Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction / Pani Poni Dash! Fan Fiction ❯ I Am Negima!?, AND SO CAN YOU! Act I ❯ Chapter 2: "Are You Truly Evil?" By Rokugou ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Scheme!? Final Mix
Chapter 2: “Are You Truly Evil?” by Rokugou
“You can call me Cygnus. The Devil's Swan, at your service.”
The girl stood back, not sure what to make of this boy's appearance. He was wearing nothing from the waist up, his aura screamed “really evil villain”, and he had haunting eyes that would probably set off the Gary Stu alarms. However this boy seemed to be serving her a rare kind of respect she hadn't seen, not even from her friends. “So! This affirms my theory on how I'm here...” Rokugou backed up further as the boy stepped out of the water. “Thanks to those gems, I was called here. I chewed up too much of my power sending them away... but if I gather enough darkness...”
“What are you talking about?” Rokugou asked shyly.
“The darkness of course!” Cygnus bellowed, baring his fanged teeth in an un-swan-like manner. “Gatherin' enough darkness to plunge an entire dimension black would be ideal. Say... you wouldn't happen to have some darkness in that heart of yours, would you?” Cygnus leered at the girl, his grin growing more feral by the moment.
“I-I don't know!” Rokugou was shivering by this point. She certainly didn't like the way this conversation was going. You probably wouldn't, either.
Cygnus chuckled a bit. Extending a hand, he said, “You should give in to darkness. I promise it won't hurt.”
This clever bastard... tempting a fair maiden! What kind of heartless villain would do such a thing? Probably several, but that's besides the point! What kind of evils could this Gary S—err evildoer be planning?
Whatever plan he had in mind then was doomed to fail, as they were rudely interrupted by a voice piercing their conversation. “Found you!”
Both of them turned to see... a giant mechanical hound leering at them! The creature was mostly black, with sharp, red edges and yellow slits for eyes. A red protrusion stuck out from behind its head. “You shouldn't be so insolent! After all, I brought you into this world!” It seemed like the voice speaking wasn't the giant dog, rather it was the host of some very clear radio frequency.
“How about 'no',” Cygnus countered. The way that annoying man said it seemed like he MADE him, rather than just summoning him. “Your joke is bad and you should feel bad!”
“Oh you!” The voice taunted. “Is THAT how you feel then? So be it!” Something opened on the dog's back, and about four missiles launched, all of them headed towards the two of them.
Rokugou was nowhere near fast enough to evade anything, so she cowered and waited for the inevitable blast that would undoubtedly render her kibbles and bits. Only it didn't come, because when she opened her eyes again, she saw that giant swan guarding her, absorbing the blasts.
An angry Cygnus glanced in her direction, concern temporarily etched on his features. “Are you okay?” The girl, stunned by these events, could only nod. “Good. Then...” Something clicked. He was a villain of evil. Since when did evil villains help people?! He was supposed to kick start his path of villainy again! He snarled, clawing his hair in frustration before whirling back to the mechanical dog. “DAMN YOU! I'm supposed to be evil and you're making me defend a helpless damsel?!”
“It's not MY fault if you suck at being evil!” The voice responded. “Egg Cerberus, destroy those infidels!” Accepting those commands, the giant hound roared and began to leap towards the two.
Screw you,” Cygnus “skated” towards his foe, bringing forth dark powers and forming it into a crude sword. Darkness met mechanical teeth as the Egg Cerberus tried to chew through Cygnus's makeshift blade. The boy made an extra push, the sword slightly tearing through the dog's jaws.
Nowhere near finished, the dog reared back and pounced. Cygnus erratically glided back, and the dog's forelegs crashed where he was moments before. “Heh,” The mysterious swan boy smirked. He wound his body tightly before swinging that sword viciously with a guttural yell. The sword crashed into the creature; it (and Cygnus) nearly jerked from the recoil. The creature stumbled back a bit before righting itself.
Egg Cerberus snarled.
“Aw snap,” Cygnus tensed as Egg Cerberus mounted a much fiercer assault this time, biting and snapping as Cygnus weaved through his attacks. Unfortunately the dog pulled a clever trick of suddenly taking a massive leap into the air. It slammed down with tremendous force, shaking the earth and knocking Rokugou off her feet and Cygnus off balance. It was all the dog needed to whirl around and slam the boy with his tail.
Now Rokugou wasn't sure who was the bad guy here, considering that both of them had wanted to harm her at some point or another, but she couldn't help but worry over Cygnus. She cringed as he crashed into the dirt, but that changed into surprise when the Egg Cerberus tried to pounce on the boy, only for him to disappear into a burst of black smoke and reappear some distance away.
“Oh look, YOU MISSED!” Cygnus crowed. The dog merely growled and roared in response. “Have a taste of your own medicine then!” Cygnus bellowed. His jaws stretched unbelievably wide before a dark projection of sharp jaws formed around Egg Cerberus's head. The shadow teeth crunched Egg Cerberus, and the dog staggered back, beginning to short circuit. It shook off this “pain” and lunged at Cygnus again. This time it dropped its head in an attempt to catch Cygnus from below with an imitation of his Crunch technique.
Big mistake.
