Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction / Pani Poni Dash! Fan Fiction ❯ I Am Negima!?, AND SO CAN YOU! Act I ❯ Chapter 9: "Those Who Know Nothing... Understand Nothing." By Cygnus ( Chapter 9 )

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

Scheme!? Final Mix
Episode 9: “Those Who Know Nothing... Understand Nothing.” By Cygnus
It seemed like somebody was setting the stage for a certain mood.
A rainstorm had begun outside, the rain and pit-pat against the windows could somehow be heard within the walls of the giant library. The gray cast sky darkened the already poorly lit library, but as Negi and friends had gathered nearby a large window, this didn't matter. All of them had gathered around Negi and Evangeline as all pondered both Misora's involvement and as well as their next step.
“Cygnus...” Negi said. “...why? I still don't understand that...”
“He's a bastard, obviously,” Becky clenched her fists. “Did you see what he did to Rokugou?! She tried to make us hate her instead! If that's not brainwashing I don't know what is!”
“Actually it's not,” Rei idly added. “She had that personality because it came with the armor card (Plus she's so lovestruck it's hopeless).”
“Hey wait, does that mean that Becky doesn't know what brainwashing is?” Himeko randomly added. Unfortunately her idiocy did not pay off this time as Miyako swatted her off of the bookcase she was sitting on, causing her to crash painfully into the ground.
“SHUT UP,” Miyako hissed.
“Silence, brats,” Evangeline muttered. “The air's getting annoying.”
“You mean you're getting annoying?” Asuna quipped back. Evangeline began to move to teach that upstart brat a thing or two, but Negi decided there was enough of that.
“Ladies, please stop fighting,” The boy meekly requested. Surprisingly, they listened to him, although begrudgingly. Silence ensued, dancing about the crowd but avoiding Asuna and Evangeline. Those two still snarled at each other like angry dogs as Negi continued, “Eva-san, what did you mean by Cygnus housing a 'Mephiles the Dark'?”
“Ah... that,” The vampire girl stopped her squabbling with Asuna and shoved her out of the way as she faced Negi again. “That demon is a dimensional traveler of lore, and from what I've seen of that dark boy's powers, they are highly similar... exactly similar, I should say.”
“So he's actually a demon!?” Becky gasped.
“Not fully,” Evangeline corrected. “It seems like that monster is inside him... or even more likely, they've merged into one being.”
“Scientists turning into demons? Interdimensional travel? That kind of thing makes my head spin,” Kurumi moaned.
“Huh...” Miyako scratched her head. “Hey Yue-san. Didn't that tale of that scientist guy mention something about being snatched by a demon?”
Orpheus,” Yue filled her in on the title. “And yes, it does mention something about demons...”
“Just demons, huh?” Haruna said, and kept unusually silent from thereafter.
“I studied about a man named Orpheus back in magic school,” Negi cheerily added. Miyako and Yue's jaws dropped. “He was pretty recent, a mage scientist that prided himself in research over transportation and interdimensional travel. I studied him with greats like Merlin, the Yagokoro house, Dumbledore, and others!”
“Dumbledore...?” Nodoka blinked, hope sparkling in her eyes.
“Spoilers still apply (although not in the same way). Sorry.”
Nodoka sank in teary disappointment. LOL Nodoka.
“Wait a damn second!” Miyako bellowed. “You mean to tell me since Orpheus is real...”
“...that there's actually a civilization on the moon?!” Yue finished.
“...I don't know too much about it... sorry,” Negi shrugged. “Ironically I never studied much about the moon civilization, but little else is known about them. They've largely kept themselves from Earth... supposedly there were attempts to communicate with them, but...”
“I remember the book saying that Orpheus was driven mad on the moon...” Yue said, her brain churning through all of this new information. “And that he pushed for one last experiment.”
Suddenly, an idea struck Evangeline! Almost physically!
Noting the shocked face of the girl, her robot servant looked her over. “Master... is everything all right.”
“Chachamaru, I've been slapped by an epiphany.”
“But I see no imprint.”
“FIGURATIVELY!” She shot back. She pounded a fist into her palm. “From what I told Takamichi, Mephiles was summoned by a scientist not too long ago. When an experiment failed, he was sealed away. But that seal was weak, and he escaped and vowed revenge...
“I bet Orpheus was that scientist.” Evangeline explained. “A demon that can travel between dimensions freely would be the ultimate appetite for a scientist interested in studying the same thing, right?”
“Then that means...” Negi trailed off, the same epiphany slap attacking him as well.
“Cygnus is actually ORPHEUS?!” Becky gasped. The epiphany was now on a slapping spree, shocking the whole group with its revelation. The author grew fed up of this abuse and kicked it into oblivion so he could move on with this story. No longer affected by the shock, Becky continued to think. “That explains the darkness obsession, and that kinda explains the weird personality and the whole swan thingy explains the name change, but... being possessed by a demon, wouldn't that make him... I dunno, a little more consistently evil?”
Silence crashed the party once more. It tap-danced across the room as everyone looked at each other, wondering about the answer to Becky's question.
“Well, I was told...” For the first time since this meeting began, Misora spoke up. All eyes fell on her, causing her to shrink back a bit. “Umm... well he's kinda weak in the sanity department, right? And when everyone beat up Rokugou, he completely lost it. So I'm guessing that she's the reason he can still hold a conscience... at least I think so.”
“That affirms it.” Negi stood up. “There is still some humanity within Cygnus... if we can seal away that demon... Orpheus can be free.” Negi reached into his pocket to pull out something, but then he looked at Misora for a moment. “Hey, Misora-san... how were you able to use my magic?”
