The Knight Of Mahora Academy
Period 10: Night In Kyoto
Sorry if the Kansai accent thing gets a little annoying. I read up and tried to read the speech patterns of people from that region and I could only compare it to Southern or New York accents. And being from the south, I just used the way I heard people talk around me for reference. So please don't be too objective of it.
Holy Crap, it was so awesome to see Negi again! We didn't even get a good look at his face but fucking hell he was so damn awesome with Magia Erebea.
Negi, Setsuna and Naruto barged through the paper flaps that separated the girls changing room from the bath. They were ready for just about anything but when they actually arrived...
Asuna struggled to keep her clothes on as a bunch of crazy little monkeys started to try and rip them off. She kicked one of them off her leg, "What the hell is going on?!"
Konoka saw everyone that walked in on their embarrassing scene and cried a little. They knew it must have been bad when Konoka was actually embarrassed, "Nooooo~! Close your eyes! Don't look!"
The boys were completely taken back from the sight of the two lovely ladies in nothing but their underwear. Naruto tried to look away but the sight was pretty much already burnt into his eyes.
Naruto clapped his hand over his eyes. And he did the same to Negi, causing him to freak out and flail his arms in surprise. Too bad he didn't have a third arm to use as a cover because he didn't cover the eyes of the most paranoid person among the group.
Setsuna had a menacing, furious look on her face as she watched the little Shikigamis strip her mistress down to her undergarments. Her fingers started to curl around her Yunagi as a malice content exuded off her, "You miserable little mongrels...what the hell do you think you are doing to Ojou-sama?!"
Negi and Chamo looked at the pale-skinned beauty in shock at her readiness to slay several innocent animals under the control of another Mage.
Asuna's eyes widened while she tried to hold her clothes together, "Sakurazaki-San?! Is that a real sword?!"
Naruto just sighed. Seriously. A freakin' workaholic.
Setsuna took a step forward and readied herself to wipe the familiar spirits out of existence. But Negi panicked at the sight of her mad march and stepped in her way, "W-w-wait Sakurazaki-San! Stop! Please don't kill the little monkeys!"
Setsuna stop and looked down at the slightly shorter teacher that blocked her. She blinked in surprise, "Wh-huh?"
"I think the little monkeys are just being controlled against their will by one of the local mages! There isn't any need for you to take their lives because of it!" Negi had righteous little tears in his eyes, "Please spare them!"
Naruto just shook his head in disappointment and pushed Setsuna forward, "Now is not the time to worry Negi! Just stop them-"
They all looked up to see Konoka being lifted off her feet and being carried away by the little simians. Setsuna's eyes shrunk in horror and she tried to dash forward, "Ojou-"
But pushing Negi out of the way and causing Naruto to fall forward from the change in resistance meant she caught her foot and fell forward along with the blond boy. And in the fall their towels came undone.
Setsuna landed on her arms and looked up to see Konoka being taken away. "Kono-chan!"
Naruto heard that desperate yell and had no time to just lay on the floor. He pushed himself up to follow...
And he caught a complete, uncovered look at Setsuna's butt and...other places. He was completely stunned by the unexpected sight and felt a red blush burn over his face.
And in the position he was in, he was showing his unmentionables to anyone behind him. Luckily for him everybody in the room was more concerned about Konoka and weren't paying him any mind. Well...almost everyone...
"Aw man." Chamo whined as he covered the unpleasant view with his paws, "I'm in the middle of all this exposed female flesh and all I got is guy taint."
Setsuna didn't notice anything that was happening around her as she was just focused on her kidnapped charge. She dashed off the floor and headed back into the bath while grabbing her blade. As Konoka yelled for help, Setsuna grabbed the handle of her sword.
"Shinmei-Ryū Ougi: Hyaku Retsu Ouka Zan!"
Setsuna swung her blade around her in a circle and sliced each of the monkey Shikigami in half. As the little paper spirits dissolved back into their base form, Setsuna held Konoka carefully in a one arm hold.
