Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction / Pani Poni Dash! Fan Fiction ❯ I Am Negima!?, AND SO CAN YOU! Act I ❯ Chapter 6: "Don't Bother Trying to Decieve Me, I Know Who I Am," By Kurumi ( Chapter 6 )

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

Scheme!? Final Mix
Episode 6: “Don't Bother Trying to Deceive Me, I Know Who I Am” by Kurumi
Curled up like a cat, Himeko slept contentedly between the twins. Her snores were soft and could only be described by the following sounds: 'SNNNOOORRRRRRR' “Maho maho maho maho maho...” The twins had found it amusing for an entire twenty minutes last night when they had actually stayed up past her, but the soft manner actually lulled them to sleep as well. Unfortunately, for the sake of the story, this cute scene must unfortunately be interrupted.
The three of them were the only ones to leave their door unlocked over the night, so naturally a panicking Kurumi could only enter there to spread the horrific news that a black hedgehog had possessed her shadow. “H-Himeko-san! You gotta help me! Some sort of crazy black thing is latched onto my soul!”
“Maho...?” Himeko stirred awake. “Ahh... Kurumi-san...” Her fool's hair seemed to flick towards the girl. “Haven't seen ya around much...”
“I haven't seen you around either, but that's besides the point!” Kurumi was pratically yelling now, and Fuuka and Fumika began to wake up as well. “I've got a deranged shadow, and it's going to eat my soul!” Fear was now apparent in the girl's eyes.
Now awake enough to comprehend the problem, Fuuka blinked and spoke first. “A shadow's got you...?” She gasped as she saw the shape of the shadow over in the corner. “It's the chupacabra!”
“Is it really the chupacabra?” Fumika asked, crawling to get a closer look.
They know something you don't, this was the first time that the shadow had spoken since it had struck that deal. Since Kurumi had taken the typical response and panicked before she could consider what was going on, the shadow had no choice but to wait it out. It could possess her by force... but that wasn't how things worked with him. It'd waste too much strength he'd need... Figure out what's going on.
Kurumi could've gone delirious by now. Chupacabras, shadow possession, her friends hiding from her—wait, why was a voice in her head actually making sense? This was what it felt like to be possessed? “Wait a second,” she said, clutching her head and wanting the world to stop. “What do you mean by chupacabra? What the hell is going on?!”
Fuuka and Fumika looked between each other. Of the girls who arrived with Becky, only Kurumi was still oblivious to magic, but considering that she was straight in the middle of it and still conscious (if only somewhat sane), that ideal of keeping her oblivious was fading fast. “We can't really say,” Fuuka answered slowly.
“We're bound by a secret,” Fumika added.
Himeko only chuckled nervously. “Well, Becky-san kinda swore us to secrecy, so despite you being the only person that doesn't know, we can't tell you anything...” Suddenly, a revolutionary idea popped up in her head, her ahoge popping straight up with it as well. “But I can tell you about the crabs! The crab meat buns are delicious!”
They're lying, the voice simply answered.
It was all she needed to know. She was being left out, likely because she was too plain to add to this adventure. And her friends wouldn't tell her a damn thing. But why?
A dejected Kurumi rose, gave a sad smile, and simply said, “I see how it is... I'm not important enough, am I?”
At once the twins and Himeko saw a rather large problem, and worse yet they couldn't do a thing. “N-no, that's not it!” The twins exclaimed.
“It's because it will melt your mind unless you talk to that cute boy!” Himeko tried, making hand-clawing motions. But by that time Kurumi had already stalked out the door, leaving them dumbfounded. “Kurumi-san...” Himeko whispered.
“Will she be okay?” Fumika asked.
“It's usually Becky-san who lifts her out of her depressive mode... eh? Where IS Becky-san? And Negi-sensei?” She looked around in confusion. “It's kinda silent.”
“Let's look for them!” Fuuka said.
“We'll find them and cheer up Kurumi!” Fumika added.
The three of them, ignoring the fact that they were only in pajamas, raced off to find their teacher. Of course they wouldn't be successful, but why ruin the fun?
Kurumi walked back into Makie's room, dejection on her face. Sitting down and burying her head in her chest, she moaned, “Why...? Am I really that unimportant? Are they really going to just let this shadow consume me? I'M IN DESPAIR! BEING SO PLAIN AS TO NOT QUALIFY FOR ANY ADVENTURE HAS LEFT ME IN DESPAIR!”
Such is the state of the average girl, the voice of the black hedgehog was back. Maybe I should have picked someone else.
“Eh?” A now recovered Makie blinked, staring at the sullen Kurumi.
“Maybe I really am going insane...” Kurumi mused. “You know what, shadow thing? I'll take your deal. But just one question.”
I'm impressed. That voice answered. But what question would that be?
“Why me... of all people?”
Your heart called out, and I was the one that answered, that shadow answered. There are six others like me. Three of them however, resonate not just with their host but with the person they mimic, making it sort of a two-way spiritual connection. I am one such shadow. I'm here because I have a mission to accomplish.
“What mission?” Kurumi asked.
“Huh?” Makie got closer. “Kurumi-san...?” She threatened to poke her.
I'm looking for the faker.
“Faker?” Kurumi and Makie chorused. Kurumi did a double-take when she realized Makie echoed her. “Awah! M-m-Makie-san! I-I was just thinking out loud!”
“I may be a Baka Ranger, but I'm not THAT stupid! Your shadow's all crazy!” Makie answered.
Kurumi stood for a moment. She composed herself before she answered, staring intently at Makie. “I don't know what's going on anymore... but today, THAT WILL CHANGE! I will no longer be just some third rate damsel! I want to rise to STARDOM, and this shadow will help me! Is that so wrong?”
Makie blinked. A compelling argument she couldn't, or didn't disagree with. However, she felt there was one thing... “I... I want to join you!”
“Huh? Why?” Kurumi asked.
“You inspired me! I feel like I just went through a hot-blooded shounen manga training sequence!” Her eyes sparkled brightly.
It was about this time the shadow exerted a bit more control. Kurumi felt her body become lighter and somehow stronger. She seemed to temporarily lose control of her own voice as she saw herself say to Makie, “Feel free to come along... if you can keep up.”