“Aheheh,” The girl rubbed her neck and fidgeted. If he learned the whole story... “Well... I've had a ring for some time now... it was created to harness a mage's powers provided that the mage doesn't openly resist it.”
“Can I see it?”
Misora moved to find it in her pocket. She felt around...
OUR THE UH-OH.
“Eh... I'll have to show you later.” Misora nervously giggled a bit. While most everyone else shrugged, Rei looked at Misora in horror as if she had sprouted giant tendrils and killed everyone else in the room.
“Negi...” Becky said, catching the boy's attention.
“Becky-san?”
“We should get going. We still have Cygnus to fight with and Rokugou to rescue, right?”
“Exactly.” Negi prepared his staff. “But... I can't take everyone with me. I don't know how dangerous this can get.” Much of the gang immediately shouted objections to that idea.
“Negi! You know we agreed to join you, no matter what the danger!” Asuna shot back.
“That's right!” The twins added. The clamor between everyone grew louder.
“There is some truth to his words,” Ichijou stopped the party with her words, and silence tap-danced onto the stage again.
“Some?!” Negi looked crestfallen.
“Bondage hentai's true form in that darkness is likely a tentacle monster,” she concluded, making everyone crash. “Even if it isn't, Negi-sensei can only support so many people at full power before his own strength might diminish worrying over everyone else. A smaller team would work.”
Negi considered this, furrowing his brow all the while.
“Do you agree with that assessment, bouya?” Evangeline leered at Negi.
“...” Negi continued to think. Perhaps a smaller assault would work, since Cygnus could too easily play with larger numbers. But the problem came from what would be a back-up plan should he fail... NO. He's got five of the freaking Chaos Emeralds! He CAN'T fail! “Yes. Let's do it. I'll take three people with me.”
“I'M GOING!” Becky and Asuna immediately stood by the boy's side.
There was much discussion, and while most were brave enough to follow, only two dared speak up.
“Umm...” Nodoka began. Unfortunately she lost to...
“Count me in! I'm OMEGA gonna show Cygnus a thing or two!” Himeko bounced up and landed in front of Negi. “I still have that meat bun promise!”
“Umm... Himeko-san...” Negi began.
“WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STILL TALKING ABOUT MEAT BUNS?!” Miyako shouted from her perch.
Rei could only laugh heartily. “Looks like there's no stopping her.”
Nodoka sank in disappointment for the second time.
“You should be stronger, Nodoka!” Yue silently coached her friend.
Courage renewed from her friend's words, Nodoka approached Negi. “Negi, we'll keep supporting you, even from the sidelines!” She turned to the rest of them. “The rest of you... good luck. Even Becky-sensei!”
“Even?” Becky caught the subtle half-insult.
“Don't forget, Becky-sensei,” Haruna spoke up again, “You're waltzing on her territory now.”
“Huh?”
“Forget about it,” Rei muttered, waving her off with a sly grin. “She's even more hopelessly and obliviously lovestruck than Rokugou.”
“The hell are you talking about?!”
Negi smiled again and cut off the argument before it could grow. “Well then, let's go!” The legendary four stepped on towards the door leading back into the core of Library Island. However, before he could reach it, Negi sensed Evangeline and Chachamaru leaving... in the opposite direction. “Evangeline-san?”
The vampire girl yawned. “I'm kinda tired. But for the most part, this isn't my fight. If you had any suspicions that I was gone from this madness purposefully... then you were right.” She gave him a toothy grin. “But don't disappoint me bouya. I'm still watching you.”
“I won't,” Negi smiled again.
“We'll show YOU a thing or two!” Becky shouted at Eva's back, flailing madly. By that time, however, the two of them had left. Becky grumbled something incoherently angry before facing towards Negi.
Turns out that the boy had a few last words to say. “Everyone... keep vigilant for us, okay?” Negi faced the crowd of people-being-shafted-out-of-the-final-battle (“Don't describe us like that!” Kurumi complained.). “If worse comes to worse... find Evangeline-san or Takamichi. Thank you all for your support, and I'm sorry that I can't take all of you along.”
The rest of the gang returned a nod.
“Farewell,” Negi, Asuna, and Becky left towards the door and prepared to face darkness itself. They disappeared into the other room.
“Bon voyage!” Himeko waved cheerily to the rest of the crowd, only for an irate Miyako to drop kick her away into the other room.
“DAMMIT, IF YOU'RE GONNA GO, JUST LEAVE ALREADY!” She shouted. The girl then sighed in annoyance. “Geez!”
Setsuna, who had been mostly silent, had noticed that unlike most everyone else, Konoka HAD been silent, which was quite shocking on its own. The healer was deep in thought, thinking about what she had learned about Cygnus, and as well as her own recent powers.
“Ojou-sama?” Setsuna questioned.
“Secchan...” Konoka suddenly rose. “Remember our promise?”
Setsuna rose. What was that girl thinking...?
xxxx
The warp hole was merely a glint of light in the twisted darkness.
And someone said: “Let there be Springfield!”
The boy, spinning rapidly, sailed from the warp and landed gracefully, albeit with a thunderous crash when he hit the ground. And it was good.
Becky and Asuna landed behind him in the same fashion.
Himeko... not so much. She crashed head first into the darkness. Ouch, that's gotta leave a mark!
Three of them rose from the crouching land, while the last had to pull her head out of the pitch-black ground. Himeko woozily muttered something about ostriches as she looked across to see what everyone else was looking at.
It was a serene lake and a patch of land, standing alone against the unholy darkness. Our heroes regarded this with a nervous sort of silence.
