One Last Time: Akamatsu Ken created and owns Negima. I am not him. This is a parody, protected speech. Thanks to my cowriters and the reviewers.

Decadent Habits
Epilogue: Chao

My family name is Chao and my personal name is Lin-shen, and there is a considerable flaw in my character. In other forms of Romanization, my personal name is written as "Lingshen", and it is under that name which I was registered as a student at Mahora Academy Girls' Junior High School, in the first year of this century, slightly less than eighty years before I was born. I was born on the planet Mars, that portion of it dubbed the Special Autonomous Region, ruled by the People's Republic of China.

This is not my story, however, though I am the only one who can tell it. It is rather the story of the lives of my classmates in Mahora Junior High School for Girls, Class 3-A, in the months and years after the events already chronicled by other hands than mine. Life continues, even if lives do not, and even the greatest of personal tragedies are but tears in the rain of life.

Or so some would have it.

Let us begin, then, with Aisaka Sayo, whom some might claim I never actually met, as she had died in 1940, sixty-odd years before I came to Mahora. To these allegations I would cheekily reply that I in fact did meet her before that, when my first journey by Cassiopeia deposited me in the year 1938. Indeed, she and the young Konoe Konoemon (whom I came to know very well indeed) were both helpful in hiding me from various persons with intentions quite opposed to my own.

Of her later existence, I can say little. She continued to haunt the grounds of the Academy for many years after she was granted a graduation from both its junior high school and its high school levels. Whatever unfinished business kept her from travelling to the next world, or dissolving into oblivion, was clearly not resolved by such matters. But she was seen less and less by the spiritually gifted members of Mahora's community, disappearing for the last time after ... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Regardless, if there is a heaven - a matter of which I claim complete indifference - it surely must have welcomed such a spirit as hers.

Akashi Yuna also graduated with the rest of her class, despite having been closely involved with the next time that disaster visited itself on the academy. I will not speculate as to whether or not her relationship with her father was forever tainted by their more intimate relationship, but I will imagine that it became even more complicated when it was discovered that Akashi Yuko was in fact alive, only petrified and hidden away in a basement in Meridiana, and that she was restored in Yuna's senior year of high school.

This may have been what drove her into a series of unfortunate romances that culminated in her marriage in 2008 to an older man, who passed away in 2011, not long after the birth of their first and only son. She raised him on her own. Some among her classmates who met her in the decade following this found themselves wondering whether history might be repeating itself. Those speculations ground to a halt when both she and her son were among the many missing in the Kanto Earthquake of 2025. The romantic in me wonders whether or not they might have seized the opportunity to reinvent themselves. The pragmatist thinks they died.

To the surprise of all who knew her, Asakura Kazumi did not go on to become a tabloid journalist. Even in that final year of her junior high school education, she had started to come to terms with the fact that exposing secrets to the world wasn't really what she wanted to do. (One can credit her friendship with Sayo for this; indeed, she once admitted to me, under circumstances that I'd rather not discuss, that Sayo was the first friend she'd ever had.) Learning them for herself was another matter, and so she set upon a different course.

That course eventually brought her to the administration of Mahora Academy. Through hard work, dedication, aptitude, and (one suspects) a measured amount of blackmail employed against the Megalo-Mesembrian authorities, she eventually rose to become the school's Headmaster. The thirty years of her supervision of the academy came to be viewed as one of the golden ages of the academy's history, equal to or even surpassing the early years of the Konoe era without the disasters that attended its end. She passed away quietly in in 2061. Some who had the sight claimed that they saw a younger version of her strolling away, hand in hand, with Sayo, through the gates. Again, if there is a heaven, let them have won entry.

Asakura was not the only one of my classmates to find that their path led them to become an educator. Ayase Yue's path was somewhat more complicated. From that year forward, she spent her summers pursuing magical education at Ariadne even as she learned more conventional education at Mahora. She fulfilled the hopes of all those who saw such potential in her (whose numbers, one must admit, did not include my unworthy self) to become not only one of the elite Valkyries of Ariadne, but one of the greatest Valkyrie Commanders who ever wore the armor. And, in the fullness of time, she became headmistress of Ariadne.

I would like to say that her life was as long and as happy and as peaceful as Asakura's. I really would, but history would make a liar of me. In 2039, Ariadne was in the path of the Gorean Hordes, and she fought her last battle in its defense, and was grievously wounded in single combat with the Lord of War. The official version of the history of Ariadne claims that she was rescued and returned to Ariadne, where she convalesced for some time, still directing the defense of the city from her bed, and only dying after the Hordes had withdrawn to seek easier prey. Rumors claim that she died almost immediately and that the official version was promulgated to keep up morale. As an alumnus of Ariadne, I am, I suppose, obligated to believe the first one of those. But I don't.

Izumi Ako's life was not exactly a happy one either. Unlike most of her classmates, she dropped out after graduating from junior high school and stole back to the magical world, where she found her Tosaka. In what should have been a warning to her, she found that he had returned to his old habits after she'd left him, but her return did prompt him to abandon them and swear to fly right henceforth. She believed him, and they were married.

They had a good run, I think. It was over ten years later that a plague swept through their city, claiming the lives of thousands, including at least one wife and mother from the Old World. And I don't think it's fair to blame her for what happened after she died. She couldn't have known that he'd abandon their child (whose story should be told somewhere else) and then head off into the wastelands seeking death. She couldn't have known that he wouldn't find death, but rather come back bringing it to many others as the one they called the Lord of War of what came to be known as the Gorean Hordes. If one were inclined to find a moral in it, and I dislike morals, one might settle for "Anyone can change if they truly want to change ... but what happens when they stop wanting it?"

Of all my classmates, Okochi Akira was always the most mysterious. She never told anyone that she was adopted. (Then again, I'm not even sure that she knew that herself.) I won't say that the speculation presented earlier about her nature is truthful, but it wouldn't be inconsistent with what I know to be factual. She was last seen in 2011, on an Okinawan beach, sitting on a blanket and staring out to sea. Eventually, she got up and walked out into the water, and just sort of swam away.

She was never seen again. Was she a nereid, as Arika claimed? Or was this just her way of committing suicide? Who knows? But whenever I think about her, I think we were just allowed to borrow her for a while ... and that when it was time to go back to where she came from, she went. I like to think of it like that. I allow myself some romance from time to time.