Makie nodded vigorously.
I'm about to make you pull some dangerous things—follow my lead if you want you and your friend to make it out alive, the voice instructed as the girl left the room and headed towards someone else who might be more helpful.
“Okay... But who are you?” She cast a glance at her shadow, and noticed Makie was looking at it as well.
The shadow seemed to sweep a bow the moment he stopped. I'm Shadow. Shadow the Hedgehog.
Kurumi simpered. “That seems like a fitting name.”
You have no idea, the spirit answered.
Miyako squinted at the screen. Navigating the Internet in the dark was vicious against her eyesight. “Geez, I can't find a damn thing about Cygnus...” she muttered. “Other than the fact that he shares a name with the swan constellation...”
“How long are you going to take?” Chisame asked irritatedly.
“Just give me another minute! Dammit!” Miyako snapped. Chisame nearly growled in response, but saved it. She decided to be kind enough to loan Miyako her laptop temporarily so she could look something up, but only after hiding away her Chiu-chan references.
Miyako, however, suddenly got a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. Being practically psychic, the girl could tell it wasn't good. “Becky... Negi-sensei...” she whispered.
“What?” Chisame looked over.
“I'm done, you can have it back,” Miyako said somewhat weakly as she suddenly rose and walked out of the room. Chisame blinked, considered shouting a question, but then thought nothing of it as she had returned to her laptop to return to her legend of Chiu-chan.
Miyako walked wearily, unable to shake off that terrible feeling that Negi and Becky were in mounds of trouble. Worse yet, in her current state there was nothing she could do about it—she heard the other girls run off with the Chaos Emeralds earlier that morning. “Dammit...” she cursed under her breath. However, she was presented with both good news and bad news.
The good news was that the plot device was still there.
The bad news was that Kurumi was there, and she was headed straight for her.
Unfortunately, bad news was first. “Miyako!” Kurumi bellowed with an authority she never held in her voice before. And judging by that, it certainly sounded BAD. “You owe me an explanation. Big time.” Miyako didn't even notice Makie by her side.
“Kurumi?!” Miyako whirled towards the girl, mentally cursing her luck. However, that got replaced by both curiosity and logic. “Where have you been?”
“Neglected, no thanks to the rest of you,” she answered somewhat coldly. “But now I see I've been left out of the loop. Tell me what's going on.”
“What's with you?” Miyako asked, trying to get to the source of Kurumi's attitude. She flicked her eyes to the right however, and saw two things: Makie, who had stayed mostly silent (but still cheerful), and the looming shadow looking still more dangerous in the morning light. Oh shi— Miyako twitched at seeing the shadow. The worse news was that said Shadow noticed, and so did Kurumi.
Strike one, Shadow mentally advised Kurumi. Keep it up.
“So I take it you've seen my shadow...” Kurumi's face twisted into a sneer. “Hehe, something tells me you knew about this shadow beforehand.”
Miyako saw immediately what she was trying to do, but she couldn't take the bait just yet. If she could calm her down... “Slow down, Kurumi! I don't know why exactly you're feeling left out, but that shadow's dangerous, we need to remove it right away!”
“Nah,” Kurumi answered. Her face became serious. “There's something going on. This shadow, Himeko and those twins wanting to tell me something but 'bound by a secret', the other teacher Negi-sensei... By your eyes I can tell you know something too. What's going on?” She added this last sentence a bit more forcefully.
The girl with glasses could only blanch. Kurumi was persistent with that shadow influencing her personality, and she lacked the power to get rid of it. Maybe if she could just get the plot device...
Kurumi had her cornered in every meaning of the word. “Don't touch the plot device!” She commanded. “You're probably going to use that to get help, aren't you?”
“No!” Miyako nearly pleaded. “Becky's in TROUBLE!”
“Trouble?” Makie asked.
“She stuck with Negi-sensei and a couple of girls off in some other dimension and I have no idea what's going on, but I've got to help them!” She was speaking so fast she really wasn't watching what she was saying. Bad move considering the following she said. “The girls took the chaos emeralds, and I can't use the powers Negi gave me without them—” She unfortunately caught herself too late. Wow Miyako, way to seal Negi's fate.
“Negi-kun gave you powers? Cool...” Makie marveled.
“WHERE THE HELL DID YOU COME FROM?!” Miyako shouted at Makie in horror.
“You didn't notice? I was here the whole time!”
Something different caught Shadow/Kurumi's attention. “Chaos Emeralds?” Kurumi asked in Shadow's voice. “So they ARE hovering between this dimension and my own.” Kurumi faced Miyako as the shadow of the hedgehog moved in closer. I'm going to need you to take me to this Negi and Becky that you speak of. It's highly urgent.
Kurumi nodded in agreement. “I bet Becky will tell me what's going on!” She flipped over Miyako and grabbed the plot device.
“Wait what?! You can't go! It's too dangerous!” Miyako warned.
Kurumi answered that with a smile. “The shadow will guide me, so leave it up to me to bring Becky back!”
“I'll help rescue Negi-kun too!” Makie cheered. “We'll return!” And with that the plot device activated, and both Kurumi and Makie disappeared, leaving a confused and slightly enraged Miyako back at the dorm.
She did calm down enough to silently wish them luck. They were going to need all the good luck they could get.
“...nus-kun!” He heard yet again between the conscious world and the dark dream land. Struggling to return to the real world, he staggered up before letting out an involuntary bird-like shriek. By the time he saw straight he saw Rokugou right in his face with a mixture of shock and sadness. Only when he put two and two together did he see that he had inadvertently shrieked in her face.
“Eep!” She quietly added.
“Uh.” Cygnus blinked. Blush on her face, then his. “Sorry?”
She smiled as he returned to normalcy. “You're okay. You were looking kinda like a swan, but you turned back to normal after a while...”
Oh shit, Cygnus cursed rather loudly in his head. OH SHIT, did she manage to—last time only Smallboss—then that means—aw hell. However, he had no aim to deceive Rokugou on what he was. “Errmm, well, the truth is, I'm a swan.”
“Okay...” Rokugou did not look horrified.
“You know, a cursed swan of darkness? A demon?”
“Sure...” Rokugou still did not look horrified.
“True form? Spread the might of darkness to all worlds?”
