A/N: 1. Once again, thank you all for the support.
2. An especially big thank you to Shadow Crystal Mage for giving this fic a TVTropes page. Why not look it up and help complete it? It still needs a lot of work and I don't really want to make it look like I'm the only one adding tropes to it.
3. Another especially big thank you to Japanese Teeth for his extensive review and for agreeing to proof-read for me.
4. I've altered chapter 1 a bit based on experience and some excellent critique that I received, especially from Cygan Angel. Another especially big thank you. Plot wise the only major difference is that I decided to have Anya reveal her real name as it's not exactly secret even if no one ever uses it. The bigger changes are in style which should have improved a lot.
"Hi everyone!" Anya called out as she arrived at the station. "You're all early!"
"You've been looking forward to Kyoto, haven't you?" asked Makie.
"Yes!" replied Anya.
"Why are you bringing pillows?" Yuuna asked Yue and Nodoka.
"I-I don't like changing pillows…" explained Nodoka, "I can't sleep on any other pillow, so I brought mine along."
"Whoa!" said Ako. "They're two of a kind!"
"Classes 3A, 3D, 3H, 3J and 3S who are going to Kyoto…" called Shizuna, "…Please head towards your homeroom teacher for roll-call and division into groups." In Group One, Fuuka tried to wonder off, so Anya had to drag her back again.
"Those twins sure are alike." noted Misa. "They're both noisy."
"Aw, c'mon." Madoka defended them as she was about to take a bite of nikuman. "It's more fun that way."
"Anya-chan!" said Sakurako excitedly. "That birthday party the day before yesterday was great!"
"Eeeeeh? You got to go to a party with sensei without me?" complained Fumika. "That's unfair!"
"Er, right." said Anya.
"Hmm." Chamo thought as he looked at group one from on top of Anya's shoulder.
Most of Group Two were selling nikuman.
That'll be 360 Yen. said Satsuki.
"They're selling those nikuman everywhere." Misora remarked with a raised finger.
"Uh huh." agreed Kaede as she was about to take a bite of hers.
"Would you like one too, Kasuga-san?" asked Satomi.
"Maybe I can spread nikuman all the way to the United Kingdom…" Chao thought as she looked at Anya from behind her wares.
Ku Fei offered Anya a nikuman. "Anya-chan! It tough when in charge of organizing-aru! Eat one of these keep your energy up-aru!"
"Thank you for the offer, Fei." smiled Anya. "But I've already eaten breakfast."
"These two…" Chamo wondered as he looked at the Chinese girls. In group three, Kazumi was already taking photographs.
"This is so stupid." Chisame frowned as she watched her classmates.
"Wah!" Natsumi yelled as she ducked out of the way of the camera.
"Right this way, Sensei! Hohoho!" said Ayaka as she grabbed hold of Anya's arm and tried to lead her off. "I've rented out the entire green car, so let's take our time and relax in there…I want to hear more about your friend, Negi…"
"Ayaka's at it again…" said Chizuru.
"Hey, hey!-?" complained Kazumi. "Iinchou, try to cut the attempts to get her to illegally pimp out her friend to a minimum before lunchtime, okay?"
"Ayaka, I'm trying to work!" complained Anya.
"Getting sick before we've even left…" said Akira as she placed a hand on Ako's back for support.
"Are you okay?" Mana wondered as she looked at Ako in concern.
"It's not that…" groaned a shivering, sweating Ako as she held herself up by pressing against Yuuna's back, "I think I ate too many nikuman…aaaa…uuuu!-!"
"Want to go buy some water?" asked Yuuna.
"Anya-chan! Want to join us during free activity day?" asked Makie before leaning in to whisper, "I want to see more of your magic. You haven't shown me any since we were trapped in Library Island."
"Let's discuss this later." Anya whispered back.
"Sasaki-san!" complained Ayaka. "Anya-sensei is busy!"
"Hey Anya-chan!" said Haruna. "We didn't get to have a meeting at Iinchou's. Maybe we could have one for free activity day to make up for it!"
"You want to work on free activity day?" asked Asuna. "And wouldn't that mean that I have to get involved as well?"
"It's not so bad!" said Konoka. "You might enjoy it."
"And you fulfill our special qualifications to witness our meetings." added Yue.
"Y-yes." agreed Nodoka.
"You need special qualifications to witness your meetings?" asked Ayaka. "And the monkey fulfills them?"
"Um...From being Konoka's roommate." Anya quickly said.
"Who are you calling a monkey you shotacon!-?" Asuna yelled. They walked off bickering and Anya turned around.
"Now for the last group." she said.
"Anya-sensei..." said Setsuna.
"Ah..." said Anya, "Setsuna and Zazie. There you are."
"That's right. I'm meant to be the leader of group six..." said Setsuna, "...but with no one else here, group six is really just me and Zazie-san. What should we do?"
"Of course," thought Anya, "Eva can't leave campus, Chachamaru would stay with her and Sayo is in my pocket. Hmm...Group two has six members, but one, three, four and five only have five." She said, "Okay! I'll put you in other groups. Setsuna, please join group five and Zazie, please join...group four. Also, Chisame and Kazumi, I need to quickly see the two of you in private."
"Why didn't she choose me?" wondered Ayaka. "I'm the Class Representative."
"Ah...Se-chan." said Konoka. "Looks like we're in the same group."
"Ah..." said Setsuna before bowing, spinning around and walking off.
"What was that about?" wondered Anya as she led Chisame and Kazumi away from the others. She picked up a doll and handed it to Kazumi. "Sayo's in there." she said, "I'd like you two to look after her."
"All right." sighed Chisame.
"No problem." Kazumi smiled.
"They're probably on the bullet train right about now." sighed Eva.
"It's a shame you can't go on the school trip, Master." said Chachamaru.
"...Hey, what do you mean, "It's a shame"?" asked Eva. "I wouldn't want to go on a trip with that brat anyway."
"Ah, it's just that you looked like you really wanted to go..." said Chachamaru. "Was I mistaken?"
"Idiot!" said Eva. "More importantly, why don't you go yourself? You want to go, don't you?"
"No," replied Chachamaru, "I'd rather be by Master's side, as usual."
"Ehh...Boxed lunches...Ah! I'm sorry!" the waitress apologized as she rammed the trolley into Anya as she was finishing off her announcements.
Anya fell to the floor among the boxes from the trolley. She grimaced as she got onto her hands and knees. "You should watch where you push those things." she muttered as she got up and dusted herself off.
"Please follow the directions of the waitresses and remain in your seats..." came an announcement.
"Could have warned us earlier." growled Anya as she glared at the intercom. As she walked down the aisle, she noticed that some of the girls were playing with cards. "What are you playing?" she asked.
"It's a trading card game!" explained Yuuna with a smile. "They're very popular these days."
"It's a game where you duel with magic!" added Yue. Anya remembered that Aya from class 1A was also a big fan of trading card games. In fact she would occasionally make rants about them. Anya remembered the most recent one.
"The Heart of the Cards is a myth!" she had said. "If you want to win, you need a good deck and the knowledge of how to use your cards properly in any situation! Rearranging your cards by magic, like that spiky-haired freak on TV does, is not skill! And neither is whatever Shiina Sakurako-sempai does! One day, I'll beat her and you'll see who the real champion is!"
Ako was advising Makie to her irritation and the Narutaki twins were arguing over which card that Fuuka should play.
"Well, at least they're enjoying themselves." said Anya.
"Hey, hey! Aneki!" said Chamo. "Isn't it about time we checked out our surroundings?"
"What for?" asked Anya.
"Didn't you hear the old man? He said there might be people trying to make trouble for us on the way!" explained Chamo. "There might be spies from the West! You never know!"
"Spies!-?" asked Anya, "You mean like how Misato claims that Shizuna is actually a Russian secret agent plotting to take down the government?"
"No!" replied Chamo, "I mean like something that actually makes sense!"
"All right!" said Yuuna. "I'm going to cast "Flame Spell" on you for five points!"
"Aaan!" groaned Haruna. "You got me! I'm dead!"
"Damn!" smiled Yue. "I was killing you slowly with my "Dreaded Frog Hell" card too!"
"Argh..." Haruna grumbled as she got out her snacks, "Those stupid frogs!"
"Okay!" grinned Yuuna. "I'll be taking those five chocolates you wagered!" Haruna opened the box to find a frog.
"...Huh?" she said. The frog jumped into the air. "K-kyaaaah!" screamed Haruna.
"F-frog!-?" shrieked Yuuna. Frogs started jumping out of the most unlikely places. A few people fainted and Kaede was somehow clinging to the ceiling. Anya started helping some of the girls to capture the frogs.
"They just all appeared out of nowhere from that box!" exclaimed Asuna.
"Anya-chan!" squealed Makie. "Help!"
"For all these frogs to just appear…" thought Anya, "…it must be magical sabotage!"
"We manage to capture 108 of the frogs-aru…" said Ku Fei as she held up a bag and placed a hand behind her head.
