Magister Negi Magi is owned by Ken Akamatsu and Kodansha Ltd. Tokyo in Japan, and by Funimation and Ballantine - DelRey in the United States, NOT by me. Other Ken Akamatsu works are owed by Tokyopop in the US.
'The Cabal' is an 'Evil secret Organization' of mages created by Kafka'sdragon for his 'Markham Chronicles Negima' story, and is used here with his permission.
Tsukuyomi in Ala Alba is not the same; "It might be fun to kill all those people." person she's presented as in the regular MSN manga.
SPOILER ALERT! AU story occurring after c189.
"There might have been a 'Butterfly Effect' out there somewhere, but from my perspective, the true objective of my mission was a complete failure."
-Chao Lingshen. "My Journey."
"Those two were... 'hard to describe,' but they did have good hearts."
-From the personal diary of Tsukuyomi.
Ala Alba in the World of Magic: Tales From the Fireside.
Chapter Fifty-four: Epilogue.
(Near Mons Olympus, Ala Rubra Park, Mundus Magicus.)
Having finished her story and put all the children she'd brought to the Ala Rubra's old hideout to bed, Chao Lingshen now sat alone, staring into the campfire.
Six months had passed since her return to the Mundus Magicus of the future.
Despite all her efforts, all the safeguards she'd tried to put in place, it seemed as if everything had been in vain.
Chachamaru had explained her loss of the V-Chao program, but due to the damage she had received during the One-Year Mage war, no longer had a clear record of the program's fate. Chisame Hasegawa might have been able to answer the question, but due to the emergency consciousness transfer which occurred when her body was murdered by Moirae Averruncus, her memory also contained blanks.
Despite everything she'd done, Chao knew she was no closer to discovering the fate of her sister than when the journey had started, nearly seven of her own years, and one-hundred calendar years ago.
Drawing both knees to her chest, Chao pulled them in tight and began rocking back and forth, crying silently as she did so.
Overhead, the brief flash of a meteor drew her attention skyward. Returning once more to the fire, she saw that Sasuke Nagase was out of his sleeping bag and had a kunai in his hand. ("Where did that come from?") Realizing there was someone out there in the darkness, she prepared to activate her magic circuitry, should it become necessary. ("This part of the park is a protected area... Only friends and allies of the Ala Rubra and the Ala Alba should be able to access it...")
"Hello in the camp. May we come in?"
Still wary, Chao tried to recall who the voice belonged to. It was familiar, but there was a strong sense of age and weariness which kept the answer from getting any further than the tip of her tongue. "If you are a friend, then welcome..."
Out in the darkness, a chuckle came in response to Chao's challenge-filled words. "Well, it's been a while since we've met, but I'd like to think we are still friends, de gozaru."
As Chao looked on in surprise and Sasuke in awe, a tall woman, graying now but still looking strong and fit, walked into the circle of light provided by the fire.
Sasuke's words broke Chao's spell of shock. "Kaede Nagase... I thought you were dead..."
Reaching up, Kaede began to scratch her chin while continuing to maintain the smile which proved more than anything else who she was. "There once was a famous American rancher who said; 'I'm going to kill the next person who says that!' but of course, such sentiments don't apply between friends."
Stepping forward, Chao took the big girl... the big woman's hand. "How? It's been a hundred years... You don't look much beyond your forties or fifties at most..."
Releasing Chao's hand, Kaede put her own behind her neck while chuckling with embarrassment. "That's a long story for some other time. What matters is the end result of what I was doing."
As Kaede turned and waved for someone to come in out of the darkness, Chao focused on the cloak covered figure and wondered who it might be. She experienced momentary confusion as the cloaks hood was lowered, because the person looked like her definitely dead mother, then she realized the woman was wearing glasses... "Satomi..."
Shaking her head, the woman took off her glasses before stepping closer to Chao. "I home, Big sister..."
A veil of denial fell away from Chao's mind, and she immediately collapsed to her knees. As her lost sister Cheiu quickly knelt before her, she looked up into the aged woman's eyes and let her tears flow like rain. "My god... I was so close for nearly two and-a-half years and I couldn't see it... I'm sorry... I'm so, so sorry..."
Wrapping her arms around Chao's shoulders, Cheiu pulled her sister into a warm embrace. "Please don't cry. There's no way you could have known. I didn't find out myself for sure until just before the Demon Wars."
