Kingdom Hearts: Sin Angel

Episode 7: Magister Negi Magi

"You guys okay?" Cygnus asked Sora. The now nine-strong group walked onwards to the Kansai Mansion.

"Yeah," Sora gave a small smile in response to Cygnus's concern. "Thanks to Nodoka we were able to fight off that Kotarou guy. Are you guys okay?"

"Heh heh, sure," Cygnus grinned slightly. "Setsuna and I managed to hold our own until Sonic bailed us out."

"Sonic's been actin' a bit weird," Sora scratched his head, a worried look on his face. "Granted, I've only seen him a couple of times, but something seems off about him."

"Maybe you're feelin' that way because he works for the Sin Angel," Cygnus shrugged. "I don't really blame you, but he still seems like the Sonic I always knew."

"I guess…" Sora sighed.

Our heroes had arrived. The Kansai Mansion loomed large and silent against the mountains. The forest only made the mansion even more imposing. So a majority of the people were surprised when Konoka suddenly smiled and rushed ahead. "Let's go!" She cheered.

"Wait a second, Konoka!" Cygnus sputtered. "That's the enemy stronghold!"

"Something's coming out!" Asuna readied her card. Sora followed suit with his Keyblade.

All at once, several ladies appeared in two rows besides the walkway, each in Kansai robes. They bowed as all spoke at once, "We've been waiting for you, Negi Springfield-sensei, Sora-san, Cygnus-san."

"Say what?" Sora and Cygnus asked, their eyes shrinking in surprise. The others, sans Konoka, only blinked.

Konoka smiled.

"I've heard about you from the Mahora Campus's Principal," Negi looked further up to see a middle-aged man in more elaborate robes step forward. "The Keyblade Masters, too. I am the Kansai Magic Association's leader, Konoe Eishun."

"Konoe?" Sora asked. "Then that means…"

"It's been a while, dad!" Konoka plastered the great leader with a gentle hug.

"Konoka's father is indeed the leader of the Kansai Magic Association," Setsuna answered the now obvious question.

"WHHAAAA?.!" The others gasped in surprise.

Asuna continued, "Why didn't you tell us this earlier?"

"I'm sorry," Setsuna apologized. "I thought Konoka-ojou-sama would be in more danger if she were close to home… but my plan in Cinema Town backfired. It looks like we'll be safe here."

"Whew, we can finally relax," Donald gave a sigh or relief.

----

Once inside and settled, the group gathered around as Negi delivered the envelope containing the letter… his supposed "secret mission" during the entire field trip.

Eishun opened it. Among a few formal letters was something posted in front.

Can't you even control your own henchmen? Get a grip, son-in-law!

Hmph.

Headmaster Konoe Konoemon

Father-in-law is harsh, as usual, Eishun mentally noted. He turned back to Negi. "Well then… By the will of the Chief of the East, we will work to eradicate the differences between the Kantou and Kansai Magic Associations. Good work, Negi Springfield-kun!"

Negi smiled.

"YEAH!" Sora cheered. "Great going, Negi!" Cygnus chuckled merrily.

"Negi-sensei…" Nodoka stared at him adoringly.

"The class might get suspicious with all of us gone though…" Negi thought out loud.

"Don't worry," Eishun smiled. "I can send shikigami clones in your place. Please stay here for the night, as I have a feast prepared for all of you."

"ALL RIGHT!" The group of heroes cheered.

----

"Tch, Slade's gone," Terra noted, annoyed. She, Chigiusa, and Kotarou stood on a very large branch of a tree overlooking Kansai Headquarters.

"And worse yet those brats made it to headquarters," Chigiusa pouted. "Now we can't interfere!"

"Don't worry, Ms. Amagsaki," A voice rang out, dark and sinister. Slade reappeared beside them, followed by Zexion. Slade's one eye narrowed as he continued, "Zexion and I were merely discussing matters. The real game has just begun."

"So how is this going to work!"

Zexion leered at her in a calm, almost creepy manner. "Leave that to me."

----

That evening, everyone had settled down to an enormous feast. Nodoka and Asuna were talking to Donald and Goofy about their previous adventures. Sora and Cygnus on the other hand were pigging out on food, hungry from their adventures earlier that day. Konoka was just out of earshot of both groups, simply happy to be home.

"Setsuna-kun?" Eishun asked, sitting at the head of the table nearby Negi.

The girl approached swiftly and immediately knelt before him. "You wanted to see me, sir!"

He chuckled lightly. "No need to be so formal," This caught the attention of Negi, Sora, and Cygnus, who gathered close around the two. Seeing this, Eishun continued. "Thank you for protecting Konoka for these two years. You have responded to all of my selfish requests well."

"N-no!" Setsuna spoke out, her face flushing slightly red. "Your words are wasted upon me; I've always wanted to protect ojou-sama… but I apologize, I failed today…"

"I heard the story… it seems that she used her powers to heal you completely," He said. "But because nothing happened, I'd say that you're quite fortunate." He turned to Sora. "As well, you seem to have crossed paths with people interested in her safety too."

"Huh?" Sora blinked. Cygnus stood up, dashed over towards Setsuna and knelt alongside her.

"I want to protect Konoka too!" He bellowed a little too loudly. Setsuna attempted to reprimand him, but that failed due to Negi and Sora trying (and failing miserably) to hold back their snickering.

The Kansai leader laughed lightly. "I see." As Cygnus shamefacedly looked up at him, he suddenly said. "My, you do resemble Ansem."

"Ansem!" Sora and Cygnus jumped up in total shock.

"Hehheh, in case you were wondering, yes, that Ansem," he answered. "The man had paid me a visit, seeking knowledge about the legend of the Thousand Master—your father, Negi."

"My father?" Negi asked. "Did you know about the Thousand Master? Do you?"

Eishun's smile went from soft to wry. "That idiot Nagi Springfield… we were inseperable friends!"

Negi stared in amazement. Where he had come from, tales of his father's great feats have reached far and wide, but made him seem untouchable. The fact that he had a close collection of friends seemed even more amazing.

Sora, however, had a different approach. "What did Ansem want to know about the Thousand Master?"

"Ansem inquired of Nagi's house here in Kyoto…" Eishun began.

