a confident man - if this were ancient times, he would be one of the so-called "heroes".
Suddenly, he drew his sword and slashed the double oak doors, breaking them diagonally, as they fell with a crash, and he strode in with elegant strides.
An magical array activated on the floor below his feet, causing him to stop abruptly. However, he merely took a deep breath, and walked on with a shrug.
"Tsk." A sound came from behind a pillar, and he lifted a pew that could seat 15 people with his left hand and threw it straight at the pillar. Before it could reach, it broke into pieces cleanly, as if it was slashed with a sword.
"Oh." The man smiled a wild grin, and held his sword with both hands.
"Halt, Saber." Another man had entered from a door behind another pillar. He wore full samurai gear, complete with an oni mask. Each step he took thundered through the church. He stood opposite the man he called Saber, and drew a katana. "This Rider will be your opponent."
"Rider? Then you shouldn't be much of a bother, but I'll humor you." A glimmer had entered the swordsman's eye. He took a low stance as the samurai took his. "Although we really should move outside. I'm at a disadvantage in both numbers and battlefield. 3 on 1 at the homecourt? I'd have to decline." He sheathed his sword.
"Then why the dramatic entrance?" The samurai called Rider remained poised.
"Your summoning wasn't particularly stealthy, you know. We could see you from a mile away, which isn't smart in a war like this. This is a challenge from my Master, a duel in an hour at the plaza. Servant on Servant only."
"We appreciate your offer to not destroy this place, but you've already broken our door. Also, what makes you think we won't kill you here and now?"
"Oh, that door?" He took out his sword and stabbed the broken door and pew. Strangely, they returned into their original shape, but small branches with fresh leaves stuck out in odd places. It's as if the sword had made the wood remember what it was to be a tree again, causing regrowth. "Well, if that was all... Brunhild Eiktobel sends her regards to Kanzaki Kaori."
He turned around and walked out nonchalantly, as if nothing unusual had occurred.
"The Valkyrie is here, then." Kaori stood behind Rider. "And that sword looked like the sword stuck in a tree, predecessor of King Arthur's sword stuck in a stone, Caliburn..."
"Gram, the sword in the tree. Symbol of the Norse hero Siegfried... Tsk, what a troublesome opponent." Stiyl Magnus walked out from behind the pillar at which the pew had been thrown. "Gonna have to use Opila runes to keep civilians out. Better rig that place too, just in case."
"No, I want to fight the Valkyrie fairly."
Mahora World Tree Plaza
Kaede Nagase had noticed the brown-haired middle school girl while she was training last night, but she had ignored the out-of-place uniform as another oddity of Mahora. A place that could gather mages, ninjas, vampires, robots and more would not mind an outsider.
She didn't mind the fact that she had seen the same girl this morning on the opposite platform at the train station while headed to school. Or that she saw her when she alighted at her stop, despite the impossible chance of a normal human being able to do that in the 10 minute time frame.
So when she saw not one but two brown-haired girls wearing the out-of-place uniform seated at a bench at the World Tree Plaza, she determined that they were either twins or a ninja with a respectable level of shadow clone technique. Interested, Kaede had taken her post in the shadows to observe the two.
"Misaka would advise against suspicious actions in Misaka's presence, Misaka warns the middle school girl whose appearance doesn't appear as such."
Kaede glanced behind her, and yet another of the brown-haired girls was there. To confirm, she looked at the bench, and indeed the two there looked in her direction.
"Fufufu, nin-nin." Kaede's body melded into the shadows with a "poof" sound.
"!" Misaka 10678 immediately donned her night-vision goggles to search for her. "Hypothesis: suspicious person is using invisibility or illusion projection. Searching for anomalies in the AIM dispersion field... Nothing found. Misaka is perplexed at this turn of events."
"Could it be the rumored 'military clones' of Academy City?" Kaede had ordered her shadow clone to vanish. She was in another shaded area, and the clone's approach was calculated. In fact, she knew that aside from the three, there were two others in the area now looking for her. As she pondered her next actions, another two interesting figures entered her view.
"Mages from the outside, huh?"
"Misaka observes that the area is clear. All units may proceed with patrol as usual, Misaka advises," Misaka 10032 declared through the Network.
However, it wasn't that there was nothing suspicious. It was more of the fact that the suspicious individuals had deliberately tampered with the perception of all uninvolved persons in the area.
Stiyl Magnus had set Opila runes to prevent those who did not have anything to do with magic from being involved in the war.
"This is... Forced Recognition Magic?" Setsuna had arrived in the area after her shikigami had detected anomalies in the area's qi. "No, the scale is much smaller... Ah, a bounded field to prevent interference by mundanes."
She noticed Kaede, and moved towards the ninja.
"Those two are?"
"Mages from the outside. Though I was thinking that should be your jurisdiction, seeing as the female is a Japanese swordswoman as well."
"Wait! That getup... The emphasis on non-symmetry, and that nodachi... Could it be?"
"You know her?"
"Kaori Kanzaki of the Amakusa-Style Remix of Church. She's one of the less than twenty people in the world with the disposition of Saint. A rarity among swordsmasters in that she uses magic instead of qi to augment her already ridiculous abilities."
"Coming from you, that's a lot, eh. She's that strong?"
"There were reports of her fighting an Archangel to a standstill. I don't think I could stand against a one-sided slaughter like that."
"Interesting... Fufu, glad I sticked around. This I gotta see."
