This Chapter, well came in bits and pieces, at least the second half came while I was writing the last chapter. Anyways, enjoy it and like always don't own nothing but my character and musing.

Chapter 5: Taking Care of Business

Moments after Konoka had made her contract, a glow surrounded us all. So then, the fight isn't over yet with the gremlin, at least that would be my guess, then round 2? As the glow brightened, I swear that for a moment, there was someone approaching our group down the hallway that we were in. Yet, that could be me worrying about nothing, since the light of the spell blinded us and all the scenery changed around us.

When the glow died down, we looked around and found that we weren't at Mahora Academy anymore. By what I could see, it appeared that we were in Wales England, around an area that Negi had played while he was a child. However, there was something off about this, which led me to believe this was an illusion, a convincing one yes, but nonetheless, still an imitation in the end. One glance at Negi, told me that he felt the difference like I was, so I leaned down to his level, "Hey Negi, any thoughts as to what we're dealing with, since I don't doubt you know this isn't Wales as much as I do." I commented.

"By what I can tell, we are facing subornation magic," Negi answered me.

"Okay, then what does that imply as to our opponent?" I inquired.

"That we are either facing a vampire or this has something to do with the star crystal." Negi replied.

Neither of the ideas were appealing in my view, have had some experience with vampires, recently in fact in the form of Evangeline. Whereas this star crystal sounded like trouble that I wanted to avoid like a plague, it reminds me far too much like the Philosopher stone for my liking or peace of mind. Our situation worsened, when it became clear that we weren't alone and found that the gremlin was back and wasn't going to be any friendlier than before. The fairy wasn't by itself this time, there were three others with it.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that the three with the fairy, were students of Negi and me. the one with brown medium length hair was… Yuma Akashi… no, that doesn't sound right, know her last name is Akashi, but the first name I can't recall. The middle girl with light brown hair with a pony tail in the back, was I believe Kaede Nagase, her name was easier to remember than others. Then there was the orange-ish color hair, not as orange as Asuna's, but think her name is Hasegawa or something like that.

Shifted into a defensive fighting stance out of habit as both Negi and I made sure that we stood in front of the four girls behind us. Negi quickly realized as I had, that as things were, we would be facing three of our students and might have to hurt them to help them, "No, girls what are you doing?" he cried.

"Oh please," said Miss Akashi.

"It's no use, they already belong to me." Continued Miss Nagase, without skipping a beat.

"Your words cannot reach them," finished Miss Hasegawa.

Hmm, that was awkward and somewhat strange, three girls talking yet, speaking as if they were one person. Guess that's the gremlin's way of speaking… my question would be why?

Negi pointed his staff at the trouble maker, "I don't understand you, what do you want and why involved them in this?" he demanded.

I kept my focus on the gremlin and the girls, who I saw all had a large blade with them, but I did give Negi advice, "Don't waste your time Negi, unlikely that we'll get an answer that makes sense or tells the real reason. Villains rarely, if ever have the curtesy to do that," I said, reaching for one of my mythril rod.

"Oh come on," began Miss Akashi.

"What do you think," Posed Miss Nagase.

"Please, they did nothing wrong," pleaded Negi.

I grumbled at Negi's naïveté, locking my gaze onto the gremlin as it's the one speaking, even if through the girls. "Obviously, you intend to use our students against us… I take it as a means to cause suffering on our part?" I inquired flatly.

The gremlin… gave a creepy smile, "You're correct, and," started Hasegawa.

Then it switched over to Akashi, "I will not."

"Be letting," continued Nagase.

This kept going with Hasegawa, "Them go."

"Until you," said Akashi.

"Suffer greatly," finished Nagase.

The pain was evident on Negi's face, and I wasn't feeling good about the possibility of having to potentially hurt those I'm responsible for. The girls began to laugh like they had talked, switching between one another as they did so.

"They're going Stepherd!" exclaimed the rat.

What he had said, made no sense to me, who or what is Stepherd? And to what is the white rat referring to when he says that anyways? Made my thoughts vocal instead of just wondering, "What does that even mean rat… never mind!" I asked in a slightly annoyed tone, waving off Chamomile.