"Sh-Shizuna-sensei's fainted!" announced Makie as she held up Shizuna's unconscious form to demonstrate.
"Ako, take care of her!" ordered Anya. "Ayaka, take roll-call!"
"I'm on it!" said Ayaka.
"Izumi-san's also fainted!" said Asuna, holding up Ako.
"Then those who haven't fainted should look after those who have." said Anya.
"Ah! Aneki! There's no mistake about it! This is the work of the Kansai Magic Association!" declared Chamo telepathically. "This is just the sort of thing they'd do!"
"But what's with the frogs?-!" Anya sent back.
"Uuun...I guess they're trying to annoy us..." said Chamo, "or maybe the whole thing is just a distraction..."
"A distraction for what?" asked Anya.
"To stop us from completing the mission...like by capturing us...or pick pocketing you of something that you need..."
"All I really need for this mission is this envelope." said Anya as she held it out...before it was snatched by a swallow.
"Ah! A bird!-?" asked Chamo. Anya chased after the bird, passing Asuna at high speed.
"Wh-what?" she asked, "Anya!-?" Ayaka looked up from the class roll.
"Asuna-san, Konoka-san." Ayaka said, "Sakurazaki-san isn't here."
"Eh?" said Asuna.
"Se-chan isn't here?" asked Konoka.
"Bring back that letter!" ordered Anya.
"Aneki!" yelled Chamo. "That's a shikigami!"
"What's a shikigami?" asked Anya.
"It means that that thing's made of nothing more than paper!'" explained Chamo. "It's basically the same thing as a paper golem! It's a type of familiar magic they use in Japan!Dammit! It's getting away! Use your staff Aneki! The person controlling it should be close by! Catch it!"
"Right!" said Anya. "Fortis la tius lilith...!"
"Boxed lunches..." called the waitress as she walked down the hall way. She continued moving down the aisle and opened the door to the next compartment when the shikigami flew past her. She turned to watch the shikigami fly past as she continued pushing the trolley forward and turned back round again as she heard someone running towards her. With that Anya charged into sight and ran into her trolley again. "Kyaah!-?" the waitress cried.
"Ow!" said Anya as she fell over. The bird flew down the aisle and she watched as Setsuna pulled a sword out of her scabbard and swung it in a flash light before the sword was somehow back in its scabbard again. Setsuna' eyes were shut in an apparent lack of concern as the bird disappeared and was replaced with two pieces of paper which fluttered to the floor. She then knelt down and picked up the letter. She frowned at it and appeared to consider opening it. Anya got back up and ran down the corridor and up to Setsuna.
"...Anya-sensei..." Setsuna said with tense formality.
"Oh, Setsuna." greeted Anya. "There you are."
"Um..." said Setsuna as she handed over the letter, "You...dropped this."
"Thanks." said Anya. "This is pretty important."
"Does it belong to you, Sensei? It would be wise to be careful, Sensei...especially...when we arrive on the other side..." said Setsuna. "...Excuse me."
"...Right...thanks...bye." said Anya as Setsuna walked off.
"H-hey, Hey! Aneki! What are you thanking her for!-?" asked Chamo telepathically. "That girl is suspicious as Hell! You'd better keep your eye on her!"
"But she seems like a nice, serious girl!" Anya sent back.
"Just look!" Chamo sent in reply as he pointed at the paper on the ground. "It's the shape of the bird from before...It apparently flew straight back to her. She must have been the one controlling it!"
"But surely Setsuna couldn't..." began Anya.
"Yes!" interrupted Chamo's thoughts. "She might be the spy from the West!"
After arriving in Kyoto, they went to visit Kiyomizu Temple.
As the class looked at the view, Yue announced, "Oh that's right. If you go a little further from here, there's a fortune telling place for your love life! It's very popular with the ladies."
"Eh!-?" asked Makie.
"Love fortune telling!-?" asked Ayaka. "Well then, I'd like to go..."
"I suppose that we could go there." said Anya.
"Ah! Anya-chan!" called out Makie as she waved an arm. "I want to go too!"
"Ah...me too..." added Yue with a raised finger.
"Fine!" said Anya. "We can all go!"
"Just below where those stone steps are is the famous Otowa waterfall." continued Yue. "Depending upon which of the three streams you drink, you'll be granted wisdom, health or true love." With this news, the class cheered and headed off.
"Anya-chan! Over here! Over here!" called Makie. "This is the stone that foretells your love life!"
"Eh...so if you make it from this rock to that rock without opening your eyes, you'll find success in love?" asked Fuuka.
"Yes! Yes!" agreed Makie.
"It's so far!" complained Yuuna as she held a hand above her eyes.
"It's about twenty meters!" declared Ayaka. "W-well, as the Iinchou, I shall..."
"Ah! That's not fair! I'm going too!" interrupted Makie.
"You should go too, Nodoka!" suggested Haruna. "If the only man you've been interested in is Anya-chan's friend, then you're picky and could use the help! Not that I blame you for liking him."
"Um...okay Paru." agreed Nodoka. The three girls began to walk towards the rock. As Nodoka began to veer off to the side, the class began to cheer.
"Go for it!" cheered Sakurako. "To the left! Left!"
"Honya!" called Haruna. "Not that way!"
"I put fifty Yen on Makie!" said Fuuka.
"A hundred Yen on Iinchou!" said Yuuna.
"Ahaha!" laughed Fuuka. "Go for it Makie!"
"Go Iinchou!" cheered Yuuna.
"Huh?" sent Chamo as he looked around. "Aneki, where's Setsuna?"
"I'm...not sure." Anya responded as she began to search the crowd.
"Huhu..." thought Ayaka, "I feel bad for Makie-san and Miyazaki-san, but for one such as I who is trained in the various forms of martial arts, this won't even be a challenge! Yukihiro Ayaka-style "Mind's Eye of Love" technique! Target acquired! I'm going for it!" With that she started running.
Makie opened an eye and said, "Ah! What's that!-? That's not fair, Iinchou!" she began to run alongside Ayaka with her eyes open, "That's cheating Iinchou! You opened your eyes, didn't you?"
"Hohoho! I would do no such thing!" laughed Ayaka. "This is to ensure my success in love!" With that, the floor collapsed, dropping the two of them into a pit of frogs.
"Aah!" shrieked Ayaka.
"Kyah!" squealed Makie. "Kyaaaah!"
"W-what!-?" asked Ayaka. "Frogs again!-?"
"What happened!-?" asked Asuna as she reached over to help Ayaka.
"A pit trap?" asked Yuuna. "In a place like this!-?"
"Hiii!" squealed Ayaka. Anya started to help Makie.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
"They're all slippery!" complained Makie.
"Did The Kansai Magic association do this?" wondered Anya.
"Goal!" cheered Haruna as she applauded Nodoka's reaching of the stone.
"What the Hell were you doing, Iinchou?" asked Asuna. "Are you sure this isn't some kind of divine punishment for cheating?"
"Wh...I was not cheating!" declared Ayaka indignantly.
"Maybe it was because I had my eyes half-open..." admitted Makie with a hand behind her head.
"What kind of divine punishment is man-made!-?" asked Ayaka as she turned to Makie.
Anya noticed Setsuna watching them as Asuna said, "Yeah, yeah. Pull yourself together and we'll go to the Otowa Waterfall." After Ayaka and Makie were helped out of the pit, they started walking towards the waterfall.
"There's something suspicious about her after all, Aneki!" sent Chamo as they walked down the steps.
"Woah! What a crowd!" exclaimed Yuuna once she reached the bottom of the steps to the waterfall. "Yue-yue, which one is which?"
"From right to left," explained Yue as she unscrewed a bottle, "they are Health, then Career, School and Wisdom and finally, True Love and Marriage."
"The left one! The left one!" chanted Makie as they began collecting from the left stream.
"Ah! I want some too!" said Sakurako.
"H-hold on everyone!" said Ayaka, "We should form a line!"
"Remember that other people are also here to drink." Anya reminded them. "I'd like some too once you're done."
"Mmm..." said Madoka as she started to drink.
"...!" agreed Sakurako after tasting it.
"D-delicious!" declared Yuuna. "Another cup!"
"Phewww!" said Makie. "What is this stuff?"
"I-it does look rather effective..." said Ayaka. "Is this the taste of miracles?"
"If I drink a lot," hypothesized Fumika, "maybe it'll be extra effective!" Nodoka quietly sipped from her cup as most of the class's cheeks began to grow rosy.
"Setsuna's gone again." observed Anya.
"H-hey, Aneki!" Chamo called out, "This looks pretty bad!" Anya turned to see that a large proportion of her class was now unconscious.
"...It looks like they're all dead drunk..." said Yue.
"Ugh!" Yuuna gasped as she took a seat on the floor and looked like she was about to pass out herself.
"Iinchou!" said Asuna as she held Ayaka and Konoka looked on. "Get a grip on yourself!"
"Haah!" moaned Ayaka.