"Ah, that's what I've been looking for!" Negi exclaimed. "Do you know where it is?"

"As a matter of fact, I do. I can show you the way tomorrow," Eishun informed them.

"We'd be glad to go!" Cygnus said. "Maybe Ansem found something useful at that house."

"Perhaps," Eishun's smile faded as he looked back at Konoka, who was now chatting animatedly with Asuna and Nodoka. "Negi-kun, I'm beginning to doubt how long my daughter can stay safe, not knowing of her own magic power…" He furrowed his brow in deep consternation. "As Konoka is part of the Konoe bloodline, she has amazing magic power… greater than that of the Thousand Master. If power like that could be manipulated, it could spell doom for not just this planet, but possibly many others… at least, that is what Ansem told me."

"I don't mean to be rude," Cygnus interjected, "But you're not just bragging about Konoka's powers, are you?"

Setsuna slapped him.

"Hey, that was my job," Sora pouted.

"It needed a woman's touch," Setsuna replied curtly.

Eishun smiled again. "Ah, reminds me of my earlier days." Though his smile didn't leave, he went back to his serious tone. "I'd thought I'd be able to give Konoka a normal life, so she could be happy. But the day has come… Setsuna, could you discreetly tell Konoka of her magic?"

Setsuna looked slightly daunted, but nevertheless she swallowed and nodded.

-----

The night came…

…and all was peaceful so far.

Sora, Negi, and Asuna walked back from the baths, fully invigorated. Kamo stood perched on Negi's shoulder. "That was nice!" Sora agreed. "It's been a while since I could take a bath like that."

"Uh-huh!" Negi agreed.

"Too bad you still don't like baths," Asuna muttered.

"HEY!"

Sora chuckled. Asuna and Negi's spats were just like that of brother and sister. He thought back to when he used to get into such comical arguments with Riku. Those were the days, he mused.

"Sora. Negi-sensei," Sora turned to see Setsuna, walking towards them.

"Huh? Setsuna?" Sora asked.

"Where is Konoka-ojou-sama?" Setsuna got straight to the point.

Negi stopped his bickering with Asuna to answer her question. "She's in the baths! Why, what do you need?"

Setsuna cleared her throat at the mention of her charge in the baths. "Very well then, I…" However, a sudden shift in the atmosphere caught their attention.

"Huh?" Sora blinked.

A wave of near invisible energy blasted through, their air suddenly becoming violent with magic energy, and then suddenly becoming silent once again, save the small chime from Asuna's bell ornaments in her hair.

"What was that…" Negi began.

"… we just felt?" Asuna finished.

"Negi-kun!" A foot stomped into the scene.

The group turned to see Eishun appear before them… and slowly turn into stone before their eyes. "Chief!" Setsuna exclaimed.

"I put too much faith in the barriers…" He strained as more of his body became stone. "Beware… the silver-haired man… his powers are on a completely different level…" by now, only his face was still unfrozen. "Please… protect… Konoka!"

And he was completely petrified.

"Chief!" Setsuna cried out.

-----

Zexion reappeared on the big tree limb, where Kotarou stood crouched. "It is done."

Kotarou sniffed the air in a dog-like fashion. "I still smell survivors."

"Then distract or kill them."

"Killing innocent people is a waste of my strength," Kotarou growled. "And I already tested Sora."

"I'd thought you say that," A small smile graced Zexion's face. "There is still the other Keybearer."

"Oh? In that case," Kotarou grinned, his sharp nails gleaming in the night. He leapt off the tree and dashed off into the night.

Zexion stood for a moment before disappearing again.

----

"C-C-CURSE IT! I'm turning into stone!" Cygnus twitched in panic. Nodoka only shivered in fear as she saw that Goofy was already completely petrified.

"Stop panicking and sit still!" Donald commanded, weaving magic on himself to undo the petrification. It was chewing up a lot of his strength and concentration, and the dark boy's yammering wasn't helping matters much. At last, completely free, he got to work undoing the others. "I don't know what's happening, but we need to find Sora before we can start unthawing everyone else!"

"R-right!" Nodoka agreed.

"I don't think you'll be freeing people anymore!" A voice rang out, and just as Donald finished healing Cygnus and Nodoka, a dark blur slammed into him and knocked him into the wall, knocking him out cold. "'Sup, lady and the chump," Kotarou greeted the other two. "I've come to take you down!"

"K-Kotarou?.!" Nodoka gasped.

"That's right," Kotarou grinned, baring his fangs. "But I can't have a lady like you getting in a fight and getting hurt, or worse yet, making it easy for the dark chump!" He pulled out a charm. "You stay out of the way like a good girl!" He chucked the charm at her and it burst, unleashing ropes that tied up poor Nodoka and sent her sliding into the corner of the room.

Cygnus's eye twitched at the sight, willing back an unnecessary nosebleed. "I did not need to see that…" As luck would have it, Kotarou took advantage of his distracted state and smashed him with a kick, sending him skidding across the floor. Cygnus cursed, trying to regain strength.

"HA! You're an even bigger chump than Springfield!" Kotarou smiled. "I don't know why you think you even have a chance to match his strength, let alone Sora!"

"Damn you," Cygnus lunged, Keyblade ready. Kotarou blocked his attacks as Cygnus continued to swing his Keyblade at him, rage growing. Kotarou pulled a spin kick that sent the darker-skinned boy to the ground.

"Ha, you call yourself a Keyblade Master," Kotarou sniffed. "Just like I said to Sora, your key ain't nothin' special!" He lunged again.

Cygnus bared his teeth. "YAAHHH!" With speed not seen from him before the dark boy became a dark and almost swan-shaped blur, smashing into the boy with lightning speed. He swung around for a second strike but Kotarou got lucky and managed to deflect the attack with a punch.

Cygnus slid back, Keyblade still ready. Curse it, he's stronger than me! I need to finish this while he still thinks I'm a weaking! The dark boy scampered along the ground as Kotarou summoned a round of dark wolf spirits. Using his speed he evaded the attacks as best he could. Only one shot… He shot towards Kotarou, who aimed his fist for him…

Cygnus struck first. Before Kotarou could even reel back from shock, the older boy pounced on top of him roughly, his Keyblade to dog-demon's neck. "I'm not wasting any more time! Tell me what the hell is going on!"

