Disclaimer: I do not own Negima in any form or any character or borrowed from an outside source. Any such idea will be marked by and accredited to its rightful holder(s) in the chapter introduced.
In a colossal white void of a room devoid of any other matter save for a set of grand golden doors that towered fifty feet high, a respectful individual lowered on one knee and announced in a formal tone "Mistress I am here, awaiting your command." His face showed a fleeting youth , his brown feline eyes possessing an almost fierce sense of integrity. Most of his reddish hair was spiked back, save for a few strands touching his forehead. He wore attire that befitted his formality- almost regal in that regard.
Suddenly, a huge, transparent figure of a woman appeared before him. She wore kimono with a sash draping down the front from the belt to just past her knee, an elaborate cape that buckled in the front blocking her torso and arms from view, however the most impressive feature was her face which held great beauty and youth, despite the ancient feeling she gave off.
"Gem, I am glad that you seem to be well," the female specter spoke kindly, before her tone became more serious. "How goes the situation with the latest case? You usually don't ask for our advice on matters unless… Is a galaxy in danger?"
Gem calmly replied "Thank you for your concern Mistress, and for agreeing to see me so fast. I am quite conflicted about what to do with the latest turn the case has taken and what it could mean for your and your sisters' goal. The soul in question has already broken the limitations set for its universe in two separate lifetimes and was close to doing so in others, but, in one of them it was corrupted to the point that, if it were to have the power we hope for it to have, it would have without a doubt tried to destroy everything and it would probably even require your direct intervention, my mistress."
The fact that her subordinate chose to ponder on this had startled her greatly; normally, any such indication would be reason enough for him to destroy it! "Well, a power destructive enough to be beyond your control… If that is the case, why are you not partitioning for its elimination? Taking such a risk would certainly be against your nature."
Expecting those words he gave a proud smile. "Because this soul has much more often, given its all for others, and its present personality is one of the purest I have ever seen, to just discard such a rarity would be truly against my nature." His elation became short-lived, though, as his next choice of words unsettled him. "Although there are other factors of concern, two groups will have a great impact on this soul will to come into conflict, and the possible after effects of either one's actions disturb me greatly." He waited nervously for his mistress's response; she returned a warm smile, giving him a sense of relief.
"Well, I see your concern. Am I correct in assuming that you want to directly intervene?"
"You know me too well, mistress. I request your aid in imposing the veil system on the present body to prevent others from noticing its potential and corrupting it, then after some time to allow development of self, I will eliminate the soul outright or train it, slowly lifting the veils as I do." he happily stated.
"Does this case really merit imposing using the veil system, our most powerful of seals that restricts the flow of energy, and on every level of one's being; will you even be able to train one under such a powerful seal?"
"Yes, mistress; in fact I expect overflow in some area's. If the veils are not imposed then elimination is the only option.
She dwelled on his inquiry for a short while before giving her answer. "Very well, I will allow you to do as you wish. We will impose the veils tomorrow. Oh and please try enjoying yourself a little, after all it's been at lest a millennium since you last left the office." The figure playfully stated before fading away.
Gem got to his feet and walked out of the room with glee "Looks like I finally get to have some fun. His thoughts drifting towards his objective, he mused, Thanks, kid. When we meet, I will show you my gratitude…
Ten years had passed since that fateful day. The time for action came . Moving out, the man called Gem looked forward to the closest thing that he had to a vacation for the first time in a long time. "Well, it is finally time for things to get started. First task is to provide the right motivation for growth, and I know just the thing..."
Sitting near a table Kotaro contemplated the Ala Alba's current situation and thier next move. "Alright.. the only ones that we don't have any clues on yet are: Ayna-neechan, Forehead-chibi, and paru-neesan. Ayna-neechan is a mage, Forehead-chibi is in training, and Paru-neesan can draw herself out of most anything , so they'll be ok... Ah! Honya-can!" then a problem popped into his head. Turning around he called over to the person nearest to him. "Natsumi-neesan, what did Honya-chan say exactly in her letter?" he asked hastily.
"I think that it just said she was fine, traveling with some treasure hunters and would meet us at the finals." She replied. "Just let me cheek,." Fumbling around the draw that they kept the information they had on their comrades in, until she fond the letter. "It says that she was picked up by the group in a ruin and will meet us at the stadium gate of the arena, the time depending on how fast she can make it past security ."
