Phew. It's been a long road - one that's taken longer, perhaps, than it should have - but here we are, loyal readers: the final chapter of Thirty-One. No matter how much I bitched, I know most of you - heck, all of you reading this last note - decided to stick with the fic and with me to the end, and that means a lot. You guys treat me better than I deserve, at least in terms of forgiveness for my update "schedule". Thank you all for sticking around.
16. Sasaki Makie
For most of the students of Mahora Girls' Junior High, laundry day was like a holiday. Only the most conscientious girls washed anything less than their entire dressers' worth of clothes, waiting until the last possible day and the last wearable outfit; the girls of Class 3-A were no different, and the end result was usually twenty or twenty-five girls all using the washing machines and dryers near the third-year bathhouses at once. It was, predictably, chaos, with the Narutakis occasionally sparking dirty sock fights and with Zazie stealthily snuggling with everyone's dryer-warm towels.
Makie squirmed a little on the hard wooden bench in the center of the aisle between two rows of dryers, watching her clothes spin around and around. She'd agreed to watch their joint dryer while Yūna went out to the baths one floor up, but it was getting a little late now and she really wanted to take a bath before bed. It wasn't all that hard to sneak around school after curfew, but the teachers made after-hours sweeps of the baths, and worrying about being caught wasn't a good way to relax the way you were supposed to.
The dryer beeped just as Yūna came in, wrapped in a towel and still dripping wet. "Hey, Makie-chan, thanks for waiting," she called, raising a hand in greeting. "You can go up now if you want. I'll take care of the clothes."
"Okay," Makie chirped, hopping to her feet. She edged past Yūna, who opened the dryer and started pulling clothes into a basket.
"Oh, by the way, what do you think of the new teacher? Negi-kun?" Yūna asked teasingly, grabbing a few articles of clothing from the basket. She folded her towel over the bench, bending to pull on her underwear as she spoke. "Cute, isn't he?"
"He's adorable," Makie agreed, smiling. He was, too – but not like Asuna-chan thought Takahata-sensei was cute. Their new teacher was a ten-year-old British boy, which was silly enough if you thought about it, but wasn't it good to have a British person teach English? Hadn't they invented it?
"Ow," Yūna said, followed by a sound of snapping elastic. Surprised, Makie turned to look at the basketball player, who was pulling uncomfortably at her bra. "I think my boobs are getting bigger again," she said darkly. "This thing doesn't fit me at all anymore. It's like a piece of string tied around my chest." She took it off, turning the garment around to look at the tag.
Makie did her best not to look down at her own chest, but she could hear the 'pettan'* anyway. People came in all shapes and sizes – look at Chizu-chan and the Narutakis, or, dare she admit it, Iinchō – but it would be nice to not be Makie-sized sometimes. It had a way of making her feel inferior.
"Oh, I see," Yūna exclaimed, tossing the bra back into the basket and grabbing another one. "There we go. That other one was one of yours," she explained, going back to getting dressed.
…Case in point.
11. Kugimiya Madoka
"...No, that one doesn't work either… why do I even own this shirt," Misa muttered, tossing the offending garment over her shoulder and back onto her bed. She held up another one, eyeing it critically. "What do you think, Kugi-mii?" she asked after a moment, turning to look at the other girl, who was sitting at Misa's writing desk reading a magazine. She held the shirt up to her chest. "Too bright? How's the neckline?"
"It's a little low, Misa-chan," Madoka replied absently, turning a page. The magazine's news was about half a month out of date, but it was worth it to read interviews with musicians who were really only popular in the United States. And English characters were really simple; it was the grammar that was hard to work out.
"Well, yeah, okay, but do you think Negi-sensei likes low necklines?" Misa asked impatiently, discarding that shirt as well. "Come on, Kugi-mii, I need your help. The Reverse Hikaru Genji Plan isn't going to work if I can't actually Reverse-Hikaru-Genji Negi-kun."
"That nearly makes sense," Madoka said, maybe a bit snappishly. The magazine was hard enough going without Misa talking to her. "Why not just try honestly? And more importantly, don't you already have a boyfriend?"
"That's not the point!" Misa cried, turning away from her mirror to lie across her bed. "Anyway, Kugi-tan, I would've thought you'd be a little more interested in the Plan yourself…" she raised her eyebrows suggestively at Dekopin Rocket's guitarist, who frowned and finally set her article aside.
"Why's that?" she asked. Misa shook her head.
