It was a surprisingly idyllic scene, one that hotels would kill to have. Rumia flipped another page of the textbook and sighed. She had possibly learned more during the past couple of days than she had during the entire school year. She wasn't completely sure exactly how she ended up in this wonderland of text and water, but she didn't really mind. Something involving giant golems, magical books, exams…
Murmuring her little catchphrase as she read up on the decimal system, she reached for another piece of fruit. Reading and eating, half-submerged in cool water? Why couldn't normal school be like this? All that was needed was actual food (i.e. meat) and she would be in paradise. Rumia smiled at her use of 'i.e.', having learnt that only a while ago.
Rumia didn't even notice the fact that she was deep underground with the exams looming. This was probably her most major fault. Her single-tracked attention span was the reason she paid attention to dust particles in her classroom illuminated by sunlight instead of her actual lesson. It was the reason that people got so annoyed at her all the time. It was the reason she got the lowest marks in the class which had Cirno.
It was the reason a giant golem was able to sneak up and grab her.
AN: Touhou belongs to ZUN. Negima to Akamatsu. All I've got are excuses and a plea to support breast cancer research.
The bell rang, and class 2A began its usual rush to freedom. Negi smiled and muttered to himself, "Everyone seems to be working hard."
"That's because it's almost time for the end of term exams!"
Negi turned and looked at the smiling face before him. "Yakumo Chen?" He had asked Takamichi whether she was related to the Principal. Apparently it was a rather complicated situation.
Chen nodded happily. "I was told to give you this!" She held out an envelope.
Negi took it and examined it carefully. The paper was not completely white; it was rather a faded yellow, giving it a delicate, antiquated look. Adding to this was the cursive, handwritten Instructions for Springfield-sensei carefully created with blue ink. The envelope was not just for show, either, its size and weight suggested multiple sheets within. The texture was rough, and a floral pattern was imprinted on the border.
It demanded detailed description. Such things were important.
"Thank you, Yakumo-san."
Negi ripped it open, and instantly the envelope became much more ordinary.
The document inside, however, was not.
Ahem, the hologram of a woman with short blonde hair started, We've never been formally introduced, but that does not matter. I am known as Principal Yukari's assistant, the one that actually does stuff, and the school administrator. Ran, what are you doing? I'm recording a message, Yukari-sama! Ugh, look what you've done. You have so far done an excellent job with 2A, but as you probably know, end of term tests will be fast approaching. While this would be an assessment of all our students, it will also be an assessment of your teaching skill. If 2A doesn't- Ran, we're all out of chocolate ice cream! Did you eat it all? –in the end of term exams, which I personally think is a satisfactory standard, you will- Yukari-sama, stop doing that! Honestly! Where was I? Oh, yes, included with the message are the marks of the class. Also, two of your students never attend class. Addressing this problem, I think, will help you in your task greatly. The details of the students are included as well. However I would advise caution as- Raaaaan… No, don't touch-"
Negi gave Chen a look that dictated disbelief and uncertainty, which only increased as the girl pulled out a sheet of paper and what suspiciously looked like a wand. "Hold still, Prodigy-sensei! Mama Ran also told me to do this!" She raised the wand. "Tria Fila Nigra Promissiva, Mihi Limitationem per Tres Dies!"
Negi blinked, and then gave a flat "What."
Chen nodded happily. "Mama Ran said that a seal was needed to make sure that you didn't use any magic to cheat on your assessment!"
"Um…" Negi scratched the back of his head. It made sense that a relative of Principal Yukari would know at least a little about magic, but… "It looks like you sealed yourself."
"Wha-" Chen looked at her wrist, where three brand new black lines had appeared. "Ah! Oh no! No!"
"Wait, don't worry," Negi quickly said before Chen underwent a psychological breakdown, "I'll do the seal myself."
Chen's eyes widened. "Really?"
Negi smiled. "Really- ack!" He was forcefully pulled into an embrace.
"Thank you! Thank you, Springfield-sensei! I promise that I will study extra hard for the exams!" She let go of Negi and started bounding to the door. "Class 2A will be top in ranking, thus keeping your position, with no problem at all!"
Chen was already in the corridor when she heard Negi's mortified, "Wait, what?"