"Heh heh heh," Kotarou laughed weakly. "You're not a chump after all… but it's a bit late for you to show that off…"

"What do you mean?"

"By now, that Chigiusa woman has already kidnapped the girl… I played my part, my show's over."

"What!" Cygnus yelled. "Konoka's been kidnapped?.! You were just stalling me, weren't you?" He leered harder at the boy. Seeing him in this weak state made Cygnus feel that he wasn't fighting a villain so much as a manipulated boy. "Why are you helping that damn woman anyway?"

"I just signed up so I could pick a fight with the legendary Springfield and the Keyblade Masters…" Kotarou answered, his weak but still dangerous grin on his face. "It's the first time I've been taken down by someone with the same skills as me. And for that, I'm glad."

"Hmph… You sound pretty noble," Cygnus let go of Kotarou and stood up. "If you're still aiming to be a tough guy, take care of Miss Nodoka." And with that, Cygnus sprinted off after to go find the others.

Kotarou sighed, but before he could grumble about his weak state, a blue and black blur dashed in, coming to a stop in front of him.

"What do we have here?" Sonic the Hedgehog grinned, holding a potion of some sort.

----

Chigiusa chuckled sinisterly as she gazed at bound, gagged, and terrified Konoka. The girl's hands were bound in front of her as she lay in her monkey suit's arms. Terra and Zexion stood at either side of them.

"Don't worry, Konoka-ojou-sama, we won't hurt you," Chigiusa talked smoothly to the girl. "We just want to borrow your power for a bit."

However, her talking was cut short as a stern voice bellowed, "Release ojou-sama at once!" Chigiusa and her entourage turned to see Sora, Negi, Asuna, and Setsuna staring her down, weapons drawn. Setsuna stood to the front. "We will not let you get away! This ends here!"

"Tch, you clowns again," Chigiusa smirked. "I can't afford to let you stop us now that we've gone this far. Let me show you the power of the princess," The woman lifted her hands into the air and began to float, gathering magic energy. "Uhn, kiri kiri vajara… uunhatta!"

With this Konoka began to lift into the air, shuddering as if in pain. Her muffled cries were barely heard as she began to glow, and the surrounding ground below the group of good guys began to light up as well. From the depths came a mass of large and powerful Heartless, eyeing the heroes hungrily.

"Damn her, she probably summoned whatever she could with Konoka-san's magic!" Kamo muttered under his breath.

"You can have fun with all these Heartless and demons! See ya!" And with that, Chigiusa and Zexion flew off with Konoka in their clutches.

"Wait!" Setsuna shouted, but as she stepped forward, a large demon stepped in her path.

"I don't think so, girlie," The crow-like demon stared, its beak-like mouth grinning widely and showing serrated teeth. "We came here to fight… and fight we shall!"

"We have no choice," Sora clenched his teeth and prepared his Keyblade. "Bring it, then!"

The creatures lunged. Sora reacted first and smashed down a crowd of Neo Shadows. Asuna swept forward after him, banishing the tougher demons with one powerful sweep of her paper fan. Negi gathered his magic strength, and several arrows of light smashed in Heartless and demons alike.

Setsuna, however, was fighting the most vigorously of them all. No demon or Heartless could stand against her for more than 3 seconds before being sliced down by her powerful sword techniques. Heartless after Heartless fell before the determined group.

But then Setsuna crossed swords with a far more agile crow demon. "I'm impressed, girlie, but I'm tougher than the creatures you fought before," Setsuna strained as she tried to parry his onslaught, but to no avail. Her eyes widened in shock as the demon sniffed the air for a moment before silently declaring, "You smell familiar…" With this Setsuna only fought harder.

Sora was so focused on the Heartless that he failed to notice the large slabs of earth coming towards him until it was almost too late. Ducking out of the way as the pieces of earth indiscriminately destroyed some Heartless, Sora looked up to see Terra. "Don't think you'll be leaving me out of this fight," She grinned snidely as she assaulted Sora with the power of the earth.

Seeing everyone straining with the stronger Heartless, Negi hissed, "There's too many of them! If this keeps going we'll…!" He stopped just in time to see a black blur dash past him and smash into Terra, ultimately landing beside Sora.

"Hey Sora, sorry I'm late!" Cygnus grinned. "Someone tried to stall us!" He looked to see the advancing Heartless. "Let's trash 'em up!"

"Gotcha!" Sora and Cygnus combined their strength, and the two ricocheted across the ground, smashing Heartless. They finished the move by summoning beams of darkness and light from below, killing a few of the demons as well.

Negi smiled to see Cygnus arrive, but he turned his attention to Asuna, who was still struggling with a large, reptilian-like Heartless with huge muscles. This Monstrosity Heartless easily repelled Asuna's attacks, much to his dismay. He stepped forward to lend a hand when a whirling and all-too-familiar ninja axe sliced the Heartless clean in two.

Both Asuna and Negi looked back to see Sonic the Hedgehog, smirking as Donald, Goofy, and Nodoka appeared behind him. "Hey guys! The cavalry's here!"

"Donald-san! Goofy-san! Nodoka-san! You're okay!" Negi smiled.

"Negi-sensei, please hurry and rescue Konoka-san!" Nodoka implored.

Donald lifted his wand into the air and a flurry of lightning bolts fried the nearby Heartless around Sora and Cygnus. "Hey, you two clowns! Go help Negi rescue Konoka! We've got things here!"

Sora and Cygnus nodded, understanding. "Setsuna!" Sora called out. "Get Negi and let's go!" Both Keyblade Masters sprinted towards the direction in which they saw the fleeing enemy.

Somehow Setsuna heard and understood. She backed away from the Heartless as Donald and Goofy moved in to attack in her place.

Negi prepared his staff in front of him. As he, Asuna, and Setsuna hopped on, he turned back to the others. "Nodoka-san, Sonic-san, Donald-san, and Goofy-san… thank you very much!" With the two girls in tow, Negi took off.

Sonic saw them leave as a voice interrupted, "It was a mistake to let them leave… your chances of surviving are low."