Negi got to doing his thing by invoking the contracts of all three of his partners at once, which would either be a tad impressive or a serious kick to the rear. I kept watching as the contracts and with a poof of smoke, out came an unexpected sight. Asuna… well, she wasn't in the armor with large cleaver in hand, she appeared to be a pig with her face on it. Then you have Nodoka, who… looked like a seal? Quite different from the glasses and book in hand like I had seen the last time, again with her face on the front of the 'seal'. Finally, there was Konoka, who looked to have turned into a koala, pretty cute actually were I to tell the truth. However, I believe this fall under the 'a serious kick to the rear', yet I would rephrase it to 'a money shot to the family jewels' to get my point across in this.

"Shoot, the dud card for all three," cried Chamomile.

Couldn't help the sigh that escaped me, "Don't know if I should find this sort of cute, or just down right sad to see. Still, tell me ya white rat, you said before now, that picking the 'dud card' has something like a one out of ten chance of happening. So then, what's the probability of picking three at the same time?" I questioned.

Didn't receive an answer to my question, but I hadn't asked it to get one, had done it to shut up the rat really. We were in a rather problematic set of circumstances and the two cents of an idiot wasn't needed right now. The reality was brought back to us as the controlled girls spoke up again, "They really do present," began Hasegawa.

"A rather terrifying force," Akashi kept going.

"Come on, hit me with your best shot, fire away," completed Nagase.

The three had a laughing fit, switching between each other once more. But then, Asuna, Nodoka and Konoka started mimicking them like children trying to be funny. So, not only does their appearance change to being childish, their mental processes do as well, that's rather troubling.

"Cute girls, now hows about we focus," hollered the rat.

"Start praying!" shouted Hasegawa, then the three controlled girls charged forward at our group.

Reacted immediately, clapped my hands together and then slammed them to the ground, causing the rock to shoot upward. This forced the puppeted students to come to a halt for a moment, which I took to back up to where everyone was. Negi began chanting a spell as I did, "Like sand dancing on the wind, like foam melting into the water, hide us now in darkness, Telma Amoreista!" he chanted.

There was a flash and everything around vanished for a bit, but as when a spell is done on me, things didn't happen the way any thought. The next time I opened my eyes, found myself somewhere else in this 'Wales forest', no one else was around me… great. Fell to my knees, but I managed to stabilize myself and regained my bearings. Would seem Negi's spell had an unexpected affect with me, which is one of the biggest standing issues that I have with elemental manipulation, it doesn't do the same thing to me that it does to others, very unpredictable. Don't doubt that 'Truth' laughs his head off every time a 'spell' is used on me and I get a ridiculous result! Oh well, might as well start walking as I have little else to do right now. Plus, would be best to find the others as quickly as possible, there's safety in numbers, and I've learned the truth of that statement the hard way.

Hadn't been walking for more than five minutes, when I heard noise from ahead me. I looked carefully in front and out of the greenery came three figures, followed by a fourth and smaller figure. The figures were my three students that were being controlled along with the gremlin controlling them. "It's you three again, today keeps getting better at making my life more non-dull," I muttered to myself.

Transmuted two of my rods into swords, one a katana-type, the other a cutlass and then took up a defensive stance. The fairy looked at me for a long moment, then… I think snubbed me off, or something like that.

"You aren't the one," said Akashi.

"Although it wouldn't matter," continued Nagase.

"Should you disappear," finished Hasegawa.

It's kind of annoying to have to listen to this little punk use three of my students to speak for it, though it's clear now that Negi is this fairy's target, the plot thickens! "Then, your master has an issue with Negi then, do they?" I posed.

The fairy stopped and turned back to face me, "What is it to you?" Asked Akashi.

"Call it my scientific curiosity getting the better of me. As far as I know, there's not really anyone that has made it clear that they have anything against Negi before. So, makes me wonder what Negi unknowingly did to tick someone off enough to want him to suffer. The kid is so naïve that he wouldn't do something to slight someone knowingly," I answered.

"It isn't any," Nagase began.