Negi gazed some distance before spotting someone, her body visible within the darkness.
“Rokugou-san...” Negi whispered.
She was lying there, as if asleep. Her fair face looked peaceful.
However, that was not to last long.
Darkness and mist suddenly rose, swallowing her up. A sudden quake jolted our heroes as from the darkness, they could see the faint outline of a mighty castle rise in front of them. The “earth” beneath them shook as the castle continued to rise, parting the darkness above and revealing a starry night sky and a pale yellow moon. Darkness swirled violently around the newly created castle, which finally stopped rising and stood, grand and menacing, against the backdrop of the strange moon. All but the top was obscured by thick darkness and a fine mist from the lake.
“He's gone all out for a final battle arena, hasn't he?” Asuna noted.
“That aura... it's loaded with hatred and madness, big bro!” Kamo popped out of his safe perch from Negi's pocket. “Be on your guard!”
Before the author was forced to write about Himeko's random drunkenness, Cygnus appeared at the top of the grand castle. His neon-orange eyes regarded them as he looked down. His chilling sneer could be seen all the way from where Negi stood.
“WELL NOW!” Cygnus bellowed, activating the dreaded CAPS LOCK OF AWESOME. “Ye who enter the Heart of Darkness shall be entirely eclipsed by the night! YE WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN DARKNESS, SHALL TASTE IT FOR ALL ETERNITY!”
“Don't count on it,” Becky hissed.
“So how ya like me now?!” Cygnus taunted. “I think I got the super villain thing down pat at last!”
“Certainly got the speeches, even if they don't make sense,” Kamo rubbed his tiny chin.
“The Bedeviled Swan King invites you to drown in this heart-lorn world of madness! Come forth, die if you dare!” Cygnus laughed maniacally as he held out one hand. At once, large swarms of darkness gathered at that hand. They burst out from there crashing into random parts of the castle. “MY POKEYMANS! LET ME SHOW YOU THEM!”
“What's he doing?” Asuna blinked.
“Those aren't Pokeymans!” Himeko pointed in horror.
“He's pulling something nasty I bet,” Becky added in terror.
“...” Negi stepped forward. “We'll just have to take whatever he throws at us. Maybe... maybe we can still reach Orpheus inside Cygnus. We have to stop him.” He focused his magic, his magic stick whipped out in front. “Partners: Miyamoto Rebecca, Kagurazaka Asuna, Katagiri Himeko! Show me the power within you!” Not even bothering to be flashy this time around, he simply summoned the orb. “Contract... ACTIVATE!” He swung his right hand under it and pulled out three cards. The shining light brought each of those girls their cosplay cards: Becky and her cat claws, Asuna and her paper fan, and Himeko and her pink mallet of love and doom.
All three girls clutched Negi's stick tightly as he stored massive wind energy and released it, causing all four to shoot forward like a bullet towards the wicked castle.
But unbeknownst to our current set of heroes, another two had followed them in. Like secret lesbian ninjas, Konoka and Setsuna— “WE ARE NOT SECRET LESBIANS!” Setsuna vehemently denied, apparently liking the ninja title.
Setsuna flapped her wings steadily as she carried Konoka, her red eyes set on their destination. Unafraid of the darkness, the two of them flew inside. It would be interesting to note, however, that their aura was strong enough to distort the space around them in a most interesting fashion...
xxxx
The darkness and mist swathed skies ahead did nothing to deter Negi and his crew, oh no. They tore through relentlessly until they finally found the splendor of the castle itself.
Its huge, massively black walls looked reminiscent of dark marble. As far as they could see, there were stain-glass windows, tall towers, and statues of swans adorned about the building. To summon this building in the mere span of two hours... Cygnus would have to be either really powerful or really insane. If not the former... he was certainly the latter.
Upon touching base on the castle, though, Negi and pals heard the flapping of wings, and at once a swarm of swans streaked by.
“Geez, is he trying to flood us with symbolism or something?” Chamo asked.
However, the group had bigger problems.
“Erm, Negi?” Becky ventured. As the others looked at her, she pointed backwards. “We have shadows... thousands of them!”
And indeed, there were shadows—but they were dark, ethereal copies of the heroes themselves. One looking like Negi raised his right hand, and the group was forced to scatter as a bolt of lightning crashed between them.
“Dammit, they fight like us, too!” Asuna shouted as she dodged a sword swipe from one of her shadowy copies.
“Nooo, I'm gonna get hungry at this rate,” Himeko cried, galloping forward to dodge another spell from a shadow Negi and countering with her hammer. “We don't have time for this! We gotta beat the final boss so we can have more meat buns!” Her hammer succeeded in smashing the shadow away, briefly confusing the other shadows.
“Bum rushing levels won't do us any good, ya know,” Asuna said, sweeping her fan across a distracted shadow copy of her. “But she's right, we gotta move faster!”
“Easier said than done, but I'm on it,” Negi hissed. Whipping his hand back, he prepared a magic spell... “Tel ma... AMORIS!” He then shot his hand forward, and a burst of wind knocked a few shadows away. With the path cleared somewhat, Negi motioned, “Let's move!”
As they dashed away from the crowd and onto a huge bridge, Becky slowed down and looked back. The lone shadow imitating her, recovering from Negi's attack, stood up. It opened its mouth wide, and energy began to gather.
Becky panicked. “GET TO THE SIDE!”
“What?!” The others responded, but trusting Becky and fighting a growing sense of fear, they quickly spread to the sides of the bridge, just as a devastating beam of shadow tore through the middle. The attack was so fierce it was a moment before everyone recovered.
“What... WAS THAT?!” Asuna complained.