Sonic turned to see Terra, leering down on him. "Oh really? I don't think you've got the heart to be evil enough to finish us off," the hedgehog countered. "And even if you were… it's not like you could beat us!" Nodoka summoned her book, it and she nearly glowing with power. Sonic swung his ninja axe and tensed his body, preparing to fight. "I don't think that darkness in your heart suits you. Let me show you what you still are!" Sonic launched his first attack.

-----

The empty night sky suddenly came to life as a shining beam of light began to emerge from a large rock, growing stronger by the moment.

Chigiusa stood at an altar, beginning a chant to summon an ancient demon from the rock across the vast, dark lake. Konoka lay upon the altar, glowing with energy, her mouth still taped shut. Zexion stood some distance back, choosing to observe from the dock.

"You might want to hurry up," Zexion commented idly to Chigiusa as she continued her chanting. "They're coming."

"What!" Chigiusa gaped in shock.

"No worries, I have this," Zexion turned back to see Negi, Asuna, and Setsuna arrive. Sora and Cygnus dashed into the scene, sliding into fighting stances right behind Negi. "I see you've finally caught up. But will you be fast enough to rescue your princess?"

No witty retorts from the five heroes. Negi immediately set to work, calling out a magic spell. "Ras tel ma scir Magister… Saggita Magica, Seris Lucis!" Seventeen arrows of light shot towards Zexion.

Zexion threw up a perfect blue barrier, its blue wall patterned with light and dark blue squares. The barrier easily deflected Negi's attack.

"Aiyah!" Kamo exclaimed, his eyes growing wide. "He bounced off that attack like it was nothing!"

Setsuna stepped forward. "You're that actor from Cinema Town!" She clenched her teeth and prepared her sword.

"You're going DOWN this time!" Cygnus bellowed. "Setsuna!" Both combatants lunged towards Zexion.

However, Zexion formed a red energy blade, and twisting gracefully, countered both fighters and sent them crashing painfully into the ground.

"He's a member of the Sin Angel!" Sora exclaimed. "He's too tough to be your average magic user! He's probably the guy that destroyed the Chief's defenses!" He turned toward Negi and nodded. The boy began chanting as Sora charged Zexion as well.

"How do you expect to beat me where the girl and the dark child failed?" Zexion asked, bringing forward his energy blade.

"I don't expect to. Fire!" Sora shot a blast of flames towards the silver-haired man. Zexion reflected it, and the fire attack fell into the water, creating a great burst of steam. Zexion immediately spotted Sora and launched an attack, but Sora only snickered and dodged.

Unbeknownst to Zexion, Negi had snuck behind him during Sora's attack. As soon as Zexion turned his back, Negi lunged. "Aer… capturae!" Negi shoved his hand onto Zexion's back. At once, a flurry of windy tendrils wrapped themselves around the cloaked man, stopping him completely. Zexion looked surprised and somewhat impressed.

"That's not bad in the least," Zexion answered. "But the question still stands… Can you rescue your princess in time?"

"It'll take you too long to escape that!" Negi responded. "And besides…" He and Sora ran forward to the altar…

…only to find Konoka missing.

"She's gone!" Sora exclaimed.

But that wasn't all. The earth shook, and from the waters a giant, white hand emerged. That gave way to a towering, white demon with two faces and four arms, its size easily dwarfing Sora. It stared down at the two boys with two bulbous red eyes. Floating by its head was Chigiusa, chuckling sinsterly. "You're one step too late. The ritual's finished." The monster gave a roar that nearly shook the heavens as well as the earth.

"I-i-it's way too big!" Kamo stuttered from an equally shocked Asuna's shoulders.

"Two-faced four-armed giant demon 'Ryoumen Sukunanokami.' A great demon defeated 1600 years ago… is now under my power." Chigiusa sneered. The creature roared as it began to gain power. Although two of its arms rested at its side, the other two were raised, as if holding an invisible globe. Red electricity cackled from its hands, holding a floating prisoner inside its barrier…

…Konoka.

"Ojou-sama!" Setsuna cried out. "It's drawing power from her!"

Negi stepped forward, his teeth clenched. Sora aimed his Keyblade.

"Negi! Don't do it!" Kamo warned. "Your body will—!"

"Ras Tel Mas Scir Magister..." He unlocked his magic power. "Veniant spiritus aeriales fulgurientes," With that power, he gathered wind and lightning to his side, preparing his ultimate attack. "cum fulgurationi flet tempestas austrina JOVIS TEMPESTAS FULGURIENS!"

"RAAUUGGH!" Sora heaved his Keyblade at the same time Negi unleashed his powerful wind/lightning mix. Negi's attack powered up Sora's, allowing the Keyblade to rocket towards the creature's chest and blast it dead on.

The bad news was that, despite it being pushed backwards slightly, it did no damage.

"OHHOHOHOHO!" Chigiusa laughed. "Even the great Thousand Master's son and the power of the Keyblade combined were not enough to hurt this creature! Maybe you're worthless after all… Sukuna!" The demon responded with its eyes shining. A psychic blast of red energy knocked Sora and Negi to the ground. Continuing her gloating, the woman crowed. "I'm unstoppable now!"

The other three looked on in horror as the creature continued to look imposing over the fallen Keyblade wielder and mage.

Setsuna swallowed. There was no more hiding… in this desperate time she needed her true power.

"You two," She said to Asuna and Cygnus. "Get Negi and Sora away from here…I'm going to save Konoka-ojou-sama!"

"What? But how?" Asuna asked.

"Ojou-sama is trapped within that creature's reach… I can get there if it's just me." She nearly whispered. "Dark child, Asuna… I have kept a secret from you. Once you see me in my true form, you'll have to say goodbye."

"Huh?" Cygnus blinked.

Setsuna arched forward a bit, attempting to force out some sort of power. Both Asuna and Cygnus stood in shock as white, feathery wings emerged from her back, giving her the appearance of an angel. So they were further surprised when she continued sadly. "I am a monster… just like them. A half-demon…" Her voice gained strength. "Don't get me wrong! My desire to protect Konoka-ojou-sama has always been real. But with this form, I had to keep it a secret. If she hated this ugly form…" She sighed sadly. "Even Miyazaki has more courage than I. I'm pathetic."

"Huh?" Setsuna looked in dull surprise as Asuna and a now recovered Negi inspected her wings. This dullness dropped to pure shock when Negi and Asuna only expressed awe rather than hatred. "So cool…" they breathed.

