Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction / Pani Poni Dash! Fan Fiction ❯ I Am Negima!?, AND SO CAN YOU! Act I ❯ Chapter 5: "I'm Sick of All This Goodness Give Me Chaos Instead!" By Rei ( Chapter 5 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Scheme!? Final Mix
Chapter 5: “I'm Sick of All This Goodness, Give Me Chaos Instead!” By Rei
A cold gaze. An evil grin.
Somehow, Rei Tachibana never felt more alive.
Hey again, GPs! -thumbs up- for tuning in today!... The faint background noise of the TV could still be heard.
Tossing her hair back, Rei pulled on the gloves, the red jacket, and the black pants, and found herself staring at a remarkably female version of the madman who's shadow had attached to her body.
“Oh ho! Ms. Rei Tachibana,” the shadow, moving independently from her, announced. “My conjecture was correct. You can resonate with the darkness of your own shadow! That foolish boy thought he could outsmart me, eh?”
“Perhaps,” Rei said distantly.
...directly from the source of OUR THE MR. YUJI NAKA (Man of the Year 1999-2008)!
That T.V was somehow both amusing and annoying.
“Shall we get moving? I'll be glad to show you why it's so good to be me.” She could practically feel the smile form on the shadow's face.
“Consider it done.” Rei answered.
We think it's our the nice. Rei cut off the T.V just as that sentence ended. It was time to move.
“The red, yellow, and blue Chaos Emeralds,” Negi whispered. It was early in the morning, the rising sun giving the sky an orange hue. The three shining jewels rotated in front of him as he examined them. Becky, Setsuna, and Ichijou were there in his room as well. Konoka was cooking breakfast, and Asuna was asleep. “Each wielding great magical power—perhaps greater than that of the Star Crystal. If seven of them are gathered, they can perform great miracles. Question is, why are they here?” And why now? He added in his mental anguish. I may be getting close to finding out the secret of those Crystal Shards, but Cygnus-san won't let me...
“The Cygnus freak has something to do with it,” Becky answered, for once not hot-headed about the subject. “He hid them, and he understands the nature of all those shadows we've been dealing with. He's up to something, and I'd like to find out what.” She turned to Negi. “As long as he's around, you won't find out anything about whatever that Star Crystal is about. We have to take care of him first.”
“Cygnus is also a bondage hentai.” Ichijou stated randomly.
“That's kinda scary,” Negi added.
“U-um, let's not derail the conversation,” Setsuna said quickly. “Anyway... what's with all the portals to the different dimensions?”
“That's likely caused by the Chaos Emeralds...” Negi said, allowing the chaos emeralds to stop rotating. “...maybe something Cygnus did. I don't really understand his logic. He's after the chaos emeralds, yet doesn't attempt to steal them from us. He apparently likes Rokugou-san, and always seems to hover around her.”
“I'm getting worried about Rokugou, though,” Becky frowned. “Cygnus seems to have some sort of effect on her... I honestly would've preferred if she DID have something for Igarashi-sensei?”
“Who's that?” Konoka asked. She had finished cooking and now settled down everyone's food, including leaving a plate for Asuna, who was still asleep. That changed however, when she sniffed the food. She practically slid off the bed and towards the food like a slug.
“A fellow teacher back at home. She drinks too much and has this bad attitude about her. Maybe Rokugou likes bad people...” Becky made a face. “But Cygnus is really overdoing it!”
Asuna mumbled something while she ate her food, still half asleep, but no one noticed... or cared.
There was a knock at the door.
Negi got up and went to answer it. Opening the door, he saw Nodoka. “Ah! Nodoka-san! Good morning.”
“G-good morning, Negi-sensei,” Nodoka answered in her soft voice, bowing slightly.
“How's everyone else?”
“I don't know what Miyako-san is up to, but Himeko-san is still sleeping in the twins' room. Both Rei-san and Rokugou-san left this morning.”
“What? Left?” Becky heard “Rokugou” and “leave” in the same sentence, and like a paranoid parent knew exactly why that was wrong: Cygnus. She dashed over with lightning speed and knocked Negi out of the way, causing the poor boy to crash somewhere in a corner. “W-where?! I hope she left with Rei! She can't go out on her own! What if Cygnus finds her again?!”
“B-Becky-san...” Negi groaned in the corner.
Somewhat surprised by Becky's forwardness, Nodoka stammered a bit. “U-um, Rokugou said something about a lake...”
Becky twirled and stomped towards Negi. Grabbing him by the shoulders, she asked him, desperation creeping into her voice. “Where's a lake on this campus?!”
“Becky-san, I know you're concerned but Rokugou isn't in any danger—” Negi's speech was stopped abruptly when he caught his staff glowing out of the corner of his eye. It shook a bit before falling down, seemingly pointing in a direction. “On second thought...” He leapt away from the blond girl and swept up his staff. “Everyone, stay here. If I'm not back in half an hour, use the Chaos Emeralds. Becky-san, let's go!”
“Already done!” The two of them stayed even as they bid a quick goodbye to everyone and practically stormed out of the door.
There was an awkward silence as Asuna stretched and finished her plate. For the first time, her eyes were actually open. “...did Negi just leave? With the Miyamoto brat?”
“WHAT?!” She raged, her hair adding to the effect by making crazy jagged lines everywhere. “I don't care what he just said!” She dashed over and began to put on her clothes. “WE'RE GOING AFTER HIM!”
Setsuna prepared her sword. Konoka did... something to make her look badass.
Nodoka said, “I'll come too!” But was stopped by Ichijou.