"I think you know why," the singer replied, rolling over onto her back. Her hair cascaded down the side of the bed, and she looked at Madoka upside-down. "You thought Kojirō-san was cute, didn't you?"
Madoka nearly choked. "Wh – what? I did not."
"Called it," Misa announced to the world at large. She gave Madoka a thumbs-up, and even upside-down Madoka could all but see the swirly fingerprint on it.
"I didn't," Madoka protested, feeling color rush to her cheeks. "And even if I did, what on earth does that have to do with your Hikaru Genji plan?"
"Reverse Hikaru Genji plan," Misa corrected her. She held up a finger. "Okay, look. One: You know what Kojirō-san looks like."
"Yeah?" Madoka replied warily. Misa held up her other pointer finger.
"Two: he's Kotarō-san's brother," she continued. They had found this out after Mahorafest, by pigeonholing Natsumi's young cousin. "You see? It's exactly similar," she said, touching the tips of her fingers together above her chin. "You just have to take the initiative."
"…and seduce Natsumi-chan's ten-year-old cousin," Madoka said flatly. Misa nodded encouragingly. Madoka sighed, shaking her head. "Nothing doing, Misa-chan. If I were interested in Kojirō-san – which I'm not," she added warningly, pointing her rolled-up magazine at Misa – "I'd go after Kojirō-san, not anyone else."
"But Kotarō-san said he worked overseas in America," Misa reminded her. "You might never get to see him again."
"I don't want to see him again," Madoka insisted doggedly. "He and that Nagi guy walked in on Ako-chan changing for the concert, remember? He's a creep."
"Okay, okay," Misa said, sitting back up and walking back over to her closet. She bustled around for a second before turning back to her friend; she was holding the shirt she had just discarded.
"Would you like to borrow this, by the way?" she asked airily. Madoka colored again, saying nothing. Misa stepped around the bed and presented it to her. Madoka snatched it from her and pointedly reopened her magazine.
Yeah, English was hard, but it was easier than dealing with certain people who were way too perceptive for their own good.
30. Yotsuba Satsuki
'…seven, eight, nine –' Satsuki counted under her breath, watching the little wood-framed analog clock over the sink. As the second hand counted 'ten', the peal of thunder reached her, grumbling across the sky like an old man muttering to himself. Satsuki exhaled and folded her newspaper, looking out over the plaza from her chair behind Car One's counter. The late-afternoon air was thick with summer heat, and the world was storm-bright, lit by the setting sun filtering through dark clouds and by flashes of lightning. Students and faculty alike were holed up in their dormitories or houses; a chipmunk, scurrying into its den underneath one of the trees at the edge of the cobblestones, was the only living thing visible among Chao Bao Zi's chairs and tables.
'I guess there's no harm in closing up for the day,' Satsuki said aloud, setting her newspaper on the stack in the recycle bin. She stretched to her tiptoes to grab the aluminum shutter above the counter, rattling it down in its frame just as another murmur of thunder sounded. 'It's quite the storm out there,' she murmured, turning to reach for her thin raincoat on its hook by the door. Her fingertips just brushed the water-repellant fabric –
And the coat fell to the floor.
Satsuki blinked, confused. She'd barely touched the garment at all, and the hook was a sturdy piece that Linshen-san had made herself in the University's metalworks shop. 'I must have hung it up wrong,' she said, bending to pick it up. She slung it around her shoulders – then stopped. She turned back to the rest of the railcar, knowing that the sound was impossible – but there it was. The faucet was running.
This time she frowned, crossing the tiled floor to close the faucet firmly. It had leaked once, but Satomi had fixed that – leading to a period of about a week when it was impossible to open the faucet at all – and anyway, that hadn't been a leak just now, but a steady stream of water. It was a little… disquieting, really. She turned the light off with a deliberately final snap of the switch and opened the door.
The storm's fury, only promised until now, rushed in through the opening, blasting Satsuki with wind and sudden rain. The newspapers in the recycle bin flew into the air, dancing around the kitchen in a confused whirl, and Satsuki closed the door with an effort, pressing her back to the metal. The displaced papers fluttered to various flat surfaces like settling birds, and Satsuki sighed. She couldn't just leave them lying around.
She'd collected most of them, and placed an empty nikuman box atop the stack as a paperweight, when she heard something rustling under the counter. Satsuki knelt, and spied one last newspaper in the crawlspace under the sink. She reached for it.
It slid away from her hand.