"Let me see it Natsumi-neesan." looked over the girl's shoulder and scanned the paper seeking a clue, to Nodoka's location, but to no avail. Settling for the mail's origin he asked her "Is there a return address." The she showed him, "Noctis", quickly caught his attention. "I've heard of that place before! "Dam it!" he growled, hi fears confirmed, startling her.
"What's wrong Kotaro-kun?" She asked, now confused.
"She is going to have to go though the capital, and just when things were going so well..!" He groaned annoyed.
His statement perplexed her further. "Why is that so bad? I mean Chachamaru-san and Asakura-san will have to do the same thing and you didn't seem worried about them." Jumping to conclusions, she gasped in shock Could Kotaro have a crush on Nodoka-san?
"It's not the same; Chachamaru-nee-san can change out her body and Asakura-neesan has a different look, thanks to the age deceiving pill, but Honya-neechan has no disguise whatsoever! If she goes though the capital she will be caught for sure! He stated in frustration. Settling down he skimmed his words "No, wait- Honya-chan is smart. She'll know to find a way around it… If she took a boat to one of the costal towns, she might be able to avoid security completely" thought Kotaro out loud.
The girl was impressed by his quick thinking- so impressed, that the sound of the door opening surprised her.
Barging into the room 'Nagi Springfeild's" replacement, Tosaka, yelled, "Hey Kid, hurry up we have a match in five minutes!"
Panicking at losing track of time, Kotaro shouted back, "Alright Rooster!" Before dashing off to the arena, he turned back to Natsumi and said, "See you later!"
In a traveler's town near the east cost of the continent, the booklover in question, while having lunch with her newly acquired friends at a lively bar off the crowed streets of the town's market place, was discussing with them the location of the next hunt
"I think we should cheek out the ruins in the next town before going to Moel." said a shaggy- haired man. "What do you think Aisha?" he asked the long haired young woman sitting next to him.
"I don't know, Christian. She responded half-heartedly, Turning to the eldest of the group, she inquired eagerly "What do you think Craig?"
The man looked at her with his usual relaxed look and replied "I don't think there is any point to reaching Moel I haven't heard anything about it having ruins!" He then turned to the two women on his left one appeared detached and looked around the same age as Aisha and Christian; the other, with purple locks draping over her eyes and a quite demeanor, looked even younger then the trio. "Nodoka, where do you think we should go after this job?"
"I don't know; the final part I need to bring out the full potential of the Diarium Ejus should be in the next location, I don't have any clue where my friends are," she glumly responded, "so I'll go any where, as long as I can acquire that last piece."
"Maybe we should get something to drink." the woman next to her suggested.
"Good idea, Lynn," Christian spoke. "All this treasure-hunting talk's making me parched!"
A man at a near by table, fully cloaked save for his cat-like eyes, barged into their presence, position himself near Nodoka "Hello! I couldn't help overhearing your conversation, and was wondering if I hear correctly. Did you say you have the legendary Diarium Ejus?"
"Legendary!?" the group exclaimed in unison
While the others' voices held a tone of interest, Nodoka's was one of genuine shock.
"W-w-what do you mean legendary?" the girl inquired, trying to process the news.
"You mean… you don't know! Girl, what you have there is something that is highly regarded as the absolute mind reading devise that has failed to ever be blocked even when a force of one hundred specialist of telepathy dedicated solely to that purpose. However, I never heard of anyone actually receiving it since its transfer to the pactio society. I'd be happy to tell you every thing else I know about it, if you'd only let me see It." explained the man in an excited voice as he turned to the girl.
Seeing that the man's information was important enough for Nodoka to still be processing the concept; after a quick exchange of plotting glances, Lynn grabbed a chair from another table and placed it between Nodoka and herself. "Here have a seat, and tell us more about yourself, and how do you know so much about the subject?" She offered , attentively watching the stranger's actions.
He quipped "My name is Ryuikes, and for the past fifteen years I've been looking into the forgotten past of the mentalist profession and its Nagi Springfield of sorts, Shantoto Scienter. She is better known as the 'Mind Sage' or the 'Mind Terror'- depending on who you ask, of course." Noticing their piqued interest and Nodoka's eventual return to reality, he "gave them the floor".
"Wait, what the hell is a 'mentalist' and who is this 'Scienter' you compare with the greatest mage who ever lived to! You expect us to believe that someone that we never even heard of could be that powerful!?" Aisha shouted. "Also, why is there such a difference in titles? There is a long way between 'sage' and 'terror'!"
"That's right! If this person was really that powerful a mage or ki master we would've heard something about them. How do we even know that she actually existed in the first place?" added Christian. His answer however, didn't come from Ryuikes.