"..." said Chisame as she stared at the scene, whilst Chizuru giggled and Akira lowered her eyelids in exasperation.
"...!" said Zazie as she glared at Chisame. Chao was busy keeping the rest of her group out of the way.
"What's going on!-?" asked Anya. She climbed up to the roof to investigate. It was fairly easy with a magically reinforced body. There she discovered a barrel of sake being pumped into the left waterfall. "What's a barrel of sake doing here!-?" She climbed back down to try controlling the rest o her students.
"Hm? Do you smell wine?" Seruhiko asked Nitta as the two of them walked past, sniffing the air.
"Nitta-sensei! Seruhiko-sensei!" squealed Anya as she helped Asuna try and block their line of sight. "Um...It's not from here...uh...a group of drunkards just walked past! Shameful!"
Meanwhile, Yue tried to wake Ayaka by repeatedly slapping her, thinking, "Iinchou-san! Please wake up! If they find out, they're going to cancel the trip and suspend everyone!" At the same time, Konoka looked after a hiccupping Madoka.
"Ah. Ara. What's the matter, Anya-sensei?" asked Shizuna.
"Nothing's the matter!" squealed Anya. "Nothing at all!"
"Er...um...Some of the students got tired and decided to sleep." said Yue with a raised finger.
"L-let's drag them into the bus and head for the hotel, Shizuna-sensei!" suggested Asuna as she held Ayaka.
As Setsuna watched, she said, "...I guess I have no choice..."
At the hotel, Chamo started ranting at Anya. "There's no mistaking it!" he said. "This is all the work of that damn Setsuna!"
"Are you sure that it's Setsuna and not, say, Chizuru?" asked Anya. "She didn't drink either!"
"What has she done that's so suspicious?" asked Chamo.
"She's an enemy of The Pettanko Alliance!" answered Anya. "And she scares me for some reason." She looked up and noticed Asuna, Kaede, Chisame and Kazumi walking into the room. Kaede and Chisame were frowning and Asuna and Kazumi had raised eyebrows.
"Anya! Hey, Anya!" Asuna called.
"Hi, everyone." greeted Anya.
"We told everyone that all the drunk students have gone to their rooms to sleep." said Asuna.
"Ayase-san and Konoe-san are looking after the drunk students which include Ku Fei-san, Sasaki-san and Miyazaki-san. Sayo-chan is in my pocket and McDowell-san and Karakuri-san aren't here. That's everyone who knows about your magic." Kazumi reported.
"So, tell us," said Asuna, "just what is going on here?"
"I'd also like to know that." agreed Kazumi.
"Yes." said Chisame. "This trip hasn't been normal."
"Just tell them, Aneki!" said Chamo. Once Asuna had calmed down from the realization that Chamo could talk, Anya sighed and explained the details of her mission.
"Eeeeeh!-?" said Asuna. "3A is being targeted by some weird magic organization from Kansai!-?"
"Not just schools, but government organizations as well." sighed Chisame as she face palmed, "And of course, they're after our class. Why do so many weird things have to run into me?"
"I can't write a story about this either, can I?" asked Kazumi with resignation.
"No," said Anya, "but if you're willing to help with the mission, you're welcome to."
"I knew there was something odd about those frogs..." said Asuna. "Another disaster involving magic, huh..."
"Ane-san," said Chamo, "why don't you become one of Anya-aneki's partners like the others?"
"What does that involve?" asked Asuna.
"You kiss her and get magic powers to help her." explained Kazumi.
"And everyone else has done that already?" asked Asuna taken aback.
"Everyone here as well as Yue, Nodoka and Haruna." said Anya. "And that's more than enough. I don't want to become some kind of pactio slut. Especially as I want to choose someone else as my main partner one day."
"So, Konoka doesn't have one, but she still helped you fight Eva-san?" asked Asuna.
"Yes." said Anya. "You don't need a pactio to be useful."
"Well, I can't use magic," said Asuna, "but I was very good with martial arts when I was younger and my fights with Iinchou tell me that I've still got it."
"Well, now that that's done, we have other things to worry about." said Anya.
"Oh, that's right!" explained Chamo. "That Sakurazaki Setsuna from your class seems like a spy! Do you know anything about her?"
"Eeehhh?-!" said Asuna, "Sakurazaki...a spy? That's a surprise. Hmm...I've heard that she was a childhood friend of Konoka's...Hmmmm...come to think of it, I've never seen them talk to each other..."
"I've heard that rumor too." said Kazumi. "It probably comes from the fact that she comes from the same city."
"They're both from Kyoto!-?" asked Chamo.
"Yes," said Kazumi, "but I couldn't find out anything else from her time before Mahora. I could tell you that she seems to be on some sort of scholarship, like Tatsumiya-san, which is weird as neither is very academically strong and they're each in only one club, with biathlon not even being a middle-school club."
"They're also roommates." added Sayo.
"Aah! There's no doubt about it!" declared Chamo. "She's an assassin from The Kansai Magic Association!"
"Uuuuun...You really think so?" asked Asuna who was a little taken aback by Sayo.
"Anya-sensei..." greeted Shizuna with a wave as she walked in wearing a bath robe, "it's almost time for he staff members to finish their baths."
"Wah!" shrieked Anya. "Um...right, I'll be right there."
"It's almost time for Group Five to take a bath." said Asuna. "We'll talk about this tonight during free activity time, okay? I'll fetch Konoka."
"Fine." agreed Anya. "I'll fetch Yue."
"Okay." agreed Chamo.
Kaede walked back into Group Two's room as she had nothing else to do before her meeting with Anya and she wanted to make sure that Ku Fei was all right.
Is everything all right? asked Satsuki.
"I just had to make sure that there was nothing wrong with the others." said Kaede, "There doesn't seem to be any problems though-de gozaru. There is nothing wrong with Ku Fei-dono-de gozarou?"
We were able to change her clothes for one of these yukatas, but she barely stirs. Otherwise she seems fine. explained Satsuki.
"Why don't we see how asleep she really is by drawing on her face with these, ne?" suggested Chao as she picked up a felt-tip pen, "Kasuga-san, you're the expert on pranks. What do you think?"
"That one is traditional," grinned Misora, "but I didn't think that you'd be the type to enjoy this. Especially as Ku Fei-san is a friend and roommate of yours."
"A little fun shouldn't hurt, ne?" asked Chao as she drew whiskers on Ku Fei's cheeks. She handed the pen to Misora to add anything she wanted to and took Satomi to the side, switching to Mandarin Chinese. "Fei is too drunk to understand us. The drawings confirmed that. Ayaka is in a different room and Satsuki won't inhibit our plans as long as we stick to our promises. It's safe to speak this way."
"Nothing has changed for the trip has it?" asked Satomi in a more clunky Mandarin, unlike Chao's fluency.
"No." replied Chao. "The dissidents within The Kansai Magic Association are unprepared to deal with Anya's allies as Tertium is not ready to reveal the extent of his power. The kidnapping of Konoe will merely motivate the members of what later became Ala Alba in my timeline to train harder which will encourage their participation when we make our move at Mahorafest. A larger number of powerful individuals entering the martial arts tournament is of benefit to us. I will also send Tatsumiya to aid them once the dissidents become desperate enough to try more dangerous tactics which will both ensure their safety until the principal can send McDowell and also build their trust in her which I can use in the final stages of the plan."
"So for now?" asked Satomi.
"For now, we wait." replied Chao. Misora put down the pen once she was done and changed. Carefully so as not to reveal her pactio card. The class geniuses were discussing something in Mandarin. Probably their latest project for the Robotics club. She shuddered. It was bad enough that she had to worry about how magic could hurt you and these two seemed intent on making technology at least as dangerous. It was quite ironic that she, the ministra, was missing the protection of her far younger, far smaller magistra. She felt like she was the one who needed a bodyguard and now, she was away from Cocone, whom she was supposed to protect. She sighed. At least Sister Shakti couldn't give her chores while she was here.
"Why are you following me into the bath?" asked Anya. "I'm not letting you peek at me!"
"I have to bathe too, Aneki!" protested Chamo.
"Then go to the men's bath over there!" ordered Anya as she pointed to the door labeled "men's bath".
"You're too cruel, Aneki!" complained Chamo, but he went through the door in question. However, when Anya walked into the bath, she came face to face with him again.
"Why do the male and female entrances go to the same bath!-?" asked Anya.
"It's a mixed bath, Aneki!" explained Chamo.
"This is weird!" complained Anya. "Turn around while I clean and get in!" Once she was in, she sighed in relief, "At least there's no one else here." she said. "And this does feel pretty nice."
"Yeah! If only we didn't have to worry about Sakurazaki Setsuna." agreed Chamo as he got in. "She's always carrying around that sword...she'll kill a mage like you before you can even chant a spell...Plus she can control shikigami...We should avoid fighting her if possible."
"Yes." agreed Anya. "After all, swordsmen are the natural enemies of mages." She then turned her head as she heard footsteps.
"...Huh?" asked Chamo.