The others in the dressing room finally came back out into the bathing area in time to see the fight finish. Naruto noticed a presence hiding itself in the trees and kicked a rock in its direction. But even with his swift strike the spy still got away in time.
Setsuna looked in the side of her eye to see the assailant had already disappeared and she was ready to chase after them. But then the girl she cherished most in the world looked up at her in shock, "Secchan?"
Konoka felt a big smile grow on her face, "Y-you saved me from all of those little monkeys didn't you? Thank you so much Secchan!"
Setsuna's face was flustered and she couldn't find the right words to say to the pretty young Konoe girl. And since she panicked, she opted for the quickest and easiest method of escape.
She dropped the girl into the water and sprinted back towards the inn without looking back. Konoka popped out of the water and watched as her oldest friend ran off without saying a word. She felt so heartbroken as she was left sitting in the warm bath water.
The other members of the group looked down at their usually smiling friend and felt disheartened at the pained look on her face.
Konoka sat on the couch in the lobby of the Arashi-Yama Inn with the others and wearing the Yukata given to them by the staff. She had a sad expression as her roommates looked down at her in concern. She looked up at them with a weak smile as she thought back to the days long gone, "While I was growing up here in Kyoto...I...didn't really have a lot of friends."
She looked down at her lap as she started fiddling with her hands, "I was raised in a big ol' house up there in the mountains. My Dad was always really busy with work so I didn't get to see him a lot unless I wanted to interrupt him. And my Mom was always helping him with his job until she got sick a few years later and couldn't work anymore. And the servants around the house were always so formal and respecting that they couldn't imagine the idea of playing with me...so I was really...lonely in the big house."
Asuna sat right besides her as her best friend told her everything about her past. Negi was standing in front of her as he listened to her story with a sympathetic look on his face. And Naruto was leaning against a vending machine and had a thoughtful look at the sadness in her voice.
"And then..." Konoka perked up a little and gave a fond smile, "When I was just a little kid, my Aunties came for a visit to see my Dad. And they brought another little girl with them to my house."
They immediately realized who she meant when she spoke of another girl in her life.
"Secchan was the first real friend I ever had. She was given the duty to protect me and be my guardian while she was practicing her kendo. But more than anything else she was the girl that showed me how wonderful it is to be friends with someone so dear to you." Konoka felt a warm feeling spread through her heart when she remembered how much those old memories meant to her.
Then her smile slowly fell, "But then, when we were playing outside of the mansion, I fell into a river and got carried down by the current. And even though I was being carried away, Secchan ran down the bank of it the entire time and jumped in to save me. She grabbed me before I started to drown but she couldn't swim against the current either."
The people listening to her felt an icy chill run through their stomachs at the cheerful girl's near-death experience.
"But my Dad dived into the river and saved us. I was so glad. But Secchan...she wouldn't stop crying. She kept blaming herself for everything that happened, saying that she was a failure and it was her fault that I almost died. I tried to tell her otherwise but...she was so upset."
Konoka felt some tears roll down her cheeks, "After that my Dad got me admitted to Mahora and I started living there. That's when I met Asuna and everyone else." Konoka grabbed Asuna's hand and smiled at her as the bell-wearing girl rubbed her hand supportively, "But around the time I started middle school, I found out Secchan transferred to Mahora as well. I wanted to reconcile with her but...she seemed so distant from the girl I remember..."
Konoka took a long exhale and wiped the tears out of her eyes. She looked up at her friends with a smile, "I always wanted to say something to her but...I was so scared that I had hurt her and mad her angry with me." She wiped her face and looked at all of them in worry, "I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go on like that. It' just-"
Naruto bent down a little and held her shoulders, looking her directly in the eye. He gave her a warm, understanding smile that told her it was all right to cry, "It's all right Konoka. You don't have to apologize for anything. We understand."