Not every life ends in mystery and tragedy. As we've slowly realized this century, not every life ends. As of this writing, Kakizaki Misa is still among the living. Considering what happened to her during the assault on Mahora, a romantic might have hoped that she grew even closer to her two friends, and that they stuck together through thick and thin thereafter. I'm not that much of a romantic, and neither should you be. The truth of the matter is that the three cheerleaders were growing apart even in that final year of junior high school, and their separation in different high school classes further weakened their bonds.

Kakizaki was already receiving offers to work as a model, but she held out until she got them from more reputable agencies. (I suspect that she probably still slept with the photographers, but it was her choice to do so, rather than serving as a transaction.) She had a brief but glorious career in her late teens and early twenties, and frugally saved enough of her money to open her own agency when her career cooled down. By her forties, she was managing models and idols all over the world. Rumors that she had a profitable sidelight as a madame are surely just vicious slanders.

I met Kakizaki again a few years ago. Her mind is still sharp, but I don't really know if she believed that I was who I was. She was willing to entertain the idea, however, and we talked about old times. Among other things, I asked her why she didn't continue to pursue Negi. Her answer showed a certain amount of wisdom, so I'll preserve it here. "It's fun to chase after princes, perhaps more fun than actually catching them would be. Particularly if the prince is a warrior prince, whose life will be spent in battle after battle that he will be fighting himself, rather than directing from the rear."

Of Kagurazaka Asuna ... what can I possibly say? She did what she thought was right. It's a pretty good epitath. She acted to preserve her loved one's career as a teacher, believing that it was the only way for him to fulfill his dream of becoming a Magister Magus. She wasn't to know that the only way that anyone ever becomes a Magister Magus is by declaring oneself as one at a point where one cannot be mocked for the pretension, and that Negi's career as a teacher had nothing to do with it.

Perhaps she eventually found out, because she transferred back into Mahora's high school midway through the first year, and eventually graduated with the rest of her class. But her relationship with my great-grandfather had been damaged by their separation, and I don't think it was ever the same again afterwards. Still, she was with him when ... well. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

You can't expect your humble servant to tell you everything at once, can you?

Despite her own expressed intentons, and the rather fervent agreement of the other party, Kasuga Misora did not marry Cocone Fatima Rosa in June of the following year, or, indeed, ever. Once things had calmed down a bit, Misora started to have second and third thoughts about the whole thing and persuaded Cocone to put it off for a bit. The bit became quite a bit, and then a lot. The facts were that even someone as silly and vapid as Misora had to grow up eventually, and the process had finally started. She was always a bit mischievous, but started to channel that mischievous behavior into more socially acceptable paths.

After finally confirming to everyone's satisfaction that she didn't have the vocation to become a nun, she left the order to study theology at Mahora's university school. As time passed, the physical side of her relationship with Cocone became much less important to both of them, though I believe that the emotional side remained critical for the rest of both of their lives. The Grand Reunion of 2023 resulted in her finally discovering her vocation, and she entered divinity school at the age of thirty-five, eventually emerging as one of the first female priests in Japan. (That she was technically a Donatist serving in the Roman Catholic hierarchy didn't bother her parishioners, and so it shouldn't bother you.) She lived a long, full and happy life, passing away in her sleep in 2079.

I'm sure that it should surprise no one to learn that the child of my mind, Karakuri Chachamaru, is still active to this day. One blushes to admit it, but what I build, I build to last. (Admittedly, Hakase did most of the actual building, but it's my designs.) She stayed close to both Negi and Chisame, a remarkable feat when one considers that there were frequently serious differences dividing those two. She generally prefers to avoid the spotlight, given that her origins would cast doubt on the official history of sapient artificial intelligences, as one would expect of someone of her natural humility (which she gets from me, of course.)

I sometimes wonder, though, whether I should on some level blame Chachamaru for my failure in the twentieth century. After all, she was one of my first teachers, though at the time I had no idea that the artificial intelligence who was training me in the sciences was familiar with me from my own future. I'm sure she would never have deliberately set me up to fail, simply to bring about the history that created the situation where she instructed me, and yet I cannot help but wonder. Ah well. It can't be helped, regardless.

Kugimiya Madoka reportedly watched the slightly acrimonious break-up of her cheerleading triad with something like relief on her face, and then set about to make a new life for herself. She quickly found a band in need of a drummer, and survived that band's inevitable breakup to land in yet another one, which actually managed to get a recording deal. Critics of the period acclaimed her drumming style, and recordings are still treasured by connoisseurs.

Unfortunately, the rock star life is not and never has been a healthy one. She died in 2035, reportedly due to a mutated flu bug. Some conspiracy theorists insist that she was murdered by her manager rather than be allowed to renegotiate her contract, which was admittedly up for renewal. But I think it's much more likely that she simply caught something that didn't agree with her. Such is life.

And now at last we come to the discussion of a life that can't help but be personal to me. My great-grandmother, Ku Fei, eventually led her family away from the Old World and to the New One, where they prospered, particularly in the long and violent years of the Gorean Hordes. They have continued to thrive there even during the great changes which began when Earth-born humanity finally reached Mars through their technology.

Again, I wish that I could say that Ku Fei herself had a happy and peaceful life, but that just wouldn't be true. And if we're being honest, one could say that the traditions of her people, that a woman should wed the one to defeat her in combat, aren't really conducive to happiness. The man that she eventually married was ... not nearly as kind as she was, and their marriage was not a happy one, for all that it produced a fairly large number of offspring, one of whom was my paternal grandfather.

Fortunately, the Ku family tradition also allows for the possibility of divorce ... but those same traditions insist that the children of such a broken union remain with the father. And I think the pain of losing her children must have been worse than anything my great-grandfather ever did to her. I can see it in the eyes of the few remaining photographs of her from this time, shortly before she disappeared. Her death has never been confirmed.

Konoe Konoka and Sakurazaki Setsuna. Konosetsu. No doubt you have been dreading the revelations to come in this section, wondering how and when they broke up. Relax. In so far as I know, they never did, and are still together today, though they did go through another rough patch about a year after these events, when Konoe Eishun came back from an imposed vacation in Okinawa with a new fiancee. Relations between Konoka and her new step-mother weren't easy at first, but she and the former Otohime Mutsumi eventually bonded over how much they had in common. Which of course led to lots of sex.

