Tsunderella

Written for the 24th challenge on Mostly Lucky Star Forum. This odd crack fic is loosely based on the actual Cinderella – and a bunch of other fairy tales – more than Kagami's dream segment in the OVA. Rated T, mostly for language.

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Once upon a time there was a wealthy family called Hiiragi living in Washinomiya. The father, Tadao, was a priest at the local shrine. He had married an evil stepmother, Miki, who adored and loved three of her daughters: Inori, Matsuri, and Tsukasa. But Tsukasa had an older twin sister, Kagami, who Miki and the other sisters loathed.

Kagami's two big sisters and twin sister their mother's pets. All of them, including their mother, hated Kagami because she was more beautiful than any of them, and she had such a long, silky lilac hair which she kept in twin-tails, tied by ribbons. Her twin sister Tsukasa hated her because she was ten minutes older than her. So Kagami was made the lowest servant of the house, even lower than any paid servants.

Tsukasa, twin sister of Kagami, was the youngest. She was stupid – though not quite as stupid as Matsuri and Inori – and the dirtiest. She never thought of washing the yellow ribbon she tied her hair up with. The fact that she wiped her butt in the toilet with the ribbon didn't help. Also, she never bathed if she could avoid it. To mask the stench, she drenched herself in perfumes. She was the laziest of them all, never cleaning up or doing any chores.

Matsuri was the nastiest, crankiest, and most aggressive of all the sisters. Whenever she opened her mouth, out came insults, arguments, and defiance. Never was she able to hold a civilized conversation. Also, she was ignorant and stupid, possibly the stupidest of all the sisters. Her nose was constantly runny and she wiped it into her dirty sleeve. This was a shame, because after Kagami, she would have possibly been the prettiest of the sisters, with her golden eyes and hair.

Inori, the eldest daughter, was obsessed with her aging. Despite being only in her early twenties, she thought she was already old and that her hair was turning gray. She dyed her hair and used heavy make-up to "look younger". The toxic dyes and paints had had the opposite effect; her skin and hair had actually aged prematurely, and so she was forced to use them more and more.

Kagami had to do the worst jobs, and they kept her drudge from dawn to dusk. Every morning, she had to wake up and four o'clock to start the fires and to start preparing the breakfast. Diligently she did everything they ordered her to do, but her only payment was insults, slaps, and kicks from her sisters and spankings from her mother.

Whenever her father wasn't around, her sisters and mother also tormented Kagami in many ingenious ways. They held her down and whisked her with nettles dipped in water. They made her kneel and used her as a foot-stool. For extra fun, they sometimes hung her by her hair from the rafters, and slipped a large centipede in her trousers. Its bite doesn't leave marks, but you can guess where exactly it bites.

They give Kagami only scraps and leftovers to eat, though this was a mistake since the sisters and the mother got fat but Kagami stayed lean. They didn't give her a room of her own, so she had to curl up near the fireplace in an effort to stay warm. Often covered in cinders at the morning, her sisters gave Kagami the nickname 'Cinderella'. Never did Kagami tell anything to her father, bearing all the abuse patiently; as is the way of the Japanese people.

One morning, the evil sisters and stepmother were having breakfast and watching their favorite morning show on the crystal ball. Kagami was there as well, not eating anything, of course, as she had been ordered to manicure her sisters' feet. Not that she felt very hungry; the smell of Tsukasa's feet would make anyone lose their appetite.

From under the table she could hear the News for Evil Witches, Stepmothers, and Sisters from the crystal ball.

"So, big night tomorrow! The great ball at Royal Palace. Prince Misao is looking for a dashing pride, who will get to marry the prince and get half of the kingdom. All the young ladies in the land will be there!" the newsreader announced.

Miki, the evil stepmother, cackled evilly. "My beautiful daughters! One of you three will undoubtedly be chosen by prince Misao. You are the most beautiful, smartest, finest, and best behaving young women in the country. And our slave here –" at this point, Miki playfully kicked at Kagami's ribs "– has spent all her nights sewing your perfect dresses."

Indeed, Kagami's fingers were still wounded and hurting from the endless sewing she had been forced to do. It did not occur to Miki and the evil sisters, that Kagami sucked at sewing. Each morning, Miki had inspected each cut and seam, but she and Kagami's sisters weren't exactly stylish, so they didn't notice anything.

Of course, Kagami herself didn't have a dress. She wasn't even imagining of going to the ball. Her mother and sisters would never allow it anyway. At least she would be alone at home, practically a holiday for her. So in a way, she was looking forward for that night. She'd definitely not cry in despair because of some stupid ball.

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Finally the night of the grand ball came. Kagami was doing laundry in the back yard. The sisters and her mother had left all their filthy panties, corsets, and chemises for her to wash tonight. As if they had been collecting them for the occasion. Probably so. Before leaving, mother had spanked her "just in case".