"Of your business," said Hasegawa.

A frown came across my face, for reply I was given by this gremlin through my students, irked me. Not only were my students, who's safety is my responsibility to an extent, being put in danger. Negi is also being targeted by someone who clearly knows him as the scenery says, and that doesn't sit well with me at all. I pinned the fairy with my gaze, "Then guess what, you trouble making gremlin or whatever you are, I'm making this my business right here, right now!" I stated firmly in the form of a challenge.

The air all around screamed of an impending fight and I was ready, the grip I had on both my swords tightened a little. But then, the fairy and the girls suddenly turned on the spot and ran away, leaving me where I stood. Of course, I chased after them, had put my two swords through loops on my hips and charged after them. With how I'd confirmed that their target was my young friend Negi, there was no way that I would just stand by and let that happen and do nothing!

The sight ahead of me, became a castle, one that's in England I had been around and so had Negi. As I got closer I to the castle, the sound of fighting was heard and I picked up my running pace. A screech, likely from the gremlin pierced the quiet by the time I reached the castle gate. The portcullis was down, barring the way forward, wasting no time, brought my hands together and then touched the portcullis. The second I made contact with the bars, they shattered into pieces, blasting forward, leaving the gateway clear for me.

Kept homing in on where I was hearing the clashing of weapons and the other sounds of fighting. But along the way, I was forced to parry with my cutlass an incoming attack that came from Miss Kaede. While she kept on the pressure, Akashi came from above and came at me, yet I blocked her with my katana. Then putting forth some real effort, I pushed forward and sent both girls backward. The reason I'm not doing more direct blows, I was attempting to avoid hurting any of the three girls, since obviously, it's not their fault they're fighting me, the one responsible would be that annoying gremlin.

Yet, after landing, all three girls turned away from me and headed further into the castle. I once more, charged after them, but this time, they were able to lose me or I lost them… same result in the end really. So, I was forced to wander the hallways, looking for something to work with to find where Negi or anyone else was. For a few minutes walking, not finding anything that helped me, that's until an explosion came from ahead me. Rushed forward in the direction of the explosion, as such noise do tend to denote danger and that's what I'm looking for at the moment. Believe I will find the rest of the party that I had been with when I go towards danger, counterintuitive I know, but that's how it goes.

Saw a doorway in front and without hesitation, burst through the doorway and found myself looking at quite the scene. Negi and the girls that had been with us were still with him now and they were facing the none other than the gremlin and the three controlled girls. My young friend had transformed all three of his partners. Asuna was in the red outfit with armor like she had used against Eva before. Nodoka was in… some sort of witch looking outfit, best way I can think to describe it, also had four books floating around her. Konoka well, she was sporting a priestess look and seemed to have… some sort of wooden stick thing in her hands. The gremlin had a large tree behind it and the three controlled girls were standing on different branches from one another.

The trouble maker signaled to attack Negi and co, to which, I was surprised to observe Nodoka somehow accurately say to the other how each attack came. While the battle was going, I glanced over and realized two things; I was completely unnoticed by all in the room, and that the gremlin was sitting watching the battle lazily, letting the girls it controlled do all the work.

Well, think it's high time that gremlin gets moving, or else it will be made into a salad by me! I reached to the back of my belt, grabbed one of the vials that I had mixtures that ranged in their volatility. Picked the one I wished to use and brought it forward, the vial was sealed shut as they all were. The mixtures as volatile as they were, only became that way when they came into contact with oxygen which is in the air. I tossed the vial in the direction of the gremlin, who didn't even see the glass tube spinning towards itself. Once it was close enough by my view, I snapped my fingers at it, causing the glass vial to crack, exposing the liquid inside. The effect was quick to come, for less than a second after the liquid mixed with oxygen, the reaction was a concussive blast to occur. The bang not only caught the trouble maker off guard, it sent it tumbling sideways from the blast's force.

