Word Count: 1803
Rating: K
Author's Notes: This is my very first Mahou Sensei Negima fanfic. Actually, it's my first fanfic of any kind! I hope you all enjoy it. I'm not sure how many chapters it'll be, but I can promise you that it'll come to focus more on Setsuna and Konoka than the other characters. Please review my fic whether you enjoyed it or not.
Continuity: This fic takes place just before the School Festival storyline. However, please consider Yue and Haruna as already pactioed with Negi. That makes things a tad AU since I'm bringing in their pactios at the wrong time, but only a tad. For the sake of this story, please consider this to take place just after the events with the demon from Negi's past, and pretend that Yue and Haruna's pactios magically exist.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one. All I own is my imagination, which is what created this story.


Crimson Wings
Chapter 1: Taking Flight


Setsuna glided lazily over the tops of the trees of Mahora Academy. Her large, snowy wings were fanned out behind her, gently catching the soft breeze that blew through the campus. It was a rare thing for Setsuna to fly on school grounds. Even though the campus was quite large, it was impossible to know where a stray student might be wandering, and therefore impossible for Setsuna to freely use her wings without being spotted.

However, this restriction was not something that concerned the young swordsman since she wasn't interested in recreational flying to begin with. She used her wings, yes, but only when a situation called for her to fly. To Setsuna, her wings had their occasional usefulness, but were more of a burden than anything else. They were a curse at times, a permanent sign of shame from the bird tribe that had banned her, and a nagging reminder that she was different from everyone else. Neither a full member of the bird tribe nor a member of the human race, Setsuna often considered herself to be a monster; a freak of nature.

Yet, at that moment, none of the worries that Setsuna had about her wings mattered. Her last flight had been so long ago that spreading her wings and feeling the air blow through them was a welcomed experience. This wasn't entirely a playful flight, however, and the heavy feeling of several backpacks in her hands reminded her of this. The five backpacks that Setsuna clutched close to her chest had their straps looped through her arms, just in case they slipped.

Following Evangeline's directions, Setsuna soon found herself flying toward a large clearing in the middle of the forest. Pulling her wings back and sending her body into a dive, Setsuna hurtled headfirst toward the grassy clearing. Just meters before crashing into the ground, she leaned back, drawing her body parallel with the earth, and spread her wings. The air filled her snowy feathers with a soft "FWUFF" and slowed her descent to a near standstill. Setsuna gently flapped her wings until she gracefully landed on the ground.

"It seems... peaceful," Setsuna softly commented after surveying the area. The clearing, which was several times the size of their classroom, was the epitome of peaceful forest clearing. Soft, grass covered the nearly circular area, and the ankle high sea of green was only disrupted by a scarce dotting of wild flowers and a large tree stump that sprouted near the side of the clearing. The branches of the trees enclosing the grass spread their large boughs across the open area, but left enough space among the treetops to allow the sunlight in to create an almost shining aura around the small rabbits and squirrels that darted in and out of the grass.

Setting the bags down against the base of the tree stump, Setsuna gave the clearing a soft smile before taking off into the sky again. Now that she had found the clearing, she had to find the rest of the group and lead them to it.

A few days ago, just after class had ended for that day, Evangeline rounded up several of the students from 3-A and demanded that they go to a special weekend of training sanctioned by the Headmaster.

"The Headmaster knows that they all know about my magic?!" Negi had cried in surprise. Frantically, the child-teacher had gone into a panic and ran up and down the halls, flailing his arms wildly. "Ermine! I'm going to get turned into an ermine! What will onee-chan say?! I've failed as a teacher!" he had wailed.

Evangeline had quickly clamped a hand down on Negi's mouth before he completely exposed himself and explained that the Headmaster thought that the students who now knew his secrets would benefit from a bit of training. After the events of the Kyoto trip, the Headmaster felt that they should learn how to better protect themselves should the need arise.

For that reason, eleven 3-A students and one 10-year-old teacher were spending the entire weekend training in a remote corner of the campus. Starting today, which was Friday afternoon, and lasting until Sunday night, Evangeline and Chachamaru would be assisting the group in both magical and physical training.

The Headmaster had also promised that extra precautions would be put in place so that none of the activity in the area could be seen or detected by the rest of the school. The protection was already in place and would last throughout the duration of their training, which was why Setsuna could fly so freely above the trees. Later, when they started using magic, their spells would remain unseen and undetected as well.

"Where are they?" Setsuna asked herself as tried to peer through the treetops. However, it was a futile effort since the dense branches and leaves grew too thickly over everything. She was about to pull out her pactio card to communicate with Negi when she heard Evangeline's stern voice somewhere below.

"STOP FALLING DOWN!"

"I can't help it, Evangeline-san," Setsuna heard Konoka protest. "There are roots and branches everywhere."

Setsuna flew toward the sound of their voices, descending as she did so. As she maneuvered her way down through the treetops, she heard Asuna laughingly say, "You're not made for the outdoors, are you, Konoka?"

"It's strange that you'd have so much trouble out here when you do so well in the Library Exploration Club," Yue mused, to which Konoka responded, "I guess that exploring the library and exploring the forest are a bit different for me." Setsuna rounded a large tree in time to see Konoka grin sheepishly while getting up from the ground with Nodoka's and Kaede's assistance.