Cygnus took the opportunity to jump on top of the Egg Cerberus, hanging on tight to the red protrusion as it now tried to shake him off. “YEEEHAW!” Cygnus bellowed. Try as it might, the mechanical creature couldn't shake off the Devil's Swan. As a result Cygnus began to steer the now wild-bull-like dog right into a tree, just to show how much he cared. The sudden impact violently shook the creature, and Cygnus merely leapt off, landing gracefully on the ground.
The creature's functions began to fail it. Electricity cackled all over the Egg Cerberus as it began to break down. The voice surely didn't like this. “NOO! Curse you Cygnus!”
“HA! You can't hope to defeat me!” Cygnus gloated, baring his teeth in an un-swan-like fashion. “I'm THE REAL DARKNESS!”
“Don't think you've won the evil contest just yet,” Both humans in that field could practically hear the smile form on the voice's face. “I've already locked the coordinates of that dimension the little lady comes from. I'll be there, in some form or another—” Whatever else he was going to say wasn't heard, as the Egg Cerberus had broken down completely.
Cygnus and Rokugou stood silently for a while, gazing at nothing. It'd be nice to just leave them for a while, but that changed when Rokugou spoke up. “Are you... really a villain?”
Cygnus didn't answer. He merely lifted his arm, and the swan guardian flew up and landed on his shoulder, before disappearing and becoming a symbol on the boy's back. He faced Rokugou once more. She started blushing, twiddling her fingers as she decided to continued, “Well, it was just that you protected me, and I-I didn't think an evil villain would do that...”
Cygnus actually had to chuckle at that. “Ya know, you're quite naïve on the ways of evil villainy. I was just smashing him because he was messing with my hostage!” The gears were turning in the boy's head. “Aha, that's right! Hostage!” Rokugou paled again as the boy pointed dramatically at her. Cygnus wasn't finished, however. He turned away again. “But still, you fascinate me. I was on my way to your world in the first place, since it's where the jewels have landed, so you can judge for yourself how awesomely evil I am. You wouldn't mind following me, would you?”
The gears in Rokugou's head spun as well. Has she... happened upon a rare, exotic species of male tsundere?! She was not afraid of taking the bait—she was a nice girl, after all. “N-not at all...” The blush returned. He was kind of badass in that Igarashi-sensei kinda way...
Cygnus walked close to her. “You probably have a few people, or at least somebody who's gonna act recklessly with you in my clutches, so I hope you don't mind if I do... this,” The nice girl stiffened a bit but didn't waver. A bit of darkness swirled around her, and before she knew it, she was bound hand and foot. Cygnus scooped her up gently. “So... shall we?”
Rokugou was too busy blushing to answer, but she probably would've said yes.
With that, Cygnus found that portal Rokugou arrived in. Seeing as it was still tangible, the dark boy forced it open with his powers. He stepped in with her, leaving behind the Azure Lake.
Nodoka Miyazaki, shyest member of the Library Club and the second Ministra Magi of Negi Springfield... while she has made great progress in earning the affections of our child hero, nothing she has thus accomplished in life could prepare her for this.
A strange soda machine sat at the end of one hallway, almost like it was beckoning her. Being thirsty of course, she went to go buy a simple soda. When she got there, she saw Shichimi already there, bouncing yet again to that mysterious beat. “Wonder where that soda machine came from, mya,” the cat creature commented once it was aware that Nodoka was nearby. “I don't think it was here yesterday, mya.”
“Umm, maybe they're installing new ones...” Nodoka answered softly, not even sure if that made any sense. You'd have to give her a break though, it's not like she (or anyone) could come up with something better! She reached into her pocket, fishing for change. “L-let's see what they have... ah!” She noticed the machine was opening.
Inside that soda machine was not lots of sodas at all, but rather a cat. A cat holding a few sodas, to be precise. It was orange and somewhat alien-looking, and it also carried a blank smile. It offered a soda to Nodoka. “It's body temperature-nya.”
Nodoka and Shichimi said nothing.
“Please take one-nya.”
Nothing but open-mouthed staring.
The cat decided to take a radically different approach, much like his distant cousin. In terrible, loud Engrish he spoke, “HALLO EVERYNYUN! HOWAH YOU? WHY SANKYOU...”
Nodoka did not like this one bit. In a rare fit of frightened rage, she started throwing things at him, objects likely pulled from hammerspace. “AIIIEEE! GO AWAY!” This horrifying mockery of an innocent thing once past HAD to be some demon! And with no Negi to activate her contract...
The cat inside the soda machine panicked and shut the door. At once the bottom began to jet out like a rocket, and the soda machine burst through the walls and escaped skyward. Now safe from the perceived danger, Nodoka sighed.
“That joke has already been used, mya,” Shichimi said sagely. “I hope he has good lawyers.”
Done with classes for today, Negi Springfield sat calmly at his teacher's desk, organizing papers and letting his thoughts run wild. With clothes on, mind you, don't even THINK in the gutter! In fact, he was so lost in thought that he didn't notice Becky enter the room until she sat down nearby. Snapping back into reality like a silent rubber band, Negi greeted her, “Miyamoto-san!”
