A/N: This will probably be the last chapter of the Flashbacks. This whole time on Earth, has been happening a few days before Fate showed up on Tu'narath, in case you didn't know, or were confused. I hope the opposite, at least.
"Okay, despite a few setbacks and arguments regarding this, I've come to a conclusion." Aristodemus announced to everyone in the castle, as all the girls, Shinpaku and associates of the military operations had gathered together in the hall of the castle. Ashracai had hidden himself, since not everyone knew of his presence. A few of the servants there as well had come to provide with boards, instructions and general drinks and refreshments. "This mission to travel to the Githyanki homeworld is approved." This announcement caused chatter among everyone at first, forcing him to continue in the midst of it. "Force Commander Averruncus will be in charge." The Spartan said, having the white-haired construct rise up and on expectation walked up to stand beside the Spartan. "Are there any questions before we continue?"
"I have, Sir." Kenichi raised his hand first to make his presence known to the crowd. "Since this is according to your words, a 'One way ticket', who is coming along?"
"That will be for my decision to make." Fate answered him. "I have already made a few key selections, but I'm afraid I can't guarantee someone from every group."
"Who is decided to go, however, is another thing." Aristodemus continued. "Due to recent events and as punishment for desertion, Konoe Setsuna is assigned to the strike team. Along with this, I have in my suspicion that Konoe Konoka will also come along as the team's designated healer."
"I intend to." Konoka replied almost immediately. "No way I'm letting Set-chan out of my sights again." There were a few that actually chuckled because of that.
"Of that, I have no doubt." Aris commented. "Anyone else?"
"I got one, Oyaji." Asuna said, raising her hand. "How come Negi can't come along on this?"
The Spartan actually paused for a moment, knowing that he would be in for more pain if he told the truth. Ah, heck, better run with it. "...Negi... has been discharged from duty, due to medical reasons and insubordination." He told them, and half the place went in uproar. "Look, I'm sorry it turned out that way, but I got more unit 'cells' to deal with than the one in front of me. News of the insubordination reached their ears and they called for an immediate discharge. Some even demanded execution. I got half a mind to pay those guys a visit, personally."
"Even execution?" Asuna repeated the word. "Why, I oughta-" She stopped herself there.
"Hence why I'm going there. I'm going to remind them that I'm the one in charge, not them." The Spartan informed them. "Negi doesn't have any objections against this act. But I'm afraid that it also means he's forbidden to train here for the coming week."
"It's true." Negi confirmed those words, leaning on a bookshelf. "I can live with it, though. It's only a week until I'm reinstated."
"But, what are you going to do during that time?" Ukita inquired. "With the rest of us around training, resisting doing it yourself could be difficult."
"...Yeah, about that..." Aris said, scratching his chin. "I got a minor thing for him to do during the week. Hope you don't mind that, Negi."
"No, I don't." Negi responded nicely, unaware of what was going to come.
"Well then, I'm going on this mission." Asuna announced. "I'm going to represent Negi on this, and I will not take a no, even from you, Oyaji." She told the old man. "Besides, you only need one of us to fulfill your plans, don't you?"
"...That's not really... what I had in mind, Asuna..." Aris groaned. "And I can tell when someone is joking. Even so, why do you want to go?"
"Not letting Setsuna out of my sights again as well, and someone's gotta make sure that Fate doesn't overstep the boundaries." The redhead replied. "We're doing this to get Honya-chan back, aren't we?"
"...You could say that, yes." Aris replied.
"Well, then, it's decided. I'm going on this and you can't stop me." Asuna told him.
"Her Magic Cancel would come in handy in case we encountered enemy magi, Commander." Fate put up the argument. "Not to mention her artifact able to blow their summoned beings."
"I get the idea, Averruncus. She can come along." The Spartan said, giving in. "Anyone else care to sign up on the spot?"
"I'll be going, Sir." Yue immediately responded rising up.
"So do I." Haruna did likewise. "We're Nodoka's best friends in the whole world, and now we got a chance to get her back here. Who's to stop us?" Nobody objected to that.
"...Right, if anyone else wants to sign up," Aris said as nobody else had after a while. "Come talk to Averruncus before the day is out, and he might consider it. Dismissed." He told them, having everybody get up from their seats and talk with one another. "Negi? Theo? Can I see you two in my own office here, please?"
"...Vacation?" Negi repeated the word.
"Yes." Aris confirmed for him. "Whilst you children were asleep I took a moment to talk to the dean and a few other teachers here, including Nitta-sensei. It was agreed upon by all parties that you need a break. Hence why this vacation."
"And the reason I was called here is because?" Theo inquired of him.
"Well, that's the dang thing, really." Aris answered her. "Maybe you should take up law school once this is over." He said, whilst producing a letter to her. "This was given to me by your father back in Arcadia before we left for Mahora. He said that you should follow what it says, even if it's outrageous."
Theo took the letter from the Spartan and began to read it, after she opened it. At first, the letter was addressed directly to Negi, but the princess took Aris' gesture of handing it to her first as a means to letting her know first what was to come. But as she read on, she did not like what she saw in the Latin handwriting. She would have thought it to be some sort of joke at first, if it weren't for the official personal seal of her own father. When she finished, she had a near horrified expression on her face and dropped the letter to the floor, so that Negi could take a look at it. "I can't believe it. I just can't believe it." She said quietly.
"Master Negi Springfield," Negi began reading aloud in English for once. "Deeta, deeta, deeta, married to my daughter Theodora..." He continued, skipping a few sentences. "... divorced as soon as possible but the law... for a full year before it can take place... must admit I have neglected to change in my time as the current emperor... request you two children to go on your..." He stopped there, checking the word for any spelling mistakes on it, but found it flawless. "Martialus, Emperor of Hellas." He finished, folding the letter again.
"Our what!" Theo demanded to know. "If that piece of paper didn't have Papa's signature and personal seal, I'd take this as a sick joke!" She was certainly livid now.
"And it's requested by your dad!" Aris countered. "As much as I don't like it either, it's all in the laws of your people, Theo. There's pretty much nothing I can do at this time, my hands are tied." He tried to explain. "No matter how much influence I have back in Hellas, it's not enough to suddenly go change the marital laws regarding divorce and prima noctris."