"This book was created in 1459, the masterpiece of Scienter Shantoto. Its purpose was to act as an aid to Arcaine Astroiceis and his magi, and can also be used as an art of manipulation in the hands of one who would abuse the power." Nodoka read out loud as she. "But it doesn't say anything about what you've been saying."
"Well, your lack of knowledge on it is pretty normal; in fact I don't even think that even the king's high council of the north would detail knowledge on the subject. I only acquired this info because of the amount of time I've spent looking into the topic. My finding 'The Temple of the Forbidden Mind, which holds all the knowledge of the few mentalist managed to hide away from the 'Massacres of Mind's Fall', before they too were killed off." Ryuikes pragmatically explained. "Furthermore, to prevent future owners from wielding its true power, the Diarium Ejus had a page modify. If you really wanted to know how to use that book you should go there."
I've never heard of this so-called 'Temple of the forbidden mind' ." said Craig cynically
"Agreed!" Lynn added.
"Anyway, why should we care?" Christen inquired "We don't have interest in the mind."
The man smiled smugly and replied "Well, it is also called the Temple of Vanishing Crystal, nicknamed as such because it only appears once every century. It's about a hundred kilometers off the coast of Valcan, and in addition to it possessing knowledge the ability to shift matter into any form at will, it's made from different types of Crystals! I'm sure you could get some thing for a wall of solid crystal." His grin only widened as he saw the look of amazement on their faces. "Interested now?"
Aisha jolted from her chair "How is that possible?" she balked. Clearing her throat, she added, "If what you're saying is true, then how could you have been there!?" The group looked expectantly at the man
"It's simple really; the body is made of slowly-deteriorating matter, resulting in ageing. If you steadily repair it, the concept of 'ageing' no longer applies to you. So in effect this temple offers: unlimited money, agelessness, the power to shape the world to your liking, and near immortality, If you can find it in the six hours that it is in this world." Ryuikes explained. "Four days are left until the temple appears; during that time, I will head for it. I require help exporting its more valuable items. Of course, you may keep a fair share of the treasure and will be further compensated after we get back. What do you say does this seem to fit your taste?"
The quintet blankly stared at him, speechless; their thoughts were much too preoccupied with the endless possibilities of such rewards
"Text by the creator of the Diarium Ejus, the able to bring out its full power, acquiring the skills of a mentalist- with those, I could be a true partner to Negi-sensei!" thought Nodoka joyously ignoring the idea of other treasure. "Yes! This just too good to be true…" then it hit her it was too good to be true. Considering the many other options open to Ryuikes, she asked the question that rang through ever corner of her mind: "Why us!?"
The girl's inquiry came out more forceful then intended-not only did it snap her friends from their daydreaming, she caught the attention of the entire pub, much to her embarrassment. Thinking the same question, the group locked their sight on Ryuikes, their eyes showing great suspicion.
"Hey, now; there's no need for that. " He answered skittishly. "My reasoning is quite simple, you see. I chose you guys solely because of her." Looking at Nodoka, he added, "Either you're a master thief, achieving the impossible by swiping that item-."
"No! I would never do anything like that!" she blurted, waving her hands out. "My friends and I just came here with our teacher to find his farther and…" She covered her mouth, realizing she may have said too much.
"-or," he continued, unfazed "you meet the very specific criteria, set by the pactio society to own that book, Taking out a rolled up parchment, he stated. "If it was the latter, it would be a crime on my part to deny you a chance to see its master's text. Of course, there's a simple way to know which case I'm dealing with." Dropping his friendly demeanor, he shot her the most threatening look she ever saw and subtly demanded, "Open the book and lay it on the table. Lay it as flat as you can. Do not worry; this will be quick."
Intimidated, she followed his instructions, placing her open artifact on her group's table.
Sliding the parchment towards her, he then said "Take a look at this."
She unrolled the scroll. To her horror, it displayed the structure of a wanted poster, face shown alongside the rest of the White Wings. Ideas raced though her head as she perused the document.
"The perpetrators below have been changed with the disruption of Mesembria's gateports and the severance of the link to the Old World. These individuals, labeled as a collective international threat, are well-armed and EXTREMELY dangerous. A bounty for each person listed will de awarded to those who can bring them to justice ALIVE." Below the warning were the pictures of each Ala Alba member and his/her respective reward.
