A/N: Can't believe I put off uploading this for half a year! Shucks...

Lobsil Vith - Nice to hear you're doing fine after your incident. This fic is also still alive, TAKE THAT, DEATH!

Here's the next chapter. Hopefully the next won't take as long.

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CHAPTER 4

Humdrum

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"Paru! There's another letter for...DWAH!?"

Kazumi Asakura didn't get to finish her announcement. Haruna had instantly tackled the reporter and snatched the white envelope she was holding. It had been three days since her last letter to Jai, and intuition told her to expect a return message.

"Shhhh!!! You keep this quiet, Asakura...or else the whole class will know, and it'll be back to gossip hell for me. Got it?" Haruna hissed viciously at her still-stunned classmate. She silently thanked whoever deity came to mind that it was early morning and only Yue and Nodoka were in the room when Kazumi burst in; hopefully, the paparazzi hadn't scattered the news already.

Kazumi seemed to understand, despite all the stars she was seeing. "A-aye...you can count on me..."

"Oh come on, you don't need to be so harsh, Paru," Yue sighed, though she didn't even try to hide her apparent interest on the new letter; her excited tone gave her away.

"Okay, here goes," Haruna said, unfolding the paper. 'No use delaying the inevitable...'

--

Paru (There, satisfied?),

I would firstly like to thank you for the inspiring couple of letters you've sent since my first correspondence. While I still cannot divulge the nature of my business abroad, suffice to know that you are being more of a help to me than you might think. What I could tell you is that I have been busy enough to not be able to write this letter until now.

I left London early yesterday. It was very fortunate that your last letter arrived before I took off. I apologize for the inconvenience again set upon you. I hope that my stay here in Lima, Peruwill notbe long, but in case, I have written another mailing address. (You know where to look.) This time, however, I will make sure to write to you before I leave.

You and your friends seem to be traveling a lot as well; you seem to be enjoying yourselves too – I only wish I could say the same thing for myself. And I honestly cannot say that I have actually been to a beach before for fun. It sounds very entertaining.

How I knew that they were peering (as they are doing again now) is a secret. Haha.

I suppose your adventures are largely because of your teacher-child. That does sound very unusual, though very amusing at the same time. He must be an inspiration to you all.

I am happy you enjoy the manga. Actually I myself wasn't very interested in that one personally...and I mean no disrespect. It is remarkable to know that you write your own manga. I would like to read it when I return to Japan.

As for means of contact: The internet is not always readily accessible in the places I find myself in, and my reason for not using a mobile phone should be obvious. Unfortunately, the most convenient and practical means of communication between us is through writing. I apologize once again.

Do not worry so much; I know how to look after myself well enough, even in potentially hazardous situations.

And please feel free to be as love-struck as you like. I find it rather charming.

Sincerely yours,

Jai Akira

--

"Lima, Peru!" Kazumi exclaimed. "That's where the royal ruins of Cuzco and Machu Picchu are! This definitely confirms he is a prince!"

"Well, it's actually not..." Yue began to correct her, but the reporter interrupted, "Whatever! It's the same!"

"Oh, don't start that again, idiots..." Haruna said halfheartedly. She was more concerned with the 'hazardous situations' Jai mentioned, and only a little annoyed at the mention of 'prince'. All the mystery of this so-called business, and now the mention of danger...

Yue cleared her throat. "You know, for someone you've actually never met before, Paru, you seem to be worrying quite a lot."

The jab had its desired effect. Haruna was instantly flustered. "W-what was that?!"

"I'm just saying that if he says he can handle things well, he probably could," the shorter girl answered, "what's there to doubt?"

That got Haruna thinking. "Well...I guess..."

"Could this be true love then?" Kasumi responded.

Everybody else, even Nodoka, shrieked giddily at the notion.

Haruna turned beet-red, though her voice tried to remain indifferent. "Wh-what are you saying, you...?!"

"Just mentioning," The reporter replied, though still with amusement in her tone.

"Ah, just leave me alone, why don't you..." Haruna whined.

"W-well..." Nodoka said after they had all calmed down, "let's get ready for class then."

"Yup, yup, class, class..." Haruna repeated, relieved for the change in topic. Studies sometimes seemed a good distraction, if a somewhat transient one, especially when things start to get out of hand – as is usually the case with class 3-A.