"But a honeymoon? With... with..." Theo looked at Negi, who didn't seem happy about this as well. "Okay, I realize now that Negi is prime material for breeding and such, but he's frickin' ten! A kid, Stratz-san!" She even invoked that old nickname she invented for him since 'Strategou' was too hard the first time she heard it. "I can't do it with someone who's ten!"
"Isn't that what you are as well, Theo?" He asked her bluntly, making her reel back in shock.
"That's in Hellas, you dimwit!" Theo practically screamed at the old man. "I'm thirty in human years! No matter how you look at it, it's gotta be a crime, even here in Japan!"
"Which is why you'll be going to Spain." Aris countered having the same monotone to himself at the moment. "I doubt some hot spring hotel in the Japanese countryside is going to cut it with this. Hence, you'll be going to Marbella, in southern Spain. I got a nice villa on La Zagaleta Hills you could use whilst staying for the week."
"...It's the most legal as I could get, really." Aristodemus added after a while. "It's only for a week, and we might actually accomplish this without you two, what's the term... make a homerun." That earned him a rightly deserved punch in the face from a livid princess. Naturally, he fell over like a brick.
"Geez..." Theo said, turning around to head for the door. "And to think I hoped to marry someone I would fall in love with..."
"There wouldn't be any need for you to do it..." Aris tried to explain with a broken nose. Getting up, he explained the full idea. "All your dad is expecting is that you two go on this honeymoon, so I'm sending you to Spain under the pretense. All you had to do is go to Marbella, spend some time chatting together and having fun, come home, tell Marti you two gone and done it, so we can get the divorce over and your chastises will be safe."
"...So we won't have do it?" Theo asked him.
"Pretty much it." Aris said.
"YES!" A voice outside the door shouted in happiness, but all three heard the girl. Theo went for the door and prepared to open it. "Crap." The voice outside said, as the girl realized what was going to happen. The door revealed a few of Negi's students, namely Madoka, Misa, Sakurako, Chisame, Asakura and Makie. "Um... we can explain."
"I'm sure you can." Aris replied. "But my fair guess would be that you were deeply concerned about Negi, or more importantly, his pride as a bachelor. Either that or you girls hope to be the first to get his chastity."
"Hey, that's a bit uncalled for, don't you think?" Makie tried to object in their defense.
"I said it was a guess." The old man countered. "Anyway, what were you going to explain why you were eavesdropping on my door?"
"We... heard a mention about... Marbella...?" Misa tried to explain.
"Yes. I did mention the name of Spain's greatest party town, filled with other British people living there, in a country where the age of consent is thirteen and Negi certainly has the mentality and willpower to match an adult. At times. Not to mention that my villa is in a well secure spot and isolated, so they could have all the time to themselves if they wanted." Aris commented. "Don't tell me that you girls want to go, too?"
"Well, we wouldn't mind, really." Sakurako responded to that. "But, wouldn't it be a bit too much to cost?"
The Spartan blinked twice at her. "...I can cover expenses. But I'm not sure if you guys want to go there as well. I mean, wouldn't that be suspicious too? If two teachers brought along a group of students as well?"
"We'll think of something." Misa tried to cover it.
"No, most of us should be staying." Chisame covered for them. "We'd probably be just fooling around, shopping at huge money losses."
"But that's the purpose of most people when they go to Marbella." Aris explained. "You can buy stuff you don't normally find in your own country. But, your opinion is respected, at least. No way Kono-kun would allow this. For Negi and Theo, yes, but a group of students as well? No, I don't think so."
"Wait, I got something." Kazumi said, eventually. "Given that this little mission could take a while, shouldn't we at least prepare to make our exams? We don't want to end up last place, really."
"...You sure you want the exams that early?" Negi asked them. "You haven't even had time to study for them properly."
"Yeah, but now's better than later with several of us away on some alien planet. Plus, we've already taken yet another nosedive with Miyazaki gone." Chisame explained. "Even with that much behind it, we don't want to finish our last year in middle school in last place."
"...You make an excellent point." Aris said. "I'll talk to the dean, whilst you prepare. In the meantime, you girls prepare yourself. And as for you two," He turned his attention to Misa and Madoka. "Since I recall that one of you cried out 'Yes' over something, and I can't figure out which one, I'll have to ask you two to pack Negi's bags for starters. Is that okay?"
"Geh..." Both cheerleaders started in response, but they regained their composure. "...Yeah, we can do that." Madoka replied for them and the girls prepared to leave. Only the paparazzi stayed behind.
"You're a really nice guy, aren't you, Strategou-san?" She asked him. "You're not being too harsh on us, and you planned ahead to not make it look conspicuous, regarding Negi-kun's little honeymoon."
"Bah." Aris scoffed. "I just happen to give a damn about humanity despite its well-deserved rep as the most ruthless of species when it comes to relations with others. And I care because there is always this one little golden nugget in the desert sand that could prove it all wrong. Furthermore, you guys have yet to do anything that deserves punishment of the level you're thinking of, Asakura-san."
"...I think now would be a good time to leave, girls." Negi tried to get them to leave the room as well.
Looking above them, a certain archmage held up some kind of cellphone, or something very similar to it, and activated it through a rune setting. "Is this the private channel of Sukh'an?" He asked the receiver in his own language. "Yes, I'll wait." After a short while, he received another voice through it. "Ah, Sukh'an. I have a special assignment for you. One that I hope you'll accomplish excellently for the prize I'm about to tell you..."
"Bit of a real spot of danger, Negi-kun was in." Misa said as she and Madoka were packing the young magi's bags in his room.
"Yeah." Madoka responded almost bland. There was a lot on her mind at the moment.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Misa asked her. "Worried about him?"
"...Yeah." Madoka replied after a while. "I mean... shouldn't you? You're the one of us cheers gunning for him the most." She asked the purple-haired cheerleader.
"I try not to think too much on it." Misa replied. "Sure, I knew the risks of magic when I first enrolled to become a mage like the others, but since it's Negi-kun, he'll get through. As always, no doubt."
"...Shouldn't you be more worried then, that we are actually packing his bags for his honeymoon?" Madoka inquired.