“Call me Becky,” the girl mumbled, glancing at him sideways. “Thanks for earlier,” being humble was not one of Becky's strong points.
Negi's infinite kindness didn't care. He simply accepted. “Okay, Becky-san.”
They sat in silence for a while, staring at each other. Of course, rabid fangirls would take this time to write mushy romance, but if you're looking for that, I'm sorry to say this isn't that kind of story. Whatever they could've said in those moments was interrupted anyway. Negi's ears faintly picked up a noise. He whirled around to see a shadow barely escape his eye. “Huh?”
“Did you see something?” Becky raised an eyebrow.
“Not sure,” Negi's voice tensed. With the Star Crystal incidents that had occurred earlier, he had learned to not underestimate or ignore anything, especially if his staff reacted to it. Luckily Becky didn't see that part. “Becky-san, stay here.” He advised as he went out the door in pursuit of the shadow.
“Wait, what?! Why?” Becky called out, getting up and about to go after him, but he was gone in a flash. Sulking, she sat back down, angry that despite all the niceness she gathered, he blew her off. Or at least that's what it felt like. Harrumphing as she bitterly cursed her luck, she was surprised when suddenly she found herself staring at Motsu, the strange, hated frog thing. Unfortunately for everyone, all impulse to render the frog into paste was suppressed by an insane curiosity. “Wait a second... haven't I seen you before?”
“No,” Motsu answered simply. “My appearance in your side of town was only a figment of your 'imaginaaaaation'.” His use of 'imagination' was accented by a hand gesture which imitated a rainbow, complete with sparking rainbow effects. “Anyway, you shouldn't be angry at Negi, sometimes he has to take care of business.”
“What kind of business?” The raised eyebrow response from Becky.
Normally, Motsu would be rabidly against someone finding out about magic—after all, his main (extremely annoying) purpose after reporting about the Star Crystal was to keep Negi from letting loose-lipped students find out about his magic.
But that is where the headmaster's orders come in. A subtle remark about “You don't really need to keep a close eye on Negi's visitors—their land has magic too.” pretty much told him that something was going to happen, and that he was supposed to do absolutely nothing about it. So instead, he simply said, “It's best that you discovered that for yourself then, if you're so curious. Must warn you though, less important people have gotten into bigger trouble. In a good way.”
Becky did not care at this point. Even though not too much out of the ordinary happened, something was being set up: the enigmatic headmaster, that boy and his position teaching those girls, the fact that everything seemed to perfectly line themselves up for this event to happen... She was going to find out, irregardless of the trouble. She stomped off after Negi, leaving Motsu behind. With that the frog uttered some last words before our scene change: “This is what he wanted, right? I sure hope so... in a good way.”
Negi had stepped out of the classroom, letting his staff guide him (although he wasn't holding it so he wouldn't get any suspicion.). That shadow... he thought. Could it be...? He rounded a corner, and sure enough he saw it. The shadow was a short thing, equal to him in height. It had spikes on its back, and it seemed a bit streamlined, but other than that it seemed like it could be... Thoughts flashed back to Asuna's club. “The chupacabra?” Negi didn't think that they'd actually run into one, considering that the club was acting more like a cover up for those who knew about Negi's magic, but still—a chupacabra?
He had no chance to even say anything, as the shadow jumped away. “Wait!” He cried, trying to catch up to it. But the shadow was too fast—in a blink of an eye, it had disappeared, and Negi was left only with his glowing staff. The game, however, was far from over. “I think I can still tail him... Asuna-san would love it if I could catch him!” Negi noted with childish glee. He followed his staff, proceeding slowly and using an area effect spell to alert him if anyone else showed up.
He suddenly spotted the shadow once again, running off in another direction. Springing into action, Negi picked up speed and followed it into the school library.
The bookcases were fairly tall around here, so Negi had to search a bit before finding the shadow. It was now standing on top of the bookcase. Quickly seeing and sensing if anyone else was around, Negi the decided to bring out the magic tricks. He aimed an outstretched hand. “Tel ma... AMORIS!” Two large chains shot out towards the figure—and it wasn't fast enough to escape this time. Negi felt, rather than saw, the successful click of his spell working. “Yes!” He silently cheered to himself. The spell was seamless this time around—no crashing through bookcases and making loud noises this time, and with nobody else around, it certainly didn't go wrong.
Well maybe I spoke too soon, since when Negi pulled down the figure, he found himself staring at Ichijou.
“UWEEEH?!” Negi panicked, his eyes growing huge at his obvious mistake.
“Hello, Negi-sensei,” Ichijou greeted not unkindly.
“'Sup, Aniki,” Kamo popped out of Ichijou's hair. “Say, did you know this girl knew about magic?”
“UWWWEEEHH?!” Negi nearly shouted again.
“DAH!” Their attention was now drawn to a stunned Becky, who pointed at them with a quivering finger.
“Negi! I think we found the—”Asuna and her group charged in. only to see the massive trouble Negi just found himself in. “...fact that you're screwed.”
“Becky-san! Rokugou has—” Rei, Kaede, Haruna, and Miyako burst in, only to join in on the awkward scene as well. “Oh snap.”
