AN: Thanks for the insightful reviews for this story. I've come up with a story idea, so I decided to continue this. Please let me thank my reviewers individually for their support: Reusch, Leon D. S. Geeste, RAGN, Rebanex, yashan-kun, pigtopus (I've changed some parts of the fighting from the first chapter. Hopefully it's not as confusing now), NSKruger, Yumiko Himemiya (Konoka was expecting something inanimate when her father mentioned a present, haha. And yes, I do like Motoko from Love Hina a lot – thus my previous penname and the numerous references I made of her in this fic – but I'm not too much of a Kanako fan though. She's ok), BakaBakaEater, nanimoanimefan, Nonori, Haruchin (a million thanks for the detailed review. I changed many things in the first chapter due to your suggestions. Hopefully it reads with better flow now), Ice Silver Crystal, animeaics, and KuroShiroYamiHikari. Thanks very much for your time! It's a great encouragement towards my writing!
Disclaimer: I don't own Negima. I might own Amigen though, but I don't think I'll name any stories by that name (sweatdrops)
"You have very weak ki, Setsuna."
That was what Tsuruko-sama had told me. No matter how hard I had trained, my progression was only in the sword. My body toughened. My hands became callused. The blade I held became steadier and sliced with more might than ever before. But it wasn't enough. I was quick, but not quicker than Motoko-sama, not to mention Tsuruko-sama whose speed was seemingly unsurpassable. I tried closing my eyes, listening to the wind of their attacks, but my reaction was still too slow. Each and every time I fought them, their bokken would pierce through my guard.
It was because of ki. I couldn't sense it, synchronize with it.
"You cannot draw ki from anger."
I couldn't understand until I saw her. Pure white kimono embroidered with patterns of sakura, complemented by an obi of rich pink. Chocolate hair and matching orbs that reached my soul with warmth. My savior's daughter, one I must protect as my duty. That was what I thought of her before my arrival to her home many years ago. But that first sight of her awoke me. Every detail of that encounter was etched in my mind like carvings on steel. That sight had overflowed my senses with a strength I couldn't find before.
Her ki dwarfed over my own and I realized…
How empty I was.
The first time I had spoken without anger, frustration, hatred, sorrow, pain…the first time I used the suffix of endearment.
It made me feel warm and I recognized…
That I was no longer empty.
I was a puzzle, and Kono-chan was the one who pieced me together.
06:47 July 23, 2006 – Principal's Office, Mahora Academy
The large oak door swung open and a figure entered the large chamber, shutting it softly behind her. She stepped towards the window side where the principal's desk stood.
"Sakurazaki Setsuna has arrived as requested. What would you like to ask of me, Gakuinchou-sama?"
The young woman knelt on one knee, her muscular arm setting down her long katana by her side. Dutifully, she looked up to the old man in front of her, narrow raven eyes catching the man's gaze. She had changed considerably over the span of just two years, the old man mused. When this girl became famous in the magical world as a part of the White Wing, she was only fifteen years old. Now seventeen, Setsuna was almost a foot taller than her younger counterpart, towering at five feet nine inches. Her build was still slim, but the contours were more accented than before, besides her flat chest which remained rather undeveloped. Her facial features were deeper, her brows thicker from where they rested, high on the ridge that shadowed her eyes. Her chin leveled off more sharply in the shape of an inverted egg, covered slightly by dark locks that flanked the sides of her face. She appeared even more emotionless than two years ago, but Konoemon secretly knew that she just reserved the beautiful smiles from her thin lips for his granddaughter.
"It's not what I would like to ask of you," Konoemon spoke after he snapped out of his musings, "It's what my son-in-law would like to request."
"Yes, yes," Konoemon confirmed, stroking his beard with one hand while his other gestured Setsuna to come forward. The swordswoman stood and walked to the side of the desk where a letter was placed on the tabletop, "Here is what he has to say to you. Take it and read it as soon as possible. He says it's urgent."