But most of all, she was taken aback when Cygnus began to laugh.

"You call yourself a demon? I refuse to believe it," The dark boy glared, a snide, yet reassuring grin on his face. "Even if that's the case, you're nowhere near as dark as me. If Konoka can see the nice side of even me, there's no way she'd hate you for something so trivial… or beautiful, as this." He jabbed lightly at her wings. "And who said you had to go by yourself?" He lifted himself up in the air, using his dark power like jet propulsion. "I CAN FLY TOO! WE'LL RESCUE HER TOGETHER (even though I'll let you take all the credit, since you two need to get married and all)!"

"We're behind you all the way!" Negi smiled.

Setsuna smiled, tears in her eyes. "Thank you for all your support. For Kono-chan…" She and Cygnus began to take off towards the mighty demon.

However, Zexion broke free of Negi's earlier spell. "I don't think it's time for you to fly yet," He aimed a spell at the flying Setsuna…

…only to get a Keyblade to the arm, causing the energy blast to fall harmlessly into the lake. Zexion turned to see Sora standing there, reinvigorated and ready to fight. "WE will be your opponents!" Negi and Asuna bore fighting stances as well.

Zexion turned back towards them, the shining light of the demon giving him an eerie, fallen angel-like appearance. His hands crackled with energy. "I see you are serious. Then let our battle begin."

Sora gripped his Keyblade tightly. Asuna and Negi tensed.

Sora leapt into battle first.

But before the Keyblade Master could even land a hit, Zexion disappeared. The silver-haired man reappeared behind him and smacked him away with an energy blade.

"Sora!" Negi cried out.

Zexion rushed forward towards Negi, attempting to strike him down with an energy blade. Negi rolled to the side, dodged again—

"Cantus Bellax!" The red-haired boy could already feel the strength coming back to him. He aimed a punch, but Zexion put up a wall shield at the last second, and the poor boy got a vicious shock instead. Sora, who had recovered by now, leapt over Negi and smashed into Zexion, knocking him away.

"Negi!" Asuna cried out. However, she turned her attention back to Zexion to see him knock away Sora again. Zexion turned and saw her. Both of them lunged at each other, clashing with energy blade and paper fan.

"Just as I thought," Zexion said. "You can nullify magic… no wonder you can defeat people with just a paper fan. It's also why you and the others around you were not affected by my petrification spell." Asuna only grunted as she pushed away and pressed another round of attacks. Sora jumped in as well, but Zexion merely produced another blade, allowing him to easily fend off both attackers.

Zexion leapt back, swung his weapon in a wide, upward sweep and knocked Asuna's weapon out of her hands. "Let me test you now," He breathed, lunging with his energy blade.

"Asuna-san!" Negi saw that Asuna was almost helpless against the silver-haired man's attack without her weapon. He reacted quickly, jumping up and shoving her out of harm's way…

…only to get brutally smashed himself by the wicked blade.

"NEGI!" Asuna cried desperately as the boy tumbled to the ground, almost lifeless.

Zexion only stared blankly, confused at why he missed his mark. He didn't have time to think much further though, as a furious Sora launched a powerful combo on him. He barely dodged the attacks.

----

"ALL RIGHT YOU DAMN BITCH!" Cygnus bellowed as he and Setsuna flew opposite of Chigiusa and Sukuna. "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET TODAY!"

"I'm taking ojou-sama back!" Setsuna yelled, preparing her sword.

"Not on your life! SUKUNA!" Chigiusa bellowed.

The giant demon's eyes flashed, and it fired powerful lasers from its eyes. Setsuna and Cygnus dodged the attacks, furiously moving and weaving as it then resorted to trying to swat them down.

Setsuna was at the barrier in which the creature held Konoka. She brought her sword down…

…and received a terrible shock.

"Curse it… this barrier's strong!"

Konoka tilted her head towards Setsuna, observing her trying to smash the barrier despite the immense pain. Don't do it, Secchan! You'll die!

Setsuna growled, her thoughts back to the day she failed to save her friend. "Don't worry ojou-sama! I will… always… protect you!"

"Let me help!" Cygnus bellowed, shoving his hand on Setsuna's back and getting shocked as well. As he strained against the barrier, he hissed, "If you're going to do something stupid… at least let me suffer with you!" Cygnus pushed Setsuna with all his might assisting her with the powerful barrier. "YAAAAAGGGHHH!"

The barrier shattered.

Konoka fell, and Setsuna caught her in her arms. Cygnus followed behind, still weak.

With the monster simply roaring out of control, Setsuna and Cygnus ignored it as the winged girl carried Konoka to safety. "Ojou-sama! Are you okay?"

Konoka slowly opened her eyes. "Secchan… hehe, I knew it… you can to my rescue again." She looked over to see Cygnus, weakened but with a lopsided grin to his face. "Cygnus-kun… helped too, didn't he?"

Setsuna nodded.

"Ah… your back…" Konoka noticed Setsuna's white wings.

"U-um…" Setsuna wasn't sure how to explain these wings.

She didn't have to. "They're beautiful…"

Setsuna nearly gasped. She smiled as tears streamed down her face.

"…like an angel…"

"SEE, I WAS RIGHT!" Cygnus pointed at the two of them.

With tears still streaming down and a smile still on her face, Setsuna retorted, "You just shut up."

----

"N-Negi…" Asuna dashed to his side, seeing the boy still crumpled up in pain. The sight of the poor boy went from worry over him to rage at Zexion. Turning back towards him, she clenched her teeth and picked up her weapon. "You… are going… to pay…" She lifted her paper fan to strike…

…and before she knew it, it had become the sword.

Zexion put up a wall barrier, but the sword only clashed against it for three seconds before the barrier shattered completely. Sora took the golden opportunity to smash the Chaos Saint in the gut and send him flying backward a considerable distance. He rose to get up. "That's… the first time I've ever seen those barriers broken…" He looked at Asuna and Sora, who were struggling to stand. "But you are out of strength… your game is over," Zexion surged forward…

…but came to a stop as he found himself face-to-face with a blond girl in a dark dress.