Konoka looked at his compassionate smile and felt like all the emotions she left pent up didn't need to be pushed down anymore. She wanted to say more but felt her voice catch, knowing that if she kept talking then she probably wouldn't be able to stop herself from crying. Some more tears came up in her eyes and she tried to wipe them away before they started to fall. Asuna hugged her best friend and rubbed her back to help calm her down.
Negi walked forward, "Come on Konoka-San, I'll show you back to your room."
Konoka sniffed her nose and nodded her head, "H-hai. Thank you Negi-kun."
Negi and Konoka started making their way back to Group 5's room. Naruto and Asuna were left leaning on the wall in the lobby as they watched the poor girl walk off with the little Welsh boy.
Asuna looked conflicted and unsure about what to say, "Konoka...has been my best friend since as long as I can remember...whenever I had a problem or something I couldn't do by myself or if I just needed an ear I could bitch to, she was there for me." She looked down and shook her head dissapointedly, "But I never once thought about doing the same for her."
Naruto looked at the orange-haired girl as she poured her heart out to him, "I always thought Konoka was like some unfazed, beautiful, perfect girl that could handle any problem or concern she heard because that was just her nature. But that was the first time I ever heard her say anything about her past. And that was the first time I've seen her cry."
Asuna looked so disheartened and stared down at the floor in shame, "I'm a horrible friend."
"No you're not." Naruto said almost immediately as he nudged her shoulder, "She just told you something near and dear to her heart. Something she's been so afraid to admit to anyone in years. And she only got the strength to tell us all of that because you were by her side helping her. It doesn't matter that she kept that locked up for so long. It matters that you were there for her when she needed you the most."
He smiled at her, "I think that makes you a pretty awesome friend."
Asuna looked at him before giving a small, considerate smile, "Thanks Whiskers."
They stayed silent for a moment as they thought about what they needed to do next.
Asuna looked at him, "Why did they try to take Konoka?"
Naruto shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know. Konoka's dad is the leader of the Kansai association. Maybe they thought about taking her away before attacking us? Or maybe there was something else." He thought for a moment about why they would want to steal the plucky girl away so quickly, "Konoka is the daughter of Eishun-San and the granddaughter of the Ol'Geezer. Status and heritage like that would make her equal to a princess in Mundus Magicus. Plus she has the potential to be a Mage."
Asuna looked at him questioningly, "Really? Konoka could be a Mage?"
"Yeah. I mean her magical potential has leaked out a bit but I think she could have more hidden power deep inside her. Like latent ability. It was dormant when I first arrived here but I noticed she's got a little magic power unconsciously coming off her at random times." He looked over at Asuna, "Any idea how she could have tapped into it?"
Asuna thought for a moment before her face twisted in realization, "That stupid rat tried to make a Pactio and got Konoka to kiss Negi on the cheek."
Naruto nodded his head, "Yeah. That would do it."
"Well whatever. If I have to I'll just have to help you and Negi with whatever's bothering you."
"Oh really? You sure you won't need that little headband of yours to help?"
Asuna blushed a little when he said that and looked off to the side, "Um, well, actually...I won't need to worry about that."
Naruto raised an eyebrow in surprise. She brought that raggedy old thing with her to Kyoto? Seriously? He actually felt kind of touched by that.
Asuna stood off the wall and looked at him in concern, "Answer me truthfully; can we keep her safe?" She looked really worried about his answer, "I mean yeah we dealt with Eva-chan trying to bite Negi but she was over-the-top and super hammy. These guys look like they are gonna do whatever they can to catch her while we're off guard. Can we keep her safe?"
Naruto looked at her as she showed how frightful she was for her friend's safety. He looked at her thoughtfully, "We'll do our best. We can't promise anything on either side but we can do everything we can to protect her. I thought this was just gonna be another simple mission but this looks like its more serious then I believed." He looked down with a far off look in his eyes, "I should be more used to that now."