“You have to stay here.” Ichijou said sagely.
“But why?” Nodoka asked, puzzled expression clearly on her face.
“If you don't Cygnus will turn you into a bondage hentai too.” Ichijou answered with a straight face. “There aren't enough Chaos Emeralds to go around to stop him.”
“That doesn't even make sense!” Nodoka sobbed Mesousa style.
“Honya-chan, just wait here! If anything goes wrong we'll call you!” Asuna said as the four of them bolted off after Negi.
Nodoka stared after them for a short while. Only when Haruna showed up, somewhat groggy, did she react. “I hope they'll be alright.”
“Negi-sensei left with Becky-sensei again, didn't she?” Haruna asked.
Nodoka slowly nodded. “Everything happened so fast... but I'll be stronger next time.”
Cygnus stood atop a giant lily pad over in Mahora. Gazing into the cleanly blue lake faintly reminded of his adventure in Azure Lake. He felt something here, perhaps the power of a Chaos Emerald. However, only the lake and the morning sky greeted him. “I don't get it... that fool talked about getting here... could he already be here?” He whispered more to himself. “Eurgh, I'm already too zetta slow!”
Suddenly feeling a presence, he whirled around. Rokugou was at the bank of the hill, waving at him. “Cygnus-kun!” He thought he even heard a slight giggle.
“Huh? Rokugou...” Cygnus blinked, unaware of the faint blush at his cheeks. She... actively sought me out? That kinda surprises me... “Hey...” he answered back, barely audible to her.
So he was even more surprised when her eyes grew wide. Pointing a finger, she cried, “Watch out!”
In a split second, he turned, wide-eyed, to see a metal wing of sorts swinging right towards him. “OH SHI—” He stopped in mid curse to flip over the deadly metal wing. He shot a glance to let Rokugou know he was safe (and to make sure she was safe as well) before looking over to see... a giant robotic swan. It stood tall, perhaps about three times Cygnus's size. It seemed to gaze at them through red, robotic eyes and its skin and plume was all shiny, metallic skin, seemingly in a way that imitated his swan guardian. Talk about a thin line between imitation and mockery!
And on top of that swan's back stood Rei Tachibana. Cygnus hadn't seen her before.
Rokugou however, did. “Rei-san?!”
That was answered only by her sinister chuckling. “Oho, so you do recognize this body after all. I was wondering if this girl was connected to the blue-haired lass I met with dark boy over here,” She adjusted her glasses, and they gleamed ominously. “I told you I would be here some way or another!”
Cygnus recognized that tone of voice. “YOU,” Cygnus hissed. “You have no freaking manners whatsoever... why do you think I've defied you so far? GO THE HELL AWAY.”
“How about 'no'!” Rei retorted, mocking Cygnus's speech patters and causing the boy to snarl. “Besides, it's fun looking at the absolutely mortified face of your girlfriend over here!” To which Rokugou's face turned red and the girl tried to stutter something out. Too bad it failed miserably. So she does like him back? She pondered mentally.
This makes things fascinating! The mad doctor on the other side said. Since the brats you talked about aren't here, play with them!
Fine, Rei's grin disappeared for a split second as she flipped over a lid, reared back her hand and did an Epic Button Press. She smirked as the hum of the robot swan signaled its engagement in battle mode. “Get ready to be schooled!” The swan extended its wings, and the feathers at the edge turned out to be deadly missiles! A swarm of them charged Cygnus, and the boy was ready to sidestep out of the way before he remembered that Rokugou was behind him.
Very bad news indeed.
The good news was Cygnus was prepared to address cheap bullshit like this, so he swept a hand out. “COME GUARDIAN!” He bellowed. The swan form appeared from his back, and then swept forward to take the heat from all the oncoming missiles. It moved unflinchingly as the mass of explosions tore at its front body, but to no avail. With that done it went behind Cygnus, ready for its next command. “Tough luck, bastard!” He shot at the possessed Rei.
“Keep praising yourself, you still haven't hit me yet!” Rei countered. “Besides, my Egg Cygnus is better than your dark knock off!” She pressed another button. The colossal swan opened its beak, and a massive fireball shot down towards Cygnus. He knew that if his lily pad platform was gone, he'd have to fight on land and possibly endanger Rokugou. Snarling, he swept his guardian and smashed the fireball back and out of sight.
Cygnus did not like this indignation. “OH HELL NAW YOU DIDN'T!” He opened his mouth real wide. “YYYYEAAARRRGGH!” Energy gathered into his mouth.
Rei blinked. “What the hell is he doing...?”
Rokugou face-faulted before adding with a bit of nervous laughter, “He's chargin' his lazah.”
Cygnus fired the Mouth Beam of Death right into the face of the robot swan.
“He's firing his lazah,” Rokugou added.
The blow struck the swan in the face, but rather than destroy it, the massive Egg Cygnus only recoiled back a bit. It shook this pain off easily and Rei cackled. “Try again, why don't you?” The creature dived into the water, leaving only its back (and Rei) exposed. “I designed this thing to be resistant to you!” She slowly made her way to the opposite side of Cygnus. The boy dared not attack, seeing as the girl's body was hostage. “HEEHEE!”
The swan of darkness heard, rather than saw, the missiles coming for him. The bad news was that they were underwater. The worse news was that they were heading straight for the platform he was standing on. Cursing his luck, Cygnus called his guardian and had it perform as an impromptu jet ski as the missiles sailed straight for him, destroying the pad in the process.