I didn't stop there, oh no! That blast gave me inspiration, and though I'm not as good as Mustang is, I'm not too shabby at fire alchemy. Pointed a finger at the gremlin and snapped my fingers and a fiery explosion engulfed the punk. It screamed as flames surrounded it, while I advanced forward, making my way up the tree, dodging the attacking limbs as I went. Used alchemy to get closer along with my blades, the gremlin was getting more vicious as I came closer to it. However, I got close enough to throw and land a punch on the plant fairy with my left arm and sent the gremlin flying towards the ground.

Made my way down, using branches and vines to get towards the ground without hurting or killing myself in the process. Along my way, I saw the battle wasn't going nicely, as Asuna, Nodoka and Konoka were captured by the tree. Yet, Negi had apparently, made a contract with Setsuna and she now had wings and was in a samurai's outfit. When I was a short distance from the ground and in range of the fairy, I leapt out towards it. Negi was coming from below on his staff, charging up a spell, while I was snapping my fingers again and again, making blast after blast happen around the gremlin. My work kept the trouble maker in a small area and Negi was going straight for it. Then through our combined efforts, Negi got the fairy in his spell, changing it into what looked like an oddly shaped crystal.

I touched down to the ground, right leg first to take the impact better, then glanced around to see how things stood. Negi was smiling at me, in thanks for the help, but as we approached each other, the scenery began to disappear around us. Looking behind us, we saw that the three girls trapped by the tree began to fall. Negi zoomed forward on his staff and caught Nodoka, but that's only one out of three. I'd sprinted forward just after Negi had zoomed passed me, but now I had to make the choice about whom I would get under to catch. Asuna and Konoka were falling close together, yet by the time they would be close to the ground they would be far enough apart that I couldn't receive both before they hit the ground. Setsuna, made a valiant attempt to grab Konoka's hand as she fell, but she missed, yet caught Asuna's arm.

That helped me decide which way to go, managed to get myself under Konoka and catch her in my arms. Was kind of surprised how light Konoka felt to me, though I can lift far more than would be proportional to my weight… long story as to why. Looked over the girl and felt relief to see that she wasn't hurt in some obvious way. Setsuna put down Asuna and then rushed over to me, panicking about whether Konoka was okay. Took me some time to reassure the girl that Konoka was uninjured and calm her down a little.

It was at that point that I noted that we were in the room that we had been in before being drawn into whatever that fake Wales had been. My gaze fell on the three girls that had been controlled by the gremlin, lying a short distance from where the rest of us were. Also saw that they were starting to wake up as well, looking around, appearing to be confused about where they were and what was going on. However, they seemed not to remember what they had done or had even been aware that they had been controlled by another. They left shortly after waking up, "Well well, look at this, appears like you've been witnessed performing magic Negi," said an annoying voice that was grating to me now.

Turned and saw as I figured from hearing the voice, Shigimi and Matsu both with grins that only tattle tales have when they are doing their work of telling on another. "You know what that means Negi!" Shigimi sang.

I carefully set down Konoka, laying her against the nearest wall and then walked over to be behind the two who have been so intent on calling Negi out. "Oh indeed, we will report you to the magic academy," said Matsu.

Grabbed the two, Shigimi in my right hand and Matsu in my left, brought them up to my eye level and glared at them, "I've lost count of how many times I've told you that you're in no position to tattle on anyone else, when you're far guiltier. So, if you don't want me to tell all about you, then shut your mouths," I growled at the two.

Kept Shigimi and Matsu in my grip, drew back my arms before I continued, "Now then, have a nice trip with your flight, which departs now!" I said before throwing both Shigimi and Matsu through the closest window and watched them as they flew a good distance with the force that I threw them with.

Spun around and went back to where I had placed Konoka and picked her back up. Decided that it would be gentlemanly of me to carry the girl back to the dorm and room. Looked over at Negi and saw that he was gawking at me, to which an eyebrow of mine rose, "Why are you looking at me like that Negi?" I asked.

"Matthew, why did you do that?" Negi questioned in shock.

I stared at my young friend, "Seriously Negi, those two were about to rat you out, which would lose your credentials as a wizard! Yet, you still defend those two, when their goal is to get you to fail the exam that you're doing? Negi, you're being too nice for your own good, those two are not here to help you in anyway, understand that," I reasoned.