But, doing laundry didn't involve sitting down on her aching bum, so Kagami picked up a paddle and started working. She even hummed a tone, sounding vaguely something like "Les Lavandieres Du Portugal" as she hammered at some Tsukasa's unmentionable piece of clothing hardened with filth.

Suddenly, there was a weird, jingling sound, and a large puff of rainbow-colored smoke nearby. She heard coughing from within the smoke, then, a person emerged. It was an older woman dressed in a blue cape, white frilly shirt, conical wizard's hat decorated with white stars, tight, black leather pants, and tall boots. The woman had striking, blonde hair in a ponytail which reached well over her waist. She held a flimsy-looking, pink wand decorated with fake jewels, obviously a magical wand.

Being a resident of a medieval fairy tale realm, Kagami wasn't too startled by this sudden appearance. Instead, she just frowned at the wizard, who was still coughing, and muttered, "Oh, great. What are you supposed to be? Have I met you before? Somehow …"

Kagami scratched her head. "Somehow I was expecting someone shorter, younger, and more cute. And with long blue hair. I don't know why."

The woman coughed a few more times, and was finally able to gasp, "I am your Fairy Homeroom Teacher, Kuroi-sensei!"

Due to Kagami's comment, she added, "And I am still young!", waving her wand around carelessly. A nearby tree turned into a dancing flower, wearing sunglasses, planted in a pot.

"Watch out where you point that thing!" Kagami groaned. The magical effect had barely missed her.

"Oh, sorry. Well, it'll turn back to normal at midnight," Kuroi-sensei said and shrugged her shoulders. The, she looked up to the sky. "Why do I have to be a fairy, anyway? I think I had to do it once in another tale already. Why always me?" she complained.

"Who are you talking to?"

She turned back to Kagami but seemed to ignore the question. "Anyway! Since I'm your Fairy Homeroom Teacher, I'll help you to Prince Misao's ball. Though, I kind of wanted to go myself. You know, I'm not, like, a leftover Christmas cake! Maybe Prince Misao would –"

"Not interested," Kagami rudely interrupted the blonde fairy.

"Yeah, sorry about the rambling. You are the one that I was supposed to help –"

Kagami interrupted again. "I meant I'm not interested in the ball! I don't want to go! I'm not interested in this Prince Misao either!"

"Excuse me, did you just say you're not interested!? In a prince! She's a prince, for Gensokyo's sake!" Kuroi-sensei yelled.

Kagami slapped the piece of laundry back onto the washboard and returned to her work. Stunned, Kuroi-sensei just stood there, staring at her.

Kagami sighed deeply. She only hoped this "Fairy Homeroom Teacher" would go away and leave her at peace. But she wasn't leaving. "So what if she's a prince? Is she rich?" Kagami finally asked.

"Oh, yes … or no, not that rich, for a prince … but her father promised half of a kingdom … or, rather, a barony, for her bride –"

"Yeah, right. So she's not rich. Is she a good person? A friendly, gentle person? Someone who cares about other people?"

"Umm … nnn-no, not really, I mean, I'm sure she is … somehow. I mean, she's probably not all bad …"

"Yeah, right. Why would I be interested in this moron?"

"She's a prince!"

"So she's gotten some title without any merits other than being born, by accident, into a certain family?"

"Yes! I mean, she … but … I … uhh …" Kuroi-sensei desperately thought of something to say. "She's very handsome!"

"You forgot that I know her. She's got crooked teeth. And she's rather ordinary-looking. She's flat-chested. And short. Just plain average, at best. And she's got ADHD, whatever that is. Anyway, she's childish – in other words, I don't fancy her at all!"

"B-but … she's a prince!"

"I don't care!"

Kuroi-sensei's shoulders slumped. She had been defeated. This wouldn't look good back at the Seelie Court. She might even get demoted.

Kagami ignored her and resumed her work. Kuroi-sensei stared at her for a while, until she came up with something. "Hey, I'll do all this laundry if you go to the ball!"

"You?" Kagami asked, with a sarcastic tone, not bothering to even look at the 'fairy teacher'. "Have you ever done any honest work in your life? Laundry is hard, back-breaking work. You'd kill yourself."

"Uh, I'm sure I can do it!" Kuroi-sensei claimed, though she obviously wasn't sure.

Kagami sighed once again, put down the paddle, and straightened her aching back. "Okay."

"Okay? Really!?" Kuroi-sensei gasped.

"Yeah, okay. I'll go. Not for Prince Misao, though."

"Splendid!" the fairy homeroom teacher chirped. "Do you have any watermelons here?"

Kagami raised an eyebrow. "Watermelons? You want to do watermelon-smashing or something?"

"No, but I need some material for the magic."

"Strangely enough, we do have watermelons. I'll get you one."