"I understand, Gakuinchou-sama," Setsuna replied, taking the letter with her free hand, "Is there anything else that you'd like me to do?"
"Continue to take care of Konoka for me. That's all I have to ask of you for now."
"Of course. I would always protect Ojousama with my life."
At Konoemon's nod of approval, Setsuna bowed. Taking two steps back, she turned around and walked out of the room.
07:02 July 23, 2006 – Mahora Academy Girl's Dormitory Room: Occupants Kagurazaka Asuna, Konoe Konoka
A knock on the dorm's front door permeated through the noise of cooking sausages, interrupting Konoka from her morning routine. The brown-haired girl raced out of the kitchen in her apron, her right hand still clutching a spatula.
"Coming!" her sweet voice rang through the empty living room. It was one of the things that didn't change about her. Since two years ago, Konoka had grown to a bit over five feet four, her face a little less puffy but still round and cute, as Asuna put it. Her eyes were a slight bit smaller, though they retained her mischievous twinkle, and the dimples to the sides of her thick red lips were still deep as ever.
Konoka reached a dexterous hand to the doorknob, turning it so that a click sounded as the door unlocked. Before Setsuna had the chance to even step in, Konoka's slender arm had already wrapped itself around her broad shoulder.
Of course, Konoka's habit of glomping the Shinmeiryuu swordswoman had not changed at all, even when Setsuna's appearance had turned from a cute little warrior to a full-fledged samurai. Well, it was obvious that Setsuna didn't look quite as intimidating around her Ojousama though, especially when she blushed like mad upon the physical contact.
That just prompted Konoka to glomp her more, causing her face to look like a traffic light due to suffocation and embarrassment. It might've been Konoka's way of retaliation towards calling her Ojousama, a habit Setsuna just couldn't be rid of.
"The sausages! The sausages are burning!" Setsuna cried in a pleading voice. When Konoka snapped out of her excitement and finally retreated back to the kitchen, the swordswoman dropped down to her knees. All that blood pooling in her face had left her feet deprived of oxygen.
"So Otousan gave this to you?" Konoka asked between mouthfuls of food. She picked up the letter from where Setsuna had left it, opening the envelope to read the contents inside.
"Yes. Gakuinchou-sama said it was urgent. I was thinking of reading it right after breakfast."
"Dear Setsuna, an urgent situation-"
"Ojousama! You're reading it now!"
"Secchan, it's urgent! I must read it to you then. Asuna won't be back until eight, so if Otousan mentions any naughty naughty secrets of Secchan…"
"There's nothing of that sort, Ojousama!" Setsuna exclaimed, waving her hands around. Konoka just gave a chuckle at her reaction and continued reading.
An urgent situation has arisen within the Kansai Magic Association. Our agent has recently recovered a powerful relic from the magical world whose presence predicts the occurrence of great danger. After reading this message, please promptly destroy the letter and report to our headquarters immediately. Negi-kun and I are waiting.
Kansai Magic Association, Chief
"Negi-kun is back! I must pay him a visit!"
"Umm…Ojousama…he's back on a mission. Besides, Kyoto may not be very safe due to the situation. It would be best if you stay here where the Magic Teachers could protect you."
"But you are going, Secchan. Negi-kun and Otousan are also there. I can't just leave all the danger to you three. In case you get wounded, I can heal you with my magic!"
Setsuna gulped. Yes, Konoka had become a very skillful mage. In fact, her powers were unrivaled in this world or the magic side. While traveling with the White Wing, Konoka became famous for her amazing feats such as the depetrification of an entire village after it had turned to stone for six years. However, Konoka's curiosity was a bit…unbearable, so to speak. She had a tendency to "experiment" with new spells. Last time, this striped Setsuna down to her panties.