"Is that how you got all those scars?"
"You saw those?"
"Of course I did Whiskers. I'm not blind." She looked at him sternly for a moment before looking to the side uncomfortably, "How did you get all of those?"
Naruto smiled, "Boxing."
Asuna was surprised by that answer, "S-Seriosuly?"
"Of course not Bells. Did you ever see Rocky with stuff like that?" He shook his head and laughed, "Nah, I got them from fighting and jobs like this over the years. So trust me, I'll do everything I can to protect you and everyone from harm."
Asuna blinked before scoffing and looking at him dryly, "Me? Seriously?" She shook her head, "You might be delusional from all the hot air Whiskers. I thought you would just want to leave me off at the side while you take care of business."
"Asuna. Look at me."
Asuna looked up at the whiskered blond when he said her name so strong and clearly. He had the utmost serious look she had ever seen on his face and was looking her directly in the eyes, "I promise...no matter how bad things might get or how far away you are, just call on me and I'll come as fast as I can. Believe me."
Asuna saw the complete faith, certainty and confidence in his eyes about being able to help her if she needed it. Over the last two weeks she had only seen him make silly faces, act stupid and tease Negi like an immature older brother. She had no idea he could look so mature.
She realized she was still quiet and pushed his face away. She looked off with a blush, "Y-yeah, got it Whiskers. I'll make sure to do that."
Naruto still had the serious look on his face even while his cheek was covering his eye, "Okay."
Asuna stopped the conversation there and ran off to find Negi, trying to forget the awkward moment she just had. Naruto rubbed his cheek and smiled as she ran down the hall.
She was pretty cute when she blushed. Wonder why?
Setsuna stood up on her toes and hooked the barrier note against the overhead of the door. The notes should keep Shikigami out and stop another incident like the one they faced an hour earlier. She was worried but just kept focused on the duty at hand.
"Need some help?"
Setsuna looked over her shoulder at the blond teen that smiled and waved up at her. She just looked back at her task, "Hello Sensei. Can I help you with something?"
"No. I just think that we should set up some barrier spells as well to make sure we know if someone is intruding."
"I don't know any warding enchantments like that."
"I do." Naruto said as he took out a pen and started drawing the runes for a barrier spell on the wall, "You start picking up a few things when you work with so many other people who always plan ahead."
Setsuna was actually surprised when she saw her playful sensei start setting up an advanced enchantment. She had no idea he knew such extensive Onmyōdō.
Naruto smiled and put the cap back on his pen, "Done. And I set some up over the other exits too. If anyone passes through this point with explicit intent to harm someone in here, I'll know." He looked at the runes he had written into the wall and smiled up at the Shinmei-Ryū girl, "What do you think?"
"Should you have written that into the wall?"
"Ah, they won't mind. People staying here will look at it and think 'Wow! Kyoto is amazing! Look at all these funny looking letters and stuff! The staff here really goes through with the authenticity to make you feel like we are in ancient Japan again'." He nodded his head, "We'll be fine."
"Whatever you say."
Naruto waited a moment as Setsuna kept placing her 'Anti-Shikigami' wards over the door. "Konoka told us about what happened."
Setsuna tensed up for a moment and stopped what she was doing before going back to the task at hand, "I thought you weren't going to pry into my personal matters anymore?"
"I begrudgingly said I wouldn't even though I know it was hurting you. But if it's hurting Konoka as well then that's another matter entirely."
Setsuna looked down at him sternly, "Don't! All right! Please. I don't need to be reminded of the mistakes I made in the past. If Ojou-sama told you about everything that happened when we were younger, you know how I failed. Eishun-sama had to come and save us because I couldn't help her myself. I..."
Setsuna clutched the paper in her hand until it wrinkled into a useless wad, "...I almost lost her."
Naruto saw the uncertainty and pain on Setsuna's face when she was reminded of her past. He walked around until he was standing behind her ladder and thought for a minute.