"...I try not to think too much on it." Misa said, seeming a bit more distressed now. "But now you mention it... I can't stop thinking about it."
"Vivid pictures coming to your head again?" Madoka asked her.
"More like virile ones." Misa replied, shuddering like crazy. "I mean, take a look at Theo-hime. You don't find a body like that, anywhere. Okay, Chizuru-san could give a go at comparison, but Theo could blow away any competition. I mean, damn!"
"...And you think just because she has measurements men would kill for, and Negi-kun now has the body of an apparent thirteen year old, he's gonna go for it?"
"I should never have teased him that one time last year!" Misa now wailed in despair, on her knees by the bedside.
"Wait, when was that?" Madoka asked, but got no answer from her cheerleader friend. "...Hey, Misa. You're thinking too much on this. It's only for a week and Negi-kun and Theo-hime are not even in love with each other. What are the odds of them having sex on this vacation?"
"How do you know?"
How do you?" Madoka countered. "Okay, we may also be married to each other, but that doesn't mean that we're in love with each other."
"...Wait, what does that mean?" Misa made a turn about and asked her 'wife' that, leaving Madoka confused. "What's to say that we're not in love? We're friends, sure, but what if we somehow fell in love at some point and it kinda broke loose back in Arcadia?"
"...Hey, Rachel-san got careless and got us all drunk." Madoka countered, finally getting what Misa was talking about. "Someone must've brought up the subject of getting married, and we just... went ahead of ourselves to give it a try."
"Why are you trying to be so defensive?" Misa asked her.
"I know for a fact that we're both straight. We didn't even intend to get married to begin with." Madoka said. "I've never even had lecherous thoughts about other girls."
"Are you saying that because you think it is so, or because you're scared of what would happen if we did?" Misa asked now, making her spouse getting mad.
"What's that supposed to mean!" Madoka demanded to know.
"You heard!" Misa replied. "You don't think lecherous thoughts about other girls probably because you're scared of how we would react to it."
"I'm not scared." Madoka countered. "And why would I even have them to begin with? It wouldn't make sense for me to have thoughts about girls out of the blue."
"Well, what about me?" Misa asked now, making Madoka flinch. "Could you at least try to have some thoughts about me? I don't care what they are, at least try."
Madoka couldn't find an answer to that immediately. And what Misa just said then, made her think of something. Not enough to make her blush, but the damage was done. "...Are you just willing to keep this going, or something?"
"...Sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you like that." Misa said, turning her head down. "And no, I don't want to keep this marriage together. It's just that... Nah, forget it."
"What? What?" Madoka reacted to her.
"Do you think... we really kissed back then?" Misa asked of her, and Madoka did an immediate spit take. "Oh come on! We were drunk in Arcadia, like you said. I can't tell if we even did."
"Does it matter that much to you?" Madoka asked her genuinely. "I know I've lost my first kiss back then, though whether it was to you or to Negi-kun, I'm not certain."
"Well, I want to be certain, at least." Misa replied to her, before bringing up an idea that would surely work on her, just to get what she wanted out of this. "Or is it that you really are scared of kissing girls?"
"Hey, I never said that." Madoka said. Technically, that was true.
"Oh? Then why don't you come and prove me wrong, hmm?" Misa inquired of her spouse.
"Oh, that's it." Madoka suddenly advanced on her friend and spouse, grabbing her by the hips with her right hand and jerked the purple-haired girl's head with the other. "Pucker up, Misa."
With that, the short haired cheerleader kissed the purple long haired cheerleader, making them both fall down on the bed next to the luggage they had been packing for Negi. Misa's own hands went somewhere on themselves somewhere onto Madoka's back, though that's what broke it off between them. The two of them stared at each other for a while.
"...How long, was that?" Madoka asked, being the one of top.
"...about 40 seconds..." Misa replied, still having her hands somewhere on Madoka.
"...You didn't have to grope me there, you know." Madoka tried to gain composure to herself.
"That coming from the person who went ahead to unbutton my shirt just then." Misa said, trying to get up, but she froze when she saw the person at the doorway. The look on her face made Madoka turn around as well.
Chisame had a blank face on herself, having seen the incident between the two, blinked twice and then snapped to her feet. " 'cuse me." The glassed girl said as she left the room, leaving the two girls on the bed.
"...That could have gone a whole lot better." Misa said after the net idol had left. "I hope she doesn't tell anyone."
"I hope that she'll keep it to herself what she just saw." Madoka replied, still looking at the doorway. Then she turned to the purple-haired girl. "Now, what exactly happened between you and Negi-kun that one time last year?"
"Um..." Misa was mentally looking for a way out of this scenario, but her friend's weight was pinning her down, so she decided to confess. "Remember when I got covered in mud that rainy day?" She asked and her wife nodded. "I went for the bath immediately after getting a change of clothes, and when I got there, I saw that Negi-kun was there already."
"I just happened to have a coupon for washing Negi-kun full body with me. You remember, those that Konoka-san hands out? Plus, I needed someone to scrub my back."
"...So that's why Negi-kun reacted strangely to you that week." Madoka realized. "Wait, what happened between you two that day?"
"Well..." Misa tried to smile at the fun in the story. "...I gave him a portion of... the Talk."
Anyone care to make a minor crack fic about that?
"Okay, Negi likes western style breakfasts, but not too pushy about it." Theo repeated after having written down a list.
"That's right." Konoka confirmed for the elder princess. "He also have a tendency to avoid baths, you might want to give him a good scrub for that one once a day."
"Right. I'll probably ask Chachamaru-san to accompany us or something." Theo replied. "...We're talking about a thirteen year old now."
"Oh yeah, that's right." The healer noted. "Oh, and although he's a teenager, there is still the chance of him sneaking off into your bed, if you sleep in separate rooms. He just can't help it at times."
"...Right." Theo said. "I might as well do with what I get once we get there." She said, jotting that down on the notepad.
Elsewhere not far from the two princesses, a certain robot girl was listening in on them. She had heard Theodora talking about her coming along and the idea was very much tempting. Kisara-san and Furinji-san could take care of the cats whilst she was away in Spain, but she didn't feel like leaving the others behind for the war effort. Some of them would even turn hostile on her for 'betraying' them.