Gate ports? Severance of the link to the Old World? International threat!? A 15,000-Drachma bounty on my head? Oh no, oh no, oh no…Wait, Negi-sensei and the others are, too. This not good! Who is this guy? Is he a policeman, or a bounty-hunter? Why does he know so much about my book? Ohhhh, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do!?
Reading the Diarium Ejus, Ryuikes turned the book towards him and uttered "Deletus "The words and images faded into the pages. Eyeing Nodoka, he whispered, "Well, I can see this is your book, but that still leaves the question did you do it?" Muting out her immediate and expected verbal denial, he read from the book.
"No, it was that white haired boy form the school trip. He blow-up the gate and nearly killed Negi-sensei as I watched helplessly like the useless tag-along I am... I can't protect him, I can't heal him, I can't even advise him in anything important, and I always need to be saved. I can't do magic no matter how hard I try, or even use my artifact without calling attention to myself! I'm worthless with out getting stronger…. Oh no! He can see all this!"
Ryuikes slammed the book shut before busting out laughing " Well, it looks like you're.. Haha!.. Innocent! Quite interesting too! Can I count your friends in as well?" asked the man in between his laughing fits as he looked at the mortified Nodoka.
Her friends glanced at her for her option. Giving a slight nod, they all turned back to the man and replied. "Sure!"
"Where and when do we meet?" asked Lynn
"I'd like to stay together and depart for Valcan as soon as possible. I have arranged for a plane to leave in two hours and accommodations for seven. All that remains is the boat, so you can either accompany me for free or I can give you the address and you can come by three days from now. Just come to the airport by takeoff if you free travel, but I'll be heading straight there , so chose quickly. Otherwise, I'll see you later!" he dropped another rolled-up scroll, brought the Diarium Ejus with him, and left the pub.
Realizing his action, Nodoka quickly pursued him, shouting "Wait! You still have my book!" Little by little, she quickened her pace, thinking the man would stop.
Unfortunately, he, too, kept increasing his speed until the chase had peaked into a full sprint!
By the second call, now more of a scream, her companions slammed down the money for the bill and hastily ran after the two managing to catch up to them.
Ryuikes looked back and saw all the treasure hunters he enlisted now chasing him. A little while longer, and everyone would be within the vicinity of the plane- on time, no less!
Twenty minutes later, as everyone reached the airport runway, Aisha, winded from the chase yelled to Ryuikes, "Stop!"
The man didn't even slow down as he sped towards his plane waiting to take off.
"No! My book!" Nodoka cried out. She desperately pushed her legs to go faster, but they refused to comply .
"Don't worry Nodoka." Christen reassured her "We aren't far away from him we can still get him even if he gets to the plane!" Christen reassured her.
"That is because things went exactly as he planned..." Craig pointed out to the duo, which silenced and made them look at him.
"Agreed! He has made sure to keep in sight the whole time." Lynn added.
They didn't waste anymore time on words as they saw he enter the plane. However the plane was not what she expected ; possessing a giant three blade proprotor transmission nacelles on both wingtips, she was looking at something quite different from those stories in the school library as it started up its engines. "A bonafide V-22 Osprey
"What kind of machine is that!" Aisha exclaimed
"it's a transport copter!" Nodoka stated "We have to hurry!"
They had no clue what she was talking about, but hurried all the same, reaching the plane as it hovered three feet off the ground. Nodoka, acting instinctively, jumped straight though the seemingly broken-off opening, her friends following suit.
The quintet fought the sudden increase in weight as they approached the cockpit. When they got within an arm's reach of the door, the aircraft suddenly increased it's climbing speed, knocking the treasure hunters off their feet and into the back wall.
"Hi three!" Ryuikes greeted from behind them. "You know it is dangerous to stand in an aircraft while it's taking off." He teased. As they turned their heads to look him in the face, they saw him floating in the air. "Although! I must say, I hate having to go this far just to make sure that people go along with the plan. The book is in the cockpit, I do regret that I had to take to get you here, but I you guys didn't seem like you wanted take the former option, so I had to nudge you in the right direction."
The group managed to get to their feet, circled him, and prepared themselves to attack. "this is for trying to steel from us, and making us look like fools!" Christen declared as he readied him self .
"Little missy, go get that book of yours; we'll take care him!" Craig adamantly order Nodoka.
Complying, she did as she headed for the cockpit, sealed off by an iron door.
As she approached the door, Ryuikes tried to say, "Look before you do this I really should tell you-"
Quite! You! Christen broke off.
As Nodoka opened the door to the cockpit and barged in, she saw who was piloting the aircraft, and realized that there was one Ryuikes too many. Just then, she heard a loud thud from behind her. Turning towards the sound, she saw her friends' bodies rolling back to the back wall, somehow unconscious.