"Someone's coming." explained Anya. "I don't know who it is." They peeked over a rock to see Setsuna pouring a bucket of water over herself.
"It's Setsuna!" sent Anya telepathically. "We must have cut into the time for Group Five's bath! She doesn't look like a villain!"
"Just because she looks like that, doesn't mean she's not our enemy!" sent Chamo.
"Hey!" sent Anya as she grabbed him. "Stop staring, you perverted enemy of all women!"
"There's no time for this!" sent Chamo. "We've got to avoid her! Without one of your partners, we've got zero chance of winning!"
"All right!" sent Anya. "I'm moving!"
"Phew...How troublesome...as Anya is a mage..." said Setsuna, "...I should take action in regards to that, but..."
"Eeh!-?" sent Chamo.
"H-how does she know I'm a mage!" sent Anya. "D-does this mean she's a spy after all?" She picked up a wand and raised it to gain a clear shot at Setsuna, but Setsuna caught the movement out of the corner of her eye and flicked a pebble at the wand, smashing it.
She then picked up her sword and charged. "Who's there!-?"
"Has she seen us!-?" sent Anya as she hid behind a boulder. Indeed Setsuna was running straight for the boulder where they where hidden.
"You won't get away!" threatened Setsuna as she grabbed her sword and drew it, "Shinmeiryuu secret technique...Zanganken!" She sliced the top of the boulder clean off, sending it flying. Anya ducked and swam for her cloak.
"How the Heck did she do that!-?" thought Anya before grabbing another wand from her pocket and chanting, "Fortis la tius lilith lilioth! Calefaciens Exarmatio!" She swung the wand and pointed it at Setsuna who had jumped from the rock that she had sliced into the air and was diving for her. Setsuna dropped her sword from the sudden heat.
"Good one, Aneki!" sent Chamo. "You've gotten rid of her weapon!"
"Hmph." smiled Setsuna as she landed back into the water before grabbing Anya's neck. "Who are you?" she yelled. "If you don't answer, I'll break your neck!"
Anya screamed as Setsuna's hands grasped her throat.
"...Huh?" said Setsuna with a puzzled face. "An-Anya-sensei?"
"She's strong!" said Chamo.
"Konoka, it's time for our group's bath." said Asuna as she walked in. "Plus there's something important that we need to discuss with Anya."
"All right." said Konoka. "I'm coming down."
As she headed down to the baths, Konoka heard a commotion ending with, "Ayeeee!"
"Huh?" said Konoka and she pointed towards the baths. "Hey, Asuna. There was a lot of noise coming from that bath just a moment ago."
"Eh?" said Asuna as she caught up. "Really?"
"Yes." replied Konoka.
"Well, I guess that we can check it out once we're ready." shrugged Asuna. They walked into the changing room and started getting undressed when a horde of monkeys entered the room through the window. Why there were a load of monkeys were doing in the middle of a hotel in a city wasn't quite clear. The girls gaped and pointed at the incoming swarm. "Wh-what are you doing here, you stupid monkeys! Shoo! Shoo!" She tried chasing the monkeys while waving her arms, but they led her in circles as more filed in.
"They're pretty cute, but you're not supposed to get monkeys here." Konoka remarked as she knelt down for a better look. With that, the monkeys, grabbed her and started yanking on her clothes. "Hey! Stop that!" Konoka complained.
"Get off you stupid monkeys!" ordered Asuna as she charged for Konoka, but the monkeys tripped her and she fell over with an "Oof!". They then started yanking down her skirt as well. "Get off!" she yelled as she tried to swat them away, but others jumped onto her chest and started undoing her shirt.
"My wand!" Konoka cried as the monkeys yanked off her outer layer of clothes and pulled them out of the reach of her stretched arm.
"Ah!" yelped Setsuna as she let go of Anya. "I-I'm sorry, Anya-sensei…ah…"
"Y-y-you…!" said Anya as she pointed at Setsuna.
"H-hey…What's wrong, Aneki?" asked Chamo. "Get a hold of yourself…"
"…ah…eh…um…this…I mean…You see…it only makes sense to threaten a possible enemy's vulnerable areas…I...didn't really want to break your neck…" stuttered Setsuna.
"Y-you've done it now, Sakurazaki Setsuna! You're…" yelled Chamo, "…You're a spy for The Kansai Magic Association aren't you!-?"
"Wh…No!" Setsuna defended herself. "That's not true, Sensei!"
"What's not true!-? We're on to you, so you better confess!" shouted Chamo. "Don't underestimate me just because I'm an ermine!"
"I-I'm not your enemy!" declared Setsuna as she sheathed Yuunagi. "I, number 15, Sakurazaki Setsuna, am Sensei's ally!"
"…My ally?" asked Anya. "What are you talking about?-! We've barely spoken to one another!"
"I'm Konoka-ojou-sama's…" began Setsuna.
"Hyaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!-!" interrupted a scream.
"Wait!" said Anya, "That voice is…!"
"Konoka-ojou-sama!-?" said Setsuna. "Could it be that they are planning to make a move on Konoka-ojou-sama…!-?"
"Wait…I admit that I'm not good with honorifics, but doesn't ojou-sama…?" began Anya.
"Ojou-sama!" yelled Setsuna as she ran for the door.
"Wait!" called Anya as she tried to keep up. "What's going…?"
The two of them rushed into the changing room to discover a horde of monkeys pulling off Asuna and Konoka's underwear. "Iyaaan!" shrieked Konoka.
"Wh…Anya!-?" asked Asuna. "What the hell are these monkeys doing to our underwear!-?"
"…" said Setsuna.
"Ah! Iya!" squealed Konoka as the monkeys stripped her naked. "Yaan! I can't get to my wand in my uniform and now I'm naked!"
"What the Heck is going…?" asked Anya.
"Th-these damn monkeys…" said Setsuna, shaking with fury. "What the Hell are you doing to Konoka-ojou-sama!-? I'll slash you apart!" She drew Yuunagi.
"Yikes!" said Anya.
"Kyah! Sakurazaki-san!" gasped Asuna. "What are you doing!-? Is that a real sword!-?" Anya grabbed Setsuna's arm.
"I understand that you're angry, but killing them is a bit much!" she said.
"Ah! What are you doing sensei!-?" asked Setsuna. "These are just low-level shikigami! All that's going to happen is that they're going to turn back into paper…wah! Wah! Waah!" The monkey tugging on her towel suddenly jerked it off, which combined with Anya's holding of her arm, caused her to drop her sword and fall on top of Anya, bumping her head. She slowly raised her head, rubbing it and saying, "Ow ow ow…" before looking down to see a squirming Anya who was battling to breathe whilst her face was trapped under her chest. "Ah…?" said Setsuna as she quickly got up, "Wh-wh-wha…!-? I told you I was on your side, didn't I!-?" she asked. "Please don't get in my way!"
"I'm not trying to..." began Anya.
"H-hold on a minute, you two..." interrupted Asuna. "Those monkeys are taking Konoka away!-!"
"Hyaaah!" screeched Konoka as she was carried out the door.
In Group Four's room, the conscious half of the group stared at each other. Mana had been told to wait by Chao and there was only so much gun polishing she could do in one night. She had been warned by Chao not to drink from the waterfall, but not to stop anyone else who did. Well, she didn't really mind as Chao was wealthy and paying for her participation. She had secured her services for all the way to the end of Mahorafest.
"You know," said Mana, "with those three out, I'm suddenly the most talkative person here."
"...!" said Zazie.
Akira just nodded nervously.
"Ojou-sama!" called Setsuna as she jumped after Konoka, swinging her blade. "Shinmeiryuu Secret Technique...Hyakuretsu Oukazan!-!" She cut down all the monkeys in a single strike, turning them into a shower of papery confetti and she grabbed Konoka, gently cradling her.
"…Ah…?" said Konoka.
"Konoka!" called Asuna as she ran up.
"Are you okay!-?" asked Anya as she followed.
"…Hmph…" said Chigusa as she watched from the shadows.
"Tsch." thought Setsuna. "They got away."
"S..Se-chan…" said Konoka, "I don't really understand the situation…but you saved me Right? Th-thank you…"
"Ah..." said Setsuna as she blushed, "It's nothing..." She then dropped Konoka.
"Hyah!" squealed Konoka. Setsuna then turned around and ran off. "Ah! Se-chan!" Konoka called out as she reached for Setsuna's retreating form. "Ah..."
"What the heck was that all about?" asked Asuna.
"Yes!" said Anya. "What is going on!-?"
"Konoka..." asked Asuna. "Something happened between you and Sakurazaki-san before, right?" Konoka then told them the sad tale of her past with Setsuna.
Chisame and Kazumi walked back into Group Three's room where Ayaka was sleeping and Natsumi and Chizuru were taking care of her. "Have you guys been coping?" asked Kazumi as she placed Sayo on top of the television like a doll.
"We're used to staying with Iinchou." said Natsumi. "Though, we have never seen her drunk before."