But she didn't go unnoticed. Someone poked her back to make her jump back. "What are you doing?" Ako asked the robot girl.
"No, uh..." Chachamaru had gained several emotions ever since they came back from the Magic World and it was evident since she was flailing her arms around. "Nothing... important..." She tried to excuse herself, but the nurse wouldn't let her go this time. An inquisitive look on the blue haired girl's face melted away the defense. "...Konoka-san and Theodora-hime-sama were talking about bringing me along with Negi-sensei..." She confessed.
"Did they now?" Ako asked and listened in on the two princesses. She hadn't heard everything, but she got about the gist of it. "...a, honeymoon?" She repeated the word from what Theo had said and asked Konoka to keep it a secret. "That's what Negi-kun is going on?"
"Ah-" Chachamaru tried to be of aid to the nurse, but she didn't seem to need it. Ako had something of a... serene and quiet look about herself. "Izumi-san?"
"Just call me Ako." The nurse corrected her. "...We probably should have seen this coming." She said, taking a final look at the two chatters. "Who knew Negi-kun would grow up that fast... kinda makes me jealous." She took a deep breath, taking that little moment to imagine herself as a real princess, then turning to the robot. "Chachamaru-san, keep an eye on them, would you?" She told her.
"Eh?" Was all that the robot girl could get out.
"Since Negi-kun is off to some real nice place, don't you think it's a little strange if he didn't have a servant with him?" She asked, pointing a finger at Chacha. "So, I'm asking you as a classmate and a friend here, to keep an eye on him whilst he's away. Okay?"
That word 'Okay' came out expressed as a threat of some kind. Chachamaru had several types of threats in her databank, yet none of them registered in allegiance with this one. "...As you wish... Ako-san." The robot complied.
"Sorry if I sounded threatening, but I think I speak for several of us in the class when I admit that I'm worried for Negi-kun on this one." The nurse confessed to her. "This is just natural, I think."
"Natural.." Chachamaru repeated the word. "Very well, I shall go and request the commander to let me join them."
"Good huntin'." Ako told her as they parted ways this time.
Finally got around to this
Having talked with a mercenary regarding something unrelated (to the situation here), Ashracai had found the castle's library. Naturally as a practitioner of the arcane Arts, he could not refuse the temptation of reading the various books. If it hadn't been for the glasses that allowed him to read foreign languages, he would certainly have trouble and go through the procedure of asking for help. Not that there was anything wrong with asking, his presence was officially known as 'Dead' to the inhabitants of the castle. He took several books regarding the basics of this planet's magic, plus one holding ancient spells and magic in its contents, found a secluded place with a desk, put up a barrier, and began to read, whilst at the same time, taking off his cloak and started rubbing it, not affectionally yet gently.
When you begin to learn something new, always start with basics... He thought to himself as he looked through the apprentice book for beginners. Let's see... He looked over the small list of practitioner's incantations. As much as he pitied it, given that he was capable of doing it without even thinking on the matter, he could already form the major practicalities that these small cantrips could do. He gave the first one a go, at least. "Practe Bigi Nar, Ardescat." He said gently and a small flame sparked up on his index finger. He blew it out and continued reading of the book.
"Aha, so there you are." A voice behind him said, surprising him a little. It was Asakura Kazumi as he recalled they called her, along with a rather pretty white ghost with white hair and a small furry white creature on her shoulder. "You've been a bit of a pain to look after, you know?"
"I'll admit that I have spent some of my time practicing the usage of stealth." The Archmage confessed. "Though it's not like you could notice me even if I was in plain sight."
"Oi, oi, I'm not that bad at searching." Kazumi replied. "And you do tend to make a few noises about yourself, as well."
"Point." He gave her credit. "Now, was there something you would like to discuss with me, or are you simply killing time stalking people?"
"The former in this case." The little rodent spoke up.
"Oh? A familiar?" Ashracai said softly. "That was interesting. Yours?"
"Actually, he's Negi-kun's. He just likes to hang around me at times." The reporter told him. "At any rate, we'd like to ask you how you're able to use magic."
"We're of two completely different worlds." Chamo continued, introducing himself at the same time. "It is not surprising that you would use something than what we use."
"...You're saying that in return for me staying so long here and granted a new cloak, I am to tell you how my magic works?" Ashracai inquired of them.
"Well, it would certainly aid us and you if you would enlighten us with your greater knowledge." Kazumi answered.
"Enlighten." The Archmage repeated. "A good choice of words. It sometimes baffles me of how ephemeral your humans are. But you seem rather collected, yourself."
"Well, I am in front of probably the most powerful magic user on the planet at the current moment." Kazumi replied. "So I need to be selective of my words."
"Good initial move. Well then, to compare our differences, how does magic work here on this planet?" The archmage asked them first. The two natives along with the silent and watching ghost girl, explained at first how Magic and Chi worked and how different they were altogether. "Hm... that does differ." He said after they finished. "To begin with, in contrast to both kinds of how you gather energy, with the magi gaining it from the outside and the fighters from within themselves, we have evolved something different." He showed them illusions of various things as he said that, but he now focused on an ambiguous Githyanki body, zooming in on its head. "This is where we gather energy to use magic."
"The... brain?" Kazumi asked.
"The brain acts more or less as a Foci, much like the wands and rings you humans use." Ashracai replied. "It's the mind that we use. In long terms, the mind holds a lot more power than expected, it is just difficult to unlock that potential. There are basically three stages of it, from our perspective, the mental body, the astral body and the soul. The mental body is the first stage, what most people would think of as the mind, and it holds responsibility for contact with the physical world, such as muscle movement, magical ability, language, and so forth. When a spell is cast, the mental body snaps into action first, handing information on what spell shall be cast to the Astral body, which gives word and a verdict is reached... I'm speaking to simplify this process. For example, you see that target over there?" He pointed to a bulls-eye target opposite of their position. "Now let's that I want to hit it, so my mental will say to the astral: 'I want to shoot a Ray of Fire.' and the Astral body will respond: 'Okay' and it'll happen." To show it, a ray of fire did emit from his finger he pointed at the target and it hit directly on the center. "It works like that."
"You have yet to explain the other stages, Ashracai-san." Sayo decided to speak up.