“Hey wait... if those things can imitate us...” Becky pondered. “...does that mean I have a mouth beam as well?” Out of childish curiosity, the girl opened her mouth wide and tried to imitate her attacker.
“Don't try it, Miyamoto brat,” Asuna muttered, grabbing the girl by her shirt and dragging her along as they made their escape, with Becky protesting the entire way.
The gang sprinted deeper into the castle. Ignoring the ever-growing feelings of fear and madness, Negi and his entourage put their all into finding the top of the castle, where the swan king lied in wait.
xxxx
The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes.
Aside from quoting Kingdom Hearts, that message also held some relevancy to the situation. The fake moon shone brightly, its pale yellow light falling on the four heroes as they stood at the top of the castle. However, the intensity of the darkness around and below them was at its most dangerous. It was here that Cygnus stood, smiling evilly at the center of this dark and twisted world.
“WELL THEN, NEGI SPRINGFIELD! REBECCA MIYAMOTO (And you other female pedophiles too)!” Cygnus's voice was loud, demented, and filled with the CAPS LOCK OF RAGE. “Welcome to Hell's Cesspool! It is HERE that I will DEVOUR your hatred and consume this world in darkness!” His eyes gleamed wildly. At this point the boy had truly lost control of both mind and body, leaving only his distorted malice and desire for vengeance.
“Cygnus! This ends here!” Negi shouted. “I cannot allow you to endanger my students, or Becky's students, any longer!”
“Look at what you've done to Rokugou!” Becky shouted, rage so powerful that tears threatened to show. “I won't forgive you! I'll send you back to hell!”
“What I've done to Rokugou...?” His voice hit a sudden strange calm, almost knocking them out of their rage. “That darkness she showed you... that was her own heart. I guess even she is not immune... But... don't you see? As my most beautiful curse, I turn evil upon itself, no matter who holds it!” But five seconds later he was back to his raging self. “But THAT DOESN'T MATTER, since all of your HATRED shall BELONG to ME! Give IN to that darkness in your hearts!”
“WHAT YOU SAY?!” Becky reeled back.
“Send out every Maho!” Himeko countered.
“Your final boss speech doesn't even make sense!” Asuna complained, smacking Himeko. “What about a taste for revenge, or your evil plan for world domination, or even talking about mad slaughter?!” She took a fighting stance. “I guess it doesn't matter, since I'm taking you down anyway!”
“It is because I don't seek any of those things!” Cygnus bellowed. “All are irrelevant to THE DARKNESS!”
“Orpheus-san... you aren't this terrible! Can't you fight it?!” Negi shouted.
“Orpheus is dead... irrelevant to THE DARKNESS!”
“You've got a bloody demon inside you!” Becky shouted.
“Irrelevant to the DARKNESS!”
“Delicious meat buns... must eat!” Himeko got into a fighting stance.
“IRRELEVANT TO THE DARKNESS!”
Becky smacked her palm against her face. “I don't know what's more retarded, Cygnus's line spamming or the fact that Himeko is STILL talking about meat buns...”
“It doesn't matter, like Cygnus said,” Negi answered, taking Becky by surprise. “I remember now... Orpheus was a man driven mad not only by other people's suffering but his own lamentations...” He took a fighting stance. “Don't have much of a choice, do we? We put an end to this here.”
“Put an end... to me?” Cygnus enunciated slowly. He then started laughing harshly.
He bared his teeth, and he shouted to the non-existent heavens. “CYGNUS CANTUS!”
At once, darkness flared. shooting out and nearly obscuring everyone's vision.
Negi struggled to keep on his feet as the darkness blasted through. He eventually slowed to the stop, but he felt that the silence was no good news. The only sound he could hear were the horrible sounds of flesh... growing, and suddenly, two... massive wings beating.
This... can't be good.
Kamo shouted a warning. “WATCH OUT, BIG BRO!” Negi, right at the edge of his peripheral view, suddenly became aware of a dark blue claw shoot out for him from the darkness. By either miracle or speed, Negi dashed backwards, narrowly avoiding those strange, tattoo-like razors. The missed attack gave way to those monstrous wings beating again. He backed away slowly to see... Cygnus.
Instead of seeing something resembling a human, he found himself face to face with a massive black swan. From its perch, it took up more than half of the rooftop, and with a wingspan that massive, no wonder it felt like he could hear nothing else. Neon orange eyes leered down at Negi and his tiny peon group, and let out an awful, powerful screech.
“Giant swan...” Asuna half-marveled, half-quaked in fear. “Totally expected, yet still so scary!”
“Uh-oh,” Himeko swallowed hard.
“EEP!” Chamo went back into hiding.
Cygnus lifted one wing. It quivered with power, before a mess of darkness shot out like ballistic missiles, zooming straight for our heroes. Becky screamed and rolled out of the way, the others weren't as lucky—the blast knocked each of them asunder.
Asuna, however, was the first to recover. Snarling, she readied her fan. “ORRRYAAAAA!” She sprinted towards the insane swan and took one mighty swing. The metal fan crashed into Cygnus's body, but otherwise had little effect other than making him flinch slightly. “Dammit!” Asuna cursed her own failure.
The gigantic swan straightened his neck and aimed at Asuna, before gathering energy at his beak. The girl simply pumped her legs and ran as fast as she could—it was all she could do to keep from screaming as a beam of energy shot from the swans mouth, nearly frying her.
Becky crouched, as if ready to pounce. “Here goes...” She began a fierce sprint, forced out her claws and swung upwards in a fierce strike right at Cygnus. The attack...