Satsuki snatched her hand back, alarmed. Yes, the newspaper had just moved on its own, and no, it hadn't been the wind this time. After a moment, she tried again, cautiously, to pick up the paper. It moved again, farther this time, and Satsuki almost heard – what was that? It was making a faint sound.
Satsuki laid herself prone on the tiles and went in after the paper. It evaded her hand quite well for an inanimate object, and – yes, now Satsuki could definitely hear some kind of sound coming from it. She backed the newspaper into a corner, and just as she touched it, she said, 'Hello?'
There was a long pause, then: "H – hello?"
Satsuki opened her mouth to reply, but the paper continued. "P-please, ghost-san, please don't eat me, I'm just a junior high school student, I don't taste good at all," it cried, wriggling in her hands. Satsuki slid herself out from under the sink and knelt, laying the newspaper on the floor at her knees.
'I'm not going to eat you,' she said reasonably. 'I don't eat newspapers.'
The newspaper almost seemed to regard her quizzically, then it twitched. "Ah! Y-You must be…" The edge of the paper, which had been pointing toward Satsuki as she spoke, flopped back down to the tiles, and a ghostly form rose from the headline.
"…Yotsuba-san, right?" the transparent girl finished timidly. She was wearing an old-fashioned sailor fuku, and she was pressing her index fingers together nervously.
Satsuki blinked, but recovered quickly. 'Aisaka Sayo-san, right?' she asked, smiling. 'I don't think we've met before, but I recognize you from the class roster.'
"Oh no, we haven't met," Sayo said hurriedly, coming further up out of the newspaper. Below the edge of her pleated skirt, her legs faded into a misty tail, which disappeared into the paper. "But I used to come by the restaurant sometimes when I was lonely, so I –I guess I feel like I know you, a little bit," she finished, a faint tinge of pink coloring the wall behind her cheeks.
'I see,' Satsuki replied. 'Is that why you came over now, Aisaka-san? You're lonely?'
"No," Sayo replied, her blush intensifying. "The problem is, well – I was with Asakura-san and Negi-sensei and Kagurazaka-san and everyone in Konoe-san's room, and they're telling ghost stories, and I hate ghost stories," she moaned, sinking back into the newspaper. "Even though I'm a ghost too."
'Sayo-san, are you all right?' Satsuki called, sticking her head under the counter after her. Sayo's fine white hair rose from the paper, followed by half of her head, until her nose appeared to be resting on the newspaper itself. Her pale red eyes glowed in the darkness.
"I'm sorry," she said miserably. "I'm terribly sorry. I came over here to hide," she confessed. "I didn't think you would still be here, and I didn't notice you until you started moving my hiding places around."
'Do you know any other ghosts?' Satsuki asked curiously. Sayo shook her head.
"No, but that's why I don't like ghost stories," she said quietly. "I don't know if they're true or not. They scared me even when I didn't believe in ghosts, and now that I… kind of have to…" she trailed off.
'Well…' Satsuki said thoughtfully. 'Negi-sensei and the others… you mean Ala Alba, right?' Sayo's eyes widened in surprise at the name, and she nodded.
'They're all strong people, aren't they?' Satsuki continued. 'I think they're more than a match for any evil ghosts around the school.'
"Well, yes, but…" Sayo murmured, sliding the newspaper back out from under the counter. She rose from the floor enough to resume pressing her fingertips together.
'And more importantly, they're your friends,' Satsuki finished, holding her hand out atop Sayo's ghostly shoulder. 'More than how strong they are, that means that you're safe with them, no matter what.'
Sayo stared at the plump girl for a moment. Her hands slowly balled into fists, and she nodded fiercely. "You're right, Yotsuba-san," she said. "You're absolutely right! I'll go back right now." She turned to leave, then shrank back. "But… I don't know if I can make it back through the storm," she said worriedly, looking up as if she could see the raindrops now marching in formation across the metal roof.
'You can –' Satsuki began, but she was interrupted by a sound from outside. Satsuki stood, listening carefully, and Sayo poked her head through the shutter.
"It's Asakura-san," she exclaimed excitedly, pulling back into the railcar. "She came looking for me!"
Satsuki pulled up the shutter, and sure enough, a redheaded figure in a poncho was walking across the plaza, calling Sayo's name. Satsuki put a hand to her mouth. 'Asakura-san!' she called, and the reporter paused, turned, and jogged over to the railcar.