Left Negi there, not listening to his reply and carried Konoka back towards the third-year dorm, Setsuna wasn't far behind me. She started as silent, but didn't stay so for long, "Professor Selvess, weren't you a little harsh with Professor Springfield?"

I sighed, "It may seem that way however, it's not that way. Negi is a smart kid, but he's still just that, a kid and is a very trusting one at that. I admire that he's a kind-hearted and trusting boy, but I'm what most would call a more realistic thinker. As such, I'm well aware that people are not like Negi see and believes they are. Negi believes that all people can be reasoned with and that there are no truly evil people, very childish view, but that's how he is. There are those that will take advantage of Negi's innocent view and use him for their own purposes." I iterated to Setsuna.

Setsuna appeared to be thinking upon what I said as we walked the rest of the way to the dorm and to Asuna's and Konoka's room. I set Konoka down on the bottom bunk of the bunkbed, she still hadn't woken up yet. But, I left Setsuna there to watch after her and trudged back to where I had left Negi.

-Scene Change-

Evening came, and as it was Thursday and the scuffle we were involved in, it meant for me a particular event was to take place as it had almost every other day. One thing I have to state, that can be considered a short coming of Negi's, he hates baths. And it's to the point that he avoids them and neglects his personal hygiene. So, it has come down to me tracking him down at least three nights a week, usually Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday being the normal nights I end out doing so and make sure he gets his bath.

Most would think that after a week or two of me doing this consistently, Negi would learn that he wouldn't be able to get out of taking a bath as I'll see that he takes one period. But no, Negi still tries each of time this event comes around, to get away from me and out of being forced to take a bath, he still has yet to succeed. I don't intend or foresee that changing in the future, I will make sure of it.

I grabbed one of my longer mythril rods along with a small drum of sturdy cord and left my room, beginning the hunt for the kid that was trying to run from me. Wondered leisurely down the hallways of the dorm, whistling as I went, looking for signs that Negi had been around. It was down the hall that Asuna's and Konoka's room was down, which was the room that Negi stayed in, that I got the first sign. Smirked as I looked down the hall carefully and heard the rat's voice, decided that Negi was hiding out in 'his' room. I backtracked to the doorway that led to the large common room in the dorm building, since Negi would have to go through here to get out of the dorm itself. Climbed up to the second-floor walkway and out on a beam above the doorway Negi would come through, that I had made through transmutation weeks earlier.

Tied one end of the cord to the end of my mythril rod and then let the rest stretch downward towards the ground below. I held the rod like a fishing pole and sat on the beam and leaned back against the wall behind it and waited. Didn't have to wait all that long when I heard a door open and close, and I smiled. I looked down and saw a head of red hair came into view and I adjusted where the cord fell to be just behind where Negi was. When I lowered the cord to where I wanted, I snapped my fingers and the cord wrapped itself around Negi in a second and then I yanked upward on my 'pole'. Negi yelped as he flew upward and was wrapped tighter as he sailed to the same level that I was waiting.

Once the boy came to face me, he gained an expression of fear, "Evening Negi, where might you be going at this hour?" I inquired with a slight smile.

Negi looked panicked, "Um… well, you see Matthew…" he began.

He stopped once he saw the knowing look I gave him, "It's Thursday Negi, you should be aware what that means by now, right? And then, with all that went on today, well you should know what was coming." I posed in an amused tone.

Negi paled, "Matthew… please, you know how much I hate them." he begged.

Shook my head, "Nope, not a good excuse Negi, you will learn the necessity of personal hygiene, whether I have you learn it by force or you choose to do it. We have been going through this since the first week up till now, would have hoped that you would understand by now that I will not back down on this." I stood up and brought my mythril pole over the back of my shoulder with Negi bound to it now and walked over to the second-floor walkway. "Plus, Nekane did ask me to make sure you kept decently clean while we're here. So, with that in mind, time for us to head for the bath Negi!"