But that's another story. Much more important are the ways in which Konoka has advanced the study of healing magic, most notably eventually restoring life to the petrified citizens of a certain village. She claimed the title Magister Magi after this, and no one objected as she became the third youngest individual to ever earn it. (It need not really be said who the youngest was. Nor need it be said that the record has been broken since, I observe humbly.) For her part, Setsuna eventually worked up the nerve to ask the Aoyama family for permission to pass on the teachings of the Shinmeiryuu school, and was stunned to be granted it. They are both alive and well.

Saotome Haruna never married. She was the beloved aunt and great-aunt to the swaths of the children of her brothers, but never found the right person for herself. Still, this left her lots of time to pursue her work. She finally broke into manga when she was eighteen, first as an assistant to a well-known artist on the sequel to his tale of a fashionable judo girl, and eventually as an author and artist in her own right.

Her greatest work, for which she is still remembered to this day, was her multi-volume epic, That Sort of Thing is Fine, But ... a semi-autobiographical work about an artist who starts out as a typical otaku and is gradually exposed to the harsh realities of most of the subjects he has used for manga in the past. (Most notably incest, but also the realities of gay and lesbian activities when contrasted with yaoi and yuri depictions.) Its ending is unfortunately somewhat prophetic of Haruna's own fate - the artist ends up alone, isolated from former friends, unable to really enjoy the things he once did, and gravely depressed. Her death in 2042 was officially ruled an accident.

I don't know if Sasaki Makie ever learned of her true origins. Frankly, I hope for the sake of her innocence, which she still seemed to possess even at the 2012 Olympics where she brought the gold home to Japan, that she didn't. Nor do I know anything about her relationship with a certain group of slime-girls. I don't believe that it's any of my business. Her last public appearance was in 2056, when she was the head coach for the Japanese team at the last Olympic games. I believe that she's still alive, but I haven't checked too closely.

As I said, I value her innocence, and such can only be tainted through association with one who, through necessity, must often do very dubious and dangerous things in pursuit of her goals. I hope that she's still innocent, and I hope that she's happy. I allow myself a certain amount of romanticism, and that consumes much of it.

Of the cheerleader trio, Shiina Sakurako was the most hurt by their union's dissolution. I recall her as having a similar quality of innocence as Makie. But where Makie's innocence was natural, inasmuch as anything about her could be called natural, Sakurako's innocence was slightly abnormal, resulting as it did from her talent for probability manipulation. Shielded from the harsher realities of life as a result of unconscious use of this talent, she could afford to be innocent. But everyone's luck runs out eventually.

My readers, who are all so much cleverer than I am, will doubtless be expecting a tale of woe to follow. It is my delight to confound them. I am not entirely sure what happened to Saku for most of this century but I finally tracked her down in an assisted care facility in 2094. One leonization treatment to take care of her senility later, and I was able to recruit a probability manipulator in full control of her powers for my organization, and reconnect with a childhood friend. As I've said, I allow myself a certain measure of sentimentality.

Tatsumiya Mana graduated from high school with the rest of her class, took the bronze in the biathlon at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and then disappeared back into the underground, acting primarially as a bounty hunter in both this world and Mundus Magica. I'm sure that she is still alive, and it's for that reason that I won't say more about her activities ... that reason, and the fact that I at least, don't consider the debt I owe her to be fully paid as yet.

Were one strictly following the class register, the time would now have come to speak of the activities of Your Obt. Servant. But as I told you at the start of this account, this isn't my story. And besides, I'm sure that my readers wouldn't find my confessions of various criminal activities to be terribly interesting. The authorities are alas far more intrigued by such things.

Just about a year after all this, Nagase Kaede was informed that her parents had arranged for her to be married. (She was seventeen, having entered junior high school at fifteen, due to her training with her grandparents.) Her fiance was, like her, a descendant of the Koga shinobi; unlike her, he had not cultivated their skills. Obedient to her parents' wishes, she married him, and I believe that they were genuinely happy, most of the time - though I'm sure that her happiness was marred by certain events a few years later. But be that as it may, their first-born son was my maternal grandfather ...

... and the biggest pain in the figurative ass (not to mention my literal ass) that the space-time continuum has ever seen. I mean, really, if I believed in a god, I would really wonder what that entity was thinking, allowing a complete pervert to gain not only the ability to disguise himself as either gender so thoroughly that it keeps up even during vigorous sexual intercourse, but also the utterly impossible power to travel in time sheerly by meditation. Don't get me wrong, I am very fond of my grandfather, as he is well aware, even after he stole my innocence and also my first successful Cassiopeia in order to deliver the latter to ... well, we'll get to that eventually.

As with a few others in this account, I'm not certain of the fate of Kaede herself. She disappeared in the late 2030s, but the traditions of the Koga shinobi have undergone something of a renaissance in this century. It is entirely posssible that her disappearance freed her to become an instructor in their arts. Or it's possible that she fell victim to some malevolent scheme or other. I have, reluctantly, grown accustomed to uncertainty. It's part of growing up, I suppose.

Naba Chizuru left Mahora with Ayaka when the latter did; unlike her, she did come back to finish her high school education, and became involved with various, shall we call them, family matters in the process. Her first loyalty, however, was always towards the woman who would eventually become her wife. They are both still very much alive, with several children and grandchildren, all involved in running the Yukihiro Financial Group.

However, I would note that her most important role is one that the world doesn't know about. One of the subsidiaries of their zaibatsu is a computer corporation that produces some of the world's finest personal low-sapience AIs. Their most popular model is a brand intended to provide a constant companion for young children. I'm sure that the reader has already guessed on whom this model's default avatar is based, as is much of her personality. It's impossible to say how many children all across the solar system have been gently but firmly raised by copies of Chizuru over the decades since this AI was first introduced. That's a contribution if ever there was one, and it keeps me from hating her or her wife too much.

This next section is every bit as hard for me to write as it will be for you to read.

The children I knew as Narutaki Fuka and Narutaki Fumika kept up their deception and their illicit relationship through junior high school and into their high school years. Disaster struck in their final year when they weren't able to keep their respective parents from discovering the truth abou their activities when they both visited on the same day. They were promptly pulled out of school and separated from each other. Some say that they were also rather harshly punished, but I suspect that what had been done to them was punishment enough.