"Heya, Sat-chan," she said, pulling her hood down as she stepped under the awning. "Have you seen – ah, there you are," she interrupted herself as Sayo rushed into view. "Sorry about that, Sayocchi," she explained, hugging the ghost girl. "We weren't really thinking,"
"It's okay," Sayo replied. "Did you come out into this just to look for me?"
Kazumi looked puzzled. "Of course. You're my friend, aren't you?"
Sayo's eyes glittered, and she threw her arms around the other girl. "Yes, I am."
'You should probably get back to your rooms,' Satsuki remarked, stepping out of the railcar and turning to lock up. 'This will only get worse.'
"Yeah; let's go, Sayo-chan," Kazumi said, pulling her hood back up. "I had to shout everyone else into staying while I came looking for you, you know? They're all pretty worried." She started off, and Sayo pulled intangibly at her arm.
"Wait, Asakura-san," she said. She turned back to Satsuki. "Would you… like to come with us, Yotsuba-san? You're our friend too, right?" she said, smiling timidly.
"Hey, yeah, come with us, Sat-chan," Kazumi urged her, grinning. "We won't get ghost story weather like this again in a long time."
'I'm not very good at telling ghost stories, Aisaka-san,' Satsuki demurred.
The redhead and the ghost promptly flanked her, Kazumi taking one arm and Sayo attempting to take the other. "That's okay, Yotsuba-san," the ghost girl said, smiling. "Neither am I… but maybe we can try, together."
Satsuki met the other girl's smile with her own.
'…I'd like that.'
And off they went.
2. Akashi Yūna
A lot of things have changed since we talked last. We went to Wales, in Europe, for summer vacation – because Negi-sensei's Walesian, you know – and I got a job as a waitress, and Makie-chan and I went on a cross-country road trip… kind of. It's been kind of weird since then. I've met a lot of really nice people, and seen some really weird stuff, but I guess that's what happens when –
Yūna paused in typing, and tapped her pointer finger idly against the side of her head. "Do you think it's okay if I tell my Mom about the Magical World?" she asked finally, looking around. Dinner was over, and the members of Ala Alba had spread to the various corners of the Great Paru-Sama's central deck to read, spar, practice spells, or – in Kotarō's case – nap. On the couch across the coffee table from Yūna's chair, the magical-scroll-whatsit-version of Eva-chan rolled her eyes.
"Does it really matter what you write in a letter to a –" she began. Asuna leaned over the back of the couch and hit her in the head, cutting the little blonde off mid-word. "Oh, what the hell, Kagurazaka?" she snapped, sitting up and lashing out at the redhead with her talons. Asuna took a judicious half-step backwards, taking her out of the vampire's admittedly short reach, and teasingly stuck out her tongue.
Eva vaulted over the back of the couch.
…"things are just weird," Yūna read to herself as she typed, over the ensuing chaos. She signed the letter, blew the screen a kiss, then saved and deleted the file. Standing, she handed the laptop back to Chisame, who nodded casually in thanks. The cosplay idol watched the basketball player head into the kitchen, then shrugged and slipped the computer back into its bag.
"Hey, jō-chan, think she's feelin' all right?" Chamo asked nervously, peering at the kitchen door over Chisame's shoulder. "I mean, deleting an email off a computer with no 'net is about as unsent as things get…"
"She got it anyway," Yūna replied cheerily, coming back into the room with three glasses of the pale pink fruit juice sold in markets all over New Ostia. She handed one to Chisame and set another down on the table for Chamo, taking a sip from her own as she sat. "I know she did."
"You mention the whole 'oh, we're saving the world now by the way' thing?" Chisame asked, after a moment. "That's news."
"I don't know if she'd believe me," Yūna replied, smiling. "I mean, she was a math teacher. What's that got to do with magic and war and all that?"
"Not much," Chisame replied shortly. She looked around the cabin and sighed. "Can we really call it a war, though?"
"Huh?" Yūna asked, confused.
Chisame waved her hand annoyedly, taking in the Paru-Sama, Jonny's flying fish, and their crews. "I mean, come on," she said, a little too loudly. "We've got seven mid-level bosses, an infinite number of one-hit-KO mooks, and a freakin' god to kill, and there are what, twenty of us? It's not like anyone else is fighting Kosmo Entelecheia." She let her hand flop down into her lap. "I mean geez, that'd work in a manga or something, but this is reality, you know? As much as I hate to admit it…" She pushed her glasses further up her nose, but Yūna didn't miss the quick flash of pain in her eyes. "…People have already died, you know?"