"Are you alright, ojou-sama?" Setsuna asked with concern. She stepped forward as Konoka began to brush off her dirty skirt. "Does anything hurt?"

"Just my pride," Konoka said with a good-natured smile. "Welcome back, Secchan!"

"Setsuna-san!" Negi greeted, smiling widely. "Did you find the clearing? Are we close?"

"Yes, Negi-sensei. We're almost there." She pointed north and said, "Another four kilometers and we'll reach the clearing."

"Four kilometers?!" Haruna exclaimed. "That's not 'almost there!'"

"Quit your complaining," Evangeline snapped. "You're not even carrying a backpack!" After considerably slowing down the group, the four Library Exploration Club members had more than willingly relinquished their packs to Setsuna on the undying mage's command. Setsuna had already flown the baggage ahead to the clearing in an attempt to speed up the Library Exploration Club members. However, Evangeline had demanded that the rest of the group continue to carry their own packs all the way to the clearing as part of their training. Although Ku had jokingly, and Asuna had semi-jokingly, complained that they should be allowed to give their packs to Setsuna as well, Evangeline's orders were followed.

"Four kilometers isn't that far. Just try not to think about it," Mana suggested. "The distance goes by more quickly that way."

"WAH!"

At the sound of Konoka's cry, Setsuna whirled around and caught the thin girl around the waist just before she hit the ground.

"Careful, ojou-sama!" Setsuna cautioned and she gently lifted her back on her feet.

"Sorry, Secchan. I guess I'm a little clumsy today."

"Try 'everyday,'" Evangeline remarked dryly. "Look at Chachamaru. She's carrying five times the weight of anyone else and she hasn't even stumbled once!"

"To be fair," Chachamaru began, "Hakase recently upgraded by stabilizers, which now allow me to carry more than I have previously been able to carr--"

"You know what I mean!" Evangeline exploded, and Chachamaru nodded and calmly replied, "Yes, master."

"Setsuna-san, why don't you take Konoka and go on ahead to the clearing? It'll save Konoka a few more scrapes and stop Eva-chin from blowing up," Asuna suggested with a grin.

"But what about the rest of this hike? This was supposed to be training too..." Konoka gave Evangeline a sideways glance.

"Just go," Evangeline sighed. "Maybe we can make better time if you get out of here."

"Heh, sorry guys," Konoka weakly laughed.

Setsuna lifted the mage into her arms and turned toward the rest of the group. "Will you guys be able to find your way if I leave? It's a pretty straight path north, but it's still possible to lose your way."

"Don't worry," Kaede reassured the swordsman. "Even if we do get lost..." she brought her hands together in a complicated series of hand gestures and three identical images of herself burst from her body, "...my shadow images should be able to help scout the way."

Smiling, Setsuna kicked off of the ground and nodded to the group. "We'll see you all in a little bit."

"Oi, Setsuna!" Evangeline tossed her pack toward the swordsman, which Konoka easily caught. "Take that for me, will you?"

"Hey! How come you get to take off your pack and we can't?" protested Ku immediately. "This is so heavy!"

"I'm not the one who requires training, now am I?"

"Maybe her small body's not fit enough to carry a back pack like the rest of us," Asuna whispered loudly to Haruna, who snickered.

"What did you say?!" exclaimed Evangeline, but Asuna had already sprinted ahead.

"Come on, Eva-chin. You wouldn't want me to beat you, would you?" she called back, which immediately caused Evangeline to pursue her.

"Wait up, Asuna-san!" Negi called as he quickly joined the chase. Ku followed closely behind with a taunting, "I'm going to reach the clearing first!" while the remaining Library Exploration Club members just took off running.

"Childish," Mana muttered, shaking her head, though she followed and their hurried pace. Kaede and Chachamaru nodded politely to Setsuna and Konoka, and then left as well. With the group now on their way, Setsuna finally flew through the highest layer of foliage and broke into the sky.

"Wow!" Konoka squealed. "The view was nothing like this the last time we flew together!" This was true since the first and only time they had flown together was right after Setsuna saved her during the trip to Kyoto. On top of having her magical energy forcefully drained out of her, Konoka had also been naked during their last flight. In comparison, this was clearly the better flying experience.

"Look, ojou-sama." Setsuna nodded her head in the direction of the sun, which was still a few hours away from setting. "The clouds are so colorful."

"'Kono-chan,'" Konoka said firmly. "Don't call me 'ojou-sama.'"

"Sorry..."

"Say it," Konoka commanded. "'Kono-chan.'"

Setsuna paused and looked away, but Konoka tilted the swordsman's head down so that their eyes met. "Please say it, Secchan. Please?"

"K-kono-chan..."

Giggling, Konoka nestled herself against Setsuna chest, causing Setsuna's heart to quicken.

"Thank you, Secchan."


Author's Notes: Here endeth the first chapter. I hope you all enjoyed reading it because I really enjoyed writing it. I won't beg for comments since I'm sure that won't work, but you should all know that encouragement always helps fuel the creative process of writing.

Last updated: May 26th, 2008