"Ah yes." The archmage noted. "Thank you for pointing that out, young lady." The fact that he must have seen her all along was no surprise to them at all. "The Astral body is what people would perceive as emotions, created out of the Astral plane, another plane of existence. It houses thought, memories and of course emotions. There is no space or time, but both tend to catch up to you when you leave it. What the Astral body does is to gather the energy from the Astral plane and funnel it into the mental body in order to cast spells. In simpler words..." He gestured for any of them to answer.
"Your magic is more of a mental kind than spiritual."
"Exactly." Ashracai responded.
"But how come you're able to use this kind of magic to begin with?" Chamo asked him.
"We Githyanki used to live on the Astral Plane for millenia." He answered.
"Finally, we reach the Soul. That, is eternal. Much like reincarnation, the soul has the ability to travel from body to body, carrying all the body's abilities with it into the next. It has a weak link to the material world, but it is enough for it to be there. Once someone dies, it becomes loose, or free if you would like to call it that. But most souls cannot find their way once their physical form has passed away, since they are used to that one, and can rarely adapt to a new body."
"So that's how it works." Chamo said, grumbling over this piece of information. "Basically, as long as you can imagine something within magic capabilities, you can do that."
"Basically." The Archmage replied. "And as the Archmage, that would also make me in Imperial terms, Head of Magical Practice & Distribution, meaning I'm responsible for ensuring a proper balance of magi in our space empire."
"...So you're pretty much-" Sayo asked.
"With confidence, the most powerful Sorcerer this side of the 'Milky Way' as you humans call the galaxy." Ashracai replied. "And to answer the question forming in your head, yes, I can do anything whatsoever, to simplify what Chamo here asked."
"Do you think you could-" Kazumi began. "Nah, it's stupid, never mind."
"As you wish." Ashracai said. "Though I am curious as to why you require a potent ability to sense 'scoops' just like that."
"I said, never mind."
"Fair enough." Ashracai responded. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I am needed elsewhere. There seems to be some major disturbance in the Kahrsis systems regarding oppression of outcast people of the societies there. I'm going to have to leave earlier than expected. Thank you for your time, Asakura Kazumi, Aisaka Sayo and Chamo the Ermine." He rose up from his seat by the desk, taking the cloak with him, putting it on. "...I'll suppose I'll add a little something extra to your cloaks, should I ever come back." With that, and a snap of his fingers, he disappeared out from their sights.
"Hmm... that was very interesting to learn." Kazumi said, taking out a recorder. "Now we know how their magic works, and I think we'll gain a little something extra for this."
Introducing a new guy
"...Hmm, well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have you come along, Chachamaru-san." Aris answered her. "Just go ask Negi if it's fine, and you're good. Shouldn't be too hard."
Chachamaru gave a genuine smile at that reply. "Thank you, Commander."
"Good, now I need to-" He was cut off by something loud coming up outside the castle. Namely the sound of a car roaring at full speed. "What the?"
Outside, there was a new car going at high speed on the thin bridge between the portal gate and the great castle itself. They couldn't see the model yet, but it was mostly black lined with crimson red. As soon as it reached the great dock with the elevated area, it practically jumped up on it with ease. The passenger didn't seem to be pleased, since she stepped out as soon as the engine stopped. "That's the last time you'll be driving, Karl!" Precia Testarossa yelled at the driver.
"Come on, it wasn't that bad!" Karl, a short, stocky man with a gray beard stepped out of the driver's seat. "Okay, that detour wasn't the best, but we got out of that pinch, didn't we?"
"With all those things behind us!" Precia countered. "You're lucky I didn't punch you and take over the wheels, because that could've got us all killed!"
"Is that my brand new DB9, Karl!" The Spartan cried out as he stepped out of the audience gathering close to the car. Almost immediately, the guys (save a few) were strucken with the good looks of Precia, in that outfit as well. "What have you been putting it through!"
"Oh, hi, old man!" Karl greeted him instantly. "Just giving that dimension crossing thingy a go that I put in it recently."
"A dimension crossing thingy?" Aris repeated.
"Yeah, we needed to get here rapidly, so I built that. And then we had to get here to help you out." Karl defended his case.
"You're as loony as ever, Gestr." The Spartan said bluntly. "Did you come here for a loan again or something?"
"Nah, I'm fine on my own."
"Mother!" Alicia cried happily and ran up to hug her mother. "?" She felt something odd almost immediately.
"Alicia." Precia lifted up her little girl and gave her a kiss on the temple. "Have you been a good girl?"
"Um!" Alicia replied. "I even helped Negi-san beat Father."
"Huh?" Precia wondered.
"Long story." Aris explained. "I'll tell you later."
"Who?" Asuna pointed at the stocky man besides the old Spartan. "Oyaji, who is that?"
"Oh, right, introductions. Everyone, meet Karl Sigurdsson Gestr. He's a long time old friend of mine and business partner." Aristodemus said to everyone who had gathered.
"Tjena!" Karl greeted them in his own accent.
"And well, this is Precia Testarossa, head of my company's Research & Development department in the Magic World and mother to little Alicia, as you can see." He introduced Precia as well, nodded at them.
"Pleasure to see you all." Precia greeted them. "I look forward to work with you here."
"Now then, is there a particular reason you'r-" Aris asked the new old man there with a beard, but there were some rumble coming from the back of the car. "What the hell are you keeping in there? A ferocious pet or something?" He went up to the boot of the car and opened it up...
Only to have some kind of monster lashing out at him right from the moment he opened it...
"Whoa!" He cried out as it came at him, rolling back and kicking it over himself, sending it flying over himself and scratching at the floor. Several people screamed in fright of the sight of it. It was bipedal, with four arms, the lower pair resembling human hands and the other had razor sharp claws. It had a bulbous head, suggesting a big brain and it was built generally for speed and agility. "What the?"
"I needed that opportunity!" A new voice, distorted by a vox of some kind, said behind him and out of the car's boot came a big armored fellow, with big shoulders equaling the head in height and he was fully plated, with few weak spots. He held a large pistol in his right hand and tossed a bigger, two handed version of it, very box-like in design to the Commander. "Care to help me here, Sir?"