It was certainly enough to drive them to an extremity that stunned not only their classmates but an entire nation. There was no sign of conspiracy, but both Fuka and Fumika quietly waited until their mutual eighteenth birthday, and then returned to their respective homes ... and bloodily murdered their parents and their parents' new spouses. They then called the police and turned themselves in. The crime, committed on their eighteenth birthday, earned them the death penalty, and five years later, it was carried out on Fuka ... and Fumika managed to hang herself in her cell within minutes.

Whenever I face an enemy in battle, I find myself wondering whether they were as innocent as those two crazy twins when they were a child. It doesn't stop me, because I can't allow it to stop me, but also can't stop wondering ... where did it all go wrong for them, that it has to end this way? It's too easy to blame it on the world, even for me.

Hakase Satomi, my dearest friend in that era, graduated from Mahora Academy Junior High School Division with the highest marks in the school's history, a record which has not, to my knowledge, ever been equalled or exceeded. I honestly believe that she could have graduated much sooner than she did, but she was more patient than I could ever be. She switched to correspondence-based schooling for her high school education, mostly to allow her to spend more time with the baby girl to whom she gave birth nine months after the near-destruction of Mahora.

Her daughter, Negi's first-born daughter, was my maternal grandmother.

Immediately on her high school graduation, she was hired by a company fascinated by her work in the creation of artificial intelligence, and began a long career with that company. This didn't work out very well for her, I'm afrad. Details are a little hard to come by, but she almost certainly died in 2033, when her employers' offices in Chicago, where she was working at the time, were destroyed by a bombardment from an orbital particle beam satellite. There is a certain irony in that, I suppose, but it's not one that I find I can appreciate. Her body was never recovered, though neither were those of the majority of the dead in that cataclysm. If one were hopeful, one could believe that she found a way to escape.

Hope is an ambivalent quality.

Hasegawa Chisame spent most of her weekends over the next year at home with her mother, who gave birth to a younger brother fairly soon after all of this. (This came as a complete surprise to her co-workers, who hadn't known she was pregnant, or even dating anyone. My readers, who are so much more clever than I am, will doubtless have guessed what really happened.) Negi and Chachamaru also spent a fair amount of time in the Hasegawa home, playing with the infant Nagara. He turned out to be a rather talented wizard, to everyone's shock and surprise. It was he who comissioned the theft of my first Cassiopeia, and proceeded to use it to fill in several blank spots in history - most notably being the one to show up to save a certain young boy and then give him a certain wand.

His ... older sister, let's call her, eventually got used to the idea that the man she loved was never going to put her first, and learned to love him anyway. (Despite being completely willing to smack him around whenever she thought he was being stupid.) In 2081, diagnosed with a terminal cancer that couldn't be treated by even the most advanced medicine or magic available to her, she chose to either end her life or transform her consciousness, depending on one's point of view, and became a 'ghost', existing as a program in cyberspace. Those who love her accept her despite her transformation.

Evangeline A.K. McDowell died. And what of her distant cousin Kitty McDowell, who transferred into the elementary school division of Mahora Academy at the start of the next school year? Patience, gentle reader, all will be revealed in due time.

Much like her dearest friend, Miyazaki Nodoka eventually abandoned the old world for the new. Unlike Yue, however, her life in that world was nothing like the course of honor at Ariadne. She became, or to be precise resumed her career as, an explorer of ruins, investigator of dark deeds, and all-around meddler. An adventurer was she, in other words. She knew incredible successes, and remarkable failures. I suspect that I would give my soul to be someone like her.

Her last public appearance was during the siege of Ariadne, shortly after Headmistress Yue's fall, when she employed incredible artifacts she had won somewhere to break through the Gorean lines and challenge the Lord of War with the words, "I don't care what your name is." According to the tale the descendants of the Goreans tell, the Lord of War chose this battle to be his last, after which he was taken to an eternal paradise of wine, women and song. Again, I doubt the official history, and I'd like to find Nodoka to get her version. But since she disappeared right after Yue's funeral, I'm a bit afraid of what I might find.

Murakami Natsumi's debut as Eponine in the Mahora High School production of Les Miserables was a little delayed by the destruction wreaked by that day in July. But she ultimately did take the stage, and, in her first leading role, won the hearts of audiences of all ages. She went on to a lengthy career in the theatre and in films, becoming one of the rising stars of Japanese entertainment.

And then, when she was just 27, she chucked it all to run away with her boyfriend. No one is completely sure what happened to them. One claim, which I must necessarily view as being not so implausible as most people would think, has them using some sort of time portal to travel back to the feudal era. Others say that she lived quietly alongside Kotaro as he became a travelling martial arts instructor. I haven't been able to learn their fates for certain, but I wish them well, whatever it was.

As one would expect, the destruction wreaked upon the academy and town made a number of the wealthier families with children attending the school seriously consider pulling them out of it. Some believed that this was what happened when Yukihiro Ayaka abruptly dropped out before the completion of her junior high school career. In fact, the reasons were simpler - her father was found dead of a cerebral embolism in his office, and someone needed to take over the running of her company.

With help from Chizuru and from her mother - who recovered from the 'illness' that had been killing her rather quickly once the person who'd been poisoning her all these years was dead - Ayaka quickly set out to do just that. Through the years of bubblegum crisis that defined Japan in the first part of the twenty-first century, she has kept the Yukihiro Financial Group solvent and relevant. I would probably disapprove more if I wasn't still rather fond of the Iincho I remember. Ah, sentimentality.

Yotsuba Satsuki continued to grow her restaraunt business, with the first Chao Bao Zi franchises appearing in her final year of high school. I suspect it wasn't easy for her to entrust even these copies of her store to other hands, but she managed. And she also managed to keep her relationship with Zazie Rainyday healthy at the same time, finally learning to balance a personal life and a professional one. Of course, I knew she had it in her.

She was my great-grandmother, after all.

