Even being in Academia City, the city of science where technological advances are 30 years ahead of the rest of the world, Christmas continues to be celebrated. Whether for commercial reasons to make people spend their money on decorations, expensive dinners, gifts, etc., or perhaps because humans need some absurd beliefs in their society. Be that as it may, Academy City was decorated with lights, trees, and in most stores, the sales clerks were wearing Christmas hats and clothes.
But this isn’t important now. We must focus on a particular person; a high school student you can find anywhere. Kamijou Touma.
Unlike most people who were running around finishing their shopping for turkeys, booze, and gifts, Touma had just come from buying some vegetables in questionable condition. His story was simple: Index, the nun with 103.000 magical grimoires in her mind and a “black hole like stomach” threatened to bite her for lack of food. Kamijou Touma, being her guardian, rushed (rather fled) to a conventional store. However, he ran into misfortune.
Since it was Christmas, the stores had either closed early or sold almost everything they had, so Touma had to improvise. When he had everything he needed for dinner, he realized it would take about 30 minutes to get back. All he hoped was that he could get to his student apartment without any furthers mishaps.
What he didn’t know was that something worse awaited him.
Touma turned the corner and there he found a strange image. She was a girl dressed in what looked like a harlequin with her back turned to him. He looked her up and down. She had short brown hair, her harlequin outfit was all orange and black with long sleeves, shorts that revealed strange tattoos of different colors on her legs, a hat with 2 bells on it and boots. He had come across women dressed in Christmas clothes during his shopping, but this girl was notorious for not following that rule. He also caught a glimpse of what he thought were cards in her hand, assumed that the girl was trying to sell something or advertise without much result, everyone ignored her. It was a miracle no one glanced at her.
Touma simply spoke without think
- “If you want people to listen to you, you should consider the time of year. It’s almost Christmas, after all.”
- “¿?” The girl turned around. Their eyes met and all alarms went off in Touma’s head.
The girl had extremely white skin, eyes so wide that they seemed not to blink and a permanent smile on her face. These characteristics gave her a creepy aura that would make anyone turn around and run away. Kamijou Touma was no exception.
- “So-sorry, I didn´t mean to bother you, wi-with permission” Is the only thing Touma said as he hurried his pace and passed her, but she got in his way.
- “Do you want me to read your future?” That was the first thing the strange girl said.
- “Ah? Re-read my future…?”
- “Exactly! What do you want to know about? Do you want to know if you will have an accident in the near future? Maybe you are interested in the date of your death? Or will you be so miserable that you will end up losing everything? Do not miss this chance because I’m the only one capable of finding out!” Those words came out of that disturbing smile as if they were nothing.
- “…” (What kind of introduction is that?! Definitely this girl is not only scary, she says scary things! Death date? Accident? Who would want to know such things?!) Touma thought. – “I-I'm not interested in knowing my future, but thanks for the offer." He tried to leave once more, but the girl intercepted him again.
- “Too late!” said the harlequin while shuffling the cards in her hands. – “You’re the first person I meet, so this meeting must be predestined. I won’t let this go, even if I have to follow you to the end of the world! Oh, and you don’t have to worry about money. I’m doing this completely for free and non-profit!” Touma only had one thought at this girl’s attitude and did not hesitate to tell her ignoring the chill she gave him.
- “Do you think I was going to pay for something you’re forcing me to take, shameless?” Touma frowned and signed. (Such misfortune) It was all he could think. – “By the way, what’s your name?”
- “My name doesn’t matter” Was all the girl answered without taking her attention away from the cards.
There was silence.
- “…No comment about the shameless?” Knowing that Index would bite him as soon as he got home, Touma resigned himself to wait.
During the wait, he looked around. He could feel how the few passersby were looking at him; he supposed that talking to a girl with such strange looks was something that would attract anyone’s attention.
- “Choose the card that will decide your fate! Pick the one that catches your attention! And don’t cheat by trying to see the contents of each one, okay?” She had extended 7 cards within his reach.
His concentration shifted to the cards. All of them had the same back: strange circles of various colors on a gray background. Touma searched for any mark, a small detail that differentiated one from another without much result. It’s not as if he has any idea about divination and tarot either, and even if he could see the reverse, he would have no idea of the meaning.
- “The one that catches my attention? If they are the same”
- “Just pick one!”
He opted to end this and grab one at random. He was an inch away from taking it, but he felt a presence above his right shoulder that made him stop, followed by a voice.
- “Wait human!” The voice came from the former magical god of 15 cm named Othinus.
- “Othinus?! What are you doing here?!” Touma said.
- “That doesn’t matter now! Get away from that girl now!”
Touma took several steps away from the harlequin and the atmosphere was tense.
The girl sighed. – “What an awkward moment” The expression on her face didn’t change at all. She seemed like she was in her own world without worrying about anything else.
- “Othinus, what’s going on? Do you know who she is?” Touma asked.
- “I don’t know her, but I noticed a strange type of magic in her capable of making her imperceptible…”
Touma thought about it for a moment and remembered something. Before, he had felt how passersby were looking at him. Only at him and not at the girl with the strange looks. If no one could see her, people would only see a teenager talking to himself in the middle of the street.
- “…but that’s not the weirdest thing about this girl” Othinus continued. “There are several ways in the world of magic to deceive the senses, the problem is that I don’t recognize the method she is using.”
Even having lost her powers of magic god, Othinus was still a god who dominated the field of magic. That she said something like that was not to be taken lightly.
- “Besides, the body of this girl is- “
- “You talk too much, doll” They were interrupted by the harlequin.
They both looked up, but the girl had vanished and reappeared, this time almost touching Touma’s back.
He turned his body quickly, but when he had turned around the girl disappeared and appeared again several steps away from him.
(What… what king of magic is she using?!) Touma tried to deduce. Everything was happening too fast and he didn’t have any information that he could use to his advantage. But all thoughts left his mind when he saw what the girl was holding.
- “Let her go…”
- “If you want her so much, you should take better care of her, you know?” The harlequin was holding an Othinus struggling to get out of her grip. – “But if you want her back so badly, you’ll have to catch me.” And she began to run.
- “I said let her go!!!” Touma roared, threw the things he had brought and run at full speed towards her.
He didn’t know how long he ran after her, but at some point, he lost sight of her after going through an alley. Although that wasn’t the worst.
When he came out of the alley he found himself in a completely different place. Instead of the festive Academy City, he found a gloomy city with interconnected buildings with bridges and giant gears; the sky was totally black without stars and still, the city had a natural light that illuminated the environment. And as if it were the center of everything, he could glimpse a great clock tower.
Touma had no idea what was happening. He turned around to go back the way he came, but only found a dead end. More and more doubts piled up in his mind.