“AHA!” The dreaded appearance of Motsu scared everyone into a shocked silence. “The failure of keeping your identity secret means you will have your magic taken away and be turned into an animal! BUT!” Motsu temporarily warded off any potential beatings. “I will now reveal the best plot twist ever. It's not going to happen, because these girls have already been affiliated with magic! In a good way!”
“UWWEEEHH?!” Now it was everybody else's turn to gasp in shock.
“I haven't seen this kind of—” Becky began, but stopped short. So THIS is what she was being set up for. How lovely. “Oh.”
“Man, this is cool!” Haruna marveled.
“It would be best if you kept this amongst yourselves,” Motsu's eyes twinkled mischievously. “But I have other things to do, so see ya!” He began to walk off, almost scot free.
That was until he bumped right into a soda machine. The machine opened, and yet again that creepy cat sat in there. Its eyes gleamed at Motsu. “I don't think you can get away, nya.”
“What? OOOOOHHHHH!” The soda machine closed with Motsu inside it. After about five seconds of horrifying sounds, the machine opened again, and Motsu floated out like a sheet of paper.
After a minute of silence, the cat spoke again. “I have our the regular milks, nya.”
Every human in the room lined up to buy one.
“So let me get this straight,” Becky muttered. “You're a mage. Magician, what have you. And teaching these girls is part of your training. And because these girls had troubles with math, the dean helped you out, and saw fit to also introduce me to magic at the same time. Is that it?”
“That's the gist of it.” Negi smiled nervously. "Sorry, Becky-san.”
The girl waved it off. “Meh, I've run into weirder things back at my school. I guess this explains a lot.”
“So cool!” Haruna said, her glasses nearly shining with glee. Such an epic discovery could lead to a lot of things! Science spectacles! Drama! All fuel for her manga ideas! “Can't wait to tell the whole class!”
Too bad that would not come to pass. “Don't do it!” Negi and several other Chupa-Team members interjected at the same time.
“Huh?” The artist blinked in confusion. “Why not?”
“He gets turned into an animal and his magic gets stripped if anyone who's not supposed to find out finds out,” Konoka supplied matter-of-factly.
“It was probably by the Headmaster's grace that Motsu-san didn't get me into trouble with my school when that... awkward situation happened,” Negi answered. “I don't think Motsu-san would extend that grace to all of my class. Too many people already know as is...”
“Oh... I see,” Haruna went back to contemplating. “Still, this is nice. What else can you do as a mage?”
The young boy began to mentally gather all of his skills. “Well, I can cast magic arrows, limited healing, fly on my staff...”
“I must say, you being as young and powerful as you are makes you quite popular, doesn't it?” Rei adjusted her glasses. Negi could've sworn her eyes were gleaming straight at him. “Considering quite a few of those girls help you out now on your tasks.”
“Uhh... that is to say...” Negi rubbed his neck nervously.
“Big bro is popular with the ladies!” Kamo interjected boldly. “He's already made seven contracts! As long as he keeps making them, he'll get more power to deal with any troubles we might face (and I'll be much richer)!” He hopped up on top of Negi, sharing the same mischievous gleam in his eyes as countless others. “Say, ladies, any of you interested in forming a contract with big bro? You'll get awesome magic powers!”
“Ah, I'll pass,” Ichijou stated plainly.
“Don't need one,” The grin never left Rei's face.
Sign me up!” Haruna crowed.
“OOH! I want to!” Miyako was at Kamo's face in an instant. “How do I do that?”
Negi and the six girls in the room he had already made contracts with suddenly got red faces. “Uhh,” Negi twiddled his fingers.
“A kiss.” Ichijou said. “On the lips.”
“UWAH!?” Miyako came to her senses so fast she was on the opposite wall in the blink of an eye. Then something clicked, and she pointed at Ichijou. “Wait, how do YOU know?!”
“I know a lot of things,” She stated simply. A small smile played on her lips. “I travel everywhere when I'm not in school.” This last sentence was terribly cryptic, but considering the fact that it was Ichijou, nobody really cared.
“Is that all?" Haruna blinked, completely unfazed by everyone's reactions. “Easy enough. Hey Negi-kun, c'mere!” She grinned, those eyes looking fairly unholy.
“I figured it'd be something like that,” Rei said sagely. Then an idea struck her. A wonderful, awful idea. “Say Becky. Unlike the rest of us, Negi's in your age group. Why don't you give it a try?”
“W-WHAT? M-ME?!” Becky panicked.
Haruna stopped her lecherous advancement on Negi and turned to Becky. “Ya know, that's the best idea I've ever heard.” Becky flinched under the girl's mischievous stare.
“Now that I think about it, they would complement each other quite nicely,” Kaede rubbed her chin thoughtfully.
“Yeah, Negi-kun and Miyamoto-sensei would make a cute couple!” Konoka added with a giggle.
“Ojou-sama, are you sure you should be saying things like that?” Setsuna asked her charge.
Asuna stared blankly. “That's kinda ridiculous.”
“Oy, Asuna-nee-san, you have that 'I'm-losing-my-younger-brother-to-another-girl look—GRAUGH!” Kamo started to say, but the bad news was that Asuna was in his face, crushing his skull. “Animal abuse!” Kamo cried in pain.