It's funny, though. I have seen pictures of my paternal grandparents, and met those who knew them. My paternal grandfather was a kind-hearted man, very different from his father, while my paternal grandmother was as loving and as gentle as her biological mother. (Her biological father was Sasaki Makie's half-brother, Tatsuro, whose role in her conception was essentially that of a sperm donor.) I am sure that it was not their fault that their son was a monster. Perhaps it was no one's fault. Can a wind explain why it becomes a storm?

Be that as it may, Zazie Rainyday stayed with Satsuki for the rest of her life, which was long and happy. She only left after her funeral, in 2078. I suppose that I could find out what became of her after that, since I have good contacts among the mazoku. But even if I did, I'd never write it here, where anyone could read it. Zazie wouldn't like that.

And then at last we come to Negi Springfield, hurt but not broken by these events. I really think that he genuinely tried to keep his relationships platonic after this, but the thing about the platonic relationship is that its an ideal, and ideals generally don't survive contact with reality. He kept on at the grindstone of being a teacher until he finally learned that he'd long-since fulfilled this part of his training. Around the same time, Arika came back after a long absence to tell him that she thought that she'd found clues that told her where Nagi was. And then I showed up to help rescue him.

I suppose that I could tell you more about this, and about what happened during and after that adventure, but, well, you wouldn't find that all that interesting, I'm sure. The way we had to stop Niagara Falls for an hour in order to get at him? Nothing too dramatic about it. The battles against the people trying to stop us were kind of lame, honestly. And the orgy we had afterwards wasn't really all that erotic. Maybe I'll tell you about all that some other day.

Yes, Negi is still very much alive, and not nearly as old as he will lead you to think. (Rejuvenation treatments work just as well on magicians as they do on everyone else.) And he is happily married, to a girl who still prefers to be called Kitty, and follows the distinguished tradition of proper English gentlemen by having a mistress. I wouldn't dream of telling you what her name is, though I think it should be obvious. After all, broken hearts mend.

We find ourselves on opposite sides a great deal. It's understandable. I want to change the world, he likes it the way that it is. I respect his opinion, even if it is that of a fuddy-duddy. I suppose that somewhere in my heart, I still yearn to see if he's still all that, and that sometimes has led me to mistakes in the present, even as it led me down dangerous paths in the past.

In my youth, I wanted to test myself against the greatest heroes I had ever heard about. In my youth, I imagined that I could make the world a better place by forcing it into the confrontation between science and magic that has shaped our century much earlier than it would have been. In my youth ... I was a very foolish little girl.

But damned if I didn't have a good time.

I bow to the four corners of the world. May your days be pleasant and empty of tax collectors, may your sons be strapping and strong, may your daughters be charming and attractive to proposals from gentlemen who live a great distance away, and may your lives be touched by the beauty that has graced mine and the courage it has been my privelige to witness.

Farewell.


Omake, by Shadow Crystal Mage

From the Files of Chao Lingshen, Temporal Renegade
Subject: Class-H Prime Multiverse External Universe 6904877

This universe first came to my attention when an accomplished but modest colleague of mine of an unequally rational and emotional nature happened to lose one of her classmates in it. The classmate in question is still recovering from the trauma.

I have since observed the universe personally and - after frantically going through my own genetic code, hijacking the Time Gates during one of the periods its guardian had still not dealt with the fact Pluto was no longer a planet to check on our Arika, confirming that nothing like this had happened to her and that her father was definitely dead, in a bout of paranoia - have noted several points of interest. The outsider sees most of the game as they say, and my particular lifestyle and experience have allowed me to identify several persons of interest. I humbly submit my own research on the matter to my other accomplished but modest colleague.

Kotomine Kirei (I will not bother you with why I singled out the man) and his colleague Gendo, in the wake of the harsher scrutiny after Takahata Takamichi's dismissal, were soon fired, defrocked and excommunicated. This did not seem to bother Kotomine all that much. In his memoirs (which was banned in most countries with a large Christian population and used as a training manual by many terrorist cells), he stated that one's relationship with God was a personal matter, and one did not have to be one of God's chosen to be one of His children.

He left Mahora for Africa to perform missionary work. The distance gave him new anonymity, and he soon established himself as a charismatic cult leader. Such cults rarely end well. A hit was eventually placed on him, the contract fulfilled by Tatsumiya in 2014 after numerous failures by lesser operatives. Apparently he kept on wearing his Kevlar vestments.

His young colleague, Father Gendo, also left Mahora. He remained convinced of his radical interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, attaining doctorates in several disciplines and spent much time lobbying for funding. He was eventually hired by Lex Corp, that wretched hive of scum and villianny, where he can be positively identified as the cause of at least three possible "end of the world" incidents. At each instance, he was awarded Employee of the Year.

Nun-in-training Caren Ortensia moved on to be a real nun and a full member of her order. She went in to have a highly successful but scandalous career as an exorcist. Much of the scandal rose from her choice of Ministra, one Mido Miko of the Miroku clan in ninja.

Ikari Yui left the order when she found out she was pregnant with twins nine months after the incident in Mahora. Her family were of little help, and she was forced to raise the children alone. Though she tried her best, the pressure soon became too much for her, and she committed suicide. Her children where shunted along the foster system. They were eventually claimed by their father. Due to his being housed in Lex Corp housing, direct observation was not prudent, but there are indications they were experimented upon, and were involved in a bizarre incident described by many as a black hole.

The Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad continued to act as one of Mahora's student-protector groups. The group disbanded suddenly a year later upon the mysterious disappearance of one of their members. Investigations have been fruitless, even for me, though there is evidence of some form of "Stopped Time" phenomenon.

Rossette Christopher, her boyfriend Chrono and her Ministra Azmaria soon left Mahora to search for her missing brother. Sightings of her dot the world, but her trail ends in the demon realm. Her fate is unknown, but a boy claiming to be her brother arrived at Mahora, his memory blank except for his name, a description of his sister, and the knowledge that Sister Shakti was still owed by Rosette for totalling her car. He went on to train as a priest, reversing circumstance as he eventually wandered the world searching for her.

Tohsaka Rin and Sakura (no relation to the one who would one day call himself the Lord of War) graduated from Mahora and moved on to become mages, continuing to maintain a physical relationship. Medical records state that Sakura was born with Degradative Mana Syndrome, a condition where the subject, apparently, cannot naturally metabolize raw environmental mana, and need regular transfusions of already biologically processed magic to survive. I am unable to ascertain if this is the factual truth or an excuse to justify their behavior. With Rin, anything is possible.