When Kagami returned, carrying a watermelon, she saw Kuroi-sensei crouched down at the corner of the house.

"Now what?" Kagami sighed. "Why are you kneeling in there?"

"I thought I saw a rat hole. I need animals. For, more magic, and stuff."

"Rats? RATS! Do we have rats living under our house? Ewwwww!" Kagami groaned in disgust.

"Sorry, but I have to use whatever material is available. It's your fault, actually. You don't have any cute pets or animal friends," Kuroi-sensei explained.

"I do have Gyopi!"

"Who?"

"My, uh … goldfish. It's in the pond, over there."

Kuroi-sensei clambered up and glared at Kagami. "Goldfish. Not cute at all! How do you sing a duet with a goldfish?"

"Sing a duet…? Whatever. Anything is better than rats!" Kagami exclaimed. "Here's the watermelon."

"Just place it on the ground over there. We'll need some room."

Kagami walked over to the lawn and placed the watermelon down. She glanced at Kuroi-sensei and her wand, and quickly walked away from the ground zero.

"Bibbity-bobbity-boo!" Kuroi-sensei exclaimed, and waved her magic wand at the fruit.

"What a cliché," Kagami sighed. To her amazement, though she did her best to hide it, something actually happened. Amongst a shower of sparks and rainbow-colored puffs of smoke, the watermelon started to grow and transform, until it did resemble a royal carriage, albeit one that looked exactly as if it had been carved out of a watermelon. The inside was pink and the outside green and striped. The wheels and beams were dark brown and looked as if they had been glued together from hundreds of huge watermelon seeds.

Kagami sighed deeply. "It's embarrassing to ride a watermelon. I think I'll just walk. The place is not that far from here."

"No, you can't! The rules say you have to use the carriage."

"I think you're making up rules as you go," Kagami muttered.

Kuroi-sensei-fairy wasn't listening, she walked up to the pool and lifted the wand.

"Hey, are you seriously going to use my goldfish –!" Kagami gasped, but it was too late.

The water of the pool bubbled and churned, and a weird light red horse, with scaled skin, surfaced. The horse stared at them with its bulging eyes and made a strange noise, sounding what a neigh would sound like if made by a fish.

"Eww! That's one ugly horse!" Kagami yelled.

"Hey, servant-girl, you have any idea how to harness this creature into that?" Kuroi-sensei asked, looking at the watermelon-carriage.

Kagami glared at her. "Yeah, I have done that a few times…but –"

"Great. You are set to go, then!" Kuroi-sensei exclaimed. "I guess you don't want servants transmutated from rats or cockroaches? You'll have to do without servants. Any decent Snow White has lots of cute pets!" Kuroi-sensei groaned.

"Wrong fairy tale," Kagami sighed.

"Oh, right … Little Mermaid?"

"Hardly."

"Little Red Riding Hood? …. never mind the details! The main thing is, you're ready to go!" Kuroi-sensei exclaimed. "Have fun! I shall rest back at home while–"

"No, you're doing the laundry! Besides, I'm not ready to go," Kagami noted.

"Why, you're perfect! The most beautiful washerwoman covered in cinders I've ever – oh, right!"

Kagami gritted her teeth and closed her eyes. Because she knew she'd be the next target of the crazy fairy's wand.

"Klaatu barada nikto!" Kuroi-sensei shouted, and blasted Kagami with the wand.

Kagami didn't really like Kuroi-fairy's choice of magic words, but before she could protest, it was all over already. The kerchief she had worn on her head turned into two red ribbons, her hair got cleaned, brushed, and arranged into twin tails, and her clothes turned into a long, red skirt under a white kimono jacket. A pair of geta, wooden sandals, appeared on her bare feet.

"This is a shrine maiden outfit!" Kagami groaned. "I can't go there dressed like this!"

Kuroi-sensei looked puzzled. "Wasn't it a cosplay party?"

"No! And even if it was, don't call it cosplay!" Kagami yelled.

"Oh, okay. Let's try again … Abracadabra!"

Now Kagami was dressed in a emerald-colored top with a plunging neckline – a low plunging neckline – which left her shoulders bare, and long gloves and skirt of the same color. A miniskirt, that is, which was way too short for her liking. At least she had long, light blue stockings which covered her legs well above her knees. As she looked down she also saw her sandals had changed into a pair of sparkling crystal or glass pumps, with a few tiny goldfish swimming inside the miniature aquarium within each heel.

"No, stop! This will do! I don't want any more magic on me, thank you," Kagami quickly said, afraid that the next attempt would be even more revealing. Or even weirder.

Absent-mindedly, Kuroi-sensei-fairy put the wand back into her belt while staring at Kagami. "I've almost run out of magic for tonight anyway. Actually …"

The way Kuroi-sensei was staring at her made Kagami suddenly feel uneasy.

