The Secret Behind Setsuna's Ponytail

Disclaimer: I don't own a thing. Otherwise, this story would've been part of the Negima manga.

Chapter 1: Discussion

Setsuna Sakurazaki was sitting in the back of the class, looking around, seemingly keeping an eye out for anything that might threaten her Ojou-sama, Konoka Konoe. In actuality, she was staring at Konoka, the girl she secretly loved, admiring her chocolate-brown hair. Negi Springfield, son of the Thousand Master, was up front, teaching 3-A Shakespeare.

One of his roommates, Asuna Kagurazaka, the one with orange hair and bells in her hair, was staring at the ceiling, looking like she was deep in thought, which was totally out of character for her. The vampire Evangeline A.K. McDowell, who had been cursed by the Thousand Master to remain within Mahora Academy's borders, and her robotic partner Chachamaru Karakuri, noticed Asuna in her state.

"I don't think I've ever seen that girl think so much about anything at all," Evangeline commented. "What in blazes could she be thinking about?"

"I am unsure, Master," replied the robot. "Perhaps, when the opportunity arises, we should ask her."

"We should," the vampire said.

Later on, Negi asked the class to split into groups of three for group study. Normally, Asuna would work with Setsuna and Konoka when this occurred. But, before they could reach Asuna, Evangeline and Chachamaru beat her to the punch.

"Asuna, is it alright if we work with you today?" Evangeline politely asked.

This snapped Asuna out of her train of thought, causing her to nearly jump out of her seat. Asuna wasn't used to Evangeline talking to her outside of training. Even then, she rarely spoke so politely.

After thinking about it for a moment, Asuna said, "I guess it's alright, but what about Konoka-chan and Setsuna-chan?" She pointed to where the two girls were standing.

"They can work with Satomi," Evangeline answered. "We usually work w/ her, but today's an exception."

"Alright then," said Asuna.

It had been about ten minutes since group study began. Negi had accidentally fallen asleep reading a book. The other groups were silently studying. Konoka was giggling at something she had just read. Setsuna was still secretly staring at Konoka, red coming to her face very slowly. Asuna was back in thought, but this time, she was staring at Setsuna, not the ceiling. Evangeline really wanted to know what was on Asuna's mind. She softly tapped Asuna's shoulder. Asuna turned around and faced Evangeline.

"What do you want?" Asuna asked.

"I want to know what you're thinking about and why you're staring at Setsuna so much," said Evangeline. "It's beginning to bug me."

Before Asuna had a chance to reply, a look of realization crossed Evangeline's face.

"Don't tell me…" she started. "…That you're crushing on that half-demon? I thought that fool Takahata was the one you loved, or at least the kid."

"WHAT!?" Asuna said in a harsh whisper. "No way! I am not crushing on Setsuna-chan! And definitely not Negi-bozu! We're friends, nothing more. And don't call Takahata-sensei a fool!"

"No need to explode, girl," Evangeline snapped at her.

"Scans indicate that while embarrassed and angered, Asuna-san is telling the truth," Chachamaru added.

"Okay then. What is that you're really thinking about?" the vampire asked.

"I was thinking about Setsuna-chan's hair style," Asuna answered. "Don't you ever wonder why she wears her hair in a ponytail that goes off the left side of her head, Evangeline?"

"I cannot believe that's what you're thinking about!" she sternly whispered. "This coming from the girl who ripped off Sailor Moon's hairstyle!" In the back of Evangeline's head, she acknowledged that she too had wondered about Setsuna's unique hairstyle herself.

"I didn't rip off Sailor Moon," said Asuna. "This hairstyle is copyrighted by Asuna Kagurazaka, me. Beside, our styles are different." She whipped out a photo of Sailor Moon, with Sailor Moon's signature on it. "See!" Asuna pointed to her and Sailor Moon's heads. "She has round balls on her head. I don't."

"Asuna-san, why do you have an autographed photograph of Sailor Moon?" Chachamaru asked.

"I'm a big fan," she answered.

"Enough about the Sailor Senshi of love and justice," Evangeline interrupted as Asuna put the photo away. "Asuna, I admit, I too have also wondered why Setsuna wears her hair that way. To be honest, I have no clue why she does it. Do either of you know?"

"I apologize, Master. I am unable to come up with a logical explanation to your question. I have failed you," Chachamaru answered.

"Don't worry about it Chacha-san," Asuna comforted her. She turned her attention to Evangeline. "I thought it was because of the fighting style she used. You know, that hairstyle being a requirement or something, but I doubt it."

"Perhaps the kid may have an answer to our question, Asuna," said Evangeline. "Let's ask him after class." Asuna and Chachamaru nodded in agreement.

For the rest of class, Asuna, Evangeline, and Chachamaru silently read. Of course they didn't read the assignment. Instead, they read magazines. When class was dismissed, the three of them remained behind to interrogate the 10-year-old mage.

"Hello, you three," Negi politely greeted. "Is there anything that I can help you girls with?"

"Nothing related to school," said Asuna. "But we do have a question. Do you have any idea why Setsuna-chan wears her hair the way she does?"

"To be completely honest, I have no clue why her hair's like that," said Negi. "What makes you think I'd know that?"

"Well, you do hang around the half-demon all the time, train alongside her, and have become good friends with her," commented Evangeline.

"True," said Negi. "But I still have no idea. I believe that if anyone would know the answer to that question, it would probably be either Kazumi-san or Konoka-san."

"Negi-sensei does have a point," Chachamaru added. "The most logical step would be to question Kazumi Asakura. She has eyes and ears all over the place. Should that not work, we should go see Konoka Konoe. She knows her more than anyone here. But, that may tip of Setsuna. We do not want her to know we're snooping about in her personal life. So we should proceed with caution."

"Impressive, Chachamaru," Evangeline told her. "You and I will go see Kazumi right now and see what she knows."

"I'm coming too," Asuna added. "After all, I started all this."

"I guess I'll tag along," said Negi. "I'll have to admit, I'm intrigued to find out the answer."

"That reminds me, boy," the vampire said. "Where's that pervert ermine of yours?"

"Chamo-kun?" he asked. "He's left for a few days. Something about collecting a commission from the Ermine Academy…"

"Figures," Asuna muttered.

The four of them left the classroom of 3-A to track down the reporter and, hopefully, the answer to their question.

Does Kasumi Asakura have the answers Negi, Asuna, Chachamaru, and Evangeline desire? Find out in chapter 2!

So, what did you think? Please R&R!