“I thought that was implied by your name?” Rokugou blinked innocently, still not horrified.
Cygnus crashed. “NO!” He suddenly clawed at the air, shouting at the heavens from below the ocean. “I'M IN DESPAIR! My reputation as a villain is sliding down into the abyss of LIGHT AND DESPAIR!” Cygnus, having little grasp on why Rokugou is not running away in horror at his awesome evil, felt a bit more of his sanity erode. “It's all your fault!” He pointed to Rokugou dramatically, shedding what looked like crocodile tears. “I was supposed to bring you into the darkness, but you're flooding my dark soul with LIIIIIGHT!”
Rokugou answers with a blush on her face and no eye contact. “W-well... y-you're admirable.”
Cygnus made a face similar to what one makes when he or she has just made a huge bet—and lost, while on the inside some part of him feels like he has just won every lottery in the universe. Don't you just love inner turmoil?
Finally, he decided. The ultimate test to see if she really was that... important. “PERVERSION SIGN—HAREM MALE LEAD ACCIDENT!” Nope, not really. He tripped and crashed right onto her chest. Normally, that would be fifty kinds of bad moves but then again that's exactly what he was aiming for. The moment they finally recovered and her horrified blush was apparent, several black roses sliced at Cygnus's hand. The boy looked at the rose punctures as if they were little more than mosquito bites, ignoring the bleeding darkness and blood. “Oh dear.”
“Afternoon tea with a green wind. Hailing from the Country of Mist—Love and bravery's Ambassador of Friendship.” A swirl of a cape, and everyone's favorite effeminate mystery man reappeared. “They call me the Black Rose Baron!”
Cygnus groaned in irritation. “Not you again. At least that Takamachi—err Takamichi dude would look cool kicking my ass. You're just a fruitcake.”
“Ah, but a fruitcake would taste good to anyone who's starving,” the baron wittily retorted. “Not to mention such lecherous hands on a fair maiden are just asking for a punishment.”
“As I would imagine,” Cygnus answered. “Listen. Get lost, okay? I'm not seriously doing anything to Rokugou.” He waved his hand as if to dismiss the baron.
“Such as the cat telling the dog it won't eat the mouse, hmmm?” The Baron adjusted his top hat. “I still have doubts on your humanity, let alone your integrity.”
It was all he could do from both sinking into a depression and flying into a darkness-driven rage.
Rokugou stepped up to the plate. “L-l-leave Cygnus-kun alone!” She shot at the Baron. “He hasn't done anything! Umm... not yet anyway,” that rare strength in her voice fell by the wayside, leaving embarrassment to clean up the mess.
“Ah, I didn't realize you two were on a date! My apologies!” The Black Rose Baron bowed in apology. “Enjoy your time together!” The Baron spun on a heel and tap danced out of the room. Rokugou only stared with her lower jaw hanging out, her face red as a beet.
“Enjoy your AIDS,” Cygnus groused, not even realizing he was holding Rokugou's hand now.
A tall wave of energy heralded Kurumi's arrival in the darker part of the Ocean Base installation. Both she and Makie landed gracefully onto the metallic floor. Kurumi rose and scanned the area. “Wow... where are we?”
One of the Doctor's bases, back in my dimension, the spirit version of the black hedgehog answered. Doctor Eggman runs this facility; considering it's active your friends are probably somewhere in here.
“Doctor Eggman?” Kurumi blinked.
Makie was too busy being enamored by the sea to care. “Wow, so cool...”
Know that the good doctor is bad news—he's a mad scientist aiming for world domination with robots.
“Wah, I feel like I went down the wrong rabbit hole to Wonderland...” Kurumi clutched her head in frustration from all of the information she was learning.
This pulled Makie out of her reverie. “Rabbit hole?! Where?!” She looked around frantically. She then spotted the large blast door and the still open hole before it. “Ah! There!” She walked to it and looked down. “Looks like a long drop...”
“Don't do anything foolish,” Shadow warned through Kurumi.
“But what if Negi-kun's down there?” Makie wondered innocently.
“You can't jump down there in your current state.” Shadow/Kurumi advised.
Makie thought for a moment. Hard to do for a Baka Ranger, but even they show some brain capacity every now and then. Suddenly, an amazing IDEA popped up. A Baka Ranger rarely had one of those! “I'll just shimmy down!” She pulled out her ribbon, and, with much dexterity, whipped it around an exposed pipe. Using the ribbon like a rope, she climbed down the chasm.
“Ah!” Kurumi clapped. “Nice!”
Not a bad idea. But let's not be outdone, Shadow answered. Taking more control over Kurumi, the black hedgehog simply had her jump and sail straight down the chasm and into the strange water in the white land below.
“Ah! Wait up!” Makie cried, shimmying down much faster.
“Ugh...” The female child teacher rubbed her head, coming to her senses in a strange white world. “Huh...?” She looked around, seeing what looked like ancient ruins... a labyrinth of white pipes and purple water. It looked like someone had taken some underground ruins, fashioned it into a sewer system and gave it a paint job. “Geez, where is everybody... are they okay?”
She shivered. It was one thing to be alone. It was another thing entirely to be alone in a strange sewer system in another dimension. “They could've sailed anywhere!” She mumbled, the worry creeping into her voice. This was simply not the best place to be alone.
Luckily for her, Dr. Eggman's robots decided to remedy that loneliness! Two robots burst out of the ground, drills for hands, treads for feet. The burrow bots advanced menacingly on the girl. “Awah!” Considering how powerless she was, she did the only sensible thing she could do: she ran.
And of course, the burrow bots gave chase. There was likely some Scooby-Doo-esque comedy sequence with Becky and the robots chasing each other through doors, but because I can't come up with anything funny, I'll let the readers imagine that scene.
Becky backed wearily into a corner, the robots closing in on her. Cowering in fear, pouted cutely with the usual “hau haus”, awaiting whatever fate the dreaded robots had to bring.
Or not, because she saw an opening and sprinted straight out between them. “Better luck next time, suckers!” She sneered and flipped them off as she made her escape.
Except not really, because she tripped on an exposed tile and crashed face first on the floor. Damn, Becky, can't you make up whether or not you want to get cornered?