"Of course." said Chisame. "Usually she'd be telling us off and ordering us not to get into trouble."
"Ah," said Chizuru as she grabbed Natsumi and squeezed her to her chest, "but Iinchou just does that because she cars about us and wants the best for our class, as expected of a good Iinchou who performs her duties with serious determination! Wouldn't you agree Natsumi?"
"Um...Right." came Natsumi's muffled reply. Chisame just face palmed. And Kazumi got out her camera.
"But she's missing all the excitement of the first night of the trip!" she exclaimed. "I need to record all the sights that she's missing, such as her face when she's drunk!" With that, she started taking photographs.
"Konoka..." said Asuna.
"Er...Are you all right?" asked Anya.
"I'm fine." sniffed Konoka.
"I'm confused." admitted Asuna. "If you haven't been close for all this time, then is she on our side or not?"
"What are you talking about?" asked Konoka.
"Of course," said Anya, "we haven't told you about this yet. It's a long story. I'll tell you when the others come back."
"Hmmm...it doesn't seem like she's our enemy..." said Chamo. "Maybe it would be best if we talked to her in person."
"Let's get the others." said Anya. They walked down a passage, meeting Kaede, Chisame and Chizuru. "It's time for bed, but I need to speak to you Kaede and Chisame as well as to Kazumi."
"Okay!" smiled Chizuru.
"Yeah, okay." said Chisame. "I'll fetch Asakura-san." The two of them walked into their room.
"You've done well, Anya-sensei." said Kaede. "It's sure quiet for the first night of a school trip-de gozaru."
"Well, a lot of the girls are asleep from the alcohol, but we've got other problems." said Anya.
"Anyway, they'll be feeling it in the morning..." said Asuna with a nervous smile.
"I suppose that it'll be different tomorrow night-de gozarou," said Kaede, "but as it seems that there's trouble brewing-de gozaru, you should still feel free to call on me if you feel the need-de gozarou. After all, we're partners are we not-de gozarou?"
"Right," said Anya, "I'm glad as I might need your help. I'll explain once the others are here." She placed Yue's card against her forehead and said "Telepathia. Yue, can you hear me?"
After a few seconds, there was a reply, "Yes, Anya-sensei. What is it?"
"Please leave your room and come to me. I need to speak to you."
"Coming." replied Yue.
"Asakura-san!" called Chisame. "Anya needs to speak with us."
"Okay!" said Kazumi and she walked over to Sayo and picked her up before following Chisame out the room. Once they were all together, Anya filled everyone in one on the mission, Setsuna's actions and Konoka's past as they walked into the lobby.
Nekane looked down at the letter that had just finished playing. This was good news. Once Negi had finished training with her, he would need a real teacher and she had found one who was willing. It was still worrying though that Anya hadn't mentioned receiving that letter about Chamo's crimes. "Sis!" called Negi as he ran up to her. "I've made my booking to fly to Japan!"
"What!-?" asked Nekane.
"You know that I've been planning to visit Anya for a while." said Negi. "It's only become more important now that she's finding out more about father. I want to see what she's discovered with my own eyes! And after that I want to go to the magical world. I've got a lot of investigating to do!"
"But you're planning to leave so soon?" asked Nekane.
"Of course!" said Negi. "I've been waiting years to find father and I promised to visit Anya fairly soon. I want to go ahead so that I can search the magical world. Besides, you said that soon you wouldn't be able to teach me anymore."
"But I've been planning for you to be taught by someone else afterwards!" protested Nekane.
"Well, I don't really have time now," said Negi, "but I'm already better than I was. It should be fine. I won't stop practicing. Thank you Sis." Nekane sighed. She'd have to make alternate arrangements now.
Anya and the others entered the lobby to find Setsuna placing paper strips above the door. "What on Earth are you doing?" asked Anya.
"It's a barrier to repel shikigami..." explained Setsuna.
"Does this mean that you really can use Eastern magic?" asked Anya.
"Yes..." replied Setsuna, "It's a skill to compliment my sword techniques."
"I get it!" said Chamo. "So you're like...a magic knight!"
"Yet another person from a world where it's not surprising for an ermine to talk." thought Asuna.
"Se-chan..." said Konoka, "You never told me about any of this..."
"Uh..." said Setsuna, "I realize that these are your partners, even though I never knew that Kagurazaka-san or Nagase-san were involved, but I think that it would be better if Konoka-ojou-sama stayed uninvolved. She's been placed in too much danger already. Bad enough that you have taught her Western magic. Do you realize what the enemy would do if they found out about that?"
"If people are after me, then I'm already involved, Se-chan." said Konoka firmly. "I want to know what's going on and how I should react. I'm not helpless!"
"And how do you know so much about us anyway?" mumbled Anya.
"All right." sighed Setsuna. "The interference from the enemy is escalating...If this continues, Konoka-ojou-sama will be put into the line of fire too. We must devise some sort of countermeasure...Anya-sensei, I have heard that you are a most talented Western mage. Can you not think of anything? It seems like the enemy is increasing in confidence because our countermeasures were not effective."
"Then...you really are on our side!" exclaimed Chamo.
"Yes!" said Setsuna, "That's what I was saying in the first place!"
"I'm sorry, swordsman-ane-san! I totally doubted you!" apologized Chamo. "I was wrong!"
"I'm glad that we're on the same side," said Anya. She should have never doubted a fellow member of The Pettanko Alliance, "though you did act rather suspiciously. How do you know about us and what can you tell us about the enemy?"
"...I work for Principal Konoe-sensei." replied Setsuna. "I am meant to guard Konoka-ojou-sama from danger without letting her discover magic. Obviously, I failed in that duty. However, I gladly continue to protect Konoka-ojou-sama. It is in serving these duties, that I made my discoveries on your activities.
Our enemies are probably onmyou charm users, a division of The Kansai Magic Association. That's how they are able to use shikigami. It is said that long ago in Kyoto, the charm users were the ones who founded independent magic in Japan with their "onmyoudo" They are vulnerable when chanting their spells, Anya-sensei, just like you and your Western mages...and so, just like the Western mages have "partners"...the higher class Eastern onmyou mages use powerful warrior spirits called "zenki" and "goki" to protect themselves. As long as these spirits remain undefeated, for all practical purposes, neither our spells nor our swords will affect the mages."
"Goki?" thought Asuna. "It sounds like a cockroach!"
"Se-chan," said Konoka, "does this mean that you and Grandfather knew about all of this but didn't tell me?"
"It was your father's wish, Ojou-sama." replied Setsuna. "You are far too important to risk becoming involved in the danger of magic. My duty is merely to guard you from the shadows."
"I'll have to speak to Daddy about this!" pouted Konoka. "And like I told you when we were younger, call me Kono-chan!"
"My apologies, Ojou-sama." said Setsuna.
"Wait," interrupted Anya, "so it's like they all have two partners?"
"In a way," said Setsuna, "but there are differences. Furthermore, The Kansai Magic Association has deep ties to us, The Kyoto Shinmeiryuu. The Shinmeiryuu were originally an organization to protect the capitol by destroying demons. I can say without exaggeration that they were truly a powerful fighting force. The charm-users accompanied the swordsmen of the Shinmeiryuu and they made a strong combination."
"Uwawah! That sounds really bad for us!" said Asuna, "I don't really get it, but…"
"Well, that sort of thing doesn't happen much anymore in this day and age…" said Setsuna.
"So in other words," said Anya, "the Shinmeiryuu are also our enemies and they can do things like you showed us earlier."
"Yes…" said Setsuna. "And they could do more than that as well. I'm not very advanced. I guess they would see me as a traitor because I left The West for The East. But I wanted to protect Konoka-ojou-sama, so I didn't have a choice. As long as I am able to protect Ojou-sama…I am satisfied."
"…All right! I get it, Sakurazaki-san! I'm glad you don't hate Konoka after all! That's all I needed to know!" said Asuna as she slapped Setsuna on the back.
"Wah!" said Setsuna.
"A friend of a friend is a friend, right?" asked Asuna. "I'll help too!"
"K…Kagurazaka-san…" said a blushing Setsuna.
"Well, I am not satisfied." said a pouting Konoka. "We were friends. If you wanted to protect me, you should have stayed by my side so we could still have fun together!"
"My apologies, Ojou-sama," said Setsuna bowing, "but it is safer to protect you from the shadows."
"Well, from now on, you won't stay in the shadows, all right?" asked Konoka.
"…Very well, Ojou-sama." replied Setsuna.
"Well, now that we're cooperating, we should be able to protect the class more easily." said Yue.
"Yes!" agreed Anya. "We'll easily beat them now!"
"I'm afraid that I don't know everything about your abilities yet." replied Setsuna. "I wasn't even aware that Nagase-san and Kagurazaka-san had become your partners."
"Actually, Asuna isn't one of my partners." said Anya.
"Yeah, I'm just helping out." grinned Asuna as she placed a hand behind her head.