"Damn, you are hot! …I mean, listen, if you didn't want to go to the ball, you can stay here … with me. I wouldn't mind!" the teacher-fairy exclaimed.

"Actually, I think I do want to go to the ball," Kagami quickly replied, and started walking towards the carriage.

"No, really, it's okay. You don't have to go if you don't want!" Kuroi-sensei said, taking a step towards Kagami. Her eyes were bulging as she ogled Kagami and reflectively, her hands reached towards her.

"Of course I have to go! It's … it's the rules!"

Before Kuroi-sensei-fairy could catch Kagami, she jumped inside the carriage and pulled the door close. Kuroi-sensei-fairy sighed deeply and her shoulders slumped again. "Darn … remember, the magic ends at midnight!"

"I guessed it would."

"Well. Good luck! I'll be going, then, since –"

"No. You promised to do the laundry!" Kagami groaned.

Kuroi-sensei glared at the large pile of dirty laundry and reached for her wand.

"Stop! You can't do it with magic! It'll all become dirty again at midnight," Kagami groaned.

"Aww, man, I hate this job sometimes!" Kuroi-sensei groaned.

"Sorry, but you brought this on yourself! And I'd better go; otherwise I won't even get there before midnight."

Kagami realized she had to come out of the carriage and into the driver's seat, because she didn't have a driver. While changing the seat, she also checked how the goldfish inside her glass pumps were doing. To her relief, they weren't real fish but realistic fakes. At least this fairy wasn't cruel to animals. Not too cruel, anyway.

Kuroi-sensei was now sulking, and still glaring at the pile of laundry as if everything was its fault, and didn't pay attention to her.

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Kagami drove the weird carriage through the night. "Why do I bring this ridiculous carriage with me?" she muttered. "I could simply have ridden that horse …"

Though, the horse smelled fishy and its scales looked slimy. Besides, she didn't have a saddle or reins for it.

At one point, she saw a little cabin by the side of the road. There were three bears, a big one, a smaller one, and a cub, on the porch, abusing a little girl with long golden hair. "Yech," Kagami gasped in disgust. She decided not to intervene, and hurried past them.

In other words, nothing extraordinary happened on the way, and soon enough she was at Prince Misao's palace. It was brightly lit both inside, and outside with lanterns and fire pots.

Since Kusakabe's kingdom wasn't very large or rich, a prince's palace was no Versailles. Compared to Hiiragi's house, it was impressive, of course. Their entire house could fit into the ballroom easily.

The stable girls, who parked the guests' carriages, stared wide-eyed at Kagami and her weird vehicle. They looked a bit afraid to approach the pink, scaled horse with bulging eyes, until Kagami got off of the seat and handed them a few coins she found in her pearl-encrusted handbag, transmutated from her simple coin purse. "The horse is odd, but not dangerous," Kagami said, though she wasn't quite sure of it herself. She didn't have the heart to tell the girls that the silver coins would probably turn back to copper at midnight.

As Kagami approached the palace doors, they were opened. A gust of hot air and smells of alcohol, food, sweat and hundreds of perfumes struck her. A man dressed in a colorful tabard, decorated with Kusakabe coat of arms, stopped Kagami at the threshold. "Welcome, Your Ladyship, to Prince Misao's ball. Which title and name shall I announce?"

Kagami wasn't expecting this question. "Oh, I don't know," Kagami replied. "Just say … Hiiragi, washerwoman. Or something."

The Court Marshal – for this was the man's title – raised an eyebrow, but escorted Kagami in and shouted, "Your Ladyship Hiiragi Washerwoman, Or Something!"

Kagami thought that maybe she should have gave a false name, but it was too late now. Besides, she thought her sisters and mother would be too stupid to realize it was her. Just a few people glanced at her. Kagami guessed that since she wasn't announced as a duchess or similar, she wasn't considered important by the other guests. As she walked in, her glass pumps made a tingling sound on the beautiful white marble floor of the great ballroom. This did attract some attention, including a shout of, "Nice shoes!" from some girl. Nobody else had shoes like this. Now, as Kagami thought of it, the idea of glass shoes made no sense. She could only hope the pumps were magical and shatterproof, in case she would have to dance or something.

All the young ladies in the land were indeed at Misao's grand ball. Apparently they were competing on how revealing dresses they could wear. Kagami's dress was in fact one of the least revealing. So at least she had plenty of things to look at, though the stench of all the cheap perfumes made her head ache. Also, there was a large buffet table, a cake buffet, and servants serving glasses of pink champagne. Naturally, that's where Kagami headed first. She wasn't used to abundance so she was soon full and couldn't even taste all of the cakes.