They never participated in a Holy Grail War. They never met Emiya Shiro.

File End. Audacia Paula.


Omake, by OverMaster

My name is Itoshiki Nozomu. And I suppose some would call me a fortunate man.

I have led a long, long life, with no signs of ending anytime soon. My physicians have determined that, despite my old age and my rather sorry physical state, my life signs show no signal of any degradation threatening of my continued existence. I have married twice, both times to beautiful younger women, and I have four intelligent, cultured and well respected children.

In truth, nothing is ever as simple. My life has been prolonged by an immortality curse set upon me since childhood. My wives were both former students of mine, and neither marriage has been exactly perfect (but then again, no marriage ever is). Only one of my children even speaks to me anymore.

And yet, I cannot feel as much despair as I used to. Not anymore. Even my emotions have withered down with old age. Now, I barely can muster more than a perennial gray melancholy. I cannot attempt suicide as often nowadays, being unable to climb up a tree to set a proper rope, or to hold a gun to my temple without my hands trembling far too much. And my wife frustrates most of my attempts anyway. Just like she did the first time we ever met, at Sakura Lane. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Through her experiences compiling information for this report of the incidents involving the last few weeks Class 3-A spent fully together, minus herself, of course, Chao Lingshen-san approached me for help, claiming to be too wrapped into other, shady businesses of her own to be able to handle all of the research. I am convinced she mostly did it out of pity for this poor old man, to make me feel useful again, but I humored her.

So, as she has exposed the eventual happenings in the lives of her classmates after that ominous day, I will chronicle what happened to the rest of the players mentioned through this dark drama.

Konoe Konoemon barely survived a few years more, dying roughly a year after Eishun's second marriage. The autopsies never could determine exactly what caused his demise, being so sudden and seemingly abrupt, but I suspect we all should have seen the signs coming up. The events of the Alladia fiasco, plus the HiME Festival the year after, took a heavy toll on him; not a physical one, but a much worse emotional one. To this day, I'm convinced the poor man died of a broken heart.

Eishun himself reached a rather old age, dying of natural causes one afternoon in his garden. His wife found the body near the koi pond. She quite never recovered, spending her last years in a retirement home, although surrounded by old friends from her time at some inn where she'd once lived.

I haven't been authorized by Asuna Hime-sama to reveal any info on the last few years of Takahata Takamichi.

Jack Rakan is, and I'm sure this should come as no surprise to you, still alive, of course. He's pretty much as healthy and vigorous as he was back then; I met him again last year, and when I asked him, astonished, how did he do it, he only laughed and told me "Even old age fears Rakan!" I have to agree. From some hints he dropped in our conversation, he still stays in semi-frequent contact with Tatsumiya-san, wherever she is now.

Fate Averruncus, formerly known as Tertium, lives on as well. Through the great war against the Gorean Hordes, his 'sibling unit' Quartum sided with the Lord of War, becoming his main enforcer, and choosing to use his newfound free will to unleash his worst desires, slaying and destroying at his pleasure. However, Fate-san and his two remaining siblings stood against him, being a key part on the defeat of the Gorean forces. Fate-san destroyed Quartum-san with his own hands, a fact he has never wanted to comment on ever since.

However, this defense of the Mundus Magicus population moved the masses, especially the younger ones, to acclaim the three last Averrunci as heroes, finally giving them acceptance from the same society they once had opposed. Though none of them was interested on fame and riches, they have used their influence to work for Mundus Magicus' well-being, staying together all to this day. I met them earlier this year, when I took my wife for her first trip to Mars. I had a brief interview with Fate, where he revealed he had, in fact, met Negi-sensei twice or thrice since Mahora's near-destruction. He didn't have much to say on the matter, but Sextum-san, smiling, commented he had been actually happy when he sparred with Negi-sensei again. His expression unchanged, Fate denied it.

The Averrunci have been rejoined by Fate's old partner Tamaki, who, due to the long lifespans of her race, seems to have been left just as young as they look. They refused to comment on the status of Fate-san's other Ministra, although I know for a fact that the ones called Shiori and Homura, at least, died long ago.

Dynamis remains a prisoner under custody of the new Megalomesembrian Senate, and has written several books during his long prison stay, all of them heavily censored by the authorities due to 'spreading dangerous ideas to the inhabitants of the whole world'. The rumors about him managing to direct several terrorist cells carrying on the ideals of Cosmo Entelecheia even from his imprisonment have not been confirmed at any point.

Anya Cocolova never married, although she had several extended relationships with other females. She became an expert combat mage, and even managed to research on and re-discover the long forgotten legendary spell known as the Drag Slave. However, she died bravely in battle against a demon lord around the Gotham area in 2036. Reportedly, her last word in her agony was "Negi."

LexCorp remained under intense observation by the magical community for the next few years. Its involvement with Alladia's schemes was well proven and known, by supplying the mad renegade with men, weaponry and resources. But in turn, Alladia had leaked secrets and resources of his own to LexCorp. Some of them apparently included information on several highly touching and delicate subjects our higher-ups would prefer to keep hidden at any and all costs.

So, eventually, the whole thing was simply swept under the rug. LexCorp president Lex Luthor would later run for an unsuccesful bid for the presidency of the United States, and a decade after that failed, he was reported dead in a private plane crash. They never found the body. Shortly after, a Lex Luthor the Second, apparently a son of his, reclaimed the company for himself, and he continues running it even today. As he grows old and identical to his 'father', I know Alladia's legacy, in a way, lives on. It will as long as evil men with the means to perpetuate themselves cheating on death exist. If I were a believing man, I would pray for our future.

Hasegawa Sora, mother of Hasegawa Chisame, reportedly had, according to sources I'll keep hidden, a few sexual encounters of her own with the son of the man she had loved, often in company of her daughter. I will issue no judgements on the matter and simply comment they did a good job raising the young boy born in the middle of that unusual family unit.

She died in her sixty-eighth year, as an executive for the Fujimi, Morisato and Hasegawa company sponsoring car races all across the world. While researching for this writing, I visited her old home, now owned by a young woman named Skuld, seemingly a foreigner. She owned several pieces of strange techonology, many of them of her own design, but some with an unmistakable similarity to the designs of the supposedly late Hakase Satomi. While questioning her on the matter, she smiled and told me she could fill in the blanks of the stories of the classmates Chao had lost track of. She gave me that information, and while some of their cases did, indeed, paint better futures for them than I'd have expected, others were bleak enough to make me wish I'd never heard about them.