Geez, you're no fun. But in any case, the burrow bots finally lived up to their name once more and burrowed underground. Becky narrowly avoided being crushed to death as they reemerged for another attack. Becky tensed to leap away...
...somebody showed up to save her the bother. “Disappear,” Kurumi whispered, the black hedgehog manipulating her movements. She shoved her hand forward as she jumped in the air, and several yellow blasts shot out of her hand, tearing the robots asunder. “Easy enough...” She turned to Becky. “Becky, are you okay?”
“K... Kurumi?” Becky blinked. “How'd you get here? And how did you do that?”
“I got guidance,” Kurumi answered simply. “My shadow's been overtaken by a black hedgehog named... Shadow, oddly enough. I'm still kinda confused on what's going on, but I think Negi-sensei might have some answers.”
“S-Shadow?!” Becky pointed in horror.
“Relax, I have no reason or intention to hurt you,” Shadow answered through Kurumi. “This girl came seeking answers, and so have I. We formed an alliance because of it.”
Becky calmed down slightly. “What do you want then?”
“What's going on?! I kinda just followed Shadow's instincts so I have no idea where I am, or why everyone's being so secretive, or out of our group I'm the only one who doesn't know anything! And how much do you know about the Chaos Emeralds?!”
“Slow down!” Becky griped. “One at a time!”
“Okay. What's going on?”
Becky sighed.
“So Negi-sensei is a mage, and he's been looking for some sort of 'chupacabra' which may or may not know of the Chaos Emeralds and you've been helping him fight against some angry kid known as Cygnus who seems to have a 'kidnap Rokugou' fetish and now a Doctor Eggman has shown up,” Kurumi summarized in one breath. “Is that right?”
“Yes,” Becky answered simply.
“Geez, my head is gonna hurt so bad when this is all over!” Kurumi sulked. “But at least I'm a little closer to getting what's going on.”
“I need time to actually absorb all that when this is over,” Kurumi explained apologetically. “But thanks Becky. Right now, we need to look for the others, right?”
“Uh-huh,” she was already walking somewhere deeper into the labrynth.
Let's keep moving, Shadow added in Kurumi's head. The other girl is close enough to where she can play catch up. Kurumi nodded and followed Becky.
Meanwhile, Makie had FINALLY scaled down the chasm, but being the pseudo-failure she was she was much too slow, so by the time she got down Kurumi was nearly out of sight. “Wait for me!” She shouted as she ran after them.
“Wow... it's so beautiful,” The pale-blue-haired Rokugou marveled at the sea before her. Cygnus too, stood before the giant glass panel, marveling at the marine life.
“It's been... ages since I've seen something like this,” Cygnus added calm, somewhat sad voice. “While I live by the lakeside, I can't see all the cool creatures that live here.”
“That's sad...” Rokugou added. “You must have been lonely...”
“Well, not really, but...”
“I'M SO RONERY!” That random cat in the soda machine crowed, swirling from out of nowhere.
“WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHUT THE HELL UP?!” Cygnus aimed his fingers like a gun and shot the annoying cat straight in the forehead.
“Myaa?!” It screeched as it fell to the ground.
Rokugou backed away, although no one could tell if it was from shock, horror, or embarrassment. The Devil's Swan quickly noticed. “R-Rokugou, I didn't mean to scare you...”
Rokugou shook her head furiously. “N-no, I-I-I...” A puff of smoke, and she was back to her old self. Her stomach raged as a result, demanding sacrifice (read: food.). “Aww, I'm hungry... It's the hungry of the year, I can't even move...”
Cygnus sighed in defeat. “Dammit, I thought those weaknesses wouldn't exist in my version,” he gently scooped the girl in his arms. “I'll find you something. The mad doctor has to sustain himself somehow...”
The strange cat, now a creepy green color, rose like a zombie, the hole still on its head. “You can find food in the computer room...” He slurred like said undead creature.
“Find the computer room?” Cygnus blinked.
“Find the computer room!” The cat continued to chant.
Cygnus took a moment to process this, then realized that he was taking a suggestion from a freaking undead cat. “Wait, WHAT. Why am I taking suggestions from Schroedinger's cat?! Screw you!” Cygnus, with Rokugou in tow, jumped up, pounced on the cat like a Mario enemy and sprinted off into the base, rendering the cat into two dimensional paste.
“No luck for me, mya...” The cat moaned, its feet popping out as it wobbled away.
Consciousness, returning, Negi slowly awakened.
Bad news right out of the bat: he was in a cage.
As he looked around frantically, Negi tried to understand his surroundings. He was on the edge of some sort of area, filled with what looked like a circular platform in the middle of a pool. There were several cages lined around the arena,but at the center was—
“Akira-san!” Negi shouted.
“Negi?!” He heard from one of the cages.
“Asuna-san?” He asked in reply. “Are you okay?!”
“Couldn't feel any better,” she groused. “Space here is so tight, I feel like a sardine sandwich!”
“Huh?” Negi didn't get that at all.
“It's all about balance,” he heard Ichijou say softly.
“Asuna, why would you say something like that?” the boy heard Konoka.
“Why else would I say that?! We're literally squashed together!”
“I get the point... but I'm worried about Secchan. She hasn't said a word since we woke up,” Konoka said softly. She looked down at the girl. “And her face is all red. Are you okay, Secchan?”
Setsuna was NOT okay. Ever since she woke up, she found Konoka sitting on top of her, due to the tight space of the cage. While that wouldn't be a big problem, the manner in which she was sprawled on the girl gave her the worst, or in a twisted way the best view in the house. Setsuna, try as she might, could not push back the unladylike thoughts invading her head. “I-I-I-I... my apologies, ojou-sama!” Setsuna stuttered, her face still red.
“Secchan, I'm glad you spoke,” Konoka answered. “I was worried I was smothering you or something...” She suddenly saw why her guardian's face was beet red, and everything made sense. “Ah! Secchan must enjoy the view!”
“N-no!” Setsuna denied vehemently.
Asuna, frustrated by both the tight space and the unresolved sexual tension, simply shouted, “Why don't you two just make out already?!”
Negi, who was both concerned for Akira and not interested in his students squabbling at a time like this, simply said in a slightly louder voice, “Why's Akira-san in the middle of the arena?”