Otherwise, she really wasn't in a mood for partying. After partaking in the buffet, she decided she had "done her duty" and headed for the exit, dodging all the young ladies in the land, the Seven Dwarves, Three Little Pigs, a valiant tailor, a Beauty, a Beast, Hansel, Gretel, one Big Bad Wolf in drag, and a Rumpelstiltskin arguing with Koschei the Deathless.

Kagami noticed a particularly bad smell and recognized it as her nasty twin sister Tsukasa. Soon she saw the three three other Hiiragi sisters and their mother Miki in their ugly dresses. They were impatiently waiting for something. For a moment, Kagami wondered what it was, but then she remembered that Prince Misao was supposed to be here, looking for a bride. "Oh yeah, that Prince. I'll pity her if she chooses one of my family..." Kagami muttered.

Her family members didn't seem to recognize her, and, as Kagami had guessed, had ignored the announcement at the door. So she was able to pass them without any problems.

However, before Kagami could get out, a group of horns in the balcony played an ear-splitting fanfare. The revelers stopped and the ballroom went quiet. The court marshal shouted: "Her Royal Highness, Prince Misao Kusakabe, Archduchess of Kantō, Countess of Washimiya, Baroness of Saitama!"

Royal guards came in first and forced the guests to make room. Everyone, except Kagami, curtseyed as Prince Misao gracefully walked in. She was dressed in a golden coat over a white shirt, baggy trousers, boots, and a small coronet dangled on the side of her head. She looked ever as stupid as Kagami remembered.

"Hiiragi!" prince Misao screamed, and dashed at – as they first thought – at the three Hiiragi sisters. Instead, she ran past them, and jumped on Kagami. "Hiiragi, you came! I knew you would!"

"You were not supposed to recognize me," Kagami muttered, not responding to Misao's hug.

"We were in the same class in middle school! Of course I'd recognize you!" Misao shouted.

"Yeah, right. Whatever. Get off of me," Kagami sighed.

The three other Hiiragi sisters still didn't seem to realize that Kagami was their sister nor the fact that Prince Misao was calling her 'Hiiragi'. They only stared at Prince Misao and her with contempt. Miki's eyes narrowed. "Damn! Who's that girl?" she hissed.

"I don't know, but she's way too pretty," Tsukasa growled.

"She's getting too close to our Prince!" Inori exclaimed.

"That's it. I'm going to eliminate her!" Miki growled.

Matsuri interrupted. "Wait a moment, it looks she is trying to get away from Prince Misao. Let's see if she does."

Misao had been pushed back by Kagami and only now the Prince seemed to look at her. "Oh, wow! You look amazing!" Misao gasped.

"Yeah, whatever. I'm going home," Kagami said, but the Prince jumped on her again and clung onto her even tighter. "Let go of me!" Kagami groaned and struggled to pry Misao off of her.

"Yeah, let go of Hiiragi-san! She doesn't like to be hugged," someone said, and started pulling Misao away from Kagami. Both of them turned their heads and saw a princess with orange hair and a shiny, large forehead. The terrifying Princess Ayano of Minegishi! Or so it was told that she was terrifying, if she got angry, that is.

"Hi, Aya!" Misao chirped – she was a childhood friend of Ayano – but continued talking to Kagami. "Anyway, Hiiragi! You can't leave yet! You can't go before drinking a few glasses of champagne! Have you tried the cake buffet? The band starts playing soon! I'll dance with you!"

"Tough girls don't dance," Kagami muttered. Besides, she wasn't at all sure about her dancing skills. The only thing resembling a dance she had ever done was a cheerleading routine.

Lady Ayano had grabbed Prince Misao's other hand and was trying to drag her away, while Prince Misao was still clinging on Kagami's arm. Kagami ignored both of them and looked around, hoping to find an escape route. The band was just coming onto the stage. Kagami remembered seeing them on the crystal ball at times: this was a locally popular school band called Misago Tea Time. They played bubbly medieval pop, which wasn't Kagami's favorite style of music.

There was some sort of a commotion nearby, at the main door. The guards apparently tried to make room for another important guest. The court marshal shouted, "The much honoured Konata Izumi, the Lady Lairdship of Akihabara, Nipponbashi, and Ōsu, the Legendary Girl A, and the Lady Warden of the Royal Privies!"

When Kagami saw this lady, she forgot everything else and felt blood rushing into her head. She was afraid she would get a nosebleed right there. For this lady was cuter than anything Kagami had ever seen. She had large, bright emerald eyes staring back at Kagami, an impossibly long, deep blue hair which reached her heels, complete with an ahoge standing on top of her head. A small, bud-like mouth, a cute small nose, and a cute mole on her left cheek. True, she was short, childlike, and flat-chested, but … Kagami was struck speechless and felt her cheeks burning. She was wearing a red miniskirt, a white frilly dress, a red ribbon around her neck, and a sword on her belt.