"I...couldn't even begin to tell you...how many times I screwed up in my life."
Setsuna looked down at him while he stared at the wall and started counting with his fingers, "When I screwed up spells. When I've blown my cover when I needed to stay hidden. Where I was just so helpless I caused other people to get hurt because of me. The times when I have just...completely let down the people I care about."
Naruto shook his head and gave a weak smile, "But just when I think I've done something I could never make up for, someone told me that the first step in fixing a problem is realizing that it's already done. And after you've gotten over that, everything else is easy. And you can realize that the people you think shouldn't forgive you are really there to help you keep moving on."
Naruto looked up at Setsuna with a small smile on his face, "I know you feel like you made a mistake and you could never make up for it...you might even be hesitant to make up with Konoka because you're scared she might blame you. But you've known her the longest so you should know this better than anyone else...does that really sound like the Konoka we know?"
Setsuna stayed silent and looked at the blond that tried to help her. She wanted to say that he didn't know what they went through but...he had just openly admitted he had made mistakes and blunders in the past. And she was always scared about facing Konoka again after what had happened. But the hardest step is admitting what happened...and after that, everything else is easy.
Setsuna wanted to say she was fine with this lifestyle. But...if she could just be honest in the confines of her own mind...she really, really wanted to see Konoka smile at her without feeling guilty anymore.
Setsuna turned on the step ladder and reached up to put a replacement ward on. But her foot slipped and the ladder started to shake from the loss of stability. Naruto saw her fall and reacted, "Setsuna!"
He wrapped his arms around her legs as she fell back and her Yukata-covered butt landed directly on his face. Setsuna's face turned instantly red when she realized what happened, "Wh-what on Earth are you doing?! Let- Ah! Hold still! Don't-"
"Hold on!" Naruto said with a muffled tone as he tried to keep himself balanced after holding the girl up. They struggled to keep still as Setsuna flailed her arms around in an attempt to grab the top of the door. She finally held on for stability and placed the last charm on the door.
She sighed in relief and was about to ask to be put down when...
Setsuna froze in shock. She slowly turned her head around to see Asuna staring at them flatly and Negi looking at them in bewilderment about what was going on. The little ermine on his shoulder was just nodding his head in pride at his Aniue's awesome score.
Setsuna felt her face burn red and stuttered as she tried to figure out what to say. But Naruto couldn't see what was going on and wondered why she went silent, "Setsuna? What happened? Are we good now?"
Asuna, Negi, Chamo, Setsuna and Naruto were sitting on the couches in the lobby of the hotel. Naruto had his face in his hands while Setsuna was thoroughly embarrassed by what had happened. She wasn't used to these kind of situations and attention. This was why she always stayed out of the classes' public eye.
Asuna looked at Naruto with a hostile glare, "Something you want to tell us Whiskers?"
Naruto just shook his head.
Setsuna tried to speak up, "Um, a-actually Kagurazaka-San, Naruto-sensei had caught me after I had fallen off a ladder when I was...ughhhhhhh-"
"It's all right Sakurazaki-San. I know about magic and all that stuff." The bell-wearing girl said as she tried to absolve the tension the lop-sided ponytail girl had, "I'm actually already pretty deep into this crap."
Setsuna blinked in surprise, "R-really?"
Asuna pulled Negi by his collar and lazily pointed at him as he sadly nodded his head.
Setsuna awkwardly nodded her head, "O-oh. Okay."
Negi pulled himself forward on his seat and looked at Setsuna, "Setsuna-San, first off, please let me say this." He bowed his head nervously to the older girl, "I am so, so very sorry for wrongly assuming you were a spy for the Kansai association. Please forgive me."
Setsuna just nodded her head, "It's quite all right Negi-sensei. I had to keep my involvement in the supernatural world secret from the public so I tried to keep my knowledge of your magical status secret as well."