“You should do it!” Fuuka cheered to Becky.
“It'd be nice!” Fumika added. Both twins then proceeded to go to Becky and push her towards Negi. Seeing opportunity, Kamo quickly summoned the pactio circle, the symbolic, glowing circle that initiated many a new apprentice. “You should do it!” Fumika echoed her twin sister.
With the circle now going, she could back out now. Negi gave an apologetic smile. “Guess the road of a child genius isn't easy,” he said. “But don't worry! I'll help you out, every step of the way.”
Becky stared down, her cute face growing redder. “I... I guess I'll help you out too. You kinda just said it.”
They stepped towards each other, and much to the delight of everyone else, they locked lips.
“Pactioooo!” Kamo shouted. With that, three cards jutted out from the ground, flew for a bit, and then inserted themselves into Becky's soul.
Most of the group erupted into cheers. Rei and Asuna exchanged wry looks.
Once the excitement finally died down, Negi took the serious business route. “Okay then, we still have business to take care of. I'm sorry, getting caught up in the moment kind of distracted me, but we need to look for Rokugou-san, don't we?”
There was a gasp from Becky. “Wait a second, she's gone?!”
“Yeah, she kinda disappeared on us,” Rei said. “There's something weird where she vanished at.”
“We need to investigate that, then,” Negi said. “Unfortunately we'll be too suspicious if we're all in one large group, so Becky, Asuna-san and I will investigate where Rokugou-san disappeared. The others, please search the school grounds for Rokugou-san.”
“Right!” The majority of the group decreed as they began to split in separate directions.
“Hold it.” Haruna's voice brought the whole thing to a screeching halt. As several confused and concerned faces turned to her, she said, “I don't remember saying no to a pactio, did I?”
Negi flinched. “Umm... Haruna-san, I—”
“C'mere, Negi-kun! I wanna pay for my contract... in RAPE DOLLARS,” her grin grew feral as Negi found himself backed into a suspiciously convenient corner formed by Rei and a suspiciously happy Konoka. A sharp eye would also notice the glowing pactio circle forming right under the two of them.
“Haruna-san, we can discuss this civilly, right? Right? Haruna-san?! HARUNA-SAAAAA—”
“Augh...” Yue flinched, her stomach filled to the brim with dread, as if she had heard a million Negi-senseis cry out before being silenced by a vicious kiss. “What a random time to feel like something terrible has happened...” The girl stood up to head out of her dorms and get some water, but a pillow on the ground decided it would be fun to trip her up. The short girl crashed into the ground a moment later.
“Mukyuu...” Yue groaned in an alternate-universe fashion.
Negi, feeling queasy to the stomach, stumbled along the halls with his small group in tow. While Haruna was no longer traveling with them, the mere though of the girl nearly shook the boy in heavy embarrassment. So why were Becky and Asuna giving him those looks? Then again, Ichijou was also there in front of him, so they could be leering at her, but... He thought to ask about their distrustful looks, but then an urgent voice broke through. “Negi-kun!"”
Negi turned to see Konoka, her face etched in worry. “Konoka-san? What is it?”
“There was darkness again! It tied up Secchan!” She flailed her arms, and to prove her point, aimed her finger behind her. Negi looked past the girl to see Setsuna furiously trying to undo ropes around her.
“What?!” Asuna bounced to attention.
Again? Why do I not like the sound of that?” Becky's pitch rose with her apprehension.
“What are you talking about?” Ichijou merely blinked.
“Negi-sensei!” Setsuna barked. “Watch out, that darkness isn't on a level we've seen before!”
As if on cue, Negi's staff began to glow. It was an all too similar reaction. “That must be...” He looked beyond the room. “Let's go!” He bolted off with Ichijou right behind him; and it took a moment for Asuna and Becky to follow suit.
“Be careful, Negi-kun!” Konoka called out.
Negi's sharp eye caught a strange disturbance in one of the rooms. His staff's glowing power grew much stronger... was this the darkness he was following?
“This... this looks like a tear in time-space,” Negi said. “Despite it being small, it'd take a powerful reaction for something to cause this...”
“Could this involve Rokugou?” Becky asked. “If that darkness that airhead girl was talking about was involved in her disappearance...”
“It's Konoka,” Asuna snapped to the girl correcting her in her friend's place. “But Negi... could this be another power of that Star Crystal thingy you mentioned?”
“Could be. I don't know what the magic the Star Crystal exudes feels like.” Negi answered. “Only one way to find out.” He aimed his staff. “Ras Tel Ma Scir...”
“Don't need to do that,” Ichijou pointed out. “Just poke it.”
“Wait, Ichijou-san don't—!” Becky started, but it was too late. In a matter of seconds, the breathtaking adventure of warping through time and space happened yet AGAIN.
What would you say if you were being sent to another dimension? I don't claim to know, but maybe it'd be a bit more original than what our heroes said: “UWWWAAAHHHHHH!”
The maddening clocks, the dull gray feel of empty time.
