Itsuwa catches wind of Touma's arrival to London in a supersonic plane, but she is disappointed when all she saw in the flight was Index's pet cat Sphynx. Back in Japantown, Itsuwa spent her time eating dried squid, tea, and Ushibuka's potato shochu while mulling over not seeing Touma. Isahaya then decides to trick Itsuwa by telling her that a young man with spiky hair is coming, but his prank backfires when Saiji, the man in question, is swatted away by a mad drunken Itsuwa using the nearby tea table.
Touma and Index board a non-direct flight to London on a Sky Bus 365. As Index learns about proper behavior while inside a passenger plane, Touma is forced to deal with free channels that talk about the economic impact of the Eurotunnel incident and the fact that aside from the pay-per-view channels, even simple food like biscuits come at a price.
Nine hours and two empty stomachs later, the flight makes an unexpected stopover at France, where the plane is loaded with freight goods en route to Britain. Both Touma and an attractive flight stewardess end up dealing with Index's growling stomach until the next take off, but the in-flight meal promised during the trip did not come. Touma decides to check up on the flight crew and ends up bumping with the stewardess, and he notices the listlessness in the lady's actions. Unknown to Touma, the plane is in an emergency situation involving French anti-England terrorists which plan to cripple England's air routes, and the stewardess earlier is present in a discussion between the Japanese pilot and Academy City's flight control team.
Index continues to complain about the lack of food and this forces Touma to return to the area where food is served. There, he becomes an unintentional witness to an attack by a terrorist inside the plane against one of the flight crew. Shortly after, Touma is subdued by the attractive flight attendant, who under the orders of the pilot chooses to isolate him to avoid causing any panic among the rest of the passengers. Touma is then locked inside the in-flight meal heating room, where he is able to take a grasp of the situation. Currently, terrorists are threatening to crash the plane by exploiting a structural defect in the plane unless the system that creates encrypted records of passengers and luggage tags, the so-called "master recorder" is destroyed. Without anything that would help him deal with the threat, he is forced to rely on the flight crew to deal with the incident.
Meanwhile, the terrorist continues to make their move in the airplane, and he heads to Touma's seat, where wires that connect to the plane's systems can be accessed through a hatch. Index, who confronts the man who suddenly took Touma's seat, is forced to do nothing with the man pointing a bone knife at her side, but he himself wasn't able to push through his plan of sabotaging the plane's emergency landing systems. Instead, he takes Index to a room within the plane, just beside where Touma is locked in. Touma senses that Index is there due to the whistle toy given by the flight attendant earlier and barges in to the adjacent room, tackling the terrorist while it is engrossed in strangling Index. The terrorist manages to escape, and Touma is joined by the attractive flight stewardess and the pilot, who heard the commotion. The pilot remains adamant about his decision to isolate the current casualties from the rest of the passengers, and this enrages Touma to the point of directly attacking the pilot with a pipe before heading directly in pursuit of the fleeing assailant. Meanwhile, as the pilot suffers from a broken nose, he requests his copilots to hand over the self-defense weapon Archery to deal with Touma, who was just considered to be another terrorist.
Touma loses track of the terrorist, but instead uses switches that trigger alarms throughout the plane to unsettle his enemy. As the terrorist is turned frantic by the sudden turn of events, the pilot is welcomed by another problem, this time concerning a sudden drop in fuel reserves, which is actually part of the plan by Archbishop Laura Stuart, witnessed personally by Knight Leader back in St. George's Cathedral.
As the plane's altitude plummets, the terrorist is forced to show his true intentions through the plane's PA system. However, things start normalizing, startling even the Archbishop. As Stiyl Magnus presents himself to intercept the hijacked airliner, Touma finally tracks down the terrorist. In a short scuffle, Touma manages to destroy the bone knife and delivers several blows to the enemy, knocking the terrorist out cold. However, even with the lone terrorist subdued, Touma remains uneasy, thinking that the freight cargo in the stopover in France may hide a second attacker. In spite of the risks, Touma decides to sneak into the cargo hold to investigate.