“Wouldn't yoooouuu like to know?” Negi knew that voice. He looked to see Rei Tachibana, her soul claimed by the malicious Dr. Robotnik. Her sneer was enough to pierce men's souls, but Negi was forced to ignore that, as the possessed girl was dangerously close to Akira. “Negi Springfield! Too bad Becky's not here, or else she could enjoy the party!”
“Robotnik-san!” Negi bellowed. “Leave my students out of this!”
“How noble,” The mad doctor noted within the girl. “But I'm afraid I can't let them go just yet. First, I want to see just what you're capable of.” She snapped her fingers. The floor from the cage immediately fell out dropping Negi onto the ground. He staggered a bit before recovering and that's when he noticed he was short two things: his staff and the Chaos Emeralds.
He saw his staff sailing towards him and he nimbly caught it with one hand. He saw that Rei was still smirking, however, when he saw the three Chaos Emeralds hovering around her. “Well now! Shall we get this party started?”
It was this moment that Becky made her appearance. “Negi!” She cried, rushing onto the scene.
“Becky-san! Are you okay?” Negi asked as the girl approached him.
“Yeah,”Becky said. “Ummm... wait, what about the others?”
“In cages you see here, Eggman-san is planning something...” Negi began, but Rei snapped her fingers again.
“Well, look who's joined the party!” Rei smiled sadistically. “Just the person I was waiting for!”
“YOU!” Becky pointed an angry finger. “You got lucky last time, but we're going to finish you off!”
“Is that so—huh?” Rei had begun her riposte when she noticed a second person enter the room. “Kurumi...?”
“M-Momose-san?!” Negi nearly panicked. “How'd you get here?!”
“You're slow,” Becky noted, annoyed.
“Hey Negi-sensei,” she said normally. “I was left out of the loop, but luckily my Shadow decided to lend me a hand. I'm here to pay the Good Doctor (tm) a visit.”
“The plain girl decides to finally show herself in this world, huh?” Rei smirked, her possession now subsiding to influence rather than full control. “You're much too average to play our games.”
Kurumi sunk at this. “I'm even called plain by madmen!” she sulked.
Don't let the doctor get to you; he's never good at mind games. Shadow advised. Let me take it from here. Kurumi felt the darkness grow stronger in her heart. Deciding that it could get pretty dangerous, she decided he was right, and simply let the hedgehog take control.
“Cut that out, Rei!” Becky bellowed. “You can't let Eggdork make you do that!”
“How DARE YOU call me Eggdork!” The doctor raged from Rei. “You will all taste Chaos!”
“Chaos?” Negi blinked.
“I suppose you've heard about the water god Chaos! Or considering that we live in separate universes, you probably haven't!” Rei began, the emeralds hovering around her once more. “In any case, before I truly understood this creature's nature, I intended to use his watery powers to destroy the world and build a new empire. But that wouldn't happen... you see, Chaos betrayed me because it was consumed by hatred... A hatred that compelled him to destroy countless cities to avenge his fallen Chao brethren! Now, Negi Springfield! Rebecca Miyamoto! Annoying plain girl! Experience the hatred I felt (at 3/7ths power)!” With this, Rei let go of the emeralds, and they now circled about the fallen Akira. “Let the darkness overtake your heart, and let the Chaos awaken within you!”
And for the first time, Negi noted the watery shadow that lay underneath Akira.
Akira rose, her eyes still closed, as the emeralds circled her faster and faster. Darkness began to flow into her form. She suddenly snapped an arm out, and an emerald hovered above it. Another arm, another emerald. Then the third hovered above her head. All three began to glow, drawing in both water and darkness around the swimmer girl. Her eyes flared open, awakened as the hateful version of Chaos.
Negi got that sinking feeling that he was screwed.
This inspired several reactions. First was Negi's. “Akira-san!” He called out futilely.
“Ah! She's gone insane!” Asuna shrieked from her cage, her movement making things more uncomfortable for Konoka and Setsuna, but Setsuna more particularly. Setsuna's face was closer to Konoka's thighs than she'd ever dreamed of—or would have liked to be in the real world.
“She's got balance,” Ichijou commented idly from her separate cage.
“This is very VERY BAD!” Becky screeched in horror as she stepped back.
The nightmarish water creature aimed a fist-turned-hammer and slammed down towards the child geniuses.
Shadow/Kurumi, however, was quick on the uptake. “Chaos Control!” Time froze, and she tore towards the two kids and scooped them out of harm's way. Time unfroze just as the hammer collided with the earth where they were standing just seconds before.
Negi clenched his teeth. “I can't play around anymore. I'll have to weaken Akira-san to remove the shadow! Becky!” In a legendary move, Negi left out the -san, and the girl could immediately tell he meant business, and what exactly that business was. The girl nodded and prepared herself. “Partner: Miyamoto Rebecca! Show me the power within you! Contract... Activate!” Becky's body began to glow as Negi pulled out another card.
Becky whipped out claws—she had her cosplay suit. “Kurumi— step back!” She whirled towards her student, temporarily forgetting the fact that she was possessed.
Shadow answered through Kurumi, somewhat shocking both kids. “I can handle myself. Work with me!” She “skated” on the ground, circling Chaos Akira as she launched another watery attack.
“Becky, circle the other way!” Negi shouted. He climbed up on his staff and began to hover skyward.
“Eh?” Becky blinked, but as she saw the creature take another swipe at Kurumi, she saw no choice but to comply. She scampered on all fours, circling around the pool before speeding up behind Chaos Akira and landing a powerful slash on the watery body.
Too bad it had no effect.
Chaos Akira made a wide sweep, forcing Becky to backflip out of harm's way. The possessed girl shot a hand forward, and a rush of water blasted Becky away. “AWAAH!?” Becky sailed backwards into a wall. “Oww...” she whimpered.
“Oh ho ho!” Rei crowed as Dr. Robotnik. “This is too good of a show to pass up! Keep going!” She pulled out a bag of popcorn and began to eat, watching in delight.
“Becky-san!” Negi shouted, ignoring the doctor. Focusing his anger, he remembered who he was attacking and why. “Tel ma... AMORIS!” A blast of lightning shocked Chaos Akira, long enough for Kurumi to perform a spin kick to her face. The water creature slid back in recoil.