Giving a relieved sigh, Kaede watched as Chao slowly returned her sister's embrace. Feeling someone's eyes fixed upon her, she turned to look down at the little boy standing nearby. Professor Springfield had told her about Sasuke after explaining where Chao could be found, and she could sense the potential present in his wiry frame. "Young man. Why don't the two of us keep watch while those two catch up on the time they've been separated?"
Thrilled to have his legendary great-grandmother Kaede even speak to him, Sasuke nodded enthusiastically. "Ye... Yes Ma'am!"
Out in the darkness surrounding Chao's campfire, a pair of guarded eyes watched from atop a pinnacle of rock as the two miss-matched guards moved to do their duty.
Slipping back down from her place of concealment, 'Miss Tsuku,' fourth girl to hold the name 'Tsukuyomi,' turned and began trotting towards a hidden Exocoetus aircar.
Having heard through methods which were her own what Chao Lingshen's plans were, she had followed the group of campers and had not come away disappointed. Great-grandmother Tsukuyomi's time in the Mundus Magicus was part of her family history, but she'd never heard the Springfield side of the story.
Now she better understood why, despite their status as an 'enemy' of her branch of the Shinmei-Ryu, why the Springfield family and its allies were always spoken of with such respect.
Reaching into her pocket as she approached the aircar, Tsukuyomi took out the keyless entry switch. Too bad she couldn't have gone down and joined the little campfire story-telling session. If she had, then Chao Lingshen could have been told the last, missing chapter to her story...
(Heathrow International Airport. London, England.)
It seemed to Tsukuyomi as if most of her luck had been used up just getting back to the Mundus Vetus from the Mundus Magicus. The rest had gone away in paying for whatever reason someone let her out of the cell she'd been placed in beneath the Meldiana Magorum. Getting out of Wales and into London hadn't been too bad, but everything had fallen apart after that.
Delays on the Underground and a sense she was being followed had prompted her to take a taxi to Heathrow, thus increasing the time it took to arrive there. Some lunatic in a van had nearly run her over as she got out and turned to pay the driver, and now it seemed as if the person who set her free had lied about allowing three days to get out of the country. They didn't carry themselves the same way the Magic Association of England guards at the Meldiana Magorum did, but the three men watching the security entry for the International Terminal were definitely agents of some kind of mage organization.
Looking down at her ticket and seeing how little time was left to get to the gate, she began to worry. Getting Ukeire past the increased security brought about by the attacks in New York two years ago was going to be tricky enough, if she had to deal with someone who might be trying to stop her as well... That might cause enough of a delay she would miss her flight...
Since her benefactor had not seen fit to give her any of the Ofuda talismans she might have used as a distraction in this situation, Tsukuyomi was beginning to seriously consider attacking the men anyway when someone came up from behind and suddenly pulled her back under cover. Quickly realizing a man had grabbed her, she started to lash out but refrained from doing so when she saw him holding a finger to his mouth in a 'Please be quiet!' gesture.
Moving forward slightly, Noriyasu Seta began watching the three mysterious persons discretely positioned around the terminal security area. Assured they had not noticed what just happened, he turned towards his part-time assistant and the girl they'd just rescued and began searching his pockets for a cigarette.
As his archeological mentor's mind began to wander, Keitaro Urashima released the young girl he'd somehow managed to grab without touching anything which could potentially result in a life-threatening situation. Seta had confirmed it just after he'd realized it, but the blonde girl with glasses trying to remain unnoticed outside the security area was Shinmei-Ryu, just like Motoko Aoyama. ("I've been beaten up by her techniques so much, how could I NOT recognize someone who carries themselves like 'Kendo!'") "Hey Miss. You're a Shinmei-Ryu, aren't you? Could you use a little help?"
Normally ready to eviscerate any male creature who dared to try and touch her, even after her exchange with Takamichi Takahata, Tsukuyomi found herself unusually calm as the glasses wearing young man waited for her answer. ("Wait a minute... Glasses wearing!") "You...mmph!"
Seeing what was about to happen, Seta gave up looking for a smoke and quickly placed his hand over the little blonde's mouth. Keitaro made the 'shushing' motion again, and when she nodded, still glaring but calm, he released her.
Staring daggers at the younger of the two glasses-wearing men, Tsukuyomi struggled to keep herself from shouting. ("You're the idiot who nearly ran me over near the taxi stand!")
Putting a hand behind his head, Keitaro gave a soft, nervous laugh. "Yeah, sorry about that! I'm still not used to driving!"
Considering that both of these 'males' had managed to lay hands on her, without her realizing they were about to do so, Tsukuyomi grudgingly accepted that they were certainly a capable pair. Crossing her arms, she glanced back out towards the security area. "Well, you've guessed right. I'm on a mission for my Shukun, and those three are in the way of my continuing it."