Negi began to complain and struggle as I calmly made my way to back to the first floor, yet as I was going down the stairs, I snapped my fingers again tapped Negi and his collar shifted to cover his mouth, silencing him somewhat. If I was seen, with Negi, who was now close to fully bound to my long rod, then some might get the wrong idea and I don't want to have to deal with that. But luck was on my side tonight, since around two weeks ago, I had laid down a rule that dictated and clarified the hours when the communal bath would be available and to whom. On the nights that I 'forced' Negi to have a bath, I made sure the bath was usable by Negi and myself until 9pm. I always left the hour before open, as there have been a couple of times that Negi does evade me for a bit, never gets away though.

So, most of the dorm tenants were in their rooms, I would hope doing school work, but can't say for sure with any of them. Anyways, I reached the changing room to the communal bath, Negi still caught. I set the kid down gently in the middle of the room, turned and made it so the door was 'locked'… neat what alchemy can do, I'll tell you! Once that was done, I snapped my fingers then touched the cord binding Negi, which loosened and fell to the floor. Negi instantly backed away from me, yet I walked forward towards him, even as he backed away from me. The rat, lunged in my direction to attack me. I side-stepped and caught him in mid-air, grabbed the small metal box I hid in here earlier, chucked the white rat in, before I transmuted bars into place to keep the pervert contained.

Refocused back on Negi, who was panicking and was trying to open the door I locked. I sighed, "You won't get through that door Negi, the doorframe will give way before the door will. I know how to lock a door by an alchemic seal and that don't come undone without canceling the seal first. Now then Negi, STRIP BOY! It's time for your bath and those clothes are in the way," I commanded, taking off my own shirt.

Negi whined and tried to get away from me, but, I merely frowned, before striding forward, grabbing the kid and started peeling off the clothes from his body. Honestly, for Negi being a 'prodigy' and a 'genius', he's such a kid when it comes to things like this. Had him naked in a little over a minute of his struggling against my right hand stripping him. After he was done, I got the rest of my clothes off with one hand still holding Negi, preventing him from running. The rat was rattling his 'cage' I put him in, but that 'box' was strong, made it myself, and so it kept Chamomile from interfering.

I carried Negi by one arm and dragged him through the door to the bath, he was complaining the whole way, yet I ignored that. The communal bath, was made up of four baths overall, two large ones that looked more like swimming pools, one of which has a small area closed off. The other two were circular pools that were moderately sized and had other 'features' that the other two didn't. The closest wall, had washing stations to work with and that's where I headed for first. Plopped Negi down on a stool, held him down to the stool with my right hand and grabbed shampoo with my left. "Negi, close your eyes and don't open them until I say so, unless you want to have shampoo in your eyes, like you got the last few times," I said, before lathering Negi's hair up.

Began scrubbing the kid's scalp while his complaining lessened, I exhaled heavily, "Man Negi, you act like such a kid with the simplest of things, even if you're a genius with what you do." I remarked tiredly.

"I am not a kid," Negi shot back.

I paused for a moment, looked down at Negi, then snorted, "First of all, physically speaking, you are a child still, mentally I give you it's a different matter. However, emotionally, you've been proving otherwise this evening my young friend. Being an adult does mean that you do things that are needed even when you don't like the activity. Personal hygiene is something that would be considered as a need," I returned.

Kept washing and cleaning Negi, until he was clean, kid had a good deal of dirt from dealing with that gremlin earlier. Once he was rinsing himself off, I got down to washing myself as I had also gotten dirtier than usual today. Got done by the time Negi was done rinsing, and I turned to him, "Say Negi, that 'fairy' as you called it, I believe it was targeting you, meaning that whomever it was representing has an issue with you." I commented.

Negi stared at me, as I dumped a bucket of water over myself, "What do you mean Matthew?" he questioned.

I rose and Negi followed me to the closer pool of warm water and sunk into the water. My prosthetics are waterproof, so I had nothing to fear, much like my automail had been. Let out a contented sigh, before I answered Negi's question, "When we were separated, came across the gremlin and those it controlled at the time. They pretty much admitted that I wasn't the one that they were after, which leaves you. Never got to them telling me why you were who they wanted, but I doubt that gremlin will be the only one we see."