"You had to ask?" Aris cocked it and aimed the gun at the beast, preparing to charge. Let's just say that the rounds were designed to explode on impact. It was a bloody mess they left after they had fired on the beast. "Right. Now what the hell was that?"
"Um, you see, there's a funny story to that..." Karl chuckled lightly to ease the mood.
"We came into this abandoned ship-like wreck on our way here." The armored man answered instead. "At first we went on to explore it, but when things such as that came at us, we got back in the car and drove like crazy. Me, I kept firing my boltgun at the beasts, til that one crashed into me, locking us both up in the boot. Fortunately, we had a lot of pocket-dimensional space for us to be in, and I know how to hide even in this."
"Thanks a lot, at least, er..." Aris was curious as to who it was, but couldn't see due to the helmet. The armored decided to take it off, and that was a surprise for the former's part.
"Volunteer Tech expert and Artificer Andreas Stonegarden, reporting for duty, Commander." The traveling peddler saluted the short Spartan.
"Mister Stonegarden? What are you doing here?"
"If I may speak bluntly, Sir, you can thank Herr Gestr for that." Andreas answered. "He lured me in with the idea of seeing Japan and Mahora, then shoved me into the trunk along with this armor."
"Karl!" Aris turned immediately to the elder of the newly arrived trio. "Vi har pratat om det här!"
"Come on, I needed an apprentice!" Karl defended himself. "Andreas is Swedish too, and he's got a bright head. He's got some impressive stuff, too."
"You can speak more than 40 languages and you go for a fellow Swede as an apprentice?" Aris asked.
"Plus, han hade ett visst begär att träffa någon igen, också." Karl spoke in Swedish.
"Oh, so he's that kind of guy..."
"If you're going to talk about someone like they're lecherous, then do so in a language they cannot understand." Andreas scolded both of them at the time. "Ah, to heck with this, I'd better go talk to the others."
"Huh? Sure, go ahead." Karl motioned for him to talk with the other residents.
"Andreas-san?" Asuna was among the first. "How come you're here?"
"You'll have to talk with Herr Gestr over there about it." The merchant replied. "Me, I got drafted in and shoved into a pocket dimension filled with a lot of big toys. Not to mention chased by... you saw it yourselves." He gave a sigh before continuing. "And now I'm hoping I'm not too much of a burden here."
"But how come that you know how to fight? I mean, fight that well?" Kotarou stepped up.
"Bandits and monsters have a tendency to ambush you on the roads. You need to know how to defend yourself from that." Andreas replied, scratching the back of his neck. Asuna looked first at him, then Setsuna and Haruna, before putting her arm over his shoulders.
"Well, now that you mention about not being too much of a burden, we could use your help with something..."
"I'm not going to like this, am I?"
"Wow." Karl said after hearing the full story. "So that's what's going to happen."
"In two days." Aris answered him. "Now, I got a team leader and the build-up for a good team to go, but now that I actually think about it, we lack something vital. Ergo, a base of operations. Now how am I going to get that for them on an alien planet? All I know about the damn rock is that the atmosphere is somehow capable for humans to breathe in."
"You'll be needing a ship." Gestr concluded.
"And a good one too." The Spartan said. "Now, I'm going to be brief: do you want to make the Guinness Record book for building an airship in two days or maybe less, or am I going to have to revoke your driver's license?"
"Har du någonsin känt mig för att göra dig besviken?" Karl asked him.
"No, I haven't. And cut the Swedish, now. It would only make things confusing to an outsider."
"Fair enough. I can do that. And what's more, I brought those things you asked for. I just need a few final measurements on someone and the first suit will be complete." Karl explained to his old friend. "Thinking of someone willing to use it?"
"...You can try Asuna. But remember, ask her first. You remember well the last time it happened without permission." Aris answered him.
"It was strictly off the record." Karl protested.
"She fired a shotgun at you."
"Yeah, but it was rubber bullets." He replied. "Now how much money are you gonna give me in order to build this ship?"
"Whatever it takes to make it perfect for a mission like this." Aris responded immediately. "Ask the girls for directions on how they want it to look and you can put in whatever guns and upgrades you'd like on the damn thing. Just make a good job at it and you'll be paid in full."
Karl leered like a little child being told that they can have as much candy as they'd like. "I'll start right away."
"And this is the whole team?" Karl asked the white-haired construct, looking at the odd bunch. They were outside the resort now, gathered under a bunker
"Indeed." Fate answered. "Apologies in advance that Mr Stonegarden is drafted into the team as well, but apparently Asuna brought up the fair argument in that we needed an engineer."
"Nah, it's fine." Karl said, looking at the team consisting of Asuna, Setsuna, Konoka, Yue, Haruna, Akira, Chizuru, Dynamis and the Knight Valkyrie team from the Magic World, plus the mentioned young man. "But why this group?"
"Setsuna is being forced on this mission, and Konoka does not have the intention of letting her out of her sight again." Fate began to explain, telling the first names without honorifics. "Ayase is an able tactician on her own, which is why I asked her to be 2nd in command on this. Saotome have experience as a pilot, and you did say that you were going to build a ship. Ookouchi and Naba volunteered for this due to them being concerned about Miyazaki, so I assigned those two together as a team on their own. And I asked Naba as well to be an apprentice of mine as a back-up. The Knight Valkyries was transferred to me from Theo-hime in that she didn't need them herself. And Dynamis is anxious or so I believe in seeing Miyazaki again."
"I relish the chance." Dymanis explained for himself.
"Oh, goodie." Karl said, seeing the whole team being together. "And I'm just about done with everything myself on my part." He went to unveil something big. "For starters, I give you: The Great Paru-Sama, mark 2." The great fish was revealed to them, being just as great as the previous. "As you can see, it's very similar in appearance to the original, but I made a few modifications. In addition to its guns, this have additional in built Sagitta Magicka mini guns on the wings, enhanced Iaculatio launchers on the main hull, and a solar powered magic engine."
"That's it?" Haruna asked of the Artificer. "You just put on bigger guns and a more convenient engine?"