Turning once more, Seta examined the three men again before rubbing his chin and nodding. "Agents of an Evil Secret Organization! We've encountered their type before! Let's get-'em Keitaro!"
Reaching out, Keitaro grabbed Seta before he could try anything crazy. "Sensei... remember what happened the last time we did that? It took two weeks of explaining before those FBI guys realized we were innocent. Wouldn't it be better to try something a little less, 'flashy?' this time?"
Taken aback by Keitaro's caution, Seta had the chance to recall the outcome of that previous incident. Haruka had NOT been pleased at having to fly all the way from Japan to vouch for the two of them. "Ah... well, perhaps that might be a good idea..." Looking around, he spotted his carry-on bag, remembering as he did so there were clothes inside he'd purchased as gifts for Sarah McDougal. "Okay then; let's do this instead..."
Having been warned by other operatives of the Cabal to be on the lookout for Fate Averruncus Shinmei-Ryu partner, the organization in London had kept an eye on the rail entries into the city. Through skrying and other means of magical spying, they had managed to pick her up as she switched from the main rail lines to the Underground. Tracking her to Heathrow, they unexpectedly lost her at the airport entrance.
A few discrete threats gave them the flight she was departing London for Japan on, so even if her exact location wasn't known, all they should need to do was keep an eye on the security area for the international terminal, and the diminutive blade-user would be trapped. Their false credentials would allow them to 'arrest' her as a security risk as she tried to get to her flight, or she would be scared off and have to return to London. Once back in the anonymity of that bustling city, she would easily be swept up by agents who were experts at such things.
Glancing nervously at his watch, the leader of the three Cabal agents outside Heathrow's terminal security area saw what the time was and began to fret in irritation. The Shinmei-Ryu's flight departed within the hour, and there had been no sign of her since that bizarre incident near the taxi stand.
When what looked like two brothers and their little sister began approaching the security area, he made the hand signal warning his companions to be ready to act. The girl was the right size for their target, but her clothes were all wrong for what he'd heard was a prissy little skirt. Her slouch and rough haircut also argued against her being Shinmei-Ryu, but it probably wouldn't hurt to make sure. Just as he was about to signal his two partners to move in, he took a better look at the taller of the two men...
Visceral fear immediately seized his mind. As one of the few survivors of the Cabal's debacle on Molmol Island in the Pacific Ocean, there was no way he could ever forget the face of the shovel-wielding maniac who had caused so much destruction. Noriyasu Seta's bazooka-wielding female partner wasn't present, but if the younger looking man was his apprentice, that could be bad enough. Additionally, the young girl HAD to be Seta's adopted daughter. Nothing else made any sense. Amongst parts of the Cabal, Sarah McDougal was already being spoken of as a potential threat to the organization due to her adoptive father's influence.
Without hesitation, he gave the signal to withdraw. Letting the Shinmei-Ryu escape was infinitely preferable to possibly attracting the attention of Noriyasu Seta. Considering what had happened on Molmol, it was possible that so-called 'archeology professor' might wipe-out the Cabal's entire presence in England.
Passing around the corner from the security area, Tsukuyomi sighed and removed the denim cap Seta had loaned her. She'd always taken pride in her long hair, but he and Keitaro had been right, by the inescapable reasoning of logic, that anything she could do to alter her appearance could only increase the chances of a successful escape.
Hearing a sigh, Seta glanced down at the girl posing as his daughter Sarah. "Sorry about your hair. If you'd like, I'll pay to have a stylist fix it properly when we get to Japan."
Nodding, Tsukuyomi adjusted the positioning of her carry-on's shoulder-strap, then winced at the sound of a completely unexpected noise.
Hearing a stomach gurgle coming from Tsukuyomi, followed by the sight of her fighting mightily not to blush, Keitaro chuckled and pointed to a nearby bistro. "We've still got a bit of time before the flight, so why don't I buy you some lunch? I'm not saying you couldn't afford it, but why don't we just call it my partial payback for cutting your hair?"
Fate and Negi had their own kind of presence Tsukuyomi could respect. These two men, and, surprising herself, she actually considered Seta and Keitaro that, instead of just 'male creatures,' also had a kind of... 'Attitude' perhaps, that she didn't feel uncomfortable being around. Despite her young looks, they had recognized her as Shinmei-Ryu, and treated her appropriately as a matter of course. As they entered the bistro, waving for her to follow, she felt a blush at the thought that perhaps, just perhaps, her belief that all those like them were no better than some foul creature might be wrong.