"I tried to warn them that I was still using the illusion tactic, which I used to stall you while I got everything ready for takeoff."
Putting two and two together, Nodoka was perplexed that the man she and her friends had just chased all around the city was an illusion… but how did he have her book? In a frightened tone, she asked him "When did you..?" She considered running ,but realized that was impossible when they were in the air.
"I never really got up until you placed the Diarium Ejus on the table. I completely blocked my presences from your senses and instantly erased the book's as you handed it over, while simultaneously creating a fake for you while I prepped for takeoff. The man smugly explained, as he gave a mischievous smile. "Boy, when your friends wake up and hear that not only was that person, they cased for twenty minutes though the crowded streets screaming at, was a fake, but the airport was only a mile or two the other way." He cracked up. "Well, I don't think they will take it too well."
Nodoka was now deeply afraid of this man's intentions and abilities . She could feel herself starting to sweet, her thoughts raced with ideas of what to do. Only snapping out of when he called her name.
"Nodoka-chan! Hey! You don't have to panic I didn't go though all this just to harm you and the White Wings." He reassured her. "If I wanted that, I could have just attacked you guys telepathically while you were back in the Old World."
This only increased the girl's fears. How did he know the name of our club. I never even told Craig-san and the others that! Did he genuinely read my mind while I was under his illusion?" How much did he know? Is he a spy for someone ? A hundred other questions filled her head she could only force one out. "W..What do you want?"
"My job is, in essence is to find people who have potential and bring them to their greatest heights." Ryuikes explained I see potential in a few of your group and as such have been keeping an eye on you guys for quite a while. That is as much as I can tell you unless you become my apprentice." explained Ryuikes.
"Why me? I'm nothing like Negi-sensai, Asuna-san, or Yue. I'm clumsy slow and-"
"Oh shut-up! You seriously don't give yourself enough credit. Even though you can't use magic or ki to a practical level you're still here, trying to help the people you care about, without fear; that takes strength beyond this material world, and that is why it would be a shame not to make you a mentalist." the man explained in a compassionate manner, still focusing on the sky in front of him. "I will get around to your friends, but they have found teachers or ways to improve to help them while they're here."
The man's words gave her a great sense of relief as it sounded as if everyone was okay, but she still wondered where her friends were… "Where are-"
"Look," He cut her off once more. "your friends will wake up any minute, so I need your answer now: will you be my apprentice or not?"
She could only nodded timidly, fearful of what her refusal might bring.
"Hey, I'm not going to kill you if you say no!" he scolded her as he turned his chair around. His disguise shed, he appeared surprisingly youthful, his red hair spiked behind him "What I had said about the mentalist's power is true, along with the current situation of your "White Wings," but the necessary precautions will require leaving these guys in a way that they will look for you, that is what this whole meeting has been about. However the only way that you will even be able to do this training is if you genuinely want it, and not only because it will be hard. Now I will ask you again. Do you want to be my apprentice?" He spoke detachedly, but somehow conveyed a sense of inner warmth.
"I….want….to help Negi-sensai." Nodoka replied nervously
"Good! Now, as a heads up, we may need to do a few things that go against your nature, but there will be perfectly good reasons that I won't always be able to tell you ahead of time." Ryuikes spoke as he faced the glass once more. "Your book is on the seat. Could you explain this whole thing to your friends for me. Thanks!"
Before she could object, she font herself lifted off her feet and sent flying into her comrades, with her book hovering after her, as the cockpit door slammed shut behind her.
Phase one: Part 1-A complete, Gem, alias Ryuikes, thought. Next time, I really shouldn't use aliases I made up when I was eight, but picking them out of my hat might have been little too much fun. Oh, well- messing with her should be quite the enjoyable experience...
Notes: "This book was created in 1459, the masterpiece of Scienter Shantoto. Its purpose was to act as an aid to Arcaine Astroiceis and his magi, and can also be used as an art of manipulation in the hands of one who would abuse the power." Save for the underline parts, this is the English translation of the origins of Nodoka's Diarium Ejus. I added those in for the story's sake because the proper details are obscured in the manga chapter it was found in (Volume 5, Chapter 38), and a complete version of it is currently unavailable. If anyone can provide the official description, please notify me can keep it consistent.
Inaddition to the above explanation, the characters Gem and Ryuikes, as well as the events centered on the artifact's creator (save its creation), are my original ideas.