That's where our heroes find themselves, locked in an inactive arena of clocks. If this was supposed to be an Amazing Arena, then it certainly didn't feel amazing. As a matter of fact it felt more creepy than amazing. Aside from their terrific crash into this world, all Negi and his partners heard was the steady TICK...TICK...TICK of the few active clocks.
Negi scanned the area around him. Something wasn't right... unlike his last dimension hop, this certainly was not Wales. “Huh... this isn't a mirage! This really is another dimension!” Negi exclaimed. “I don't remember the fairies having this kind of power...”
“Fairies? What are you talking about?!” Becky reeled, completely confused by this turn of events.
Negi chuckled nervously. “I'll explain that to you later, Becky-san. I promise.”
The blonde sighed. Stuck in another dimension with only Ichijou-san and two dunderheads. Not to mention just how dead and gray everything looked. “Geez, why does all this have to happen to meee?”
“Is it just me...” Negi began, eyes widening slightly. “Or is this place... drowning in darkness?”
The others slowly noticed what Negi already had: the area around them had somehow grown darker. Senses heightened, nerves tensed and brains were quickly brushing up on their horror genre savvy. It was then Asuna picked up on a faint mewling sound. “Who's there?!”
“A trap,” Ichijou answered.
“No time for that!” Asuna shot back before looking around again. She spotted someone in the distance. “Look!”
The other three (and Kamo) followed Asuna's finger to... one Sayaka Suzuki.
“Rokugou!” Becky shouted. She and Negi ran up to the blue-haired girl. Only upon approach did they see the dark tendrils acting as a restraint, binding the poor girl hand and foot. Cloth obscured her mouth, thus the mewling sounds they heard. “EH?!”
“She's tied up?!” Negi flinched in his shock.
“I told you...” Ichijou stepped up until she was even with Negi and Becky. “It's a trap.”
Asuna, the only person who hadn't run forward, began to do so...
But suddenly: DARKNESS!
The redhead nearly stumbled backwards as the mysterious shape grew right behind the others. “N-Negi...” She cried out weakly, eyes growing wider by the second.
Negi and Becky dared not look back, as they could feel the overwhelming darkness form right behind them. “Told you so,” Ichijou stated mutely.
Kamo popped up, looked behind Negi, and saw the leering figure with neon-orange eyes ready to pounce. “BIG BRO!”
Kamo's words pushed the boy back into action. Negi grabbed Becky's hand and dived out of the way as a deadly hand clap slammed where they were just moments before. Ichijou merely sidestepped the attack and calmly backed herself to where Asuna was.
“Huhuhuhuhu...” The dark person before them slowly turned around, revealing himself to the rest of the onlookers. “Just a bunch of kids... but I know better than to underestimate people because of age and size. Doubtless you fools are special if you haven't been driven mad by the darkness yet.” His grin showed off his sharp fangs for added evil points.
“Who are you?!” Asuna demanded, curling her hand into a fist.
“Please, let go of Rokugou-san!” Negi immediately wanted to diffuse the situation.
“Unhand Rokugou RIGHT NOW, you twisted psychopath!” Becky shouted at the figure above, waving her hands furiously.
“I think you have a damsel-in-distress complex,” Ichijou randomly pointed out.
“Huh?” The man blinked, confused by that statement for a moment before he looked at Rokugou, looking at him through half-pleading, half curious eyes. “Ah, that. Oldest trick in the book. Kidnap a cute damsel, the heroes show up faster than demons at an 'All-Humans-You-Can-Eat' Buffet... even if they aren't even AWARE there's a damsel to be rescued! Isn't that epic? Indeed, kidnapping her allowed me to assess just who would stand in my way. I've already seen two side shows, you fools must be the main attraction then?” Man, nice way to say “I just randomly kidnapped somebody to see who'd show up”.
“That makes you the darkness Konoka-san and Setsuna-san met earlier...” Negi hissed. The figure made a slow swiping motion with his hand, and at once darkness swirled around the clocks, making the Amazing Arena even more dark and gloomy than it was before. With that, he introduced himself. “I am... Cygnus, the Bedeviled Swan King.”
Only now did Negi really feel the boy's powers, and they were, in a word, suffocating. He nearly had to clutch his chest from the dark aura that the boy exuded, and it appears it had nearly the same effect on everyone else, except for Ichijou, who just stared mutely. Despite this, both he and Asuna tensed, ready for a battle with this sinister foe. Cygnus continued, “Darkness... is the heart's true essence. It is with that darkness I will paint the world black.”
“W-why is he so scary?!” Becky shivered.
Despite Cygnus's powers, fear was the furthest thing from Negi's mind. Rather, a different thought approached his mind. “Are you the one who stole the Star Crystal?”
“Star Crystal...?” Cygnus said slowly. “What's that?” However, the Devil's Swan was quick on the uptake. “If there has been a wielder of the darkness you have fought with in the past, then I've no association with them—I'm greater.” He smiled. “LET ME SHOW YOU HOW IT'S DONE! SUBMIT!” He began to laugh maniacally as the darkness around the room began to swirl wildly.
“We have no choice now... it's time to fight!” Asuna said. “Negi!”
“Okay...” Negi answered, preparing his staff.
“Hey wait!” Becky interjected.