"…Well, I'm glad that someone is showing the restraint appropriate for becoming a partner," said Setsuna, "after all, it is rather improper for girls to kiss each other, but do you really think that an ordinary person who is not even a pactio partner could help?"
"Hey!" said Asuna. "I can help! I even kicked Eva-chan when she tried to drink Anya's blood!"
"…You were able to kick through The Dark Evangel's magical barrier!-?" asked Setsuna. "How is that even possible!-?"
"Well, I'm pretty strong." shrugged Asuna. "Plus I did martial arts."
"…Hmmm…" said Setsuna. "Very well then. Maybe you are able to help."
"If you're going to get into such dangerous situations," said Chisame, "you should at least wear this. Adeat!" She tapped Asuna with her hanger, covering her in bright red, spiked armor. Asuna lifted up the visor.
"What's with the spikes!-?" she asked. "We're the good guys! Still, it does feel pretty comfortable." Wasn't armor supposed to be difficult to use unless you were trained for its use? Oh well, she wasn't going to complain.
"The bad guys always get the best clothes." said Chisame. "It's about time that the good guys got a decent wardrobe. I mean, Superman, underwear does not go on the outside!"
"Well, I guess that we should just patrol for now." shrugged Anya.
"All right." said Setsuna. "I'll help protect the student's rooms. You should also stay inside, Ojou-sama"
"All right." said Konoka. "I'll go with you, Se-chan."
Anya ran down the corridor and bumped into the trolley of towels. The towel lady yelped with the impact.
"Ouch." said Anya. "Um…I'm just trying to get through here."
"Ah, I'm sorry, ma'am" said the towel lady.
"What are you doing, Aneki!-?" sent Chamo as they walked off, "Sheesh!"
"Well, we've got a big responsibility, so I'm a little distracted." sent Anya. Chigusa, the towel lady, then put her glasses on and a pair of monkey crawled out of the towels.
"Hu hu…" she said, "She's a pretty young mage, isn't she…We bid you welcome, little girl. Hu hu…Well then…time to get to work…" She pushed the trolley past Natsumi saying, "Excuse me! Trolley coming through!"
"Hya!" squealed Natsumi as she jumped out of the way.
The girls returned to their rooms to make sure that their roommates were all right and asleep, which they were. "Well then," said Setsuna, "I'm going to patrol the rooms down the corridor."
"Got it." said Asuna. "Let's change shifts sometime later tonight."
"Ojou-sama," said Setsuna, "your rest is important. Would it not be better for you to sleep?"
Konoka seemed to think for a moment before replying, "Okay. I'll take the later shift."
Setsuna didn't seem too happy about this, but Asuna raised a finger, gave a grin and said, "Don't worry. I'll keep a constant watch on Konoka."
"...Sorry about this Kagurazaka-san." said Setsuna. "...If anything happens, please call for me right away...I wouldn't want to have someone else left to protect Ojou-sama by herself...Well, I'll be going..."
"See you later." said Asuna.
"Yes. See you later, Se-chan." said Konoka. Once Setsuna left the room, Konoka turned to Asuna and said, "I'm glad that I'm talking to Se-chan again, but suddenly I see that there's so much that I still need to learn about her."
"Then why didn't you go with her?" asked Asuna.
"I wanted to discuss what we've found out with my newer best friend first." smiled Konoka. "Besides, I need to go to the toilet. Not a good thing to do in the middle of a watch. Excuse me." She got up and headed for the door.
"The toilet? I guess it can't be helped..." said Asuna as she touched her chin. "Take care, okay?" Konoka opened the door of the toilet to find Chigusa in a monkey suit, sitting on the seat.
"...I'm still using it." she smiled before grabbing Konoka. "Just kidding."
"Fummmph!" said Konoka as she squirmed. She smelt something strange on the cloth pressed against her face and everything went dark.
"...? Konoka's sure taking her time..." said Asuna from the door to Group Five's room. "Is she having stomach problems?"
"Uuu...I need to go to the toilet too..." moaned Yue as she clutched onto Asuna's sleeve. They walked over to the bathroom door.
"Konoka." called Asuna as she knocked on the door. "Are you all right?"
"...I'm still using it." came a voice.
"Ah...right...sorry..." said Asuna.
"Hm?" said Setsuna from further down the corridor as she turned around. "This aura...!" She rushed down the corridor between Natsumi and Chizuru.
"Ara!" said Chizuru.
"Hya!" squealed Natsumi.
"Sorry...about this!" apologized Setsuna.
"Kagurazaka-san! Ayase-san!" said Setsuna as she ran back into her room, "Where is Konoka-ojou-sama!-?"
"Reaaaaaly gotta go..." complained Yue as she stood, rubbing her legs together.
"Eh...She's in the toilet..." said Asuna as she pointed. They walked back to the bathroom door.
"How long has it been!-?" asked Setsuna.
"T-ten minutes...uuu..." moaned Yue as she jumped up and down.
"K-Konoka, you "are" in there aren't you?" asked Asuna as she knocked again.
"W-we both drank from the spring this afternoon," said Yue, "so it might be because of that..."
"...I'm still using it." replied the voice.
"See?" said Asuna as she pointed at the door.
"K-K-Konoka-san!" called Yue as she banged on the door and tears filled her eyes. "I can't hold on any longer! Uuu..."
"Are you really okay in there, Konoka-ojou-sama!-?" asked Setsuna.
"...I'm still using it." said the voice.
"...?" said Asuna.
"I-is that so...?" asked Setsuna.
"Uuuuu..." moaned Yue as she leaned against the door and squirmed. She banged on the door.
"...I'm still using it." came the reply.
"I'm going to overflow!" complained Yue as tears poured down her face.
"...!-! Kagurazaka-san!" said Setsuna.
"I-I'm approaching my limit here!" said Yue as she shook.
"U-Un!" said Asuna, "Something is not right!"
"Konoka-saaaaaaaaaaaaan!-!" yelled Yue as she kicked open the door.
"Please forgive me, Ojou-sama!" said Setsuna as she barged in. Inside the found a note stuck on the toilet.
"Ah!" said Setsuna, "This is...!"
The note then said, in the voice they had been hearing, "...I'm still using it."
"...!-?" said Yue.
"A-a talking charm!-?" asked Asuna.
"Damn it!" said Setsuna. "We've been tricked!-!"
"W-w-what should we do!-?" asked Asuna.
"Whatever you decide, just let me use the toilet first!" said Yue.
As Yue closed the door, Asuna said, "Get the others, I'll call Anya!"
As Anya and Chamo patrolled outside, Anya's phone rang. "I'm sorry, Anya!" said Asuna once Anya had answered. "Konoka's been kidnapped! What should we do!-?"
"What!-?" said Anya.
"Mm...Aneki!" said Cham as he pointed up. "What's that!-?"
"Huh!-?" said Anya as she watched what appeared to be a giant monkey carrying Konoka land in front of them. "Wah!...Another monkey!-?"
"It's huge!" exclaimed Chamo.
"Ara...I ran into you earlier..." said Chigusa as she turned towards Anya carrying the unconscious Konoka. "You're that pretty little mage..."
"L-let go of Konoka!-!" ordered Anya as she pulled out her wand. Konoka was her responsibility and they had become friends. She wasn't going to let her get kidnapped! "Hand her over! Fortis la tius...!" Four monkeys then jumped onto her, distracting her and covering her mouth and Chigusa jumped into the distance.
"Goodbye!" she called.
"What the!-?" said Chamo as she stood up and held his hands out in exaspiration.
"Anya-sensei!-!" called Setsuna as she, Asuna, Chisame, Kaede, Yue and Kazumi roller-bladed up to her.
"Anya!" added Asuna.
"Take that, you bastard!" said Chamo as he swatted at a monkey who was swatting back.
"Abeat!" said Chisame, dismissing her artifact and returning everyone's shoes to normal. They pulled the monkeys off of Anya.
"They got away with Konoka!" growled Anya and she started to get a little red.
"We've got to chase after her!" said Asuna.
"Yes!-!" agreed Setsuna.
"Hasegawa-dono," said Kaede, "could you give us those roller-blades again?"
"Okay," said Chisame, "Adeat!" She tapped everyone, returning the roller-blades, but when she did it to Anya, she fell on her face.
"Ow!" said Anya.
"Haven't you roller-bladed before?" asked Asuna.
"No," replied Anya, "I didn't have time for such frivolous pursuits."
"I'll carry Anya-dono-de gozaru." offered Kaede.
"Right." said Yue as she pointed in the direction that Chigusa had gone. "Then let's go!"
"Huhu... A Western mage, huh? She's nothing special. It was no trouble at all to get hold of Konoka-ojou-sama. When I bring Konoka-ojou-sama back with me..." giggled Chigusa as she ran down the street carrying Konoka, "...we, The Kansai Magic Association, will...Wait, what's this?" She pulled a wand out of Konoka's pocket. "A Wetern wand?-! Disgusting! Has that mage sullied the power of Konoka-ojou-sama by exposing her to the revolting practices of The West?" She threw the wand away.