Weaving across the lake, Cygnus dodged the missiles as they crashed into the water below. He turned to face the Egg Cygnus again. A flutter of wings, and MORE missiles came his way. He jumped up, “COME GUARDIAN!”, and deflected the assault once more. His guardian went back to being his jet ski. Cygnus aimed his right arm and shot a blast of darkness at the robotic swan once more. More recoil.
“Not bad,” Rei answered as the swan dived once more. They swapped positions on the lake, staring at each other all the while. Cygnus shot a glance at the bay again—OH SNAP. Rokugou was gone!
“But you don't pay attention, do you?” Rei rose her hand part way up. Cygnus looked to see what looked like a large robot bee carrying Rokugou. “Instead of blasting all my creations to smithereens, how about we have a talk instead?”
“Help!” Rokugou cried.
Cygnus clenched his teeth. The good doctor had him topped yet again.
“That's a good boy!” Rei smiled, baring her teeth. “Now how about—”
A sudden blast of fire knocked the robot bee out of the sky, causing it to crash and explode. Rokugou sailed towards the water.
“Rokugou!” Cygnus moved to save her, but someone else was faster.
“TEL MA... AMORIS!” A swirl of magic symbols appeared under the girl, and her fall slowed to a stop. Negi Springfield swooped in and caught the girl, taking her back to the relative safety of the bank. “Rokugou-san... please stay back.” Negi softly commanded.
“We got it from here!” Becky added, a sneer on her face. That dropped when she turned back to face Rei. “Rei-san! Get a hold of yourself! Don't let that shadow win!”
This was only met by sinister laughing.
Cygnus's impatience cut it off, however, when it started to exceed fifteen seconds. “Get on with it!”
“Tch, how unfair,” Rei tossed her hair again. “So the child geniuses, my potential archrivals from this world, finally show their faces! Negi Springfield! Rebecca Miyamoto!” Each kid's eyes grew wide as she announced their names.
“Who are you?!” Negi asked sharply.
“Dr. Ivo 'Eggman' Robotik, the greatest scientific mind of my world... and soon yours,” Rei took a sweeping bow, making sure to look as menacing as possible while she did it. “I've been keeping tabs on you, boy, and your girlfriend-slash-partner-in-crime ever since the dark boy arrived on your world after betraying me!”
“Betray you?!” Cygnus asked incredulously. “I had no intention of even serving you from the start! You have no FRIGGIN' MANNERS!”
“I do TOO have manners!” Rei stamped her foot. A wonderful, awful idea popped up in her head again. “Why don't I show you my manners and invite you down to my base? I have a really cool aquarium and candy!”
“Huh?” Becky was taken aback by this.
“Really?” Negi and Rokugou mirrored each other, far too optimistic for their own good.
“NO! (Or at least I don't have candy!)” Rei pressed a button, and two things happened, both of them very, very bad.
One: A giant whirlpool happened. This in effect dragged Cygnus in.
“Cygnus-kun!” Rokugou broke away from Negi and tried to reach for the boy.
“Rokugou! Don't—AIYAAAHHH!” Both of them were now sinking in the whirlpool.
“Rokugou!” Becky screeched.
Which now led to thing number two: a robotic hand grabbed Becky. “YAAAHHH!” She screamed.
“Becky-san!” Negi panicked. He hopped on his staff and chased the damsel in distress and everyone else as they disappeared into the massive whirlpool. By the time it was over, only a small ripple in the lake remained.
That was too bad, as a now awake Asuna, Konoka, Setsuna, and Ichijou were rushing towards there. “Negi!” Asuna yelled.
“We're too late,” Setsuna stated, biting down on her lip.
Asuna banged her fists on the ground in frustration. “Stupid Negi! Stupid Miyamoto brat! Why'd they have to leave us?!”
“That's a terrible place to have a honeymoon,” Ichijou randomly observed.
Asuna, so morose over her failure to guard Negi had no time to deal with Ichijou and thusly nearly flew into a rage against the girl. “WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!”
Ichijou held out a shiny jewel—the blue Chaos Emerald. “We stop the 'honeymoon'.” She pointed to the lake where they disappeared. Asuna noted the faint ripple of the lake and the strange light shining within it. “We still have the power.” She tossed the blue emerald to Asuna, and then passed the yellow and red ones to Konoka and Setsuna respectively. She did an Epic Finger Point towards the lake. However, before she could issue the command, Asuna beat her to it.
“Chupa team! ATTACK!” Asuna bellowed, her hair making Epic Movements. What looked like a possible sprint into the water actually ended in a strong and steady march towards the warp hole. Oh well.
“UUWWAAAHHH!” Negi screamed as he slid down the water-drenched slide. The boy eventually sailed right off of the slide and into a very large pool. He had to struggle in the water a bit before he got his bearings. Once he did, he swam for the surface. “Bwah!” Gulping in as much air as possible, thanks to the surprise of crashing into the water, Negi regained his lost breath. He scrambled for the “shore”: a platform that led to another room.
The water trickled down the boy as he stood up once more. He found himself looking at a vast underwater base, with various technological machinery operating at the background. The pool he just crawled out of seemed to be connected to a vast network of brown pipes, likely pumping water all over the vicinity. What amazed Negi most of all, however, was the rather huge and beautiful view of the sea. Turns out that indeed... he's in deep-sea water, and it looked like he stumbled upon an underwater factory of sorts... an Ocean Base.
Much to his disappointment though, he was alone. Likely the possessed Rei had already made off with Becky, and he still had no clue what happened to Cygnus or Rokugou. “Becky-san... Asuna-san...” He whispered to himself. Sighing, he made his way deeper into the base. Maybe that Dr. Eggman was in here somewhere...