Kurumi continued her combo. “Disappear!” Several shards of chaos energy shot forward, but by this time Chaos Akira had recovered, distorting her watery body to avoid the blasts. She then dove forward, slamming the ground in front of Kurumi and knocking her skyward. To follow that up, she aimed an arm...
Kurumi, or rather Shadow inside Kurumi, saw what was coming. “I don't think so!” She aimed her own hand. “Chaos... BLAST!” She countered the rush of water with a powerful beam of chaos energy. The stalemate ended five seconds later, as both attacks were negated. Kurumi landed on the ground.
Negi took this time to sweep towards the water monster, arm outstretched. “AMORIS!” He bellowed, firing a blast of magic at the creature. Chaos Akira dodged this though and shot tendrils at the child mage. The boy weaved between the watery tendrils of death, looking for an opening. “It's getting difficult for me to keep attacking her... at this rate, she'll...!”
On her grand debut, Baka Pink finally arrived. “Ah! Negi-kun!” She stopped a moment to catch her breath. “Cool... Negi-kun really can fly...”
“Eh?” Rei blinked.
“M-MAKIE-SAN!?” To say that Makie's presence was unexpected was an understatement. Deus ex machina was more like it. “H-how'd you even get here?!”
“This keeps getting better and better,” Asuna muttered.
“Ah,” Kurumi said. “In the excitement, I forgot she was following me. Sorry I forgot to tell you.”
Negi just kinda shivered as Makie stepped forward, seeing Akira. “Akira-chan? Don't worry! I'll rescue you!” She cried.
“Makie-san, don't—” Negi began, but that was ignored. Not to mention that Makie may have not entirely understood the situation, but her reaction was no fool's. With her ribbon, Makie shot forward and latched onto Akira, pulling her out of the watery body. This was just enough to have Akira gain conscious thought again, and the evil darkness dispersed from Chaos's watery shadow. It attempted to lunge back in—
Becky would have none of that shit. Her potential for badassery could not be denied; she sliced through it with mighty claws, and the darkness dissipated for good this time.
Seeing opportunity, Negi dove forward. “O Spirits, hear my call. Draw the shadows to the light, and separate light from darkness! TEL MA... AMORIS!” A flash of light severed the water god away from Akira, and the shadow of Chaos rose into the third dimension.
“Eh? Makie-san...” Akira blinked. She saw her, and the shadowy form of Chaos as well. She addressed it. “You shouldn't let hatred overtake you. Those days are long over...” It stared back, some sort of sad understanding within it.
Negi blinked, not really understanding this exchange. But then again, maybe Akira had known this Chaos for a while now... Akira continued. “I guess you should return. Negi-sensei...”
Negi nodded, and pointed his staff. “Please head back to your real self, Chaos-san.” Focusing his magic, he began the sealing spell. “Weighted light, travel; go beyond the door and send it far away! Tel ma... Amoris!” Chaos's shadow disappeared completely, leaving behind only a pale blue chaos emerald. Negi grabbed it.
“No way!” Rei/Eggman nearly jumped in surprise. “Some gymnast who fails at life comes out of nowhere and manages to upset the game?!” Makie sank in white shock at that. “IMPOSSIBLE!”
“Game's up, Good Doctor,” Shadow taunted through Kurumi. She leaped into the air and landed in front of the girl. “Give it up.”
“Not bad,” Rei hissed, pressing a button. A door opened behind her. “Not bad at all. But I can't throw in the towel just yet. Toodles,” and she fled through the doorway and up the stairs.
“She's not getting away!” Becky scrambled after her student, with Kurumi as well. Negi was about to do the same thing when he remembered his students were in cages. “Gah!” He turned back towards his students, cursing the fact that he ever forgot about them.
Negi scrambled to his students aid, while the now recovered Akira used her strength to help out Ichijou. “Is everyone all right?”
“I've had worse days, and I just now noticed I'm very, very hungry,” Asuna moaned. “But I guess I'm okay.”
“Same here,” Konoka said, though with a more cheerful tone.
“We should pursue Miyamoto-sensei and Kurumi-san before they do anything reckless.” Setsuna advised, long since able to ignore her hunger. “And we still need to defeat that Doctor Robotnik...”
The gang turned to Makie, who still stared blankly in shock from being called a failure. “Makie-san...” Konoka waved an hand in front of her face, but there was no reaction. “This could be a problem, Negi-kun.”
“I'll have to erase her memory at some point... it's too dangerous for the likes of Makie-san.” Negi said. “But then again, she was the only one who could actually disarm Akira-san...” Negi rose. “Let's pursue the others.” Asuna and Setsuna picked up Makie, and the group scrambled up the stairs.”
Skating through the twisted labyrinth of the Ocean Base, Cygnus frantically searched for something... anything that would tip him off as to where he might be able to find something for Rokugou. Robots in his way were torn asunder with the greatest of ease. But things weren't looking good for Rokugou regardless, she had practically fainted. And already he could feel the desperation in his powers...
He spotted something. A kitchen? Bingo.
Cygnus burst in, taking out the lone robot acting as the post and smashing it in. Not even before the robot fell to the floor, the boy scrambled to the refrigerator. “Let's see... random meat, milk, snacks, strange paste... uhh... something quick...” He scanned through, looking for possible food. The doctor was surprisingly well stocked. “Aha!” He pulled out some yogurt. Not even bothering to use a spoon, he simply cleaned his hands with the darkness and scooped some of the yogurt, quickly pushing some into Rokugou's mouth.
With food now registering in her body, the young girl began to awaken. “Ah... delicious...” Her face flushed slightly.
Bad news: only now did Cygnus realize the rather suggestive method he was feeding the girl. He fought back a wave of rather perverted thoughts not suitable for a teen-rated fanfic, his twitching left eye the only thing betraying his relieved face. This was not gonna end well...
The dark, mechanical, and watery visage of the lower levels of Ocean Base greeted our heroes as they reached the top of the stairs. “We're back where we started,” Asuna noted.
“Looks like they escaped through here,” Setsuna pointed to an active door. “Be on guard, this place could still be booby-trapped.”