It was not a pretty sight; well…that was what Setsuna thought anyway. Konoka had squealed and glomped her as usual, claiming that she had become "extra-soft" without her clothing. To prevent that from happening again, Setsuna made sure all her wounds were healed by fellow magicians like Yue or Honya-chan before they ever had the chance of reaching Konoka's eyes. Who knew if she would even have her panties left next time!
"I'm sure I would do fine on my own, Ojousama, but if you insist, I guess I'm in no position to stop you."
"Yay! Let's go on a field trip!"
Setsuna was once again glomped, for the third time of the day if the flashback glomp was counted too.
Leaving a note for Asuna, Konoka promptly informed her grandfather about the trip and departed with Setsuna for Kyoto on the Shinkansen. After three hours, they've finally arrived at the entrance to the Kansai Magic Association Temple.
"Okaerinasai, Ojousama," Setsuna greeted, gesturing Konoka to enter first. Of course, being Konoka, she just yanked on Setsuna's outstretched hand and dragged the two of them in together.
Konoka sighed in relief when none of the maids came to the two of them since they hadn't notified Eishun prior to their arrival. This sense of freedom made Konoka haul Setsuna all over the place before the swordswoman could mutter a complaint.
Not that Setsuna would anyway. This place was ever so nostalgic to her. There was so much to remember, each item of memory etched deep in her soul.
"Look, it's the bridge! The one over the pond with lots of koi!"
The two of them had played along that bridge often, sometimes bouncing a colorful ball, sometimes playing Hanetsuki with a pair of old, wooden paddles. Setsuna still remembered the way she swung the wooden paddle like her bokken. Obviously, she didn't hit the birdie. The birdie hit her…on the head.
Konoka giggled. She obviously remembered too.
"Nee, Secchan…let's play Hanetsuki afterwards. If you get hit by the birdie, I'll heal you with my wand!"
Setsuna pouted. She lightly touched Konoka's forehead, just between her brows, and lectured, "I won't get hit by the birdie. You should be careful though, Kono-chan, or else you'll have to heal yourself."
For an odd reason, Konoka fidgeted slightly under the touch, her face flushing a little. Whenever Setsuna called her by her nickname, she would feel this way; warmth flowing through her body to leave behind a comfortable, tingling sensation. Without delving further on this feeling, Konoka replied, "Of course I'll be careful. I won't lose to Secchan!"
"I'll take your word for now," Setsuna answered, "Would you like to get the Hanetsuki equipment ready while I speak with Eishun-sama and Negi-kun? They might want to speak with me privately."
"Alright, I'll wait for you here!"
Konoka gave her a bright smile. Setsuna returned it with hers. Their ki were in a gentle harmony, just like the gentle summer wind mingled with the fragrance of blooming flowers.
And slowly, Setsuna turned around to leave. She walked towards the main building, but that scene lingered. For some reason, she wanted to see it again; Kono-chan's bright smile. She wanted it to stay with her a moment longer.
She turned back, but Konoka had already left. All that she could see was the younger girl's retreating figure in the distance.
End of Chapter 2
Gakuinchou-sama – in case you didn't know, that is a very polite way of calling your principal
Honya-chan– Nodoka's nickname. Honya literally means a bookstore
Shinkansen– high-speed train in Japan. In case you're wondering, the two of them would be taking a Tokaidou Shinkansen line if Mahora were somewhere near Tokyo. The route runs from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka (Kyoto is the second to last station if you count from Tokyo). The whole route takes about two and a half hours on the fastest Nozomi trains
Koi – a carp
Hanetsuki – a traditional Japanese game similar to badminton, except it is played with no net and wooden paddles called hagoita in place of the badminton rackets. The birdie is usually brightly colored. This game is seen in episode 12 of Negima!
AN: So here is a light little chapter introducing things after two years. More of the details of what happened, and what will happen, would be revealed in the next chapter. For now, I'll just leave it to your imagination (feels very naughty). Please, please, please leave a review behind, be it comments, suggestions, questions, concrit, or just a note saying that you've read this. Anything other than flames is appreciated!