...failed to connect, as those strange, blue, tattoo-like claws had blocked the attack! Truly annoyed, Becky swiped again, but those claws seemed to have a mind of their own, blocking, parrying, and countering her moves with matched fury. However, a sudden lapse in judgment on the swan's part finally revealed an opening—Becky slashed hard, causing Cygnus to squawk and stumble back ever so slightly.
Unfortunately, the strike was a fluke. In seconds, the claws were back, and this time one got a lucky shot on Becky herself, causing the girl to stumble backwards in pain.
“Becky-san!” Negi screamed in worry.
The girl crashed onto the ground. Cygnus reared a nightmarish claw back, ready to finish her... Only for Becky to suddenly recover and counter his claw with hers. The swan showed surprise for a brief moment before trying his other claw... and Himeko jumped in. “STOP!” Her hammer easily met his free claw. “HAMMER TIME!”She smacked it away with ease. Cygnus ownage DENIED!
Cygnus screeched. His dark body took to the air, wings glistening with darkness before that scatter attack struck again, but Himeko flipped out of harm's way. “Can't touch me!” She crowed, doing a little dance. The giant swan swiped a wing at her, but failed to connect. “Can't touch me!” Himeko crowed again. “Can't touch me! Just like the good guys from Kingdom Hearts 2! I have plot-armor immunity! So Sora you can't sue!” She dodged a blast of darkness from Cygnus again. “Can't touch me!” She continued to dance again. Frustrated, Cygnus screeched again and tried one last vicious combo, only to see that fail as well.
Then he solved the problem by launching a claw and simply flicking her away. “OW... you touched me!” Be advised that reading into that would probably spell your death.
Cygnus stood and opened his wingspan, screeching to the heavens. At this, several massive pillars of darkness shot from the ground, causing the castle to shake from their power. The girls were knocked asunder through the attack, screaming all the way.
Negi snarled as he caught Becky to keep her from falling off the roof.. “You'll pay for this...” He swung back, chanting a magic spell. “AMORIS!” He bellowed, raising a hand. A shower of thunderbolts smashed into the swan, and Cygnus screeched in pain.
“Lightning's effective, but...” Negi mused silently.
“Negi!” Becky said, now recovered. “We'll distract him! Use another one of those lightning moves to finish him off!”
“Becky?!” Negi shouted in surprise as she jumped off, slashing again at the mighty swan again. The swan screeched and rose to Becky's challenge, swatting back with his own claws. Asuna too, bellowed like a warrior and joined Becky in the assault. Even Himeko, though bleating like a fool, smashed her hammer against him.
The swan retaliated with a rain of darkness, forcing the others back.
It was then Negi charged through, chanting once more. “Ras tel ma scir magister... Show judgment, yon gods of lightning! TEL MA... AMORIS!” Negi pointed his finger at Cygnus, and a nasty bolt of lightning struck the swan down. Cygnus only retaliated with a cacophony of pained shrieks.
However, the swan refused to stay down. Suddenly rising, he shot out bursts of darkness again, nearly knocking Negi out of the air, had he not guarded himself. The girls, however, weren't as lucky. The stray blasts knocked the girls into near submission.
“Himeko-san! Asuna-san! BECKY!” Negi's anger grew, ever so steadily. “Why won't he stay down?!” He cupped his hands together, drawing massive amounts of energy—there were five Chaos Emeralds in his pocket! Maybe that power could do the trick...
“Big bro! The madness is getting to you! Calm down!” Chamo pleaded.
Negi only answered with his powered attack. “Tempestas...” The boy swung his staff until he was looking straight down at the giant swan. He then fired, “FULGURIENS!” And a powerful blast of wind and lightning shot towards Cygnus, striking him directly in the back.
Cygnus let out an ear splitting shriek before falling to the ground at last.
Somewhat calm, Negi descended slowly, as the girls began to recover. Had it finally ended?
“Negi...” Asuna began, seeing his once livid face.
“NEGI!” Becky shouted in alarm. “It's a trap!”
And yet again, the swan rose. This time, within its claws rested two emeralds. Darkness swirled around everything... eclipsing everything—and everyone—in sight. As Negi fell to horror, he realized his anger was the bait.
Cygnus had manipulated him into his own anger. When he said he could make evil devour itself no matter who held it... he wasn't joking, was he?
As darkness eclipsed everything, Negi, however, stood strong. Even as everything faded to black, he saw that the seven Chaos Emeralds were close enough in proximity...
...if you gather seven of them, they can perform miracles!
If I only believe, Negi reached out slowly... and grabbed one.
From the darkness, Rokugou emerged. And she was waking up.
“I hear ya, Negi-kun!” A voice shouted, and a powerful blast of light shot down towards Cygnus, consuming him in the light. Cygnus's squawking and screeching reached fever pitch before finally cutting off altogether. Darkness and light exploded together, the swirling mass of resulting twilight shutting out like a cut off television signal.
And Rokugou had disappeared with him.
Negi couldn't believe it. The emeralds heeded that wish... but how? “What... what just happened?!”
“We were in the middle of a fight!” Asuna recovered and flailed around. “Did the game just glitch out on us?!”
“This isn't a game, Asuna-san,” Negi sighed, rubbing his head.
“That's right!” Himeko added. “It's a fanfic!” Himeko was hit by an anvil and knocked unconscious.
“Light...” Becky stepped forward, answering the question. “How... could we have been so stupid? Light counters darkness, duh! I bet he was counting on us not wielding that kind of light.”
“That's right!” Chamo popped out again. “And look, the seven Chaos Emeralds are still there! If we take them...!”
“...we can seal him away!” Negi completed the thought. “When seven are gathered, they perform miracles... maybe that's what rescued us.”