Negi continued to walk alone, uncertain of the layout of the base. Pumping pistons, endless water pipes... everything here seemed to twist and turn in some strangely organized way. He would've quickly figured out where he was going had he not been so worried about Becky and so morose over his failure... “Becky-san... I screwed up...” He could feel his eyes water. It seemed like he wussed out a lot these days...
“Negi-sensei.” A gentle yet firm voice called out.
A bit weary because of the new location, Negi whirled his staff and aimed it menacingly at the person behind him, registering the voice rather than what was said. His staff was glowing faintly. He wasn't about to be caught with his figurative pants down...
Sucks for him, because they fell down anyway when he saw who was at the other end. “A-Akira-san?!” His mouth hung wide in shock. Talk about the last person you expected to see—wait a minute. “I don't know why, b-but I feel like you being here makes perfect sense.”
“That's because it's underwater, sensei,” the swimming girl carried a simper on her face. “I'm not sure how I got here. I was looking for Misora-san, because we were going swimming together in that lake. Next thing I know, I'm here.” She glanced to the side wearily. “Beware, there are dangerous robots crawling around here as well.”
“Robots?” Negi asked. That Dr. Robotnik must be a mad scientist... kind of like Hakase-san, except more insane. I can't do anything with Akira-san around though... That chain of thinking was quickly defeated, however, when he saw that there was a mechanical eel slinking out of a hole in the wall. “Akira-san! Watch out!” He cried.
Akira turned to see the eel lunge at her. Not enough time to react... or was there?
Firstly, Negi decided in that moment that Akira mattered more than keeping his secret, so he first fired a blast of electric magic, stunning the creature. Akira could only stare in shock (no pun intended, I SWEAR) as the eel twitched a bit, then saw Negi and lunged past her in an attempt to bite him. Negi twirled his staff to counter attack, but turns out he didn't need to do anything either.
Like a vengeful Mario, Akira stomped the creature before it could reach its target, crushing its head with one blow. The robot ceased to move and the rest of its body slumped immediately afterwards.
Negi and Akira each stared at each other for a moment to process what they had just seen. The jig was up for both of them. “AWAH?!” The both chorused. “You're a mage?!” “You're that strong?!”
However, Akira cooled off first. “Things actually begin to make sense now.”
“Ah, I'm sorry,” Negi rubbed his neck abashedly. “I'm supposed to keep this a secret.”
“Likewise,” Akira answered with a simple bow. “I guess we really need to get going.”
“Right,” Negi looked further into the base. He had no clue where he was going, but he'd be damned if he was going back without Becky. He motioned for Akira to follow him. “We need to look for Becky-san, I think she was captured here...”
“Captured?” Akira asked. “By those robots?”
“Most likely...” Negi answered. “But we can't stick around here. We've got to find her.” And with that, he marched off.
Akira took a moment to gaze forlornly at her shadow... or what should be her shadow. It looked far too watery to be her own, and yet... nothing else seemed to happen. It still moved like she did, and yet...
Tossing aside her misgivings, Akira followed Negi deeper into the base.
“Asuna!” Konoka called, worry somewhat betraying her normal face. Setsuna had a slight look of worry as well, but Ichijou once again only stared with that deadpan look of hers.
An irate Asuna spit out a fish and climbed out of the pipe they just arrived from. The gigantic underwater base was filled with not just machinery and water, but with annoying pipes and traps as well. Asuna had apparently run into one of them. “Dammit, what kind of place IS this!?”
“This underwater base is likely the house of some mad scientist,” Setsuna mused. “Hakase-san would love this place.”
“O RLY?” Asuna snarled sarcastically. “I'm sure she'd enjoy eating LIVE FISH while cooking up her experiments!”
“Asuna, we need to keep moving,” Konoka said. She walked a few feet, however, when Setsuna caught something dangerous out of the corner of her eye.
“Konoka-ojou-sama! Watch out!” With lightning speed, she long-jumped over to Konoka and pulled her out of harm's way as a large ink blast hailed from above.
“Awah?!” Konoka blinked at Setsuna saving her life. “W-what was that?”
That turned out to be a red octopus-like robot with helicopter blades attached to its head. It was hovering nearby, and as well brought backup in the form of a few friends—other robots. Two of them were just like it, all the others on the ground seemed to resemble more vaguely human shapes. The octopi aimed their snouts at our heroines. Safe to say that these certainly weren't friendly robots.
“You clowns want it? BRING IT!” Asuna flashed her Chaos Emerald, and used its power to draw her pactio's abilities. With that power... she got her suka form. “What!” She screeched in her childish voice. “That's not even fair!”
“Maybe I'll get luckier,” Konoka focused, drawing the power of the emerald. With that, she was granted her armor form. Smiling, she pulled out her whip-like weapon. “Hehe,” She struck first. A robot taking aim at the group quickly met its end as Konoka wrapped the weapon around its legs and pulled. The robot sank without its legs as support and quickly crashed, rendering itself useless. Nowhere near finished with her badass combo, Konoka grabbed yet another robot with the wooden whip and swung around, crashing a few other robots as well. She dodged to retaliatory fire of the other robots with ease, twirling with finesse that would make Makie proud.
“Ojou-sama!” Setsuna tried her own hand. Using the power of the Chaos Emerald, she got... her cosplay card! With her sword ready Setsuna charged towards her foes.
“Secchan!” Konoka called from atop one of the very confused octopus robots. “Use your epic fail attack!”