“Right,” The group walked in as the door opened, being met only by a calm sort of darkness. The atmosphere cranked up the tense factor by about five notches, though, and it only grew worse as they saw two familiar shapes. Becky was there, shivering, as she was back in her normal clothes. Kurumi as well had her hands on the ground, teeth clenched, as she were about to execute a football play.
“Wha... Becky-san?!” Negi saw the girl, and immediately knew that she was in trouble.
“N-Negi?” Becky regarded him.
“Negi-sensei, don't—” Kurumi warned as the group stepped into the room.
Too late. Robots sailed down cords like a special ops team in a Tom Clancy novel, guns of all kinds pointed at the heroes. The continuous and ominious clicking of weapons being loaded was like a symphony of dread and death, only foreshadowing the coming blood—
“GET ON WITH IT!” Asuna bellowed.
Damn, not you too!
“You never learn, do you Springfield?” Rei reappeared, the Dr. Robotnik persona in full throttle. “You fell right into my trap card yet again!”
“Eggman-san!” Negi called out. “What is the meaning of this?”
“You haven't figured it out by now? I'm going to make you join my army as I set out to rule the world!” She climbed up to the platform, twirling around as if she had won the lottery. “And since you can't stop me in your current form, there's no way you can deal with those robots!”
Negi tensed. This wasn't looking good.
“I know now that the majority of your partners are too weak... or should I say too hungry to use their powers—even with the Chaos Emeralds!” Rei added.
With this, Asuna challenged the mad doctor with a bluff. “How do you know that we won't bust out of here and raid your refrigerator? Or that we already did before we chased you?”
“Because,” Rei's smile dropped. She then pulled down a screen, showing a picture of Cygnus and Rokugou raiding a fridge. “THOSE LOVEBIRDS ALREADY BEAT YOU TO THE PUNCH!” The gang of good guys only stared mutely as they saw the two of them attack the fridge.
While he's distracted! Negi noticed the doctor was still raging. Twirling his staff, he prepared a spell—
Like lightning, a shot blasted his staff right out of his hands. Negi clutched his hands in pain. “Give up,” Rei said tauntingly. “You can't win. This world will soon be mine.”
Damn it... not even Chaos Control would be fast enough to evade everything without someone else getting shot, Shadow hissed. But... ah. Well what do you know.
“Eh?” Kurumi blinked.
We're not screwed after all. Shadow grinned internally. Using Kurumi, he called out. “Hey Doctor... since we're on the subject of playing card games, if you play your trap card, I play my Deus Ex Machina card.”
“Huh?” Rei raised an eyebrow.
“Five... four... three... two... one...” Shadow/Kurumi counted down. She then snapped her fingers. Opportunity came knocking.
“Sup Eggman! If you think you can cheat victory by attacking someplace I'm not, keep dreaming!” A voice shouted.
Rei twitched.
That voice... it can't be! Dr. Robotnik mentally shouted in horror.
A blue blur circled the room at lightning speed before coming to a stop behind the group. There he was, the supposed chupacabra of legend. A blue, slim body, red shoes, spines on his back, and light green eyes regarded the group. There was a faint aura of darkness about the figure as well. Most of all, however, was a trademark cocky grin still plastered on his face.
“About time you showed yourself, faker,” Shadow grinned through Kurumi. My senses were right. He was here all along...
“S-Sonic the Hedgehog?! IMPOSSIBLE!” Rei stared in shock.
“Heheh,” The cobalt wonder jumped up and slammed into a robot near Negi, causing it to crash into pieces. With lightning speed, he dodged the gunfire of other robots and tore through them as well. Now free, Shadow as Kurumi aimed a hand and let loose more Chaos Spears, tearing a few rear robots apart.
“Amazing...” Negi breathed.
“More where that came from!” Sonic slid down past Negi, leaped up and smashed into another robot with a flying kick.
“NO!” Eggman screamed through Rei.
“Heh. Hey, Negi Springfield!” Sonic turned to the child mage. “You wouldn't mind if I borrowed some of your strength, would you?” Sonic showed off a strange ring on his right hand. “I can cast a bit of magic if I use your unlock spell!”
“Huh?” Negi simply blinked. How...?
Sonic took that as an okay. With that, he clenched his fist and let the ring glow. “Ras tel ma scir Magister...” With that, he grinned and sped towards Rei. “Weighted light, travel; go beyond the door and send it far away!” He leaped up, aimed his right fist. “TEL MA... AMORIS!” With immense power, he slammed Rei right in the chest with a mighty punch. Magic and light flared as Eggman's shadow began to disappear.
“AUUUGGHH! HOW I HATE THAT HEDGEHOG!” The Robotnik shadow screamed as it was sealed away. With it, only a shining purple Chaos Emerald was left in its wake. Sonic landed just as Rei slumped to the ground, unconscious. The good guys had won once again.
“How...?!” Negi stared in shock. The so-called chupacabra, with some sort of ring, had not only taken a bit of his power, but used one of his personal spells as well! Every time one question's answered, another one shows up out of the blue!
“I'll explain that another day!” The jovial blue hedgehog answered as everyone else could finally move again. He looked around. “Two more chaos emeralds... The swimming lady had three as Chaos, dropped one herself , and Egghead's shadow has another. Five so far.”
“There's seven, isn't there?” Asuna asked.
“That's right! Faker's shadow has one of them!” Sonic pointed at Kurumi's shadow.
Kurumi herself face-faulted at those words, but Shadow took over and responded. “Takes one to know one, faker. In any case, you should find the last one quickly and bring them back to our dimension.”
“I'm already on it!” Sonic grinned. “I'll see you guys later, huh?” And with that the cobalt hedgehog snatched the purple Chaos Emerald and disappeared in a flash, once again ignoring Negi's cry of “Wait!” Geez, you'd think he'd learn after a while...
Something within Kurumi began to stir. A terrible feeling of darkness suddenly made itself known. “Oh god...” she said as herself. “What was that... darkness?”
“Eh?” Makie did NOT like the sound of that.
“Darkness... it's familiar. Cygnus is nearby!” Negi prepared his staff.
“And where Cygnus is, Rokugou will be there too!” Becky added. “Let's go!”
The group fled the room, boldly heading towards Cygnus's location. It looks like this episode's final confrontation is in order...