“I get the feeling that he's coming back,” Becky said. “Hurry, let's get ready and seal him!”
xxxx
There was a realm supposedly where light and darkness were at their most violent, and lucky for Cygnus, that's exactly where he crashed. The literally broken bird just lay there, perhaps too weak to move, or just accepting fate. That powerful blast of light had severely weakened him, and very quickly. If he were caught like that again, it would spell his doom like a master spelling bee champion. And Dark-types hate bugs...
Somebody caught him. Female hands that... didn't hurt.
He was... human again?
Rokugou?
“Hi, Cygnus-kun...” Rokugou softly murmured. Somehow she was in cosplay form.
“Rokugou? Impossible...!” Cygnus murmured. He gave a weak, lopsided grin as he added, “You must be... a powerful young lady to fight for the light of my heart, despite not just me... but yourself.”
“Of course,” Rokugou answered. “I've admired you since we met, and I know enough to know what you're REALLY after, and I wanted to help.” She smiled. Focusing her powers, she drew in the darkness Cygnus used so much, healing his wounds and restoring his power. “Besides, I already know I'm the reason you're sane.”
Despite the slight pain, Cygnus had to laugh at that. “So you figured me out, huh? I give you my thanks for giving me my sanity back... I guess I can get scolded by Smallboss again.”
“Cygnus!” Their voices. The two of them were here.
Rokugou looked up to see... “Konoka-san! Setsuna-san!” However, they felt quite different from what she remembered of them last time. Konoka had on elaborate Kansai robes. She wielded two oriental fans, and as well she shined with an amazing amount of light. Setsuna was no force to be ignored either... even in her pure demon form, she looked the part of a vengeful angel, her wings and hair purest white and her eyes blood red. She held her sword out, prepared to fight.
“Forgive us, Rokugou-han!” Konoka said. “We've got a small grudge against Cygnus-han!”
“End this foolishness now, Cygnus, and stop everyone's suffering!” Setsuna added.
“You two... damn you...” Cygnus was standing once again, and Rokugou stood by him. “Even now that light you wield constricts my heart... worse yet, you act like the princess and lady knight deal is an original thought.” He smirked at this.
“What are you talking about?” Konoka tilted her head to one side.
“I don't think I'll be losing to you today!” Cygnus yelled. “Maybe I need light to guide my darkness, but I'll never succumb to it! Not now, not ever!” His power flared, darkness distorting the wild twilight arena.
“Rokugou-han?” Konoka asked. “You stand alongside evil?”
“I don't know if I'm evil,” Rokugou answered. “I don't like fighting and pain. But Cygnus-kun is worth fighting for, even if he is evil! Plus, he doesn't quite reach Rei's level of evil anyway...” Cygnus crashed.
“Well, if ya put it that way I can't blame ya...”
Setsuna prepared her sword, flapping her powerful white wings. Her now red eyes glared. “In the name of the moon, I shall punish you!”
“Secchan, you can't use your epic fail before the fight even begins!” Konoka sighed, amidst the pratfalls of Cygnus and Rokugou.
Cygnus recovered first. “I will not stop. I wish to live... to see home once more.”
“And I want to see it with him!” Rokugou added, attempting to look tough by thumping her chest. Key word there being attempting.
“We don't want to kill anyone,” Konoka said... “But beyond that we will not hold back. It was our promise to each other.”
“If you want to defend your boyfriend,” Setsuna shot at Rokugou. “I'm not going to stop you... or avoid you. It's time for round two anyway!” Setsuna was incorrect, it was actually round three.
Rokugou chuckled nervously at that. It seemed she remembered her time as Rokujow.
Once they had assumed fighting positions, Konoka made the first move.
Two bursts of light shot towards Cygnus and Rokugou, forcing both to scatter. And in milliseconds Setsuna was all over them, sword moving faster than the common eye could detect. Cygnus countered, tendrils and excess darkness spilling as he and Rokugou continued to fight them off.
Cygnus had enough. Slinging his hand, he shot a thick beam of darkness in Konoka's direction.
Setsuna of course, wasn't having that. With a mighty flap of her wings, she shot towards the attack and cleaved it in two. Following that, she took to the air, balancing herself before she held her sword again. “Hykaretsu Ouka Zan!” She slashed her sword, and a rain of petals crashed down. Rokugou simply put up a barrier, but Cygnus had to weave between the attacks before he could temporarily hide behind the girl.
Cygnus snarled and smashed the ground, and a column of darkness burst into the sky. Setsuna guarded the attack, but was knocked askew anyway.
Konoka, despite the seriousness of the situation, remained as carefree and spunky as she rushed to attack. A familiar wooden line wrapped itself around Cygnus. “Ei!” She flung him into the air.
“Aw, hell naw...” Cygnus muttered, seeing what was coming next.
Just as he had suspected, Konoka was merely letting all of her powers do all the work—she wasn't controlling it at all! Beams of light shot towards him—all he could do was contort and dodge them as best as he could, but even then some beams still pierced his side. “ARGH!”
Rokugou, trying her best, sprinted towards the swan boy as he crashed into the ground. Staying by his side, she set another barrier, this time, blocking the massive beam spam headed in their direction. The light bounced off harmlessly.
Setsuna, however, did not.
Having recovered, she smashed through the barrier with ease. She sliced at Rokugou, chasing her backwards and away from Cygnus.
One sword swipe, however, missed. Or rather, it struck the wrong spot.
Rokugou's maid outfit torn from the blow, she crumpled out of shock. “AIIIEEE!”