Kaori watched as Stiyl stuck more runes than usual. She made sure the flame magician didn't rig the battlefield, although she did agree to him placing Innocentius in the perimeter.
"Glad you know how to listen." Brunhild Eiktobel sat on top of a branch of the World Tree. Her long blonde hair moved with the wind; her attire was akin to the Viking era depictions of women's armor, complete with a winged headband.
Kaori had fought her before in what was now known as the Gungnir incident. Thus, she knew that this person was not only a Norse Valkyrie, but also a Christian Saint. Both were similar in that Valkyries were blessed by Odin as Saints were blessed by God.
However, her two abilities couldn't coexist. Just like the phases of the moon, the abilities surfaced every 15 days. During the first and last quarters, though, when both were active, she becomes a normal human. This inconvenience had led to her defeat once before.
"That child is safe with us, you know. We could find a way to save him." Kaori appealed to Brunhild's humanity.
"You're just like them, using that child as a hostage. And what, did you think I would lose this time around?" She snapped her fingers.
In an instant, Saber appeared behind Brunhild. The Servant jumped down to face the two Necessarius members.
"Meet Servant Saber. You should know how strong he is by now. This time, I don't need something as troublesome as an incomplete Gungnir or the Final Rune."
"Arrogant as always, Valkyrie." Rider's form rose up from Kaori's shadow. "Servant Rider."
And thus, Servant clashed with Servant, Master clashed with Master.
Although she claimed that she didn't rely on Gungnir this time, Brunhild used a replica anyway. Kaori's Seven Heavens Seven Swords clashed with the spear.
Likewise, Saber and Rider, swords drawn, collided.
Stiyl could only watch in awe. A flame magician like him could do nothing in the face of these inhuman monsters.
"Traces of the usage of historical artifacts? This is something else entirely!" Setsuna watched as the two groups fought, mouth agape. She could probably manage to barely escape with her life if she fought any one of the four combatants.
"What's this feeling? Something tells me to leave this place." Kaede wrinkled her eyebrows, looking around the area.
"It's a people-warding magic... Probably that tall red-haired guy."
"Oh? Isn't he looking over here right now?"
"Why yes, I am." Stiyl Magnus appeared right in front of them.
"!" Setsuna unsheathed her longsword, but it felt strange. The guy looks like he's here, but his presence itself hasn't moved.
It might be called teleportation or instant movement, but this wasn't the case. As a flame magician, Stiyl could manipulate heat and light as well, so something like creating a mirage was easy.
Hence, he hadn't actually moved, but he could appear to do so anytime he wants.
"I'm suspicious of you two, are you magicians? Only those who know of this side would have resistance to-"
"Opila runes, meant to tell people to redirect their movement to avoid an area. It's rude to call us suspicious, and even worse to do this in our city, outsiders." Setsuna never relaxed from her stance, her sword remained as steady as her resolve. This guy is an intruder from the Magic side... Hence, those people from the city of Science can't deal with them. Is this one of the so-called extremist groups? If I remember correctly...
"Tsk. It's best if you don't get in our way, missies." Stiyl raised his right arm, and made a gesture with his ringed fingers. The thumb, index and middle fingers were pointed outwards, and the ring and little fingers folded inwards. "Stiyl Magnus, priest of the 0th Parish of the English Anglican Church. Also, member of Necessarius, the Witch Hunting Division."
"Setsuna Sakurazaki, vassal of the Konoe family, disciple of the God's Cry, Shinmeiryuu Swordsmanship Style." She may not be able to defeat the Saint, but at least she could manage this guy. "Also, one of the protectors of this city's peace."
"Kenaz (Oh Flame) Purisaz Naubis Gebo (Grant the gift of the giant's suffering)! Ash to Ash, Dust to Dust, SQUEAMISH BLOODY ROOD!"
A sword of flame formed out of the outstretched fingers of the priest. The image slashed at Setsuna, who dodged anyway.
It may be an image, but the heat is real! The swordswoman nodded at Kaede, who left the scene immediately. They needed to warn the others about the situation.
Setsuna bent both knees and held up her sword horizontally, blade upwards. She focused her qi onto the blade, and pictured a street of cherry blossom trees.
"Ougi, Hyakuretsu Oukazan!" A whirlwind of slashes was released, with what seemed like hundreds of cherry blossom petals. The whirlwind and flame sword collided - although the petals burned up, the wind cooled the flames, and attrition eventually caused both phenomena to dissipate.
Setsuna took out a card from her pocket, and held it between two fingers of her left hand. This was an Artifact Pactio Card, born from her contract with Negi Springfield. "Adeat! Sica Sisicusiro!"
The card transformed with a flash of light into a smaller sword, which seemed more like a dagger. Now wielding two swords, Setsuna dashed out to Stiyl's original position - only to face another flame sword being shot out at her. She blocked it, and dodged to the left - one of the Valkyrie's flame attacks almost hit her.
Fighting like this is tough, since the other two battles could get me involved any time... Better hold out until reinforcements arrive.
Kaede rushed towards the 3-A classroom. Apparently their homeroom teacher was still there to look through the final preparations. She had her own Pactio Card held to her head - these things could also be used for telepathy.
That will have to wait, Mr. Negi. There's a situation at the World Tree Plaza.
Got it, I'm on my way.
When she saw the boy mage fly out on his staff, she turned around and headed back to the plaza.