Negi hummed his agreement to my final statement, meaning that we at least agreed that more trouble was going to be coming our way. My attention shifted as the sound of female voices came to my ears from not too far away. Not all that worried at the moment, I posted the rule about bath usage on the common room bulletin board long enough ago that all should have read it by now. That would mean that they should know that until 9pm, the bath is off limits. So, I leaned back and enjoyed the feeling of the warm water relaxing my muscles from a long day.

There then came a dull thud and minutes later, the door to the bath complex slid open, "…No clue why the door wouldn't open," said a familiar teenage voice.

Negi and I turned our heads back towards the door, into the huge room that the baths occupy, came four girls. Those girls would be none other than; Asuna, who was in the lead, Konoka right behind her, Setsuna next to Konoka and Nodoka bring up the rear. And, with this being a bath, the girls only had towels in their arms and nothing else, much like Negi and I were sporting. Now what my question is, had any of these girls looked at the bulletin board and if so, what were they doing?! If they hadn't, then who is it that led them into this? My impressions of the girls here, told me that all but Asuna would have looked at the board by this time and would have read the rule. So, what is all of this, and how did they get past the door that I alchemically sealed?! That's no small or simple task to get through such… please tell me she didn't damage the frame around the door?!

Not saying that the girls don't have nice bodies or anything like that, after all they're developing young women, some more than others. Nevertheless, I don't have an interest in that kind of relationship at this time and I have well-practiced self-control. I cleared my throat to get everyone's attention, "Ladies, you should be aware that it isn't 9pm yet, so the bath isn't open to you right now," I stated flatly.

All the girls stared at Negi and me for a good minute. Nodoka blushed a deep red and turned around, muttering words I couldn't hear clearly enough to identify properly. Konoka merely smiled a bit, making me think she saw nothing wrong with them being in here while Negi and I are. Meanwhile, Setsuna's expression informed me that she wasn't pleased with being as exposed as she was with Negi and me in the room. Then last of all, Asuna had the worst reaction out of the four, and started screeching at us. …Seriously, all I wanted was to have a nice relaxing soak after the day of hard work that today had been. I had thought I could do two things at once and get Negi to have a bath since it's one of the usual nights he gets one and he needed it. But no, I get one of my students screaming at me about how much a pervert I am for being in a women's bath, when she shouldn't be in here right now anyways according to the rules that I, the dorm manager set.

When Asuna paused to take a breath, I put my defense in and will be heard, "Asuna, apparently, you should glance at the common room bulletin board a little more often. There was a rule posted almost two weeks ago, stating that the hours of usage for the baths were changed and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the bathing facilities aren't open until 9pm and it hasn't gotten that late yet." I iterated.

Asuna didn't appear to believe me, but Konoka then spoke up, "Asuna, we tried to tell you that the time that the bath was available had changed, but you kept waving us off by saying no one would make such stupid rules." She began.

I gave Asuna a stern expression, "Stupid rule you say Asuna, well sorry that my attempt to minimize the chance of Negi and myself bathing with any of those living in the dorm is so dumb. But, as the dorm manager, I have the authority to make such rules, deal with it," I returned.

Asuna looked confused at what I had said, "Wait, did you say that you're the dorm manager?!" she exclaimed.

I nodded in reply, before Konoka started lecturing her roommate about her manners or lack thereof. I just shook my head and returned to soaking, yet Negi then spoke to me in a volume that the girls didn't hear. "Matthew, I was thinking, perhaps you should mention your metal limbs before one of them discovers them by mistake."

Stared at Negi for a good ten seconds, "I see no reason to bring up the point that I have two artificial limbs, they don't need to know, so why tell them something they will overreact about." I replied.

Thought that would be the end of this rendition of Negi's insistence of telling others more than they need to know. However, Negi wouldn't drop the subject of talking about my prosthetics and he wouldn't let me ignore it this time. I know that Negi is curious about my past and I have told him nicely that my past wasn't a subject up for telling or discussing. Yet, Negi has brought it up from time to time and so he does again, kid doesn't take a hint. I don't hate him or get mad at him for doing so, nonetheless, I dislike when he does bring up the subject. However, with the stress that had been building since we had gotten here, anger flared up in me. My feelings showed in the form of annoyance, "Negi, it's nice of you to be concerned about me, but this ISN'T your business," I got out with only a little anger showing itself before I reined it in. My arms had come up and had been making motions to help get across my point of my prosthetics aren't anyone's business but mine.