“Huh wait what?!” Setsuna blinked, thoroughly confused on the matter. She was so confused that she hardly noticed when Cygnus kicked her out the way, despite a river of blood flowing from his nose.
“Now's not the time to be picking on girls, Cygnus-han!” Konoka chided. “We're putting a stop to your madness today!” She slung her hand forward. “EEII!”
“Don't bother!” Cygnus bellowed, blocking the oncoming burst of light with darkness-fortified hands. “Rrrraaauuugghh!” Despite all of his grunting and might, the light refused to give way. Only after an entire thirty seconds did the beam stop, and even then, his hands were singed. “You still don't have control over your powers, and yet you gambled to try and finish me.”
“Incorrect!” Konoka answered. “I know I don't have control—and I'm not really trying to kill you so much as I'm trying to negate your power. If my power beats yours then I can restore the dimension and let Negi-kun send you home!”
“More like MY powers should override YOURS,” Cygnus grinned. “But... you've danced well, woman! Now, shall we go for the finale?!”
“Of course!” Konoka simply let her powers go at max strength.
“Now I'll show you!” Cygnus yelled, pointing a finger directly at Konoka's finger. “IMPERFECT LUNACY!” It was almost like someone cut off the lights, that sickening clash of darkness simply devouring everything at the source. It was all the Kansai Princess could do to keep from losing her sanity as the strange twilight dimension exploded and ceased to be.
xxxx
Seven chaos emeralds, gathered together. Their power shone like a miracle—after all, that was what they were there for.
Negi Springfield and Rebecca Miyamoto stood at opposing sides, focusing the swirling emeralds at the tiny spot where darkness and light clashed. Their minds were completely calm, save for the thought of sealing Cygnus away. Asuna and Himeko stood some distance away, looking on in awe.
Without warning, that spot of twilight flickered, and suddenly, it exploded. Four figures were tossed out in random directions, crashing onto the castle rooftops.
Negi and Becky scanned the face and immediately found Cygnus. However, they were a bit stunned at who else showed up at the party, namely a now conscious Rokugou, Konoka, and Setsuna. Konoka, however, was fast on the uptake. “Negi-kun!” She said, snapping them out of their shock. “NOW!”
This was it. Now or never. As Cygnus struggled to stand again, blood dripping down his body, the two child geniuses began their chant.
“Ras tel...”
“...ma scir...”
“MAGISTER!” They finished together, the emeralds glowing in unison.
“What...?” Cygnus didn't quite grasp what they were doing.
Weighted light...” Negi began.
Go forward...” Becky added. “Travel beyond the door...”
“...and send it far away!” The emeralds left their circle between the kids and circled the dark boy instead.
“Tel...”
“...ma...”
“AMORIS!” They both finished. Their words seemed to suck out all the noise in the room. One could hear a click of a door in America (which they probably did, if that random click was any indication).
Suddenly the area between the Chaos Emeralds became the world's most psychotic vacuum cleaner, sucking away the darkness in a crazy rush... and Cygnus along with it. “EYYYAAAAAGGGHHH!” He screeched, the drain against his power feeling something between pain, confusion, and fear. Wow, sounds emo, doesn't it?
“CYGNUS!” Rokugou cried.
Despite all the aforementioned pain and confusion, Cygnus made one thing clear. “Rokugou... STEP. BACK!” The good girl did as she was told.
“We finally stopped you!” Becky crowed. “Granted, we weren't expecting Konoe Ex Machina, but yeah, we stopped you!” Cygnus resisted laughing at their failure to plan significantly and decided to let them revel in their victory... “But one thing I don't get...” her tone softened. “Even now... You're looking out for Rokugou... aren't you? If you're still at least part of a human, why do you think you're so evil?”
Cygnus started chuckling, which eventually segued into full-blown laughter. “I am... Darkness. And darkness is cursed to be misunderstood. Even so... you wouldn't... no, you can't seal me without righteous anger, which I finally managed to pull out of you in spades. I'd have to say...” Cygnus suddenly bared down, showing a toothy grin. “THANKS FOR EXACTLY DOING WHAT I WANTED YOU TO DO!”
Becky stared in horror for all of five seconds before she screamed. “JANE! STOP THIS CRAZY THING!” And tried (and failed miserably) to stop the Chaos Emeralds.
Cygnus laughed again. “Relax... no evil plot about this. I'm simply returning home.” He looked at the other seven, his eyes somehow going soft despite the violent whirlwind of darkness and light around him. “It's such a shame we had to part ways before we could be friends, huh?”
Everyone else was silent. Perhaps, with the exception of one person: Rokugou.
“W-wait!” She ran up to him again and clutched a hand. “Are you... are you gone this time? For good?”
“End of the road for me,” the boy answered. His smile softened even more as she became teary-eyed. “Even so... I won't forget.”
“B-but,” She sniffed. “Will we ever meet again?”
“Maybe... one day we'll cross paths again,” By now Cygnus's body was disappearing in the maelstrom. He swept a bow with whatever was left. “Heheh, I'm sure of it...”
Rokugou smiled despite the teary eyes.
Himeko was crying by now, and decided to rudely use Asuna's costume as a handkerchief. Asuna retaliated with a broadside to the head.
“WELL NOW! Remember THAT DARKNESS in your heart!” Cygnus crowed. “Farewell!” And with maniacal laughter, he disappeared into the void, leaving only silence. The Chaos Emeralds stopped their powerful glow, flowing slowly down into the darkened realm. Silence once again wreaked havoc like a drunken frat boy.
“...So,” Asuna said. “Is this case finally solved?”
“Yeah, looks like it,” Negi said.
“So how come the credits aren't rolling?”