“What?!” Setsuna was distracted for a moment thanks to the shock of Konoka telling HER to use... what? Fail? Like Makie? Didn't matter, as she was still running right into the group of robots. “AIYAH!” She tried her best to skid to a stop, but by now it was too late. She crashed straight into the horde, somehow taking out all of the robots on the ground in one fell swoop. Somehow Konoka's distraction turn into a moment of epic genius, or in Setsuna's case, epic failure. The barely conscious Setsuna popped out from the rubble, dizzily moaning, “Kono-chaaaannn... that's not fair...” Konoka could only giggle as she sent the robot she was on top of crashing into a wall by having Ichijou tug her whip and catch the blade of the creature, forcing it to spin out of control.
“Hey! You still got two left!” The tiny Asuna pointed at the two octopi still in the air, spouting ink jets as they got closer to the group.
“Ah, I know a super hero that can take care of that,” Ichijou smiled.
She picked up Asuna and threw her at the robots in the air.
“AIIYAAAHHH!” Asuna screamed as she plowed through the robots and caused them to crash into the ground. She however, had a slightly more graceful landing. Smiling at the defeat of the robots, she crowed in her tiny voice, “That's right! I'm a super hero!”
“That means you need to get a move on before it's nap time,” Ichijou advised as the rest of the group sprinted onward.
Asuna blinked, processing all of that before she realized what was going on. “WAIT!” She scrambled after them.
“...-kun! Cygnus-kun!” The boy could barely make out a sensation of being gently shaken and slapped. The darkness seemed to evaporate around him as the soaking wet boy returned to consciousness and rose like a zombie.
“Thank goodness...” Rokugou whispered, a smile on her face. “I... I was...” She began.
“Tch, I'm kinda immortal,” Cygnus gave a groggy but feral grin back to Rokugou. “You'd think a bit of water would screw me over? I'm a swan for crying out loud!” He looked her over. “I'd be more concerned about you. Are you all right?”
Rokugou stepped back a bit, blushing slightly. She nodded.
“Heheh,” Cygnus's usual nasty grin grew softer. “Look at this mess I got us into...” He gazed into the sea, the mechanical hum of the factory being nothing more than a somewhat pleasant and very faint background noise to him. “The Doctor uses this place as one of his many bases... but seeing as its actually active, he just may be here. Your friend is just a puppet. Normally I could simply detach that shadow from her... but that looks like it won't work.”
“Huh? W-why?” The blue-haired girl asked.
Cygnus suddenly walked down the corridor they were in, coming to a stop only when he opened a door. His bared his teeth as he said, “I think Eggturds got his hands on a shadow. Seeing as he lacked the means of extracting the emerald, he corrupted it instead. That wouldn't mean anything, normally, but...” Cygnus looked down beyond the railing of what appeared to be a massive circular stairway. Both of them appeared to be in a massive circular room, with the stairs they were on making the top of what seemed like five stories. However, the bottom floor was still clearly visible, with a rather large blast door under part of the steps. It was there they saw the possessed Rei.
She had surrounded herself with a slew of robotic guards, sleek and somewhat humanoid in design. Furthermore she was standing atop a walker that stood above her guards. At her side was Becky, who was bound by some sort of metal ring.
“Becky-san!” Rokugou nearly hissed in concern.
“Wow, she's really stooping that low, huh?” Cygnus snarled. “No wonder... it feels like it's not just Robotnik doing that... part of this is her acting on her own free will!”
“What?!” Rokugou said incredulously.
Cygnus's rueful smile returned. “Yet another fool seduced by darkness. Pity it's Eggman's darkness talking and not my own.”
“R-Rei-san wouldn't do that!” Rokugou stepped up to her friend's defense... only to second-guess it. “...would she?” But that charged right back. “Rei-san has always been ambitious, maybe that's why she's acting this way... but she really wouldn't do that!”
“Let me ask you a question then,” Cygnus turned to Rokugou, his eyes bright with a rare, honest type of glare. “Despite this... do you believe your friend Rei to be a good person? Minus this whole Robotnik deal?”
Rokugou had no doubts about that. Rei may have been a more tough-love type of figure, considering her refusal to help Becky cook that one time, but that was to make sure Becky was earnest. She too often helped people, although usually in the most blunt or cruelest ways... But deep down she knew Rei was a good friend just like the rest of their group. “Yes!” She answered.
Cygnus's grin returned. “In that case, maybe we can work something out!” He took a quick survey of the robots. “He wouldn't expect me to pull a direct confrontation, so how about we show them a party!”
Cygnus focused. “Partner... Sayaka Suzuki. Show me the power within you!” The usual dark soul pinprick, the dark globe... Cygnus focused, grabbing the card he was looking for. “Contract... ACTIVATE!” He pulled out the card. With a blast of light, Rokugou was once again a maid. “So let's bomb that assmonkey!” I'm sure Cygnus meant baboon—
“I MEAN ASSMONKEY.”
Rokugou wasn't so certain. Was he really going to— “C-C-Cygnus-kun, wait! D-don't—”
“Let's do this!” Cygnus grabbed her hand. Taking a running leap, both he and Rokugou sailed off the edge and began to plummet down below. Cygnus held Rokugou tight to make sure she wouldn't get hurt by the crash landing. However, leave it to Cygnus's dumbassery to make the worst entrance ever.
“How do you like this place?” Rei had her back turned to Becky, gazing at the vastness of Eggman's base. “Considering all that he's done with the place, it looks pretty cool actually.”
“R-Rei?” Becky asked timidly. “Is that really you?”