"I know that," Yūna replied quietly. "But we have to help Negi-kun stop these guys, or even more people are gonna die." She sat forward and shrugged. "Anyway, it's not like we need to fight all those guys at once. We can just take out that Fate jerk and get his fancy key, and we win. So it's more like twenty on one, if you think about it," she explained. "And I like those odds."
Chisame raised an eyebrow at her. "I don't think –"
"Wrong! Don't think!" Yūna shouted, loudly enough that Asuna and Eva-chin stopped fighting for a moment to look at her. "If you think too hard, you can't stop thinking about what might go wrong, or what happens if we screw up, or things like that. So don't think. Just do it, and it'll be done, and we won't have to worry about what happens if we screw up because we didn't!"
"That's stu –" Chisame began hotly, then stopped short. She drew a breath, then stood. Yūna looked up at her curiously.
"God, Akashi, you're such an idiot," Chisame said, barking out a laugh. Yūna opened her mouth, but Chisame continued over her. "You sound just like that broken-ass old perv." She turned away sharply, heading for the stairs up to the deck. At the foot of the stairs, Chisame paused, one hand on the railing. The other might have jumped upwards to rub at her eyes, but her voice was strong when she spoke.
"You strong-ass morons are gonna have to fight for people like me, who can't," Chisame said, not turning around. "I can't help Sensei at all over this next part. So… help him out, would you? Kick Fate's ass extra hard, for me."
"Chisame-chan," Yūna said, stepping out from the table to catch up to her.
Now Chisame did turn around, and her old frown was back. "What, Akashi?" she snapped, straightening her glasses again.
Yūna held her hand out to the redhead. "When I said we were gonna do it, I meant we all were gonna do it," she said, meeting Chisame's eyes. "We're all gonna save the world – together. Even you, who doesn't think it's real," she finished, smiling.
"Ah, shut up already," Chisame sighed, returning the smile despite herself. She took Yūna's hand and squeezed. "Freakin' moron." Her eyes softened behind her lenses, and she sighed. "Thanks, Akashi."
The redhead let go of Yūna's hand, then huffed a laugh as something occurred to her. "So, what do you want me to do, hit Fate in the head with my plastic wand?" she asked, smiling.
"That's the spirit," Yūna replied, grinning. The two mounted the stairs together, talking quietly. Chamo watched them go, sucking idly at his straw. After a few moments, Asuna and Evangeline, both looking a little worse for wear, sat down by the table.
"What was that all about?" Asuna asked, frowning at the stairwell.
Chamo shrugged, grinning. "Eh, something stupid."
8. Kagurazaka Asuna
"Man. Making me work like this – it's a violation of my rights, I know it," Anya muttered to herself, leaning hard against the cart. The wheels had to have gone at least twenty years without oil; the thing slid more than it rolled, and when one of the wheels did deign to roll it was with a sullen, screechy noise that made Anya's hair rise.
"Breakfast, Asuna," she called, finally managing to force the cart over the raised stone threshold. The jolts along the way from the kitchen up to Asuna's little room on the fifth floor had somewhat destroyed her food – the omelet the girl called Shirabe made every morning for her now resembled plain ol' scrambled eggs – but it wasn't like Asuna would complain. Or even notice.
"Open wide, Asuna," she said, forking up a bit of omelet. Obediently, Asuna opened her mouth, just like usual, and Anya fed her, just like usual. Her eyes – two different shades of blue, now that Anya had the time to notice – were fixed on a point somehow both right in front of her nose and several miles away, through Anya, and the Palace, and everything else. She chewed and swallowed with mechanical efficiency, drank with the same, and never made any sound at all.
"Feeling any better this morning, Asuna?" Anya asked, just to fill the silence. It was hard to affect a cheery smile and get the Japanese right at the same time, but on the off-chance that she would recover from… whatever it was… that Fate Averruncus had done to her… well, it was worth a little discomfort.
"Oh? Hello, little girl," said a voice behind her, and Anya stiffened as Tsukuyomi walked into the room. Of all the girls Fate had hanging around the Gravekeepers' Palace, this one was the worst. She continued to feed Asuna as the swordswoman came closer, smiling in her usual way.
"Good morning, Princess-han," she greeted Asuna, kneeling down next to her chair. "How's your breakfast?" As expected, Asuna said nothing. Anya cast Tsukuyomi a sideways glance; being this close to the woman, her skin started to crawl. She looked nice enough, but every now and then she looked at you with her eyes… Anya didn't see the swordswoman move, but suddenly she was looking straight at Anya, expressionless and utterly, horribly, still.