“Cygnus-kun...” Rokugou's face was once again red.
“Uhh...” Cygnus's cheeks had mirrored his newfound friend's. He found it kind of disturbing... he, the Devil's Swan, a harbinger of darkness, was having feelings for a girl. Luring in the darkness in everyone's hearts was his desire, yet this girl came looking for the light. Aside from all the Kingdom Hearts-esque babbling, there seemed to be truth in that statement. Was there really a light in his darkness? Maybe she was—
“AIYAAH!” There was a bratty squeal, scaring the two of them away from each other's faces. Rokugou and Cygnus turned to see a horrified Becky staring at the two of them, followed by a thoughtful Negi, a shocked Asuna, a blushing Konoka and Setsuna, a nonchalant Ichijou, a confused Makie and an angry Kurumi. “Y-y-you... get away from Rokugou!” Becky screeched, waving her arms frantically.
“B-Becky-sensei, th-th-this isn't what it looks like!” Rokugou tried to explain.
“Oh yes it is,” Konoka sang sweetly.
“Don't get comfortable, ojou-sama!” Setsuna prepared a fighting stance. “You know what this fool is capable of!”
“You...” Shadow had more control over Kurumi this time. She flipped over the crowd and landed in front of everyone closer to Cygnus. “ must be the Devil's Swan I heard about.”
“Damn straight,” Cygnus let go of Rokugou and stared down the girl before him. He glanced to his right and saw Shadow's silhouette where the girl's would have been. “Shadow number six... ye who are unworthy of being called number six even, fork over the Chaos Emerald within you and you won't get hurt.”
This set something off within the girl. Speaking as herself, Kurumi bellowed, “Don't bother trying to deceive me, I know who I am!” She lunged. “Chaos Control!” Time froze for both her and Cygnus as she began to sail down towards the boy.
Cygnus saw something in that instant, and decided that the game was over. “Gloria en obscurum!” He focused a burst of dark energy and smashed Kurumi in the stomach with it, much to her horror. “O Darkness, hear my call. Take in this evil, and crush it within you! Free all else to light.” He looked into the eyes of Kurumi and whispered to the Shadow. “Go back to your dimension, and let the girl prove this on her own.” With his free hand, he pointed downwards. “SUBMIT!”
The darkness left Kurumi's heart, and the fallen Shadow the Hedgehog began to distort and shrink into a void. “You better... hold your own... faker!” He grunted before disappearing completely, leaving behind what looked like a white Chaos Emerald. Cygnus swiped it with one graceful motion. Time unfroze, and Kurumi landed, staggering backwards.
“Your cheap guidance counselor's gone. All that's left is you,” Cygnus had his feral grin back. “Do you still know who you are?”
With Shadow gone, Kurumi was simply an ordinary girl. She shrank, seemingly at odds against a boy much stronger than she, and worse yet not even truly understanding the situation anymore. But her thoughts returned. With that, a new determination, that, while typical and fitting of Kurumi, couldn't fit the situation any better. Swallowing her fears, she began to speak. “I no longer care if this is just some typical action, or if I'm still plain, but right now I can say... that I'm still me!” She sprinted towards Cygnus and performed a near perfect flying kick to Cygnus's face. The dark boy reeled back in pain before distorting... and beginning to melt back into darkness.
“Well done... Kurumi Momose,” Cygnus appeared to strain in his speaking. He secretly flashed Rokugou another wink before turning back to the crowd of heroes. “But in the words of the world's most persistent losers, 'You may have won this round, but I'll be back'...” He completely sank into the darkness, the White Chaos Emerald still in his clutches.
Kurumi panicked and tried to snatch the emerald, but Cygnus was long gone by the time her hand smashed the floor. She sank into depression again, answered only by the pregnant pause between her and her classmates.
Becky was the first to break this silence. “Kurumi...” she said softly.
However, Makie was the one who turned the conversation into something substantial. “You're amazing, Kurumi-san! You truly do inspire me!”
Rokugou remembered the wink Cygnus gave, and now she could see why. “Kurumi-san is the hero of the year.”
Asuna grinned.
“Pretty cookie-cutter action sequence,” A now recovered Rei stood back from the crowd, smirking at the girl. “But you impress me. Welcome to the world of magic, Kurumi.”
Everyone smiled and showered praise on the girl, who could only laugh at it all. Kurumi Momose, plain girl at times, but a unique person on her own!
“Don't mean to take away from Momose-san's awesomeness, but we still have work to do!” Asuna announced. “We know who the chupacabra is, now it's time to catch him!” Unfortunately, in the middle of her grand gesture, she heard her tummy rumble, reminding her of the immense hunger she had after that bout of magic. “...ugh. After we get food.”
“Fast food restaurant.” Konoka added.
“Raid.” Becky snarled.
“Now.” Setsuna concluded.
“If that's the case, then I guess we need to keep moving, huh?” Negi asked. “Let's get back to the dorms (and find something to eat).” Everyone began to leave, although Kurumi still didn't move, still stuck in the reverie of being hailed as someone different. “Kurumi-san!” Negi called. “Let's go!”
“Ah! Okay!” Kurumi snapped out of it and left after Negi. With only one chaos emerald's location unknown to them, and the legendary Sonic the Hedgehog showing himself as the supposed chupacabra, our heroes are now entering the most dangerous part of the race. Can they prevail against the enigmatic scheme laid out for them?
Speaking of schemes, Rei had hung back a bit ways. She softly muttered, “You may think you've outsmarted the good doctor, but the bad doctor's got you right where he wants you...” She pulled out a cellphone. “But maybe we can still amend that.” She dialed a number. When the person on the other end picked up, she greeted the usual. “Hello... It went surprisingly well... Even he showed up... I don't think that he's finished just yet... Well then, I guess we'll wait and see. See ya later.” With that she hung up.
Is it a plot twist? How does she know this person? Tune in next time!
“Hello... this is Ichijou. Sometimes I wonder how a chupacabra could be blue, or if there's any point in rolling around at the speed of sound. Next time: 'Pursuit of a Legendary Creature Is a Dangerous Art!' by Ichijou. I wonder if Becky-san even remembered to teach the rest of the class math...”
(Return to form, return to form! Life is busy, so I'm trying my best.)