This incarnation of cuteness immediately walked right up to Kagami and took hold of her hand. Prince Misao was so surprised that she let go of Kagami's arm. At the same moment, the drummer of the band started counting, "one, two, three," and they began playing their hit song "Firedrake! Girls".

Lady Konata Izumi dragged Kagami onto the dance floor, before she had any time to protest. Also, she had lost all willpower to resist for some reason. It had happened at the instant this girl took hold of her hands. Kagami felt her cheeks burning and knew she was blushing. It wasn't like she was embarrassed, this time. Though soon she had a reason to be embarrassed as she almost tripped onto her own feet and also managed to trample the smaller girl's feet with her hard glass shoes. The noble girl winced in pain but politely didn't say anything, yet.

The song ended, and the girl helped Kagami away from the crowd, into the next room where there were less people. Here, Kagami finally managed to gasp, "W-who are you?" Her voice broke and part of the question came out as an embarrassing high-pitched crow. It was a useless question too, because Kagami had not forgotten the girl's name.

"Konata Izumi," Konata said, grabbed Kagami's hand again, and shook it. "Pleased to meet you, lady …?"

"Cinderella! No, I mean Ka-Kagami Hiiragi … Kagami. Just Kagami!" Kagami stuttered. Every time Konata touched her, her head began spinning and her heart started to race.

"Kagamin," Konata said, and smiled charmingly at her, her eyes shining with excitement. "What's a lady like you doing in a place like this? Did you like our dance?"

"I don't! I mean, I just … you just grabbed me and it's not like I wanted to dance with you, and sorry that I stepped on your foot … a-and …" Kagami stopped talking and glared at the short blunette. What was she so excited about?

"I have found a real tsundere!" Konata cooed. "And a beeeeautiful one, too!" she added. Then she grabbed Kagami's hands again. And again, Kagami's arms hand turned into macaroni and she was unable to resist. "I love you, Kagamin!" Konata said, staring Kagami deeply in the eyes, playing up the voice and expression to the fullest.

The shock returned Kagami to her senses, and she yanked her hands away. "Don't say things like that! We've just met! We have been friends for, like, two minutes! You can't just –"

"Awwwww!" Konata chirped. "You said we are friends! Yes, Kagamin. I do want to be friends with you! At first."

"I didn't mean – listen, you twerp, we are not friends! A-at least not before I know you better. Who the heck are you, anyway?" Kagami groaned.

Konata looked around. She noticed that Prince Misao was struggling with Lady Ayano in the ballroom, trying to get to Kagami, and she also saw three girls and an older woman staring at them with contempt. "Let's go somewhere and get acquainted, then? Let's get to know each other?"

This sounded far too sensible, coming from this weird blue-haired squirt, but there was no way Kagami could resist the Goddess of Cuteness still staring at her eyes. "O-okay, I guess …" she gasped.

Konata lead her through the back door and into the garden. Weakly, Kagami tried to protest when she took her into a place behind the hedges, where nobody could see them. But she just couldn't resist. Her mind was completely full of this cute girl and that she actually wanted to be alone with her, as much and as long as possible.

She couldn't even resist when the girl wrapped her arms around her neck, pulled her into a tight embrace, and kissed her onto the lips. Not resisting turned into willful participation. Excited by the smell and taste of Konata, and since everything had happened so fast, Kagami hadn't even had time to get flustered or think about "first kiss" or anything. It didn't take long before they were French kissing, rolling on the soft grass on the ground, and doing almost everything a pair of girls could do without taking off any clothes. It took a quarter of an hour or so before Kagami had had enough – for the moment – and came back into her senses.

"Wasn't that great, Kagamin?" Konata whispered.

"Uhh … y-yeah, it was … but completely inappropriate! We can't just go and … make out, when we have known each other for just a few minutes!"

"Why not?"

"Why, it's indecent. And dangerous! What if I had been a yandere or something?"

"Nah, I knew you were a tsundere."

Kagami clambered up and helped Konata on her feet as well. "Now, don't call me tsundere! You don't know anything about me! And you are a noble, aren't you?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"We are … I am … I mean, I'm not a noble. I'm probably just a diversion for you, a plaything to be used and then thrown away. I-it's not like you would marry me or something!"

Konata's eyes blinked open and for a moment she just stared at Kagami. Then, she grinned. "Wow! This came so sudden … but of course, Kagamin. I will! Yes!"

"You … yes, what?"

"Yes, I will marry you, Kagamin!"

Kagami's jaw dropped. "I wasn't proposing!"

"Sure you were! So, when is the wedding? What kind of party do you want? I'm sure Prince Misao will lend this place if we ask."

"Now just wait a minute!"

"Or is my dad's place better? The palace in Izumi prefecture is quite nice."

"Listen to me!" Kagami glanced at her wrist sundial and noticed that it was only a few minutes to midnight. "Why now! I needed more time!" she groaned.