"Ah, but that's the outside only, it's the inside that you're gonna like." Karl answered her. "It's holding a pocket dimension with enough space to hold in total up to 300 people. That's including the cargo space, lodging and corridors. There is a big kitchen inside, shower booths for multiple people at once, not to mention filled with entertainment, which happens to be a full set of rulebooks for D&D, 3.5 edition, should you ever feel like that. It also holds an infirmary in case anybody get severely injured and finally an armory filled with guns, extra blades if needed and armor. Speaking of which, I got one in particular for little Asuna."
"The one you asked for my measurements?" The redhead asked.
"Oh yes, if you'll just come inside." He motioned for them to come on inside. He continued his talking as they walked in to inspect the ship on the inside. "It took me a while to design the armor by basis, using what schematics inspirations I could find, but I got it done a couple of days ago. Just needed the measurements of you girls at first." He opened up a door to the right of them. "Here's the armory. Now, miss, I need you to remove your bells at first, since the suit comes with a helmet."
"Um, okay." The redhead was reluctant to do this, but agreed to it, handing her bells over to Konoka. From there, she was instructed to walk into the armory and stand slighty to the wall. "Okay, what now?"
"The suit requires a voice command, using words instead of voice here." Karl explained. "The password is: Adepta Sororitas."
"Huh?" Asuna wondered as the wall came to life and adorned the armor on her, starting from the feet and upwards. When it was done, Asuna was heavily armor-plated. Segmentation areas were mainly the limbs and abdomen, the rest was plated and colored almost entirely black. Of course, the armor did reveal where her breasts were, but they had seemingly the heaviest plating on the torso area. Great shoulder plating did she have as well, and the neck collar was decorated with a fleur-de-lis. A belt was there as well, also having a fleur-de-lis as decoration. The belt held a couple of fragmentation grenades, plus a lot of satchel bags small enough to help her move with ease. She did not have a helmet at the time. "This is it?"
"Oh yes." The elder tech expert replied, grinning inanely at her. "And if you think it's just decoration and pretty baubles, think again. The grenades are real, those are genuine Bags of Holding, the armor is enchanted with a permanent Melodia Bellax on, as well as a danger sense system that goes telepathically to you as soon as it detects it and tells you where the danger comes from."
"Whoa..." Asuna twisted her arm slightly to get a feeling of this armor. "Hey, you said there would be a helmet with this. Where is it?"
"Right next to you." He pointed to a black one with a bleached bone colored front and red eye slits had revealed itself to the redhead's right. She picked it up to have a better look.
"Looks creepy." Asuna commented.
"Oh yeah, sure and cute little rabbits is even more scary, is it now?" Karl was being sarcastic. "Well, go on and explore. I got more orders from the old man to do and you kids gotta run on this big mission. Good luck to you all." With that, he headed for the exit.
"Huh." Asuna said, seeing the crazy old Swede leave the ship. "And here I thought he was just another loony we would come to know."
"Actually, I think he fits that description very well." Andreas commented, being out of his armor. "Thing is, he's the best Artificer you would ever stumble upon. Half of his work, I hear, is incorporated into the Spartan Hounds."
"And now you're part of the war effort as well." Haruna lamented for the technician of the team.
"Shoot me now." He was on the verge of tears.
"Too late, I'm afraid." Fate told him. "Now then, did you girls finish the exams yesterday?"
"Yes." The collective number called out in response.
"Anyone need to do anything before we take off?"
"No." Everyone replied.
"Well then." Fate said first then turned to Haruna. "Saotome, start up the engine and prepare for take-off. I don't want anyone normal to see us when we take off."
"Got it." Haruna replied and headed for the bridge.
"Everyone else, strap yourselves in. I have the feeling that it is going to be a... 'bumpy' ride."
"Got it." Most acknowledged.
"Well, that's them going off." Negi noted, seeing the GPS taking off in the sky, to be greeted by another flyer, presumably of the Loyalist Githyanki, and then a portal opened up for them to go through. "And there they go off to another world..."
"Don't worry, Negi." Theo, dressed in casual clothing and a hat to block the coming sunlight. "I'm sure they'll bring back Nodoka-chan. You just need to have a little faith."
"...Yeah." Negi replied. "I guess you're right."
"Negi-sensei, Theo-hime-sama." Chachamaru addressed them both, being in casual clothing as well. "The taxi has arrived. We should get a move on."
"Ah yes." Theo replied to the robot girl. "Let's go."
Giving the magic bracer Negi received from the Spartan back in Arcadia, he went along with them. "Um, Negi-san." He was stopped by a little voice behind, turning out to be Alicia, holding a long package wrapped in purple silk in her hands. "Um..." She tried, but went up to him first. "You... could use... this." She handed the long package to him. "I'm just a bit... concerned, like something bad is going to happen, so..." She was blushing furiously under the pressure she was feeling from talking to him. "It's just a bad feeling. I just don't want you to be more hurt than you were back then."
Negi felt genuine feelings from her this time, as she was blushing just like how Nodoka used to. He couldn't help but smile at her concern for him. "Don't worry, Alicia-san." He replied to her, petting her head at that moment. "I'll repay you properly someday, really, thank you for your concern."
Alicia would have died happily just then, satisfied with what he told her then. "Negi-san..."
"'Tis a date, than." Lochaber cut in, making the little girl jump in fright. "I fer wun wants mah Liegfch ta be spending a day wit ye, Negi." He addressed the young magi by name, recognizing him as an important person to his Liegfch. "And ye dinnae expect ta raceive mah Liegfch's aide wit'out some way o' repaying, did ye?"
"Lochaber!" Alicia scolded the necklace, holding it tightly.
"Hey, Negi!" Theo called to him from the cab. "Get a move on those legs! We're leaving!"
"Coming!" Negi replied to her. "Gotta go, Alicia, see you later when I come back." He told the little girl and ran to the taxi car.
Alicia stood where she was, in the cold and in her normal clothes she went shopping with her dad when they got to Mahora, recalling how Negi had just addressed her. Seeing the car drive off to Nariba Airport, she couldn't help but glow awfully pink in a blush. He called me Alicia... no honorifics at all, no honorifics at all... He... he likes me as well... And with that, she fainted and fell back. She would have landed on the hard concrete if it weren't for another blonde catching her first and lifting her up into her arms.