She had emerged out of the shadows so suddenly Zexion didn't even detect her until it was too late. He was further surprised to see Vexen right behind her. The girl spoke. "Looks like you've been entertaining my boy… amateur," Evangeline A. K. McDowell sneered.

With the effort it normally takes to scratch her nose, the seemingly young girl blasted Zexion across the lake and into the forest.

Negi struggled to sit up once he saw Zexion being smashed away. He smiled once he saw a familiar face. "Evangeline-san!"

"We're even now, boy," Evangeline still grinned, showing off her vampiric fangs.

"You're Evangeline?" Sora pointed. "Wow… you're strong!" Noticing the scientific Chaos Saint behind her, Sora asked. "And what's Vexen doing here?"

"I've come to observe, my dear boy," Vexen smiled and pointed towards the monster.

Chigiusa growled, not believing the sudden change in events. "Curse that Shinmeiryuu girl and that dark boy! But with Sukuna I can still get the girl back…huh?" She looked to the sky and saw something flying in the air some distance away.

The android Chachamaru had what looked like a massive sniper rifle aimed at the monster. "Master," The green-haired robot reported. "The barrier shell is ready."

"Shoot it." Evangeline commanded.

She did. A shell blasted out some distance before exploding and ensnaring the demon in a powerful barrier. Sukuna roared in pain.

"H-How!" Chigiusa stuttered.

At first Evangeline didn't answer. Instead, she began to call forth a power of darkness. "Lic lac la lac lilac… Epigenethito taionion erebos…" She shoved her hand forward. "Aionic krustalle!" At this, the water surrounding the creature rose up and ensnared it in a giant, icy tomb, rendering the creature entirely immobile.

"That much power… impossible!"

"You've run out of luck, woman!" Evangeline taunted, her hands glowing with icy dark energy. "I'm the vampire Evangeline, the strongest, the undefeated magician of evil! Ha ha ha!"

"She's really getting into this, isn't she?" Asuna stared.

"You could say that again…" Sora's eyes shrank at her power.

"Pacise zoicise ton ison tanaton… Cosmique Catastrophe!" Evangeline, who was still glowing with power, suddenly turned her back to her opponent. "Hmph… shatter." She snapped her fingers.

The ice containing the demon shattered, and Sukuna was no more.

"AIYAAAHHH!" Chigiusa was sent flying into the forest.

It was finally over.

Sora continued to stare in shock, unable to believe that the game had ended just like that. As Evangeline descended back with the group, Sora marveled, "I haven't seen that much strength… since I last fought Sephiroth."

Asuna immediately decided she did not want to encounter this Sephiroth. Ever.

"Her magic is beyond many in this realm, perhaps in the universe," Vexen gave a lopsided grin as Evangeline continued to gloat and revel in the glory. "She held many powerful ice spells I was most interested in learning, which is why I helped to free her from her curse of being bound to Mahora Academy."

"The curse?" Negi asked. "How did you do it?"

"I pointed the Headmaster of that school a place where he could get increased funding to help ward off the differences between the Kantou and Kansai Magic Associations…" Vexen answered. "…and in turn, he decided to help me with a temporary solution to free Evangeline."

Chacahmaru landed down beside Evangeline, who smirked evilly as the robot girl explained, "To ward the spirits sustaining the curse, the Headmaster is stamping his seal on documents of 'the field trip is part of Master's academic studies' every five seconds at this very moment."

"Every five seconds?" Negi blinked.

"He's gonna be okay, right?" Asuna asked.

"He better be," Sora muttered.

Evangeline ignored the veiled threat and merely smiled. "It feels so nice to be out again. I'll be accompanying you until the end of the trip tomorrow, so you shouldn't have to worry." She looked around. "Where is Konoka?"

Everyone else looked around for a moment, up until Vexen spoke up. "The girl with wings moved her to the safety of the forest… Speaking of which, I have business to attend to." He turned to Evangeline. "It was nice having your acquaintance. Farewell," Vexen disappeared.

Sora crossed his arms. "Lets go find her."

----

Terra panted, seeing as she was once again beaten.

Sonic stood before her, holding his ninja axe across his shoulder. "Looks like your show's over!"

"Maybe it is," She admitted softly. No need to pick another losing fight.

"Slade won't be happy, I'll bet."

"Tch, doesn't matter."

"Does it?"

Terra looked away. Indeed, although Slade would not really be concerned with her right now, she knew she'd be on the receiving end of his ire later if he learned she ran from a fight. Sonic continued. "I think you should rethink the whole evil villain thing… back when I saw you on Earth… you had the makings of a hero."

"Heroes don't bring death and destruction," Terra mused bitterly. "Not like I did…"

"I'm not sure that'd disqualify you anymore," Sonic's smile faded a bit.

Terra stood up. "I'll destroy you later…" And with that, she walked away.

Sonic looked on for a bit before she disappeared.

"What was that about?" Donald asked walking over with Goofy and Nodoka.

"Change… maybe…" Sonic looked into the distance. He shook off his wistful look and turned to the others. "Looks like everything's okay now. I'm gonna go check on the others. Catch ya later!" Sonic left in a blue blur, gone completely before any of the others could blink twice.

-----

"Secchan," Konoka said, as the winged girl came to a gentle stop in the forest.

"Ojou-sama…" Setsuna smiled. Her wings disappeared.

Cygnus landed down in front of them. "I think it's over… I heard the monster bite the dust…" Cygnus took a step forward…

…and crumpled to the ground.

"Cygnus-kun!" Konoka called out in alarm.

Setsuna said, "Don't worry… we're still… here…" Setsuna collapsed, but unlike Cygnus she seemed deathly ill.

"Secchan? Secchan! SECCHAN!"

"C-c-c… damn… that barrier… wasted my energy…" Cygnus strained to get up, but he was too weak.

"That's too bad, isn't it?" Konoka looked past Cygnus to see a man approach, his one eye leering behind a mask. Slade stepped towards her. "Your power is beyond anything I've seen… stronger than even the power of the Keyblade, perhaps. But as you refuse to be manipulated, you are a danger to my plans. For that you must perish," Slade lifted a hand, and Konoka only stared in horror as dark energy began to grow…

Vexen reappeared in front of Slade within a blink of an eye. "That will do," He said coldly.

"You truly believe you can stop me?" Slade coolly asked.