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'Today seemed like a fast day...' Haruna thought. Her mind was wandering for most of the time during school, and before she knew it, they were being dismissed from the last subject.

She turned to look for her friends. "Yue, Nodoka, let's..." But they were nowhere in sight.

'Hmm...now that's cold; didn't even tell me where they're off to...' she mentally grumbled. Even Kasumi, Konoka and Asuna were gone.

Sure, she told them to leave her alone earlier, but this was a little outrageous.

'Even then...Machu Picchu, huh?' ' She fingered the letter she had in her pocket, smiling to herself. She then heaved a resigned sigh, and trudged to her dorm room. 'Ah well...might as well just work on my deadline...'

Such was the pattern for the next few days – Yue and Nodoka, not to mention Setsuna, Konoka and Asuna, and some others – were often out on their own, or on some unknown trip...not that Haruna really noticed that much, being so absorbed in writing.

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It was evening one day when Nodoka and Yue entered the dorm room. Haruna was fast asleep at her desk, in the middle of drawing a page of 'Mahou Shoujo Biblion', probably working nonstop since earlier.

Yue nudged Nodoka and pointed to something on the desk, and then both giggled softly. A piece of white paper with neat writing lay atop a sheet of manga sketches, and a white envelope was to its side. It was easy to conclude that Haruna was sending a sample draft along with her next letter to Jai. And though the letter seems to have been done much earlier, a lot of time and effort have evidently been put into the drawings, even though these were only 'drafts'.

Quietly, they draped a blanket over their friend and climbed into bed themselves. Tomorrow was going to be another interesting day with Negi-sensei – and with magic.

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Jai,

Peru? Wow! It must be really exciting going to all those exotic places. First London in Europe, and now South America! In comparison, I don't see how our lowly beach trip could compare. It was fun, though. I can't believe you haven't yet been on a fun trip to the beach.

On that note, my classmates keep telling me stuff about Machu Picchu in Peru, and that you're staying there, and that you're a prince. (I'm sorry, they really are idiots! And I'll have you know only three of them were peering at your last letter!) But...have you really gone there, by any chance? What's it like?

Anyway...

It's nice to know my letters inspire you...though in what way, I'm not really sure. I mean, I'm just sharing some of my somewhat-interesting life. I yearn for adventure, for romance...just something really out of the ordinary, you know?

...maybe that's why I've actually been immersing myself very much in my writing and drawing. Come to think of it, it's all I've been doing after classes for the past few days, aside from studies, of course.

Which reminds me...in your last letter, you told me not to get worried about what you're doing. Well, since you brought up 'dangerous situations', I've been even more worried. Maybe you should have someone teach you Chinese martial arts, like Negi-sensei is getting one of our classmates, Ku-Fei, to teach him. And I reckon he's getting really good at it. (Didn't I mention this last time? How it all started was a hoot – I'll have to tell you all about it when you get back to Japan).

Negi-sensei is a fun teacher. A lot of the girls in our class like him a lot, especially my roommate and friend, Nodoka. I tell you, she's just head over heels over him. It's so cute! And my other roommate, Yue, I'm willing to bet! She just has this strong vibe which I call the 'Love-Reek'. Haha! Just something I made up...I'm really only about 75% sure.

We'll be having our school festival soon, and everyone's looking forward to it. Our class still hasn't decided on what to do exactly, but I suppose it'll be something...hehe...(evil grin)

In any case, please be extra careful. I hope you could write more often, but whenever you can is fine, I guess.

And hopefully your next destination will be here in Japan. 3

Yours truly,

Paru

P.S. I'm really sorry; I was supposed to send this letter earlier, but...well, you know. Attached is a sample draft of my manga, 'Mahou Shoujo Biblion'. Tell me what you think! ^_^

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A/N: And I end this (ANOTHER VERY SHORT) chapter with another letter. Sometime in the next chapter or so, events will digress from the actual manga...for better or worse. It was bound to happen.

Somehow I can't help but feel Paru was a little OOC here...ah well.

I'm kind of concentrating on my Vandread fic a little more than the others, but hopefully I get around to working on this as well. Patience is a virtue.