“You did th-that pactio thing with me too, right? I want to fight this creep too!” She said.
“B-but?!” Negi began, worried about the danger Becky would get herself into.
“Y-yes ma'am!” Negi responded, stiffening as if he just got punished. However, he took a short look at Ichijou. “What about Ichijou-san?”
“She's battle-ready,” Becky muttered. To accentuate the point, Ichijou gave a thumbs-up. “Trust me.”
“Fine,” Negi prepared the staff, letting it float in front of him as he prepared the spell to draw out his partner's latent abilities. He hoped that the four of them could stand a chance... “Partner: Kagurazaka Asuna; Miyamoto Rebecca...” The two girls felt like something pin-pricked their souls. Their bodies began to glow, and as well both began to float towards Negi. “Show me the powers within you!” Two magic spheres, lined with ancient text, floated from the girls and combined in front of Negi, producing one large one. He reached his hand out, inserting it into the sphere's only hole facing him. “Contract Activate!” He pulled two cards, one for each girl. The energy being given to them from the process was so much that moans escaped them as he pulled out the cards.
Asuna's form changed. She was now wearing upper body armor, her shoes were now metallic stockings, and she was carrying a really big sword. “Whoo hoo!” She cheered. “Full power!”
Becky's form changed as well. Gone was her simple lab coat, replaced now by a brighter one, along with white gloves with ornate seals on the back. “Uhh...” She trailed off, but began again. “I feel... stronger, but...”
“YES! Both rare armor cards!” Kamo cheered. “We can stand a better chance now!”
“Ummm... no time for that,” Ichijou pointed at a blast of darkness heading towards them. Before anyone had time to panic, though, the strange girl aimed her arm, and it immediately became a rocket-launcher like device. A powerful rocket shot out, negating the rushing darkness with a small but powerful blast. Ichijou ignored the shocked faces of Negi and Asuna as she went back to normal.
“Told you,” Becky muttered.
“Are you clowns done yet with your Sailor Moon transformations?” Cygnus raised an eyebrow. He went back to grinning though, as he spotted something. “Oh ho, a shadow returns to me!” A strange, swirling darkness circled around their shadows—as dim as the place was, somehow they could still see it. It swirled around a bit before finally settling near Negi's shadow, and, much to their shock, the strange shadow devoured it.
Negi's shadow seemed mutated, as if it were a more crystalline, chaotic version of himself, and no longer under his control.
“How about a dance of darkness then?” Cygnus grinned, baring his teeth. He began making grand hand motions, as if he were conducting an orchestra. “It's like conducting a symphony...” The shadow attached to Negi began to do the same thing.
Negi faintly felt darkness in his own heart. A slower possession spell. He had to move fast.
It looks like the girls had the same idea. As he flew forward on his staff, the girls brung up the rear. Negi immediately aimed a hand at the boy, preparing a spell. “Tel ma... AMORIS!” A flurry of magic arrows shot towards Cygnus, but the boy disappeared in a flash of smoke, although some small shape appeared to be guarding Rokugou. The blasts sailed harmlessly out of sight.
“I think you should watch where you aim,” Cygnus slowly reappeared growing and extending his arms before taking a swat at the group of four. Despite his sneak attack, the four heroes used successful evasion maneuvers. The boy crawled around the girls as a shadow, his haunting voice echoing from below them. “If you hit Rokugou, she'd feel betrayed and hurt, and I would be really angry...” When he rose up from the shadows, Asuna was the first to counter, taking a wide sweep with her sword. He gracefully dodged, seeming to slide across the ground without moving his feet.
“I'm already really angry!” Becky snarled. She tested out the first of her newfound powers by clapping her hands and pressing down on the ground. A circle with arcane symbols formed, and massive parts of the earth rose up, jutting like deadly spikes in a 2-D platformer. Cygnus was forced to skate backwards, right into another rocket attack from Ichijou. However, just when the rocket was about to blast him to smithereens, he disappeared once more.
“Heheh,” Cygnus reappeared in a swirl of darkness, once again dodging a swipe from Asuna's mighty sword. The bad news was Negi clipping him by surprise with a shot of lightning magic. “Curse you!” The boy slid backwards on his back, recovering midway to slide on his feet. To make matters worse the seemingly emotionless Ichijou was already in his face again, and he had to dodge more of her random, madcap weapons. Finally seeing an opening, he shot the floor below the group with a blast of darkness, forcing them to scatter. Cygnus took on a dark, swan-like form, moving erratically until he reappeared on a wall. He leered down at Negi. Using a slow, harsh voice, he snickered. “So, how's that darkness coming? Let it possess your heart yet?”
Negi hadn't been fighting as vigorously as the girls had, mainly because he had been mentally fighting off the shadow. However, he had also been storing energy for a counter spell. “Not quite,” he smirked. “Ras tel, ma scir, magister...” He focused his magic strength, with his staff glowing in front of him. He muttered this next part in latin. “O Spirits, hear my call. Draw the shadows to the light, and separate light from darkness. Tel ma... AMORIS!” Negi's un-shadow contorted a bit as a flash of light expelled it from its flat state, taking form in the third dimension on plain sight.