"Perhaps, perhaps not," Vexen's lopsided grin returned. "But maybe I don't have to," Vexen pointed, and Slade turned to see an angry Sora and his group, weapons drawn.

Slade paused for a moment, weighing his options. He then turned back to Vexen. "I see. But even so, that girl will no longer be safe here. I will see to it." And with that, Slade disappeared in a swirling mass of darkness.

There was a moment of silence before Vexen disappeared as well, leaving them to see the extremely weak state of Setsuna and Cygnus. "Cygnus!" Sora rushed up to him. "Are you all right!"

Cygnus strained to address him. "Don't… mind me…" he pointed a quivering finger towards Setsuna. "Setsuna…"

"Secchan…" Konoka nearly cried, shaking her near lifeless body. "Speak to me…" The others approached swiftly. "Secchan!"

----

Only a few moments later, Konoka sat within the bounds of a magic circle, the ornate creation used by Kamo to create the much coveted pactios. But its purpose now was entirely different.

"Are you sure this is going to work?" Sora asked Kamo, who was now on Negi's shoulder, a serious look on his face.

"If we use Konoka's latent powers, then we can restore Setsuna-san. It's the only way…" the ermine answered.

With the circle now glowing in power, Konoka began to whisper, "Secchan… you've always protected me… right? I wanted to tell you so many things… So please… wake up."

Konoka kissed her fallen friend on the lips.

A powerful light shined, eclipsing the entire area in a bright light.

----

Back at the Kansai Headquarters, the people inside began to fade back to normal from their stony state. Amongst those people was Eishun, who was caught by surprise as he found himself conscious again. He smiled softly, knowing exactly why he had returned to normal. "Konoka…" he chanted to himself.

----

"Whoa!" Sonic felt the magic power as well, as he came to a stop somewhere else in the forest. "What… was that?"

"That would be Miss Konoka restoring her friend," Vexen reappeared in front of Sonic, his arms folded. He turned to the blue hedgehog, a lopsided grin on his face. "Everything went perfectly according to plan. I was surprised you did not deviate in favor of the Keyblade Masters."

"I helped them out when I could, minus that fight they got into on the first day!" Sonic contested. "And that was because Sora wouldn't appreciate me hogging all the glory!"

"The fact still stands, Sonic," Slade reappeared from the darkness. "You truly have become loyal to the Sin Angel… that's a small surprise for us."

Sonic's eyes widened in shock. "SLADE!"

Vexen stared in annoyance. "Drop the disguise, Zexion. He can't see through it yet."

'Slade' sighed before his visage disappeared, leaving the silver-haired man in his place. Zexion continued, "I have to admit, causing the most conflict without getting innocent people in the way is something I'm not quite used to… gathering energy has been a chore."

"Doesn't it happen automatically?" Sonic asked.

"It does," Vexen answered. "But finding situations where that is useful has been most difficult… luckily this world laid it out perfectly to us." Vexen stared into the sky. "Zexion, you did influence the girl to leave, didn't you?"

Zexion smiled. "Of course. I even talked with her father, who understands the implications. I do believe that Yusuke boy will be around tomorrow."

"What? What's going on?" Sonic looked between the other two.

"You will understand tomorrow," Zexion answered. "Let's get back to Twilight Town."

And with that, they disappeared. Sonic stayed back for a moment. "This is getting a bit deeper than I thought." He smiled to himself. "I'm hoping Nodoka will keep an eye on things when we're gone." He quickly followed Zexion and Vexen into their portal and disappeared off the planet.

----

Negi stared in wonder at the house before him.

Eishun smiled as he walked beside Negi. "This is Nagi Springfield's summer vacation home… one he held many years ago. Please, come inside." He walked in, with the others following him.

Inside, they came to see a tall, narrow, but very comfortable home. An incredibly tall bookshelf stood in the foyer/living room reaching all the way to the three-story ceiling. Most of the house stood relatively spotless, even though there was no sign anyone had even been here for at least a decade. "So this is the house where my father…" Negi trailed off.

Once everyone was inside, they spread out, exploring and searching every nook and cranny in the house. Negi searched a bit more thoroughly. This eventually caught Sora's attention, and the spiky-haired boy asked, "Why are you searching for your father?"

Negi turned to Sora with a soft smile. "Six years ago, when I was just a little kid, my father rescued me from a mass demon attack… although everyone said he died ten years ago, right before I was born." He pulled out his large staff. "He gave me this staff, and disappeared right after that. Everyone has said that he's a great magician… I just want to be like him and see it for myself someday." He continued to browse through books as he kept talking. "My father left quite a legacy, so I have a lot to learn if I'm going to be a Magister Magi… the very best kind of wizard."

Sora grinned. "It's always nice to strive for a goal…" He looked up. "Mine has been to find all my friends… and put an end to all these troubles once and for all. So I can go home." With those last words, Sora flashed a cheeky grin.

Negi chuckled. Both walked up the stairs towards where Cygnus and Eishun were looking though another selection of books. However, what caught Negi's eye was a single, framed photo on a modern looking desk. Gazing into it, he saw a younger vision of his father among several strong warriors, including a younger Eishun. "Father…" He whispered to himself.

The elder man stepped forward. "That would be a picture of the Thousand Master and his comrades (including myself) 20 years ago."

"Comrades?" Sora asked.

"Yes. There was a war on this planet twenty years ago, and I fought alongside Nagi and his comrades. When peace returned he became known for many heroic deeds and became known as the Thousand Master." Leaving the heroes a moment to soak in that information, Eishun waited before he continued, "Amagsaki Chigiusa, that woman that fought us, had parents that died in that war. That is why she was seeking vengeance against this world… the darkness answered to her desire."

Cygnus thought for a moment, then muttered, "Perhaps those with evil intent lose the strength of their heart, and that's why the villains can never control it…" He stepped towards Eishun. "Umm… Mr. Konoe sir?" Cygnus ventured.

"Yes?"

"What was it that Ansem did here?" Cygnus asked.

Eishun thought for a moment. "Ansem too wanted to know the whereabouts of the Thousand Master… much like Negi-kun, he claims to have seen the man past the day of his death."

Cygnus thought for a moment. "When was his supposed death?"