"Sure. Think about it a few days. After all, it's one of the most important days of your life. We want it to be the one of the best days, too, don't we, darling?"

Kagami didn't know what to say, because there was so much she had to say. Needed to say. "I'm not talking about – I need to talk you about – I-I don't even know how I feel!"

Kagami turned around and started to run back inside. Konata was stunned for a few seconds, but then followed her. And she was fast; she almost caught Kagami at the back door. "Aww, my girl's playing hard to get?" she chirped, but then Kagami slammed the door at her face and she had to stop to push it open again.

Meanwhile, Lady Ayano had stolen Prince Misao to herself, fending off any other ladies who would have liked to approach. The other Hiiragi sisters and Miki kept glaring at them and whispering to each other.

Finally, Miki pulled out something from her handbag and walked to Lady Ayano.

"Excuse me, Lady, I heard you like apples?" she said, put out her hand and offered Ayano an apple. It was a juicy and delicious-looking one, with shining red cheeks.

Before Ayano could even consider accepting the gift, a twin-tailed girl running through the ballroom, with her glass shoes plinking at each step, bumped into Miki as she went past.

The apple slipped from Miki's hand and rolled on the floor, ending up at Prince Misao's feet. "Three-second rule!" the Prince yelled, snatched the apple from the floor and took a large bite. "Mm, delici–!"

Misao never finished that word, since she died before she could. Miki's poison was terribly fast and effective. Misao instantly turned as white as snow (her hair was already black as ebony), and started to fall, but Ayano caught her onto her arms. "Prince Misao!" she gasped. There was a collective gasp of surprise, and everyone went quiet. Even the band stopped playing their upbeat gaillarde 'Frumenty wa okazu'.

"She's dead! Prince Misao is dead!" Ayano screamed.

This stopped Kagami momentarily. She turned around, and noted, "Well, good riddance. I'm going home." Konata had caught her and was holding her arm.

"Oh, you're so cold, Kagamin," Konata whined. "Misa-chan died! Aren't you at all shocked?"

"Bah, I bet she's going to get resurrected somehow. It always happens. Especially if it's someone annoying who dies," Kagami explained. "And Misao is … … anyway! As I said, I'm going now. I absolutely have to be at home before midnight!"

"A curfew? Are your parents strict?" Konata asked, hanging onto Kagami's sleeve.

"You could say that. If you wanted to make a huge understatement. Now, let go of me!"

"Aww, Kagamin, the evening is still young. I didn't even have a chance to have a slower dance with you. And I do want to know you better. Who knows, maybe we will even –"

Kagami wasn't really listening, because she had checked her wrist sundial again and her time was seriously running out. She yanked her arm free and started running.

"My bride! My bride is escaping! Stop her!" Konata yelled.

The Court Marshal didn't react fast enough and Kagami managed to slip through the main door. She stumbled on the steps, though, and one of her glass shoes dropped. Ignoring it, she limped to her watermelon-carriage, jumped onto the driver's seat, and ushered Gyopi-horse into a gallop.

Konata got out but all she saw was the backside of the carriage, disappearing around a bend in the road. Or not quite all – she also noticed the glass shoe and picked it up. Her first instinct was to smell the shoe but a few other guests were watching so she decided to do it later.

"My timid bride, like a scared deer. I shall find you and marry you, Kagamin!" Konata vowed.

She knew it wouldn't be too hard, because she knew the girl's name and what she looked like. So Konata wouldn't have to try to fit the shoe to all the young girls in the land.

No, nobody else would put their foot into a shoe her Kagamin had worn!

デリミタ デリミタ デリミタ

Konata spent the night at Prince Misao's palace. Being a noble, she was entitled to full hospitality. Next morning, she heard that Miki Hiiragi and her daughters were in the castle jail. They had been arrested as suspects for Prince Misao's murder. Not very surprising, since mother Hiiragi had handed the poisoned apple to Ayano with dozens of eyewitnesses around.

Konata gathered her servants and guards and rode to Hiiragi farm. She told her entourage to stay back, however, and walked to the back yard by herself.

Kagami was indeed there, though her nice dress was gone and she was just a simple servant girl, a washerwoman, doing the laundry. She didn't look very happy about it.

"Yo, Kagamin!" she greeted her.

Kagami looked up, frowned, and returned back to her work. Konata walked right next to her and stared at her, without saying anything.

Finally, Kagami sighed, stopped working, and said, "So? Now you see who I really am. I'm not a noble. Just a witch's daughter. So what are you doing here? Do you want the other glass shoe?"

Kagami still had one of the glass shoes which for some inexplicable reason had not disappeared at midnight. And she saw Konata was carrying the other one.

"I meant it when I said I'd marry you," Konata simply answered.