"But no one cares about their marks! This is an elevator school!"
It was incredible, Wriggle thought. Even with her fingers in her ears, she could still hear Cirno's whining. Sighing in resignation, she removed them to listen to Prodigy-sensei's response.
"But if we don't do well as a class, something really really really bad will happen!"
"Well, I really really really really don't want to study." Cirno grinned as though her remark was an impressive rebuttal worthy of an Ancient Roman Senator.
Wriggle shielded her eyes with her palm. Oh god, why was she in this classroom when she could be outside, in the sun, surrounded by nature, instead of all this.
She picked up her pen and started scribbling down answers. Team 9. The foundation of fools, the society of stupidity. It wasn't as if they didn't try, it was just…
She looked around at the others who had been roped up by the 'emergency exam cram sessions'. Cirno was arguing with Prodigy-sensei, whilst Dai was desperately trying to calm her down. Wriggle's gaze then went to Rumia, who was staring at… something. What was so interesting to that girl, anyway?
"Hey, Wriggle. Earth to Wriggle."
Mystia looked at her friend, amused. "You were acting like Rumia for a while. Anyway, whilst Prodigy-sensei is distracted, do you know what Boraginaceae Myosotis is?"
Wriggle just stared.
Wriggle groaned and collapsed onto her desk.
4. Shizuha & 5. Minoriko
At times it could be said Negi was a bit naive. Perhaps you could say he was gullible at his worst. But even he has his limits.
"So let me get this straight. Fujiwara no Mokou is a big scary delinquent type of person."
Shizuha nodded. "Emphasis on the big and scary."
"Right," Negi tried to smile, "So she gets into fights with a lot of people. But the one person she particularly despises is Houraisan Kaguya."
"Yes!" Minoriko stressed, "Whenever they meet, they fight!"
"And somehow…" Negi paused. This was the bit that broke his willing suspension of belief. "…Fujiwara killed Houraisan."
"Horribly!" Shizuha exclaimed, "Like, biting off her limbs! Tearing out her intestines!"
Minoriko looked uncomfortable. "Sis…"
"And blood! Blood! Everywhere! Houraisan screaming until her throat was torn out!"
At this point, Minoriko had her fingers in her ears. "Stop! Please! Stop…"
"Ah! Oh. Sorry, Mino-chan."
Negi, still disturbed by the graphical description, started slowly. "This is the same Houraisan that goes to 2A."
Minoriko still had her fingers in her ears, her eyes were closed, and was going, "La, la, la, I can't hear you," so it was Shizuha that responded "Yep!"
Negi pressed on. "The Houraisan Kaguya in our class."
"The very same."
Negi thought about saying something like 'people die when they are killed', but instead just asked, "How exactly could Fujiwara have killed Houraisan?"
Shizuha looked puzzled, as if she hadn't thought about that. Negi was about to bring his palm to his face when Minoriko answered…
"Well, you know the school nurse? Yagokoro-sensei? She resurrected her!"
Negi now did bring his palm to his face. "How- you know what? Never mind. Is there anyone who knows Fujiwara well?"
It took a moment for the Aki twins to think about it. "Class rep is friends with her, I think," Minoriko mused.
Negi's eyes widened. "What? Really?"
Watching in equal parts amazement and horror, Negi wondered if she had some magical wards surrounding her mind to prevent fear or something similar, but he sensed nothing. Hina was doing this through sheer force of will alone.
A grin was the only reply.
Team 9 murmured its agreement as Mystia gave them their drinks.
"Is that so?"
You know the scene. A bunch of depressed lolis surrounding a bar, trying to drown their sorrows, ignorant of their amphibious nature. Mystia herself swore to Vice Principal Ran that her stall did not serve any alcohol, but it was amazing how much the group of friends did not care. It was also amazing how Mystia was able to successfully run a business on campus. Said business demanded a lot of time and effort, so any actual study time was sacrificed to running the stall. Unfortunately for the lamprey cook, demand for a late night snack grew in the week coming to exams. This particular night was a relatively quiet one, though Team 9 hung around to gripe at their unfortunate circumstances.
"I don't really see the point of these sessions, anyway," Cirno grumbled.