"Ten years ago."

"With both Ansem and Negi seeing him, I guess something didn't add up," Cygnus answered. He looked over and noticed a sheet of paper with neat handwriting… something familiar to him roughly three months ago. "Huh, this is—"

Sora and a curious Negi peeked over the dark boy. Sora added, "That looks like Ansem's handwriting."

Cygnus and the others read:

Much apologies to Eishun if I've corrupted this clean place. Nagi Springfield's appearance has disturbed me, since his reported death was ten years ago. Furthermore, I did not see the man in his home world. I am certain that the man is alive, but how is it then, that he left his world without a gummi ship or other device? I did some research within these walls and found that there were reports of dimensional rips within this world… I have not yet found a source for them. Perhaps other worlds may have the same story?

The days have not been peaceful without the Keybearers here, but Miss Maya has confidence they'll return. If they see this note, know that the Keyhole is here too. They should know what to do.

"The Keyhole," Sora said. Sure enough, when the spiky-haired boy looked to the ceiling, it appeared, silent and challenging. Sora looked at Cygnus. "You want to do this?"

"I don't know," Cygnus looked at his Keyblade. "It's still a token of darkness. I don't trust myself to seal a place just yet."

"Fine," Sora summoned his Keyblade, aiming it at the ceiling. "Just watch… and learn!" A white beam shot out, locking the Keyhole and eroding it out of existence.

The world was safe once more.

----

"So you're going now?" Negi asked.

"Yeah… so many places to see, so many things to do." Sora answered. "It's our job, to save worlds like yours."

"But we'll always have you in our hearts!" Goofy added sagely.

"Don't worry about us!" Donald added.

"It was fun hanging out with you guys and kicking Heartless butt," Asuna winked and grinned next to a shy and happy Nodoka. "Maybe one of these days we might see you again."

Evangeline stepped up to Sora. "I await the day I can test your strength, boy. You make sure to stay alive until then, okay?" She gave a wicked grin.

Sora nervously smiled and nodded, but eventually tapped his chest and gained his confidence back. "By the time we meet again, I'll be stronger! Just you wait!"

"Oh?"

"That's right, he'll toast ya!" Donald added.

"We'll wait and definitely see."

Eishun stepped outside as well. "We thank you for all your help, Sora-kun. We hope to see you again someday."

"Sora-san…" Negi walked up to the boy. He swallowed a bit, gathering up courage before he continued, "I think… from Ansem-san's note that maybe my father is out there somewhere… if you find him… could you tell him his son's been waiting to meet him?"

Sora paused for a moment. Slowly, a smile crept up to his face. He calmly rubbed Negi's forehead as he answered. "Sure, I'll be glad to tell him."

"Bye!" Everyone exchanged final farewells, up until—

"Hey wait a second!" Kamo exclaimed. "Where's Konoka-san and Setsuna-san and that Cygnus-san?.!"

----

Setsuna stood alone, her hair swaying in the gentle wind. It doesn't look like I'll be staying here anymore… They've all seen what I truly am.

"Running away again… I'm almost insulted," Setsuna found herself face-to-face with Cygnus, his eyes glaring at her. "No wait, I AM insulted."

"What do you want, dark child? I'm leaving," Setsuna stated flatly.

"And leave the girl you care about behind?.!" Cygnus shot. "Tch, I think that's what makes you the monster… that half-demon stuff is child's play."

Setsuna's temper nearly flared. In barely concealed anger, she argued, "I am a danger to her now. As she has seen my form, it's too dangerous for her to be around me… I trust that Negi-sensei will take care of Konoka-ojou-sama," her anger quickly dropped, replaced by sadness. "I didn't want this day to come…"

This was shortly interrupted as she heard an all-too-familiar voice. "Secchan!" Setsuna turned to see her charge running towards her. "Where are you going?"

Setsuna hung her head. "I didn't want to have to face you when I left… but it was the law of my people that if I showed my true form…"

This was a big mistake. Konoka only hugged her fiercely before crying, "Why would you do such a thing? I don't care about your wings! I care about YOU!" Setsuna shuddered, willing the tears not to come back. "And besides… I have to go too!"

Setsuna's sadness quickly turned to shock. "Wh-what?.!"

Cygnus blinked. "Why?"

Konoka dried her eyes and continued. "Before that creepy silver-haired guy kidnapped me, he told me that there would be a time where I would need to go on a journey… to protect my friends and my family. That one-eyed man said as long as I stayed here… I'd be a target. I'd endanger my family and friends," She turned to Setsuna. "Maybe it's time I learned what's going on… not just with this world, but with the universe, too. Secchan, please stay by my side… I'll go with you!"

"O-ojou-sama…" Setsuna had been caught totally off guard.

"Do what she says," Cygnus said, pointing to the darker-haired girl. "It's the least you can do."

Setsuna looked at Cygnus for a moment before turning back to Konoka. She smiled as she answered Cygnus. "Fine. I'll go with Kono-chan, if that's what she wishes." She turned back to Cygnus. "There are people that I know not from this world… They seem familiar with you, dark child. But not friendly… Chances are this won't be the last time we clash swords."

Cygnus chuckled. "I'm not afraid of you, woman."

"Cygnus-kun," Konoka said, interrupting both. "It would be nice if we could meet again. I thank you for making things better between Secchan and me." She tossed something at him. Cygnus found himself looking at a new keychain for his Keyblade. "Until we meet again." Konoka and Setsuna walked off, holding hands together.

"You two… take care of yourselves. I have a feeling we'll meet again," Cygnus stared after them, a small smile on his face. "Even if we wind up becoming enemies, knowing my luck… As long as you two stay together, I could care less." He turned and walked away to find Sora.

(This ends the Negima arc.

In celebration of the release of Kingdom Hearts 2, the next episode will be dedicated to all those lovely members of Organzation XIII... now under the tutelage of the Sin Angel. Next time, Blondie (who we now know as Roxas) learns his name, meets more of his colleages and wonders why the hell Axel is out to get him in more ways than one...

The Yusuke reference in Ep 5 and in this one is in fact, the same Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho. Just in case anyone forgot.

Note: Spoiling KH2 for me equals death. I haven't seen past Sora's first visit to Land of the Dragons. Names however, are fine.)