"Can you… go away?" Anya asked, taking great care not to wipe at the bead of sweat suddenly trickling down her forehead. She didn't dare blink or look away, but looking directly into the dark pits in the centers of those eyes… she felt like a tightrope artist – walking the balance between outright challenge and surrender. Either would be fatal.
The sweat ran further down the side of her face. Tsukuyomi didn't move.
"I guess she's still not back to what Fate-han wants," she declared suddenly, looking back at Asuna. Anya had to grip the fork almost painfully to keep from shivering with released tension – it wasn't over yet. "It seems like a waste to me, though…" the swordswoman continued, laying her cheek against the length of thigh bared by the elaborate dress Fate had put Asuna into. "When there's so much fun to be had like this…" A flash of pink appeared between Tsukuyomi's lips, leaving a trail on Asuna's skin that glimmered in the midmorning light.
Anya stood with a clatter, knocking over her chair. "Get away from Asuna-san!" she shouted, reversing her grip on the fork. It was a pathetically dull piece of silverware, and she had really tiny arms, but there was no way she could miss from here –
"Fate-han told me not to touch her, and I'm not going to," Tsukuyomi replied sniffily, addressing Anya directly for the first time. "I was just promising myself I'd do it later, when she was strong again. It's not fun if she's not strong." Her blade was in her hand now, and she smiled innocently at Anya. "But you have more spirit than I thought. It might be fun to cut you up a little after all…" All traces of humanity in her, whatever few there had been, had vanished when she opened her eyes again.
"Ah," Anya croaked, taking an inadvertent step backwards. "Fo – Fortis La Tius –"
"Too slow," Tsukuyomi trilled, drawing her blade back for the swing that would kill Anya. The sword rushed forward –
And met resistance. The ring of steel on steel reverberated in the little room, and Anya opened her eyes tentatively.
The blade that had stopped Tsukuyomi's katana was huge, a wedge-shaped broadsword that looked physically impossible to lift, and very familiar to Anya. "Asuna," she cried, looking over at the girl. "You –"
"I see," Tsukuyomi said, interrupting, and her blade was gone again. She bent to pick up her hat, which had fallen off, and nodded cordially to Asuna. "Until next time, then, Princess-han." As she left the room, she started humming.
"Asuna-san," Anya repeated, surprised. The redhead still stared into space – in fact, she was still chewing the last bite of omelet Anya had given her – but her hand was now extended in front of her, exactly where it would have been to hold the Ensis Exorcizans in Tsukuyomi's path. Anya stared for a moment, then picked herself up off the floor. "Thank you, Asuna-san," she said quietly, and now she couldn't stop the tears as she buried her face in the crook of Asuna's neck. "Thank you." She got no response, but somehow she knew she would soon.
Notes first, this time.
Makie: I'm not going to apologize for this one. It's the fanfiction author's duty to represent all aspects of the series he or she writes for, and if that means I get to write shameless fanservice I don't particularly mind. *shot*
Madoka: If I weren't such a rabid Kotaro/Natsumi 'shipper I'd definitely ship Kotaro/Madoka. That's what I call Foe Yay.
Satsuki: ...Hard to write for. A lot of these later entries, it seems, resulted from my blindly flailing around on the class roster and picking whoever I ended up pointing to to interact with the subject of the entry. Someone PLEASE tell me they noticed the single quotation marks I used for Satsuki. Please.
Yuna: Rakan's erasure hit Chisame a lot harder than she showed, I think. I wanted to try to touch on that, and contrast it with Yuna's ridiculous well of optimism. I'll let you all decide how successful I was.
Asuna: In case you hadn't noticed by now, dear readers, Tsukuyomi scares me. She's pure unadulterated psychopathy wrapped in a deceptively cute package. It's like opening a Hello Kitty present and finding Dagon inside, somehow. This also rates as one of my fastest entries, and certainly the fastest by far of Chapter 6.
It feels good to finally have it done with, but it's a bit sad to put the finishing touches on one of my longest-running - certainly my longest, period - fics. I wouldn't have made it this far without my dedicated readers - special thanks goes to omegarulesall, for comprising a full 20% of my reviews by him (or her) self.
This certainly won't be the last of my Negima! fics. Who knows? There may even be an addition to ThirtyOne sometime - ThirtyOne And Then Some, if you would. Until then, or whatever else the future holds, this is Red, saying 'thank you'.