"Stop right there!" ordered Anya as she tried to point menacingly whilst being carried by Kaede.
"Ojou-sama!-!" called Setsuna as they rushed towards Chigusa.
"Konoka!-!" called Asuna.
"Tsch!" said Chigusa as she looked over her shoulder before running into the train station. "What persistent people…"
"After her!" said Anya, pointing.
"Just who the Hell is in that giant monkey costume anyway!-?" Asuna asked.
"It's probably one of the charm-users from The Kansai Magic Association!-!" explained Setsuna.
"That would make sense from what we've learned so far." agreed Yue.
"Adeat!" said Kazumi. After transforming, she fiddled with the knobs on her camera and said. "Follow me! I can see their heat and magical signatures!"
Kazumi skated ahead in the roller-blades that Chisame had reapplied as she fiddled with the settings of her artifact. She suddenly noticed a rectangle start glowing. "Stop, there's something here!" she said.
"Let me see!" said Setsuna as she stopped. "That monkey suit is probably no normal suit either! Be on your guard!" Kazumi pointed out the piece of paper that was glowing when viewed with her artifact.
"There's something strange going on here!" said Asuna as she jumped over the entrance. "Even taking into account the fact that it's past the hour they shut down the power, there aren't any passengers or staff here at all!"
"Charms of Warding!-!" explained Setsuna as she pointed at Kazumi's discovery. "Ordinary people can't even get cl…! Huh?-!" She stared at Asuna whom had run up to her.
"But doesn't that mean that Asuna-san shou-What the…!-?" said Kazumi as she turned to face Asuna and practically jumped backwards.
"What is it?" asked Asuna.
"If ordinary people can't come here, then you shouldn't have been able to come with us." explained Yue. "In addition, it seems that Asakura-san has noticed something else."
"Explain on the way!" said Setsuna as she rushed off again. "Ojou-sama can't wait for us!"
"On this setting which allows me to see the charms as glowing, we all glow as well." explained Kazumi as they headed after Chigusa. "Especially Sakurazaki-san and to a lesser extent, Nagase-san, but Kagurazaka-san doesn't! She looks like a pool of inky-black darkness which absorbs all the light around her with the exception of these bright wavy lines that run through her! Then, on the first setting I was using which shows us all glowing at a different level with our quarry being extremely bright and lines connecting everyone with pactios to Anya-chan, she still looks like that!" They got onto the same train that Chigusa had got on in time for her to move to the next carriage.
"So, what does this mean?" asked Chisame.
"Anya-sensei!" said Setsuna as she carried on forward. "Let's follow her into the next carriage!"
"No idea!" replied Kazumi. They opened the door to the next carriage to find Chigusa halfway down the carriage as the train started moving and they had to grab onto the chairs to prevent from falling over.
"Waiiiiit!" ordered Setsuna as she got back up.
"Huhu…" giggled Chigusa as one of her monkeys pulled out a charm. "I guess it's time for my second charm-chan…Charm-san, Charm-san." The monkey through the charm as she continued to chant. "Facilitate my escape!" A stream of water poured from the charm and rushed down the carriage. The girls threw up their arms to shield their faces which quickly shifted from open-mouthed shock to a scrunched-up grimace as the water pounded against them.
"Waaaah!-?" shrieked Asuna as they were pushed backwards by the flow. Chisame tapped herself and began tapping everyone else, putting them in wetsuits as they braced themselves against the rush of water, which soon started to fill up the car once Chigusa had left it. While Chisame had provided them with flippers and breathing apparatus, she was not sure how the latter worked and thus they were not particularly effective, being effectively tins of uncompressed air connected to their mouths via tubes. They gripped chairs tightly in order to avoid being pressed against the other end of the carriage.
"Ho ho…" giggled Chigusa, "You can all drown in this carriage. Bye!" Anya pulled out her wand as her face frowned with fury but she knew that as a fire mage, this was not a good situation to be in. The water around her started to heat up.
"She made all this water appear in the blink of an eye!" thought Chamo as he struggled in a form of doggy-paddle. "What powerful magic!"
"Guuh…" thought Setsuna who was to busy holding her sword to do more than float by now, "…I can't swing my sword in this water. Kuu…I…I guess I'm still unqualified for…Konoka-ojou-sama…" She remembered Konoka calling for help from the river. "Zankuusen!-!" She called out as she swung Yuunagi. The door of the carriage was blown off its hinges and they were all washed out of the train.
"D-did you see that, monkey-girl?" panted Setsuna as the water dripped off of her and she raised Yuunagi. "You'd better give up these attacks and hand over Ojou-sama!"
"Ha…ha…You're not bad…" mocked Chigusa, "but I'm not giving Konoka-ojou-sama back."
"Ojou-sama?" asked Asuna. Chigusa turned and fled.
"This is getting tedious." sighed Chisame as she returned everyone to looser clothes and roller-blades (with the exception of Anya who couldn't use them and was being carried anyway). After all, running in a wetsuit and flippers wouldn't work so well.
"This doesn't fit the behavior that should be associated with those fitting the description that we heard of The Kansai Magic Association." said Yue as they headed after Chigusa.
"Yes." agreed Asuna. "Aren't they just trying to sabotage us!-? Why did that monkey only decide to kidnap Konoka?"
"Th-the truth is…before this all started…there were some members of The Kansai Magic association who did not approve of Konoka-ojou-sama leaving for Mahora in the East…It is most likely…" explained Setsuna, "…that they want to use Konoka-ojou-sama's powers to gain complete domination of The Kansai Magic Association."
"Eh?" said Asuna with shock.
"They can do that?" asked Kazumi.
"Neither I nor the Principal took them seriously enough…" continued Setsuna. "…I didn't think they'd stoop to kidnapping her in the middle of a school trip…but The Kansai Magic Association is not above contracting people for underhanded dealings…It's not really surprising that they're engaging in such a forceful operation…"
"Another charm!" said Kazumi pointing as she looked through her artifact.
"It's another Charm of Warding!" explained Setsuna as she leapt over some boxes, "They must have planned it all out from the beginning!-! Kuu…It's a good thing I'm here…"
They eventually reached some stairs to find that Chigusa had taken off her monkey outfit and was holding another charm. "Hu hu…" she grinned. "You've done well to follow me this far…"
"You're the towel lady!" said Anya pointing.
"And from the train!" added Chamo.
"She took off the monkey suit!" said Asuna.
"That's right! But that's as far as you'll get…" smiled Chigusa as she lifted the charm before her face. "I'm going to let you have the third of my Charm-chans…"
"I won't let you, dammit!-!" snarled Setsuna as she jumped forwards, clutching Yuunagi.
"Charm-san, Charm-san." chanted Chigusa as she flung the charm towards them. "Facilitate my escape! Chew on this! Third charm technique, Kyoto "Dai" character, burn!" The stairs erupted with flame, forming a massive fire in the shape of a "Dai", the symbol for large, which covered the entire staircase. The flames crackled and danced at a height even larger than Kaede. The girls shielded their eyes from the flame and the heat as sweat poured from their faces.
"Uwaah!" shrieked Setsuna as she flung an arm up to shield her eyes.
"Ow!" said Kazumi as she pulled her face away from her artifact which had just flared with heat and ki.
"Sakurazaki-san!" called Asuna as she reached over and caught Setsuna.
"Hohoho…Those flames will repel any normal person…" laughed Chigusa as she raised a hand. "Well then, this is goodbye."
"Kagurazaka-san." said Setsuna as she lay in the arms of Asuna.
"Damn you…" growled Asuna as she shielded her eyes with a hand.
"Fortis la tius lilith lilioth! Evocatio spiritualis de septem salamandris lanciferis!" chanted Anya as she flicked her wand forward, raising seven red, flaming salamanders each a head taller than she was from the flames. They were roughly humanoid from the waist up, but far spikier, with blade-like arms and flames on their heads and for tails.
"Anya, get them out of my line of fire!" shouted Yue, "For zo cratica Socratica! Flet, une vente! Flans saltatio pulveria!" In the time that the salamanders flew out of the way, Yue blasted the flames with a gust of wind that blew the fire out.
"W-what the…" asked Chigusa as she shielded her face, "Two Western mages!-? And you!" she pointed at Yue. "Betraying our people by learning the foul magic of the West!"
Anya knew that she had to press her advantage. She was not losing Konoka. "Sis mea pars per nonaginta secundas. Ministrae Anja Asacura Cazumi, Ajase Jue, Nagase Caede, Hasegawa Tisame!" she chanted. The girls gasped as they were filled with power and the salamanders flew towards Chigusa.
"Anya-sensei..." gasped Setsuna, "Asakura-san, Ayase-san, Nagase-san, Hasegawa-san..." Chigusa ducked as her Zenki and Goki materialized and started fending off the salamanders.
"You'll need this!" said Chisame as she gave Asuna the armor she made earlier and Setsuna some samurai armor.
"Sakurazaki-san!" said Asuna as Kaede started filling the zenki and goki with kunai. "Let's go!"