"Who said I want to marry you? Despite all the shit at home, I don't want a palace. I don't want riches. Heck, your life is worse than mine! Never having any privacy, with servants constantly around – how many of them you have in your bed to warm you up? – all the feasts, the crap you have to eat –"

"So it's all about food, Kagamin?" Konata interrupted. "Don't worry, if you gain a few kilos, that won't change your body at all. You'd still be lean and mean –"

"Bugger off and stop pestering me! I didn't vote for you!" Kagami yelled, threatening the blue-haired noble with the laundry paddle.

Konata stared at Kagami using her best 'puppy eyes'. "What do I need to do to convince you? Order you to marry me?"

"Everyone, come and see the violence inherent in the system! I'm being repressed!" Kagami shouted. But she was already having second thoughts. Not because Konata was rich and noble and practically was asking her to marry her. No, it was something else…

While Kagami was thinking why, exactly, she was seriously considering it, Konata sighed deeply, reached into her bag, and took out an apple. One that had already been bitten once.

"W-what?" Kagami gasped.

"I took it, because I guessed it might come to this. If there's no other way –" Konata dodged as Kagami dashed forward and tried to snatch the apple from her hand, and quickly took a bite.

"Konata!" Kagami screamed in desperation. She caught Konata onto her arms just as she turned pale … and died.

"How – how dare you to have an indirect kiss with that idiot Misao!" Kagami groaned. She fell onto her knees and cradled the pale bluenette on her arms.

Kagami wasn't too worried, because she knew that in fantasy land, the dead could be revived. However, it wasn't always an easy task. "Damn it! Do I have to go on a journey to seek the Fountain of Life or something?!" she groaned.

There was a puff of rainbow-colored smoke, and Kuroi-sensei-fairy emerged again.

"You!" Kagami yelled. "You didn't do the laundry!"

"Yeah, sorry about that. But I had an emergency call from Little Red Riding Hood. Do you know how difficult it is –"

"No, I don't, and I don't care!" Kagami interrupted rudely. "You owe me one. Tell me how to revive this idiot here, who took poison!"

Kuroi-sensei seemed to think about it. "Well … only true love can bring her back into life!"

Kagami glared at her. "What, not the Water of Life? Or something a bee picks after it has flown over the Sun and under the Moon? Or I'd have to find the egg which holds Konata's soul –"

Kagami would have been more comfortable with those.

The homeroom fairy wagged a finger at Kagami. "No, love! That means … you know?"

Kagami sighed. She knew perfectly well what that meant. "Well, I can't do it if you're watching!" she finally groaned. "Go away!"

"Aww, but I wanted to see this!"

"No! Shoo!"

Muttering to herself, Kuroi-sensei disappeared into another puff of rainbow-colored smoke. Kagami waited until the smoke had dispersed into the wind, before she turned back to Konata.

"Stupid Konata."

Kagami looked around once more, just to be sure that nobody was watching, bent down, and placed a small peck on Konata's cold lips.

But nothing happened. Konata still looked pale and didn't appear to breathe.

"Damn it! What do I have to do?" Kagami groaned. "What is true love?"

For some strange reason, Kagami's eyes were leaking water. A drop or two fell on Konata's cheeks. "Stupid Konata … I hate you!"

She bent down and kissed her cold lips again. And again. Finally, she pinched her jaw, pulled her mouth open, and brought her tongue into the play. To her surprise, Konata suddenly responded, threw her arms around Kagami, and pulled her into a passionate French kiss. Kagami's head was spinning and all she could do was to return the kiss, until Konata finally pulled her mouth away to take a breath.

"K-Konata … you are alive again …" Kagami stuttered.

"Nah, I wasn't even poisoned. I was just pretending," Konata whispered.

Kagami pushed her away, jumped up, yelled, "I'll show you how it feels!," and took a large bite of the apple.

Konata also stood up, patting dust off of her jacket, and explained, "It isn't the same apple, silly Kagamin. I wouldn't risk my life like that."

Kagami spat out the piece of apple and threw the rest at Konata, who dodged. "You … I'll spank you!"

"Oo, kinky!" Konata chirped as Kagami grasped her.

Kagami really wanted to spank Konata, but somehow they only ended up making out again.

And tonight, they had the entire house to themselves.

デリミタ デリミタ デリミタ

And they all lived happily ever after – maybe. Probably.

By the way, Misao's hair is black. It's canon. Anime simply had it wrong. Otherwise, Misao lacks all the qualities of Snow White. ("Oh, how I wish that I had a daughter that had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony.") And, wrong fairy tale.

Gaillarde is renaissance dance music. Misago (ミサ後) in the name of the band (Misago Mead Time) means "after mass", i.e. after church service.

I would have liked to use the Little Red Riding Hood and a few other tales as well, but the deadline came up. (Like, "Why is your booty so large, Kagamin?")