“Don't rush it,” Kamo said, chilling out in his perch. “Let's soak in the victory a bit, all right?”
“I told you, it's a fanfic!” Himeko answered again, but once again anvils struck her down before she could continue to spout more conspiracy theories.
“Himeko-san, please cut it out,” Negi tried to placate the crazy girl, but this eventually devolved into a mild argument between him, Himeko, and Asuna, which continued in the background somewhere to show its irrelevancy.
Becky stared at Rokugou, who looked like she had much better days, as well as Konoka and Setsuna, who also looked extremely weak. “Becky-san...” Rokugou began, her voice nearly broken.
“R... Rokugou?” Becky ventured.
“I... I'm sorry.”
“So I take it you remember.”
“You shouldn't worry so much,” Konoka soothed, with Setsuna leaning against her. “It's all over now. Maybe we can finally get home.”
“HOW ABOUT 'NO'!” A voice crowed. “I don't think this story deserves a happy ending! Not while I still have my debut!”
“Huh?!” This stopped everyone dead in their tracks.
“Ras tel! Ma scir! MAGISTER!” A man appeared, walking towards the group. He had on a red lab coat, black pants, and wore small goggles. Most of all, his handlebar mustache did nothing to hide his evil grin. And on his right hand sat a familiar ring.
“That ring...” Negi stared in horror.
“All to darkness, everything which returns! The border between darkness and light, creation and destruction, open your door for me!” The mad scientist before them stopped walking, almost as if he was waiting for an opportunity. He suddenly thrust his hand out, the ring gleaming brightly. “TEL MA... AMORIS!”
Now the Chaos Emeralds had their vacuum of death on Cygnus... imagine if that spell worked on everyone else. Which it did, much to the glee of that doctor. “Negi Springfield! Rebecca Miyamoto! Allow me to show you how the REAL Eggman does his business!” His sinister but stereotypical evil laughter echoed as all the others were drawn into the maddening darkness. “I do have to thank your partners' carelessness, otherwise I'd never believe how easy it was! So MY POKEYMANS! LET ME SHOW YOU THEM!”
Too busy being scrambled by the mad doctor into some strange dimension, Negi only screamed in response. There appeared to be no stopping the real Eggman. Just how long will he remain undefeated?
xxxx
Misora gazed into the dark portal, standing alone before it. She had cursed herself for losing that ring, oh, how Rei would kill her... To make matters worse, she felt like something terrible had just happened (which it did, ahehehehehe). “Dammit... if only I could do something!”
The portal suddenly decided to... contract.
And it delivered a massive gift... OF DARKNESS.
The girl's eyes shrank in horror before reality (or what of it exists) kicked back in, and she turned tail and ran for her life. She burst through another door and back into the room where everyone else was still waiting.
“Misora?” Akira blinked. “What's going on?”
“D-d-d-d-d...DARKNESS!” Misora stuttered, fear flooding her common sense a bit. “It's flooding everything! Everyone RUN!”
“Huh?” Kurumi blinked. “What are you...” She looked past Misora, and saw it. The creeping darkness was sliding towards all of them, and it was getting bigger. She shrieked, causing panic to spread amongst those still there. Kurumi ran away, and most everyone else followed suit.
Nodoka, however, still had the burning question. “What happened to Negi-sensei?!”
“I-I don't know!” Misora shot back. “He can't be—!”
Rei landed down from her perch, rubbing her forehead. Strangely enough she showed little outward signs of panic. “You idiots... it's the work of that doctor. He's finally here.” She turned to the others. “Leave this to me!”
“B-b-but—!” Nodoka began.
“Nodoka-san, let's GO!” Kaede swooped back with ninja-like style, picking up the girl firmly before turning tail to catch up with everyone else who was fleeing.
“NEGI-SENSEI!” Nodoka cried, reaching out futilely.
“Misora-san!” Rei barked. “Save your own hide while you can!”
“Lawl no.” Was the simple response.
“...” Rei stared mutely.
“This is all my fault...” Misora sunk at the thought, but with that truth out there. “I started this mess... well kind of. Let me clean it up! Or at least try to!”
Rei turned around, the smirk returning to her face. “You know Chao's probably gonna kill you, right?”
“Probably.”
“And that this darkness is a one-way ticket. Only they can save us now.”
“Yeah.”
“Heheheheh, even so... you'd throw your life away to save the world?”
“Now would I?”
“The fact that you're still here says yes...” Rei struck a badass pose as the darkness swallowed them both, the expansion of the psychotic dimension drawing them into another world. Misora followed suit with the badass pose. I mean, might as well. “So let the real final chapters begin.”
xxxx
“Even now the fate of our dimension rests in the hands of teenagers,” Dean Konoe stroked his beard, looking at the setting sun and unsettling dark air forming around Library Island. “Didn't that RPG cliché list teach them anything?! How come nobody OLD gets to save the universe?!” He sighed. “I guess it cannot be helped.” He turned slightly to his two visitors. “I'm trusting you two can help Negi-kun solve this incident. Go.” As soon as the words left his mouth, the mysterious duo disappeared in a blue streak. He went back to gazing at the sky, stroking his beard.
-?-&!
“Well my jolly readers! My plan has gone without a hitch, and it's high time that I get to take over the world! OOOHHOOHOOHOO! But first, I'm going to make you take the ultimate suffering and learn about the history of a certain doofus swan! Next time: 'Trembling with Hatred in the Game of Madness!' By Dr. 'Eggman' Robotnik! What's a 'Gensokyo'? You don't know?! Get ready to be schooled.”
 
Chapter 8
Chapter 10

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