Negi and I were up standing while facing each other, it made more of a difference with me than Negi due to the fact that I'm taller. Nevertheless, the lengthening silence got me and Negi to glance back at the girls who had stopped sniping at one another. Noticed them staring at Negi and I, or really more at me, their gazes ranging between my left arm and the pieces that connected and supported my shoulder port. I frowned and sighed, "Well… I guess that settles the matter, not the way I would've liked, but still." I muttered.

"What the heck is up with your arm and all that other junk?!" exclaimed Asuna.

Got to say, some serious lack of tact Asuna has as well as manners, doesn't she? I didn't reply to the question, nor her comment about the 'junk' as she called my shoulder port, its housing and anchoring struts. Saw no reason to say anything in response, even if they haven't seen anything like what I have due to the… mistake Maria and I had made so long ago.

Made my way out of the water, still heard Negi speaking, "Girls, this is not what you think," he said in an attempt to explain.

And he had wanted me to just tell them, probably thinking that they wouldn't react like this. I knew that they would react with shock, it's normal, has happened more times than I can count anymore. I hauled myself out of the pool and didn't miss the gasp that I think came from Nodoka, no doubt from viewing my right leg. Didn't pay any attention to them, rather decided to go to the largest pool and get in. Started swimming some laps to take my mind off the commotion that Negi and the girls were making.

Yet, after ten minutes, the noise didn't stop, so I took that to mean it wouldn't for a while. That being said, I went back to the changing room and dried myself off with a towel. I had got on my pants, before I grabbed the cage I had put the rat in and looked inside, only to have Chamomile lunge and strike the bars with a nice sounding clang. "Now now dirty white rat, you're in this cage because I don't trust that when left to your own devices, you would behave yourself like Negi thinks you would. I know better and you've proven to me that you can't be trusted," I said.

Chamomile bristled at me, "You do this cause your jealous of me!" he spat at me.

I was taken aback, before I laughed, "Jealous? Hardly Chamomile, you've shown me that you're a pervert and those types aren't trustworthy at all in my book. So then, I recommend that you listen to what I'm about to tell you, for your own well-being if anything else." I stated, before making sure the rat was looking at me, "Should I hear or learn of you practicing your perverted tenancies, then I'll not ignore such things. No," I continued, before my voice became serious and cold, "I'll tie you down and… oh what's the term these days? Ah yes, neuter, that's right, I'll neuter you and do so the old fashion way by just cutting yours off!" I hissed through my teeth.

Chamomile's eyes widened at my statement, "You… you wouldn't dare!" he challenged, but he didn't sound all that confident in what he said.

I grinned a bit, "You think that do you? Willing to bet yours on that? Well then, so that you understand how serious I am, when I slowly slice off your male dignity, you will have nothing to dull the pain when I'm doing the cutting!" I stated in close to a growl. The rat was shaking at what I had told him, but I kept going, "That's right you dirty white rat, you'll feel all the pain of being sterilized and having your ability of producing offspring taken away from you," I growled. Then my tone of voice changed to being calm and collected, "So, keep that in mind with those thoughts of yours. And don't count on Negi being able to cover for you or get you out of this, he won't."

After delivering my threat, I dropped the box, snapped my fingers before doing so, making the bars retract, letting Chamomile go wherever he wanted. The message had been given in a way that the rat understood should he misbehave. So, he knows what the consequences are and he will not enjoy them. I put my shirt back on, before heading back to my room and retired for the night, knowing that this wasn't the end of another finding out about my prosthetics by a long shot.

Chapter end


Will be leaving off there. So as it goes, some have found out about Matthews… 'unique' standing, see how that goes as this story continues. Please some take the time to write a review and tell me what you think. Thanks all and peace out!