“Whoa...” Cygnus blinked, quite amazed at the boy's power. “Not bad, not bad at all!” He jumped further out of the fray. “You won't mind if I sidestep this and see how you do...” He decided to let the shadow spirit do its thing.
The spirit, a twisted, crystalline clone of Negi, glowered at the group with strange, yellow-and-green eyes before producing a fake staff and lunging at Negi.
Asuna would have none of it. She whirled her massive sword, and the spirit crashed into at least five feet of massive, deadly steel. “Try THAT for size!” She boasted. It tumbled away, almost melting into nasty giblets.
It wasn't done yet. In a grotesque fashion of recovery, its head lifted up, and the rest of its body spun back into form. It then rushed Asuna and smashed into her with a crystalline elbow, knocking her away.
“Asuna-san!” Negi yelled out. The shadow clone immediately diverted its attention to Negi and dived towards him.
“BIG BRO!” Kamo warned for about the third time. Negi easily dodged his fake's slam into the ground as a result.
“Bastard!” Becky shot at the thing. “Take this!” The second functionality of Becky's armor card—she produced two small test tubes with two unmixed liquids in both. She shook them furiously before lobbing them at the shadow. By the time they were close enough, the shadow was eating two massive explosions. “Hehe!”
The creature reformed, however it was a good deal slower and more ragged.
“It's getting weaker... keep it up!” Asuna noted, recovering from her hit. She rushed towards the creature, and with her might, chucked her sword up, catching the fake Negi in its whirling pain. “AETHER!” She slammed the sword down on it, crashing it into the floor. It nearly broke, barely even reforming correctly.
It lifted a finger.
“WAH!” Asuna dodged a very quick lightning bolt.
“EEP!” Becky dodged another, but in the process fell flat on her face. “GECK!”
“Oh dear,” Ichijou deadpanned as she sidestepped the move and accidentally showed off her panties to the real Negi in a Ken Akamatsu-like fashion (“Hey, cut that out!” Negi complained). “We should finish this.” In one swift, ninja-like movement, the girl dashed by Becky and slung some unknown object, shattering upon contact with the fake Negi and freezing it. Becky wasn't sure if one of her vials was swiped or Ichijou used the move on her own. She's weird like that... “Negi.”
Negi got the message and pointed his staff at his frozen double. Focusing his powers, he bellowed “Ras tel... ma scir.. magister... Weighted Light, Travel. Go beyond the door and send it far away! TEL MA... AMORIS!” A bright light consumed the creature, wiping it out of existence. What was left in its place was a strange red jewel.
“Another... jewel?” Negi reached out and grabbed it. He nearly stopped as he heard a slow clap.
“Not bad,” Cygnus announced, swiveling around from his perched, disappearing, then swiveling back into view in front of the four of them, Rokugou at his side. “I think I'll let you keep that jewel for now.” As long as he doesn't get it, he added silently. “I'll be taking it back of course when I need it. Rule of villainy says why do all the work when the good guys will willingly do it for you? Especially amusing when they're little brats.”
Can it,” Asuna snapped. “What do you want?!”
“Chaos. Disorder. Anything that interests me or fuels the darkness. Oh, and your names would help. Calling you 'brats' gets old. Besides, I gave you mine.”
“Negi Springfield,” The boy said his name without hesitation, his staff still trained in battle position.
“Rebecca Miyamoto! LET ROKUGOU GO RIGHT NOW!” She screeched, preparing to unleash hell on the dark boy.
“Asuna Kagurazaka.” Asuna stared at Cygnus, her face conveying Serious Business (tm).
“Ichijou.” Ichijou just stared mutely.
Cygnus laughed. “You've got my attention, Negi Springfield! Rebecca Miyamoto! And your female pedophile followers!” Asuna puffed her face in anger and let a vein pop at those words. “Let's see how long you can keep it!” He swirled into darkness, taking Rokugou with him.
“ROKUGOU!” Becky screeched.
“She will be returned to you momentarily, when I'm more comfortable in your world... until then, TOODLES!” And with that, Cygnus and the darkness disappeared, feeling mighty confident in the boost to his “evil-o-meter” (Hey, did you know you also got mega points on the douch— “YOU SHUT THE HELL UP!”)
There was a strange silence, as Negi held the strange jewel in his hand. “This begins... a whole new set of problems, doesn't it?” He softly asked the rhetorical question, only to get nods of agreement from the girls.
You got that right. With Cygnus's motives not entirely making sense, with an entirely new adventure right between his investigation of the Star Crystal, you can bet Negi's plate is full! But at least now he has more help... or is that the only help he's getting?
Tune in next time!
“Oh hey everybody! I'm Himeko, and I can't wait for my starring role in the next episode! But I'm kinda sad, because Becky's been having fun with this new child teacher and is leaving me out of it! Next time's gonna be awesome, though, so stick around for it! Next time on Scheme!? Final Mix: “Friday Night Party Mahora's!” By Himeko. Now with more parties and less spoilers! MAHOOOOOO!”
(Still going at it weekly! Enjoy the party, and tune in next time to hear Rokugou say, "Please be gentle!" -shifty eye movement- Reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.)