“What if I told you I haven't been entirely gone the whole time?” The taller girl turned back to face Becky. The Eggman influence began to become more apparent. “I mean, after all, she's got a great mind, almost like me!” It seemed like the shadow itself was speaking this time around. “Even you... both you and Negi Springfield are child geniuses of the likes I have never seen, except maybe that fox boy. But you don't know who he is, so that's irrelevant.” She dismissed that thought with a wave of her hand, more or less imitating the shadow rather than the other way around.
Something quickly clicked in Becky's brain. Most victims of the shadows so far had been completely unaware of their actions, enslaved by the darkness in their hearts. And yet Rei seemed to be acting much like herself, only slightly eviler. It was as if the shadow was guiding her rather than controlling her... but that's not possible! Could it be... “Rei-san... you're LETTING him do this to you?!”
“So what if she IS?” Rei was practically in her teacher's face. “It's almost brilliant, what darkness in the heart can do to people!” With that, she laughed maniacally.
Becky cowered, sobbing cutely once more with the “hau hau”. You probably would too if a loved one completely lost it and there wasn't a damn thing you could do about it... or yourself.
Rei completely ignored what I just said and continued. “Heh, once Negi Springfield is in my grasp as well, I'll start moving onto your dimension and taking it over. And both of you will get to help me! Isn't that nice?”
Becky seriously wanted to do the usual defiant hero route, complete with nasty swears, but unfortunately she was in no position to. The best she could do is swallow that fear and return a nasty scowl worthy of Evangeline. “I bet even Cygnus would show up before I wind up helping you,” she managed to put out with a great deal of bravado.
“Wanna bet?” Rei adjusted her glasses.
“I bet two dollars! Then Negi will show up and beat the crap out of your ugly self, and you can leave Rei alone!”
“Bold words, little lass!” Rei retorted. “But something makes me doubt Cygnus would be bold enough to try and take down all these robots!” She made a gesture towards the large army of robots currently surrounding them. “Besides... I don't think Cygnus likes you!”
Lady Luck shined on Becky that day. Or maybe she just really hated Robotnik.
“LEEERROOOOYYYYYY JEEENNNNNKIIINSSSS!” A dark comet soared down in front of them and crashed right in the center. Like the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, Eggman's forces were wiped out with cataclysmic effect, darkness tearing through all of them like a knife through butter. When the wave of darkness was over, nearly all of the robots were scrap metal.
“W-what?!” Rei gazed to see a swan-like form slowly open up, revealing Cygnus, who had just let go of Rokugou and slowly rose. The boy shot the possessed girl a feral grin from the side.
“So Eggman, how about you fork the girl over and I promise I won't tear you apart.”
A self-satisfied smirk crossed Becky's face. “Pay up,” she said.
“Dammit!” Rei plucked out two dollars and put it in Becky's somewhat outstretched hand. Then Rei realized what she was doing and snatched the money back. “You're my hostage! I can't pay you!” She turned to her robots. “What the hell are you doing?! ZERG RUSH THAT FOOL!” She snarled, pointing at Cygnus.
The robots took aim and fired, but Rokugou had already put up a shield. The shots harmlessly bounced off as Cygnus skidded out of sight. Streaking around the robots in a flash of darkness, he sliced them to pieces with his dark powers. Another tried to score a lucky shot, but Cygnus fired a powerful blast and knocked him a new one. The shattered pieces of that robot crumbled and tumbled at the feet of Rei's platform as the Devil's Swan finished off the last of the robots.
Becky looked hopeful.
Cygnus looked confident.
Rokugou looked like she always did.
Rei looked pissed. But that quickly changed when she snapped her fingers.
The blast door opened, and two bee-like robots zoomed in. Their wings were jetpacks instead, and they looked like they had vicious pincers for teeth. Rei only pointed, and the robots understood.
You see, unlike the past robots, these guys were faster... and smarter. They aimed their stingers first. But rather than charge them like Cygnus expected, they launched an explosive orb instead. Only the fast reaction of Cygnus's guardian kept him from being blown to chunky kibbles and bits.
“Rokugou! RUN FOR IT!” Cygnus screamed.
She didn't need to be told twice. Nearly yelping as she dodged a dive bomb from one of the bee robots, she sprinted into the corridor.
Cygnus, still thinking fast, bounded up to the machine and picked up Becky, ignoring Rei. He bounced off as an orb of death whizzed by both of them, exploding somewhere in the distance. Cygnus landed on the ground and skated as fast as he could in pursuit of Rokugou.
Rei only laughed. “Try as you might, you're not fast enough. You can't outrun the Buzz Bombers forever!” The angry bee robots tailed Cygnus.
What did Becky do the whole way? Scream off the top of her lungs of course.
Negi and Akira kept moving, trying their best to evade the wicked robots that pursued them. They hopped up and ran along a wall, avoiding the rapid fire of the robots behind them.
Suddenly remembering his staff, Negi whipped it out in front of him and got on top. “Akira-san! Get on!”
“Okay!” She smoothly hopped on top of the magic stick, holding on tightly to Negi as he sped away from his mechanical pursuers.
“I wanna ride that one!” Asuna pointed to a giant water slide to their left.
“Asuna! We can't do that!” Konoka pointed out. “We don't know—” Too late. Childish suka Asuna was already sliding down. “...where it goes.”
“After her,” Ichijou-san cried in the most unenthusiastic voice possible yet using the most enthusiastic gesture.
“Hang tight, ojou-sama!” Setsuna cried as she grabbed her charge and plunged down after Asuna.