From what Skuld told me, she also was partially involved in the complex transfering Chisame-san's consciousness to what she called 'The Yggdrasil Code running through the Maginet, the Internet, and Different Frequencies you aren't even Aware of yet', but the explanation was so frankly complicated, I didn't understand a single thing.

Later, when I reported this to Chao, she seemed dubious before telling me she didn't want to hear the untold stories. I nearly fainted with relief. Some of those stories were nearly impossible for me to repeat, and some others were too optimistic for a sad old man like me to express them properly.

As for my Ministra, they all took separate paths after graduation. Kitsu Chiri, against all my expectations, rose above her mania and became the most beloved Prime Minister Japan has ever had. When she died in 2077, the whole country cried.

Kimura Kaere went off to study law at the Harvey Dent Legal School in Gotham, and enjoyed a highly succesful career for a while until she was shot dead in front of her home in 2029 by members of the Joker Gang.

Tsunetsuki Matoi grew disillusioned with me and married one of her old flames, one of the members of that ridiculous Ala Iridia club. I can't remember his name, but I seem to remember his nickname went ... Shadow Crystal something ... but it doesn't matter. I think they are still alive, and I also believe they had at least four children.

Otonashi Meru struggled past her vocal limitations to no avail. Forced by her controlling father into a loveless marriage, she eventually locked herself in her bathroom, sent a text message to the police, and sliced open her wrists. She was twenty-four then.

Kobushi Abiru was mauled by the last wild tiger alive in 2043. The tiger was then shot.

Kaga Ai married a boy who had a crush on her all through high school, Kuniya Kino-kun. They married and had three daughters and five sons, since she never could say 'no' to him. I stopped receiving apology letters about everything she supposedly did to us during school three years ago, so I suppose she has died as well.

Hito Nami led a perfectly normal life, married a partner at her office job, had one son and a daughter, and died at the age seventy. Since the average life expectancy was considerably longer, I suspect that wherever she may be, she takes a certain pleasure in having been abnormal in at least one thing.

My sister, Itoshiki Rin, is still alive, and never married, although she still managed to give birth to a boy suspiciously similar to pretty much every male in the Itoshiki family. Before you accuse me of a vile crime, I'd like to repeat that I never fell into those abominable actions with her, and even if I had, I had stopped doing them five years before my nephew was born. My other, older nephew Majiru, however, has lived with Rin and Kojiro-kun ever since.

I married Fujiyoshi Harumi in the spring of 2013, and soon we had our first and only son, Saburo, the only child of mine who remains in contact with me. Harumi reached extremely high pinnacles of fame as Japan's most controverted erotic manga artist, continuing all the way her frequent, bitter clashes with Saotome Haruna, and causing many an Internet flame war. However, when Saotome-san died, she was the person who cried the most in the funeral.

We divorced after six years of marriage; we loved each other too much, simply too much to continue making each other miserable. We continued being good friends, and she was the one who pushed me and Kafuka back together.

So, yes, I married Kafuka after that, and so we close this additional epilogue to the saga of our lives. When Harumi died in her sixty-third year, in a car crash, I cried, actually cried, like never before. And Kafuka cried too. It was the first time I ever saw her crying, she, who always had been so perfectly happy. We cried together, and then, in our mutual sadness, I felt complemented like never before.

I don't want to say I'm happy, because I'm afraid I'd lose my happiness right after saying it. Kafuka has caused me more problems than one person should ever cause any other, and she knows it. And yet, the only moments of something else than sadness and melancholy I ever have anymore are those when I'm looking into her eyes.

I suppose that's enough to make me, all in all, a fortunate man.

- Itoshiki Nozomu, Headmaster of Mahora Academy.

Full Circle, by OverMaster

And here we are now.

I feel like Sam returning to Hobbiton, in a way. I don't quite think any revisitation to the Decadent universe we may do from now on will have quite the same feeling now we have seen the future and what it holds for the gang, although I'm sure I'll be proved wrong. Again.

But before we start dwelling on that, let's look back at how it all started. As usual with my writing, I started with chance. Darkenning seems to leave much less to chance, and so does Shadow Crystal Mage as well, but I think I have a somewhat looser approach to writing. I'll have an idea, toss it around, and see where it rolls, then happily jumping after it. Decadent Habits just happened to be a tiny peeble I tossed, only to become a huge boulder as it rolled.

I just wanted to top everything I had written before when I wrote the original snippet. I was going for the crass shock value, I'll admit it, but hey, it was only a small comedy bit. I figured I could allow myself that much there. As I wrote it, then posted it in the TV Tropes Forum, I had everyone's reactions in the back of my mind. I was fresh off writing another controversial snippet, and I guess part of me just wanted to see how far could I go before being bathed with tar and feathers and run out of town. Much to my disappointment, the overall reaction was a few raised eyebrows and a couple posters saying "I already have seen worse."

I think I have spoiled my readers.

Or not, since someone took that dingy, dirty little idea and actually made something out of it. After I had enough snippets for the next chapter of More than Fifty Four Negi and Chisame Threesomes, I tossed Decadentin there without giving it too much thought. It raised more eyebrows in actual compilation form, and I didn't give it much thought. Life went on, until a couple weeks later or so, I got a message from someone I never had heard about before, some Darkenning chap.

He asked me if he could write a full fanfic out of the snippet's premise, saying he was deeply intrigued by it. I already was used to private messages asking for consents to write stories that never materialized, so I believed it'd be the same thing all over again. I shrugged and said, "Sure, why not." In any case, I don't believe in the property of a fanfic author over concepts that never were ours in the first place. Literally, I couldn't care less if any of you out there decides to write your own version of Unequally Rational and Emotional, unless you have Negi picking Makie's guts out with a meat cleaver, or some crap like that.

But I digress. Like I was saying, I figured that'd be the end of it. Again.

Two days later, I saw he had posted the first chapter. I thought it was a bit abrupt, to have Arika acting like that from the start, but overall, not bad at all. Still, I continued thinking it'd be left a dead fic after that chapter, because really, how do you top that?