"Negi-sensei..." Ayaka watched the car off before it made a turn. "...Good luck to you." She blessed him, even though she couldn't hear. "Honestly, you got your unique way of dealing with girls." She giggled, seeing Alicia fast asleep and then hugging her own grown up form. "Well, back to bed for you, Missy."
Bringing us up to present day
The army of three thousand Githyanki soldiers, accompanied by some two hundred human troops, marched under the clouds gathering. Armed with spears and bows, they moved almost silently in comparison to the humans, who chatted lightly amongst themselves. The horse riders, namely Nodoka, Hina, Boris, Rev'keth and Symon, rode by the main army, followed by Raydan on a full grown Caribou (he had yet to get a horse for himself) and Bax, riding on a strong and sturdy Bighorn ram. They seemed nervous, getting looks from the Githyanki soldiers, mostly focused on the bookworm of the group. At least one of them was telepathic, she gathered, as they said nothing, but probably were abuzz with thoughts amongst themselves regarding her.
"It's really disturbing with them just watching us like that." Hina said, breaking the silence.
"Believe me," Rev'keth responded, sounding concerned. "I've been picking up their telepathic chatter, and frankly... you don't want to hear it."
"Thought as much." Raydan said before turning to the Gith soldiers. "Mind your own business, would you?" He yelled at them, and the Soldiers turned their gazes away from them, for the moment.
"They doubt the stories." Bax explained to them. "I doubted them myself until the events at Zuriith-ma. But your own features, if I may, does not exist on this planet. And I have seen many human features to verify that at least."
"You had your suspicions of us." Hina told him. "It's natural. We didn't want to be caught up in some civil war, ourselves. Yet here we are."
"Indeed." Boris finally commented. "I for one believed us to be having a simple life, without anything happening to us at all."
"There's four of us, then." Rev'keth replied to the Russian.
Hina noted then that her little sister had remained quiet this entire time, sparing just a few glimpses at the soldiers. "Nodoka?"
"Huh?" The bookworm reacted to Hina's question. "What is it?"
"You've been awfully quiet since we left Glathk. You sure you're not sick?" The pink-haired girl asked her gently, putting her armored hand on the girl's forehead.
"No, I'm fine, Hina." Nodoka replied to her. "I was just thinking, that's all."
"Fate Averruncus, huh?" Hina wondered. "No surprise there, I suppose. I only know you two have got a bad history, but that's it."
"Well," Nodoka began to tell her association with the white-haired construct. "Put it like this: Out of all the members of my former group, the White Wing, I was the only one that Fate's group felt like trying to kill due to my dangerous ability."
"Eh?" Hina recoiled in shock. "They tried to kill you?"
"Yes, but... I always came out on top somehow. Because I had friends who watched my back all the time. And now I got you guys, right?" She smiled at them, gaining a few back.
"You got that right." Symon replied first.
"Yeah, we're gonna beat that guy for you." Raydan added.
"We ain't letting him get past us." Bax noted as well, smiling.
"Orders are absolute." Boris added for his part.
"See?" Hina told her little sister. "We're with you all the way."
At that time, a rider from the Gith army came to them from the lead of the column. "Captain Ishin Saura wants to see the Witch of Man immediately. Battle plans." He said briefly. Nodoka complied by stirring her horse to ride faster than the others, following the messenger up to the captain's side.
Captain Ishin Saura was not as beautiful as Efromm, but she had looks that almost equaled. Charcoal black hair wrapped in a bundle fitted under some kind of turban, and clad in chain mail armor. She had a curved saber at her left side, along with a spear in her hand as Nodoka approached the commanding officer. "You sent for me, Captain?" She asked the Githyanki woman.
"What kind of spells do you know?" Ishin asked immediately. Upon not receiving an answer, she tried again. "What kind of spells do you know?" She repeated the question slowly.
"Eh? Um, mostly offensive ones for grand battles like this, but almost nothing for support for others."
"Hm..." Ishin thought deeply on that. "Fine. You stay in the back with your company and provide covering fire if it comes to a battle. I have two magic users with me as well, I need you three to maintain a barrage on the enemy if there is any."
"Understood, Captain." Nodoka replied immediately.
"...May I be honest with you?" The Githyanki woman asked and the bookworm nodded after a while. "I like the idea of a human with magic, really. I wasn't born during the time of the Great War, but from what I hear of the stories, you guys must have been something. Me, I may have to wait a while, but I'd really like to go up against human wizards, should you become High Queen of Samasal."
"Um... should you really be saying that?" Nodoka asked her. "Wouldn't you get in trouble for saying something like that?"
"Why? I hold no love for Ifrith myself, and just because we're the same species, that doesn't mean that I'm automatically on his side." Ishin explained. "But you keep your wits about you, young girl. You might have no idea what could happen tomorrow, or even in the next five minutes. That's what makes life so exciting."
"Um... thanks for your support?" Nodoka tried that line.
"Right now though, you stay in the back and hold your men back. I expect nothing serious coming up for us, but I just want to be sure..."
A/N: Captain, you have no idea...
A/N: Captain, you have no idea...
-The idea of Negi's honeymoon with Theo has been in my mind for some time, and now I've decided to make it my first 'M' rated story here on . Please look forward to it.
- You didn't think I'd forgotten about the other married couples I made, huh? That's all for now though. Though I gotta admit, it was my first proper attempt at Yuri, and with the cheerleaders to boot. Here's to you, Ultima-kun!
-I did not create Mentalism magic. It was originally made by Silent Type Delta, or STD, author of Mentality here on the Negima section. I just merely changed a few concepts to make it fit the Githyanki race. To make it fair though, the Githyanki have a strict policy regarding its magic as to prevent mass conquest, and therefore improve relations with other space empires out there.
-I skipped a lot of things happening in order to save time. Plus I got bored. I do not own Karl Sigurdsson Gestr. He is yet another creation by Nyrath, my mentor in writing a good story. He's coming around to write a story herself named 'Displaced' Please look forward to that as well.
-Asuna's armor has a link on my profile. Look it up for a more accurate depiction. It is based on the Adepta Sororitas from Warhammer 40k, if you know what that is. And therefore, Vast, the difference between you and me on gear: I have the more cooler stuff.
And that's it for now. Please R&R this one, please. I can't improve otherwise.