“SEECCHHHAAAANNN?!” Konoka wailed as they both sailed down the slide. Safe to say she did not like where this was going. For the love of chaos SHE was supposed to wear the pants—no wait, that comes later.
Ichijou focused for a moment. “It's all about precision,” she said to herself. Taking a moment, she dived into the slide, going faster than anyone else who left. This wouldn't end well.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!” Becky screamed at Cygnus. Safe to say she didn't enjoy being carted away to Chaos-knows-where by an archfoe of hers. “PUT ME DOWN!”
“Would you like to become Eggbait again?” Cygnus snidely asked.
Becky could only shake her head.
“Figured you wouldn't,” Cygnus got back to catching up to Rokugou. Using the powers of darkness, Cygnus shattered the bonds on Becky, letting the metallic parts fall to the floor. “Be grateful. Rokugou asked me to rescue you.”
“Eh?” Now this was something shocking. Cygnus, taking a request from Rokugou?
“Becky-san! Thank goodness you're okay,” Rokugou smiled at her teacher.
“Rokugou...” Becky nearly mumbled.
“Keep your eyes peeled, those robots are still around,” Cygnus saw a robotic shape leap at them, but a quick blast of darkness dispatched it easily. He clenched his teeth as robotic debris fell apart around them. “Let's keep moving!”
“Cygnus-kun? How about there?” Rokugou pointed to a water slide.
Cygnus looked for a moment. “Well...”
Becky looked mortified at the thought of the giant slide. “I-I-I don't wanna go down there!”
That request was denied easily. Cygnus saw a troop of robots headed in their direction, and one of them had a rocket launcher. “Looks like we have no choice!” The dark boy pushed Becky down the slide and, along with Rokugou, slid after her, just as a rocket came sailing into where they stood moments before, like a typical action movie!
“AIIYYYYAAAHHH!” Becky screeched as she sailed down to her supposed doom.
Negi and Akira swept down a chasm, now confident that they lost their pursuers. “I think we can focus on finding the others now.”
Akira had already beaten him to it. “Negi-sensei, look there,” She spotted Asuna and her group sliding down one of the water pipes.
“Asuna-san!” Without even thinking about it, Negi immediately dived towards the girls and steered his staff until he was parallel to them. “Asuna-san! Are you okay?”
“Negi!” The suka Asuna cheered.
“Huh?” Akira blinked at the tiny boar-ified Asuna.
“Oh no!” Negi shouted. “Chaos Emeralds don't guarantee an armor card?”
“Negi-sensei!” Setsuna called out. “Doesn't look like it,” she answered his question. “Huh?” It looked like she spotted something.
It took Negi a moment to realize that they were sliding parallel to another slide, and on that slide was— “Becky-san!”
“HELP MEEE!” She squealed.
“Hay guys whut's goin' on in dis topix?” Cygnus slid into view, Rokugou hanging on to him from behind. He slurred in a very southern American accent, “I think y'all'se were lookin' for this brat right here, 'm I rite?” He pointed to Becky. “Well here! Have her back!” With ease, he picked her up and threw her onto Asuna, slowing her down just enough to have Konoka and Setsuna collide with her. Setsuna's head knocked into Negi's staff, just enough for Negi to lose control and fall off—right on top of Konoka. Akira, lacking magic, simply fell behind everyone else, still holding Negi's staff. Then to add literal injury to insult, Ichijou finally caught up to everyone at breakneck speed, and they all sailed down the slide in a jumbled heap.
“AAWWAAAAHHH!” Everyone screamed as they sailed down in a jumbled Katamari heap.
“HAAAHAHAHAHA!” Cygnus laughed at them. “Toodleloooo!”
Becky popped out of the heap long enough to yell “CURSE YOU, CYGNUS!” just as the slides parted directions.
Rokugou didn't like his attitude either. “That was mean,” she pouted and began to repeatedly sucker punch the boy.
The bad news was Cygnus couldn't pay attention to where he was going at this rate. “R-Rokugou, don't—” A last sucker punch caused him to fall out of the position he was sliding in, just as the slide ended. Bad karma for him. “EEEYYAARRRRGGHHH!” Both of them sailed straight through a runway and Cygnus head first into a wall. Sucks to be him.
Seven bodies hit the water in full force. Because everybody was intertwined in a mass of bodies, it was difficult to get onto the shore this time...
Akira to the rescue! Using both her amazing swimming skills and her strength, she helped the writhing mass of bodies onto dry, metallic land. Everyone flopped like a fish out of water as the strength of the emeralds left the three transformed girls and reverted them back to normal.
“Uguu-,” Negi rubbed his head.
“Negi!” A now normal Asuna hugged him.
“Asuna-san...” Negi smiled.
“Stupid Negi!” She sucker punched him in the head. “Don't go running off without us!” She used her harsh tone to mask the worry in her thoughts. And just to add to that, she whirled over to Becky. “That goes for you too, Miyamoto brat!”
“Hey, I left in a rush looking out for my students!” Becky retorted defensively. “I wasn't exactly expecting an underwater base of doom!”
“Right,” Asuna muttered sarcastically. She looked over to see Akira, the only person still in the water. She was leaning on the platform everyone else was on, and she calmly waved back. “...Ookouchi?” Asuna blinked.
“Why is Ookouchi-san here?” Konoka blinked.
“Well, ummm...” Negi rubbed his neck nervously.
“I got lost,” Akira answered. She handed Negi his staff back. “Negi-sensei and I helped each other out.”
“That's right! And uhh, I think she knows about magic by now,” Negi added quickly, trying to detour the subject from Akira herself as she wished.