I saw the next chapter the very next day.

Okay, the incredulous in me insisted, beginners are often like that (although damn, for a beginner, this guy writes well! Better than me, as a matter of fact! Argh! The mirror is speaking to me, and I'm not the fairest in the kingdom anymore!). Surely, I reasoned, he's only experiencing the eagerness and vitality of the first attempts. But it couldn't last that long, that eternal inner pessimist went on...

The third chapter was posted the next day.

I was starting to realize this boy might just mean business.

The next chapters never quite reached that fast posting rate, after they became more complex and longer, but they still were coming out far faster than my own output. I needed to do something to reassure myself I could play in that same ballpark too, not to mention I just like to write Chisame and had the best idea ever to screw her over in that story's context, so I asked Darkenning to guest-write a Chisame chapter.

The original snippet was plain and simple, and so was this epic at the start. It was just a reunion of a few of the (very) few Negima characters with parental figures (and Setsuna, who has this contractual obligation to show up wherever Konoka is), all of them either aristocratic or at least well respected and placed in society, indulging into Decadent Habits behind locked doors. Including Asuna, to be honest, despite her family ties to Negi, never crossed my mind at first, and I admit I felt weird seeing Darkenning was giving her a major role. So what did I do? I included Chisame, who had even less to do with the original setup. Yeah.

I liked writing that chapter, so I soon asked for the chance to write an Akira one. I can imagine Darkenning's sigh while he wrote back saying that yes, I could include yet another character who had nothing to do with the original premise. It also gave me the chance to flesh the Yuna smut out, because the perv in me kept moaning there hadn't been enough Yuna hotness, and while the fact I was writing her with her dad for longer than a mere snippet indeed did bother me a bit, I coped because hey, Yuna.

You know you love Yuna's hawtness too. It should be made obligatory by law.

But again, I digress. I distanced myself a bit after that, cackling as I sat back and watched poor Darkenning trying to cope with all the out of left field twists I had left him with...

He made longer, more complex, deeper chapters out of it, and without having to include dozens of crossover guest stars, and more importantly, much faster than me! Curses! Foiled again!

Even Shadow Crystal Mage was writing for him! I couldn't keep on sitting back, so I asked for a Zazie/Satsuki chapter. Because I thought Satchan got a really raw deal in her own chapter, and because the coupling was so random I figured that someone would have to comment on it, and I'd laugh, seeing my infinite evil genius would be recognized, standing out even in the middle of Dark's intense drama...

No one wrote saying "Wow, Zazie/Satsuki had never been done before".

I cried into my pillow for days ...

Once recovered from the harrowing trauma, I wrote a Mana side chapter sporting some hideous grammar mistakes that hopefully will serve as an example for future generations to never write a chapter in a hurry. Still, it was pure fun, and I got some really colorful and amusing comments from it when the link was posted elsewhere, so it's all good.

Then I wrote my favorite chapter to do ever, the Chachamaru one. Not only it allowed me to indulge into my ever present itch to write more SZS, but Chisame/Negi/Satomi! The Over Master Nirvana! If I don't end the Unequally saga like that chapter, then hunt me and shoot me down, okay? Because it'll mean I'll have lost my helm at life.

The final chapter I wrote, the Fate one, was the hardest one to do, and other than the first part, which flowed out easily, I'm not sure I like the final result. But then I got to squeeze more SZS in the final chapter and the Epilogue, and that makes me an easy man to please.

And, again, here we are.

Thanks, Darkenning, for making a boulder out of my peeble. At first, I thought the premise wouldn't work as well as the one for the similarly themed Complicated Bloodline, but thanks for proving me wrong. I still may dislike some details of the whole, like the overall feeling of Kaede's chapter, or the resolution of the Konoka-Setsuna conflict, and the mass bridge dropping of the epilogue, but then I re-read things like Arika in The Bride's jumpsuit, or the horrible yet fittingly hilarious final fate of Chachazero and Chamo, and the sheer hideous and chilling revelation of Nekane (troubling as it is with regard to her age), which is so effective in its terror, and everything, everything, is more than worth it.

It's not a pretty story. Certainly it's NOT a story for everyone. It's not my story anymore. And yet, it's better than anything I've written. Well, 'cept for the bits I wrote. But in any case, I have no regrets regarding it.

So, a cheer for you, Decadent Habits, you gorgeous monster. Standing next to the campfire, I lift my glass for you.

Thanks for everything.

Now, if only someone wrote a multiparter on Only Sane Man...


Co-Author's Note, by Shadow Crystal Mage

Besides general encouragement on the forum during writing, I only contributed two things to this: the chapter featuring Fuuka and Fumika and the Misora and extras (not counting the SZS crew) bits during the final battle. Great as this fic was, I felt it was too dark to be Negima. Even the despair spots in the manga had Dynamis hamming out and Chisame hanging lampshades like they were going out of style.

So when The Professor took me up on my offer to write the twins chap, I did my best to try to lighten the mood without derailing the story. I did my thing, throwing in offhand crossovers and short segments of silliness (to my knowledge, Chachamaru still does not know who keeps sending kittens adrift in boxes). Then I ended it with as much sugary fluff as I could, to try and prove that a heavily lemon incest story need not be purely carnal. I'm rather fond of Fuuka and Fumika's resolution. You have NO idea how much I wanted to kick someone's ass for how they ended up.

Misora's segment rose from the amusing though of how exactly Misora would react to her and Cocone being in an emergency without anyone to play hero for them. And crossover opportunities, of course. The Professor cut out the scenes were Harry Dresden and Tommy tbe green/white/red/black ranger were at the church, FYI. The marriage proposal was because I thought the nuns are a cute couple. I am absolutely devastated they don't get married.

So in closing, so long and thanks for all the fish! Remember the cardinal truths of being a Negima fan: Everyone us shota/gay/straight for Negi; Akamatsu DID THE RESEARCH; and NEGIMA IS LOVE. Take care, don't do drugs, and don't indulge in any "decadent habits". And if you must, stick with cousins and make it consensual.

Audacia Paula!


For more decadent thrills, be sure to read the forthcoming Rainbow Murders by Shadow Crystal Mage!

This has been an Inevitable Outcomes feature presentation.