The second terrorist, named Eiker Lugoni, emerges from one of the containers inside the cargo hold and assumes that his partner Musset has failed his part. Then, he is taken by surprise by Kamijou Touma, who enters the cargo hold with several containers worth of boiling-hot beverages. Touma splashes Eiker with scalding hot liquid, disarming the latter in the process. The two exchanged attacks, but as Touma is unarmed, Eiker was able to turn to tide by picking up his handgun. However, after being exposed to heat for a prolonged period, Eiker's gun jams, giving Touma ample time to beat down the terrorist. Even so, Eiker is able to pull a grenade from a nearby bag and prepares to pull the pin. At that moment, Stiyl appears from a transport plane outside and uses several rune cards to conjure a flame sword that created a hole in the cargo bay hatch. Eiker is instantly pulled into the gap created by Stiyl's sword, allowing Touma to swat away the grenade from his hand.
Ten minutes later, the Sky Bus 365 is able to land on Edinburgh Airport with no further incident. Although the incident is mostly resolved, one troubling detail is the stealth transport plane used to intercept the hijacked airliner, which is part of the Royal Air Force's fleet and had Academy City technology in it.
Between the LinesEdit
Acqua of the Back makes a visit to an elderly man who is currently part of the Astrological Surgery Brigade after bring saved twice by him. This man, himself a maker of weapons, hears of Acqua losing his weapon and decides to give a new weapon to him, the holy sword Ascalon, designed as a weapon optimized for killing a dragon.
By order of appearance
- Tatemiya Saiji
- Kamijou Touma
- Index Librorum Prohibitorum
- Laura Stuart
- Knight Leader
- Stiyl Magnus
- Acqua of the Back (referenced only)
- Sky Bus 365
- Edinburgh Airport
- Unnamed ability that can catch single airborne targets safely - Laura Stuart (referenced only)
- Flame Sword - Stiyl Magnus
- Unnamed illusion-type spell that can simulate aircraft behavior - Laura Stuart
- Laura Stuart recalls the spell she used to ensure Lidvia Lorenzetti survives a fall from her private jet without parachutes. Stuart notes that it only works on a single person, and she plans to use it on Index in case the Sky Bus 365 is destroyed in mid-air.
- Shochu is an alcoholic beverage that is made by distilling sweet potatoes. It has more alcohol than wine or sake, but is weaker than whisky and vodka.
- Thermal expansion is the tendency of matter to change volume in response to a change in temperature. Two applications of this concept are shown in the chapter, involving the expansion of the narrow ducts in the Sky Bus 365, and the jamming of Eiker's gun, both involving beverages heated to boiling temperature.
- What was the group that Musset and Eiker are affiliated with and why were they so convinced the bombing was Britain's doing?
- Index: “Beef or fish!! Beef or fish!!” —Index's demand for food throughout the duration of the flight
- Sky Bus 365 Pilot: “As the captain of this aircraft, that is my duty. As such, I will take the actions I determine will best protect the lives of everyone onboard even if it gets me fired in the end. Do not say you will help unless you are prepared to take on everything that entails. You cannot take on that responsibility, nor do you have to.” —Said to Touma after subduing him for making contact with the terrorist onboard
- Touma: “My friend was attacked!! You say you’ll protect the 500 passengers, but you already let one slip through your fingers!! Do you only see people as names on pieces of paperwork! This isn’t the same as protecting complete strangers as a part of your job! I have a right to kick that bastard’s ass. You can do whatever the hell you want, but I’m gonna do this my way!!” —Said to the Sky Bus 365 Pilot after he has shown incompetence in dealing with the terrorist
- Touma: “…You piece of shit. I’m going to keep beating you until you pass out.” —Touma's enraged statement towards Musset
- Knight Leader: “From the bottom of my heart, I believe that you should have an early death.” —Statement by Knight Leader to Laura Stuart in reaction to her actions towards the Sky Bus 365