"I do," Mystia said softly. She motioned for the team to move in closer. They did so. "A little bird told me that they plan to break up the lowest ranked class."
"But 2A never gets the lowest rank!" Dai exclaimed, "We've got Keine and Patchouli and Nitori and…"
Mystia waved off Dai's remarks. "I wasn't finished. Also, the individuals who get the lowest of the whole year level will be held back."
Wriggle raised an eyebrow. "Does this 'little bird' of yours happen to write for the school paper?" Mystia only smirked in response.
"But that's- that's-" Cirno spluttered.
"Is that so?" asked Rumia absent-mindedly, staring at what Mystia had put on the grill.
"Well, it would explain why Prodigy-sensei was so desperate today," Wriggle admitted.
"So what are we going to do about it?" Cirno asked.
All eyes turned to their blue haired leader.
"Wait, I meant for you guys to think of something!" she protested, "I wouldn't have asked the question if I knew the answer!"
"Well, we can hardly think on an empty stomach. Here, my specialty!" Mystia declared, setting plates in front of her classmates, "Yakitori skewers!"
Wriggle frowned. "Isn't your speciality lamprey?"
Mystia shrugged. "Lamprey, Yakitori. Same difference."
"Uh. No. No it isn't. One's a sea-dwelling sea-snake worm-thing; the other's a flightless bird."
"Ooh, look at me! I know the difference between lamprey and yakitori! Don't use your fancy biology to muddy the issue."
"Wha- I just happen to know the difference between a fish and a bird! And- Rumia, that was my skewer."
"Do you say anything else, Rumia? Besides that question?" Cirno asked, annoyed.
She tried. She tried so very hard. She had perfected the art of ignoring her roommate's actions when trying to concentrate. It was, quite simply, a necessity when living with someone as unconventional as Kirisame, whilst persuing hobbies that required utmost care and precision at the finest detail. It was with the same conviction that Alice approached her studies. But…
"Marisa, what exactly are you doing?"
It took all of her grace not to add an expletive to that question.
Marisa turned to Alice with a grin. "Preparing for another Voile expedition." She held up the various assorted gear designed for navigating dangerous caves; a must have in magical (Voile was magical, no matter what stupid Knowledge said, thought Marisa) library delving.
Alice raised a disbelieving eyebrow. "So close to exams? Patchouli wouldn't authorise that." Especially since you've been avoiding her like the plague.
"Oh, but this is for the exams!" Marisa returned to packing her bag. "Apparently there's this magical book, book of Melchizedek, that makes people smarter! Team 9 have asked me to help them retrieve it!"
"Riiight." Alice sighed. Her feelings about Marisa's…hobby surrounding the occult were mixed. On one hand, she'd never seen her happier when persuing magic; on the other, it could be somewhat…
"You know, Prodigy-sensei probably would prefer Cirno and her little friends to be actually studying."
Marisa paused. "Yes, I think it would be better if he didn't find out about this." She said this softly, more to herself than Alice. She started packing again, this time more slowly.
Alice returned to her studies, but kept looking back at her roomate. Unsettling. That was the word.
This whole 'magic' thing…it was unsettling.
CAUTION! EXCUSES FROM A WHINY AUTHOR AHEAD!
- Um, ironically this whole delay thing started with me studying for my own exams, so crossover fanfiction kinda dropped in priority. By a lot.
- Then my mother got breast cancer. Um. You can't really add anything to that statement. She's fine (so I'm not an orphan), but that situation basically killed this fic.
- But since you're reading this (yay) you must realise that through the power of SCIENCE, I have resurrected this story. Unfortunately, like Frankenstein's monster/creature (delete whichever is inappropriate), this chapter is made from a lot of scraps of various in medias res ideas stitched together by dodgy guesswork of whatever the hell my past and happier self planned.
- Only two sections from above have actually been written after the...incident. You're welcome to guess which ones. Apart from a couple of rephrasings and corrections, the others have been left relatively intact.
-Thanks for reading and listening to me whinge, I guess. Might try to edit previous chapters first, but then I'll start working on the next one which will be finished sooner, I promise. (Not like that would be hard.) Reviews are always welcome and ALWAYS taken into consideration.