Giving a sigh, Tsukuyomi hefted her carry-on bag once more and walked on into the bistro. In any case, she'd be sitting next to Seta and Keitaro for the entire flight back to Japan. If they really were worthy of her respect, there should certainly be plenty of time to find out.
Butterfly Effect: An idea/theory where a minor change, such as in Chao Lingshen's past, (2003 Mahora,) could potentially cause a large change in the future. (2103 Mundus Magicus.)
Satomi Hakase/Cheiu Lingshen: My story; 'Chao Lingshen: Coming Home,' explains why these two people are one and the same.
Exocoetus aircar: A 'Flying Fish' aircar.
'the attacks in New York two years ago,': Of course, the 2001 9/11 attacks. Ala Alba takes place in 2003.
Underground: London's subway system.
'little skirt.': English slang for a young woman.
Molmol Island: Home of Kaolla Su. (Love Hina.)
Within Tsukuyomi's final scene it is still 2003. Keitaro is traveling with Seta as a part of his education. His marriage with Naru Narusegawa occurs in 2004.
Tsukuyomi's escape in this chapter is her clean getaway from the groups who capture Fate Averruncus and his Ministra. As such, it leads to her eventual actions in Kafka'sdragon's 'Markham Chronicles Negima: Other Side of the Mirror.'
Author's Comments. Other information.
Well, it's not quite November, but it's been nearly three years since I started 'Ala Alba in the World of Magic.' Fifty-four chapters and three computers later, we've finally come to the end.
Am I where I thought I'd be when I started? Truthfully? No. However I can't really say for sure, since my original outline is trapped on a dead computer! Additionally, I also wanted to be able to tie Ala Alba back into the original manga storyline, but since the Magic World arc hasn't ended yet, how well I've managed to do so remains to be seen.
As the story grew, Kafka'sdragon and I made the decision to tie our stories together. Sharing background and exchanging ideas helped me solve several of the problems I faced while writing.
Kafka'sdragon; I probably never would have made it without you. Thanks much, and I hope we keep working together in the future.
Where will I go next?
Well, before I switch 'Ala Alba' from 'Continuing' to 'Complete,' I intend to do a final edit to correct various spelling, grammar, and minor continuity errors. In addition, based on the request of several reviewers, I will create an informational compendium/index, which will be published as Chapter 55.
At the same time and afterwards, I will concentrate on one-shot stories so I can relax from the stress generated by working on a long-term project. In all seriousness, despite the satisfaction I felt at the same time, writing Ala Alba was VERY stressful.
In my life I've had a nasty habit of never finishing big projects like this story, so I was constantly worried I would do so again. Finishing has finally allowed me to fulfill one of my life ambitions; writing a book. Ala Alba may not be a 'Great American Novel,' but I hope everyone has had as much fun reading it as I had writing it!
What will come after Chapter 55?
I originally intended to expand on 'Chao Lingshen: Coming Home,' and I might still do so, but the need to detail events mentioned in that story, as well as in Ala Alba, may dictate a completely separate 'story entry' on FF.N.
Things mentioned but not fully detailed include:
Events leading up to the First Crisis and the original sealing of the Life Giver.
How Asuna's ancestors lost out to their enemies.
Events which brought my background characters to Ariadne, as well as that city's involvement in the Bellum Schismatica.
The One Year Mage War.
The Demon Wars.
What happened in her 'future' world while Chao Lingshen was in the past.
What DID happen with Kaede Nagase and Satomi Hakase/Cheiu Lingshen?
As well as many others.
If there is something else anyone wishes to know more about, let me know in a review, or in a PM.
For the sake of convenience, I present below an extremely simplified timeline. One with more detail will be included in Chapter 55. (All years given in Earth/Mundus Vetus equivalents.)
600 BCE: (Before Common Era.) First Crisis. (Mundus Magicus.)
980: Most common year quoted for Ostia ceasing to be the capital of the Mundus Magicus. (Era of Arjuent Teotanasia.)
1983: The 'Bellum Schismatica' war. (Ala Rubra's war.)
2003 - 2004: Maho Sensei Negima.(Ala Alba in the World of Magic. Markham Chronicles Negima.)
2049 - 2050: The One Year Mage War. (Mundus Magicus vs. the Mundus Vetus.)
2064 - 2066: The Demon Wars. (Demon Realms skirmish with both worlds.)
2103: Chao Lingshen: Coming Home.
Chapter Fifty-five: Compendium/Index.