"Eh..." said Setsuna. "Ah! Yes!"
"Sheesh! We could have gotten burnt back there if we weren't careful!" said Asuna as she prepared to charge. "I'm not gonna let you off easy! You damn monkey-woman! Give Konoka back!" She started running up the stairs as Setsuna jumped up them. Asuna punched Enki, Chigusa's monkey goki in the stomach and Setsuna swung Yuunagi down, only for it to be grabbed by Yuuki, Chigusa's bear zenki. Kaede quickly assembled her shuriken and threw it at Yuuki. Yuuki turned to face Kaede as he held back Setsuna and his eyes widened in shock as Kaede's shuriken pierced through his head. With that he disintegrated.
Enki grabbed Asuna's arm to prevent her from punching him, so she spun and kicked him.
Setsuna raised Yuunagi and sliced Enki in half, yelling, "Zanmaken!" Then she jumped towards a terrified looking Chigusa, shouting, "Give us back Konoka-ojou-sama!" With that, a window crashed open as a girl in a frilly dress jumped through. "...!-?" said Setsuna.
"Eeei!" yelled the girl.
"Wha...?" asked Setsuna in shock just before they slammed into each other and bounced back to the floor. Setsuna quickly righted herself as she skidded to a stop whilst the new girl bounced and rolled a fair distance. "Damn it! That sword fighting style..." thought Setsuna as she stared cautiously at the new arrival, "...it can't be...Does she bring a shinmeiryuu swordsman along to protect her!-? This is bad!"
"Ow ow ow..." said the new girl as she clutched he stockinged knee and got up. "Sorry about that...I think I hurt my foot. Hello! I'm from the Shinmeiryuu! Nice to meet you!"
"Eh..." said Setsuna as she readied Yuunagi, "Y-you're...a shinmeiryuu swordsman?"
"Yes! My name is Tsukuyomi! Sorry I'm late. It seems that you're my sempai in Shinmeiryuu but..." said the girl as she blushed and lifted one of her swords, "...I've been assigned to protect her, so I've got to take it seriously!"
"To send a body guard like you..." dismissed Setsuna, "The Shinmeiryuu must be short on personnel..."
"Hmph..." said Chigusa as she slung Konoka over her shoulder. "You'll get hurt if you underestimate her. Well then, I'll leave her to you, Tsukuyomi-han."
Tsukuyomi bowed saying, "W-well then, shall we begin? Please go easy on me..." She then charged at Setsuna.
"Mmn!" said Setsuna as her eyes flung fully open.
"Eeeeei!" squealed Tsukuyomi as she swung her longer sword down. Setsuna was forced to step back as she stopped the blade with Yuunagi. "Yaah!" shrieked Tsukuyomi as she she ducked and swept the blade at Setsuna"s legs. Setsuna let go of Yuunagi with her left hand which she used to grab Tsukuyomi's right which was holding the sword that nearly sliced through her legs and stepped back again. Setsuna then pulled Tsukuyomi's hand out of the way and Tsukuyomi took the opportunity to stab with her shorter sword, forcing Setsuna to block again with Yuunagi. "Toooooh!" said Tsukuyomi as Setsuna was once again forced backwards. As this battle took place, Kaede and Asuna ran up the stairs. Chigusa tried to back away as she clutched Konoka closer, but Kaede shundoed behind her and pulled Konoka out of her arms.
"Over here!" said Asuna. As Tsukuyomi turned to face the distraction, Asuna punched her in the face, forcing her out of Setsuna's melee range and her glasses fell off. This was exactly what the mages of the group needed.
"Gather to me, five spirits of wind and strike mine enemy! Sagitta magica, series fulguralis!" chanted Yue and five bolts of electricity flew towards Tsukuyomi.
"Gather to me, seven spirits of fire and strike mine enemy!" added Anya, "Sagitta magica, series ignes!" Seven flaming bolts raced for Chigusa.
"Yaaaah!" they cried as they were struck.
"Wh-wh-why are these brats so damn strong...!-?" asked Chigusa as she got up and grabbed Tsukuyomi who was searching for her glasses. "Kuh! I'll remember this!" She ran off, carrying Tsukuyomi.
"That damn woman..." snarled Asuna as she watched the retreating pair.
"There's no need to pursue her Kagurazaka-san." said Setsuna. "It would not be right to chase her any further."
"She's still a pain in the neck!" complained Chisame as she glared in the direction that Chigusa had gone.
"Plus she knocked out Konoka-nee-san!" added Chamo. "Is she okay!-?"
"I hope so!-!" said Setsuna. She rushed to Konoka's side yelling, "Konoka-ojou-sama! Ojou-sama! Please get a hold of yourself!"
"Nnn…" said Konoka as she slowly opened her eyes, "…Huh? Se-chan…? Ah…Se-chan…I…I really was kidnapped by some strange monkeys…wasn't I?...But you all came to save me…didn't you?"
"Yes. Thank goodness…It's all right now…" Setsuna comforted her while blushing, "…Konoka-ojou-sama…"
"…Thank you Se-chan…" smiled Konoka, "I'm glad to have you as a friend again."
"Eh…" said Setsuna as she pulled back and her blush deepened. "Is…is this really okay Ojou-sama? Are you sure that it isn't better for me to protect you from the shadows?"
"Of course silly!" said Konoka. "I want Se-chan by my side. Not in the shadows. And call me Kono-chan!"
"Kono-ch?...All right Ojou-sama!" said Setsuna.
"Sakurazaki-san," said Asuna, "We'll take a good look around Nara together tomorrow! It's a promise!"
Eva looked up from the script. "Oh come on!" she complained. "Those idiots all get to have alcohol when I haven't had any on screen yet despite the fact that I actually am over age!"
"Would you like to be subject to Chizuru's hangover cure?" asked Sereg.
"Over here, Eva-chan!" called Chizuru as she spun a spring onion around in her fingers.
"Eh, haven't had that in a while either, so, yeah, go right ahead." said Eva.
"Note to self:" said Sereg as he placed his face in his palm, "Threatening Eva is not going to make her follow the script any closer."
A/N: 1.I was originally going to put Zazie in group two until Inoticed that it had six members already. Oh well. That means more screen time for group four which isn't a bad thing.
2.I was originally planning to have Yue at the discussion about Setsuna as well, but decided that it made more sense for her to be looking after Nodoka and not there to offer her knowledge of Konoka's past (Which, as a friend and member of The Library Exploration Club, she could have easily known a bit about).
3. Satomi seems to be the type of genius that is actually good with languages. As such, it makes sense that Chao would have taught her Mandarin.
4. For those wondering why Chao mentioned Ayaka and Satsuki specifically, that should be revealed around Mahorafest (Though I've explained the reason at TVTropes already). For now, I'll say that Ayaka and Satsuki understand Mandarin and Chao knows this.
5. I was actually thinking of bringing Setsuna into the fold much earlier, but decided that it would waste the Kyoto arc. I at least gave her screen time earlier though and thought of plausible (I think) reasons why she didn't get involved earlier.
6. OverMaster expressed...disappointment at Setsuna grabbing Anya's neck. I see what he's getting at, but that would be difficult even for the attacker. Besides, Setsuna grabbed Negi's neck as well. It was just overshadowed by...the other area.
7. Thus far, anyone who has been good with lightning of air has been good with both, so I assume that the same is true of Yue as I've seen her cast lightning spells. Shadow Crystal Mage says that he believes that Yue's main element is actually ice though. If this is true, could someone please point out the evidence, as then I need to have her start casting ice spells soon. Still, Japanese Teeth says that Yue's the type who would learn several spells from other elements anyway and as she learned magic in a very different way from the manga, I shouldn't be to bound to canon there.
8. It's not completely obvious which is the goki and which is the zenki from the manga, but my interpretation is that the goki is more defensive one which is more similar to the mage and the zenki is the more aggressive one which is more like the mage's idea of a protector. This will eventually come up again.
9. This chapter's last fight scene was hard. I'm not completely happy with it, but that happens sometimes and it's a bit difficult to interfere with two swordsmen attacking each other.
10. Credit to Darkenning for Eva's last line in the Omake. It was originally something far less funny.
11. Thank you again to Japanese Teeth for agreeing to beta this chapter.
12. I apologize for the fact that the last chapter was a little fillery, but they're not engaged in world-changing battles all the time and I wanted to give the cheerleaders more screentime.
13. In response to another review: Well, reverse harems can be fun, but I'm not ready to give one to Anya. It's not really the point of this story after all. That doesn't mean that she won't attract interest (she will) but I don't know if it'll be enough to qualify for a harem. Maybe when she gets hold of some age-changing pills. We'll see. Some of the other girls will be more successful than her in regards to this with members of both genders showing interest in some. I've already basically admitted that Nekane has a harem and you've seen one member, but if there's interest, I may how a bit more of that.
14. EDIT: I fixed a typo (thanks to manticore-gurl071134 for finding it). Also, a couple of Author's notes were botched.