“Shichimi and Motsu will not take this well,” Setsuna said. “Perhaps you need to form a contract as well?”
“I can't do that. Kamo-kun's not here,” Negi answered somewhat worriedly.
“Maybe we'll find him when we get back. Hopefully before that dreaded frog finds us.”
“Geez, looks like another girl gets to join your army,” Becky muttered to Negi. The boy could only sigh at that response, but could say nothing else. She got up for a moment and looked around. “It looks like were closer to the lower levels of this base now.”
“I take it that's why everything looks darker?” Asuna asked.
“Exactly. Deeper under the sea, more pressure, darker paint job, huge blast door that likely leads to the boss room—wait a second, that door?!” Becky saw the huge door at the end of the rather wide and dark hallway. “It looks like the control room! We could find that Eggman jerk in there!”
“Eggman?” Asuna asked.
“You mean this place is a twisted Egg Factory?” Konoka added.
“In a way,” Negi muttered. “I'll show you once we find him.”
“That looks easy,” Ichijou surveyed the area and began to march forward. “Maybe too easy.”
Akira looked back at the pipes and slides. “We can't exactly go back.” Well maybe I could, but going alone would defeat the purpose...
“Well let's go FORWARD then!” Asuna bellowed. The group recklessly charged forward, ready to break down the door and open up a can of whoopass on the unsuspecting Eggman when—
Suddenly, a cage bar slammed behind them, sealing them away from what little escape they had. Secondly, a T.V screen slowly protruded in front of the large door. When it stopped, Rei's face appeared on the screen. “NOT SO FAST, NEGI SPRINGFIELD! I'VE ACTIVATED MY TRAP CARD!”
“Rei-san?” Konoka blinked.
“She's possessed by a shadow!” Becky cried. “She thinks she's Eggman!”
“Shadow...” Akira muttered.
“Who are you, trying to use a girl's body for your own ends, you jerk!” Asuna shot at the screen.
“You're the mad doctor Negi-kun was talking about!” Konoka gasped. “Why are you in her body?”
“Ignoring all that innuendo, I can answer that with a few verses of song,” Rei's lopsided grin did nothing to placate the angry/worried faces of the girls and Negi. “I'm the epitome of bad and all things gone wrong, please listen to my story as I sing you this song. Cygnus says 'I'm demented' and he refuses to listen to my plans, but with those Chaos Emeralds I'll take over this land!”
“No,” Asuna deadpanned.
“That song reflects your true nature to us very clearly,” Setsuna observed.
“I think that song is gr8.8,” Ichijou stated.
Ironically only Ichijou's comment set Rei off. “Don't do the h8.8!” Rei suddenly took a nasty grin. “Why don't you clowns take a dip in the white Labyrinth. You'll get to face your... 'f8.8'!” She once again flexed an arm before making yet another Epic Button Press. At once the floor opened up below our heroes, and they dropped down into the white abyss below. As their screams faded away, the possessed girl spoke once more: “I'm proud to be me.”
Dr. Robotnik's insidious plan remains unchallenged—what fate awaits our heroes? And how will everyone else fit into the picture? Will Rei ever be free from the Doctor's possession, must less find the will to try and break out of it?
Kurumi yawned and stretched. The morning was good. Despite being in the creepiest collection of their child teacher's paraphernalia known to mankind, she rather liked the dorms here. She looked over to see that Makie was staring at a letter, her face etched in mortified shock. “Makie?” Kurumi tried.
“S... Sasaki Makie... fails at life!” Makie trailed off in a broken voice.
“Oh dear...” Kurumi walked over, looking at the note. “'Dear Makie, I trust that you will look after the plain girl in our room. Business has called me away and I'm afraid I must be away from Negi-sensei until later this evening. The fact that I had to write this letter instead of talk to you directly makes me wonder just how lazy you've gotten! What if our guest wakes up before you do? That kind of thing makes me say that you fail at life, Sasaki Makie! Signed, Ayaka'.” Of course, once she finished, only one thing mattered. “I'm plain?! Awww,” she moped, and began to sing her own broken lullaby to console herself.
The supposed 'plain' girl sulked as she dragged herself into the bathroom, hopefully to get ready—and look less plain. Kurumi was still sulking even after she saw that the mirror did not reflect herself but rather a black hedgehog with red streaks in its hair. Red eyes regarded her as she moaned, “I'm so plain I don't even show up in the mirror...” Then logic clicked in, if only briefly, and she saw that even if she couldn't see herself, why was she staring at a black hedgehog? “AH!” She stepped back in horror.
“So you finally noticed,” the black hedgehog spoke. “Take a look at your shadow.”
She was afraid to. But sensing that she had no choice, Kurumi looked anyway. Her shadow was no longer her own, but rather the outline of the black hedgehog in the mirror. “What?!”
“Lend me your physical form,” the creature spoke. “And perhaps you won't be so 'plain' anymore.”
Who is this mysterious hedgehog, and why has he appeared as Kurumi's shadow? Better yet, what kind of deal can Kurumi truly strike with this figure? What does this have to do with the plight that Negi, Becky, and the others are currently in? Better move fast, Kurumi, Negi's days look to be very short in number! Tune in next time!
“Hey guys, this is Kurumi! Why does this hedgehog want to take the form of some plain girl like me? Do I finally get to join in on what everyone else has been up to for the past four episodes? Next time: “Don't Bother Trying to Deceive Me, I Know Who I Am.” By Kurumi! Wow, that's a pretty deep episode title for me to come up with...”