Asuna actually looked intrigued by her statement, "I'm sorry but when exactly did you know that Negi was a Mage?"
"The moment he stopped the dry eraser from hitting his head."
Asuna's eyes widened and she had to stop from laughing, "Sooooo...from the first day?"
"Yes, that's correct." Setsuna answered, "Also, when you used that spell to alter the results of the 'Mammary Awards' in the bathhouse. And the love potion you made and used in class. And the wind spell in the dodgeball game. Also other times when you blew Kagurazaka-San's clothes off when you snee-"
"Okay! Okay I understand! I'm a bad Mage!" Negi cried as comical tears came out of his eyes, "I tried really hard to hide my involvement but I always failed! I'm sorry!"
Setsuna felt really guilty for breaking his confidence like that. She tried to consolidate him, "I-it's all right Sensei. Not many other people would have noticed that."
"Sakurazaki-San, you don't have to try and make excuses." Asuna said dryly, "This kid just sucks at keeping his secret."
"Yeah. It's pretty bad Aniki."
Naruto raised his hand, "I'm sorry. I couldn't help but notice something weird on that list. Did you say 'Mammary Awards'?"
"Anyway Sakurazaki-San..." Asuna said as she tried to get the topic back on track, "Do you know why they tried to steal Konoka back there? It seemed like all they wanted was to take her."
Setsuna nodded her head, "Yes. I was told that Ojou-sama was born from two long and very powerful bloodlines. The Konoe and the Aoyama clans. Because of this, she was born with a massive reserve of magical power that she hasn't yet tapped into yet. But with power like that, you could use very powerful spells and unseal strong barriers. If they capture Ojou-sama...then god knows what they would do with her."
The others looked between each other when they heard that warning. Negi sat forward, "Who's trying to take her?"
"Most likely they are radicals from the Kansai association. The ones that think they should hold onto the old traditions and not have to conform to the Western society's style of life. They would even go against the leader's decision to reach their goal."
The small group looked between each other in thought, "Which basically means we are facing off against an unknown number of rebels, all completely ready to do whatever they can to get what they want...which includes kidnapping Konoka, right?" Naruto asked as he looked over to Setsuna.
Setsuna nodded her head, "Yes. And it maybe too dangerous to face alone. But..." She clenched her hands in her lap and looked very determined, "I have to protect Konoka-ojousama more than anything else. I won't see her being used by them like that."
Asuna saw the determined look on Setsuna's face when she said she would protect Konoka over anything else. She smiled and jumped over to her side, "You're so cool Sakurazaki-San!"
Setsuna was caught off guard when Asuna started roughly patting her back, "H-huh?"
"I was seriously thinking about chewing you out for being all distant to Konoka, but you care about her way more than you show!" Setsuna blushed and tried to deny the bell-wearing girl but she couldn't get a word in edge wise.
"She's right Setsuna-San! You're like a noble knight trying to protect her princess!" Negi added as his eyes started to sparkle in admiration for the young woman, "You're amazing."
Setsuna was flustered for all the words of praise coming her way. She was trying to act humble but her classmate and teacher didn't stop talking to her. She panicked and looked to the only person she knew who could save her at this point and gave Naruto a meek, pleading look.
He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, "They're right. You are pretty cool."
That just made her blush more!
Chamo pointed his paw up at the girl from the little table in front of them, "Of course we'll help ya' Setsuna-neesan! We all want t' help Konoka-neechan as much as possible too! Especially Aniue! After he got such a long look at yer business, he owes ya!"
Setsuna and Asuna looked up at the blond that was trying to hide from their gaze, "Wait what?"
"Let's all protect 3-A from the rebels of the Kansai Association! The 3-A Guardian Angels!" Negi announced as he excitedly took Asuna and Setsuna's hand and put them together in a pile. He grabbed Naruto's hand to add to the camaraderie but felt a strong resistance to his pull. He looked up at Naruto in confusion, "Nii-San?"
"I am not joining a group called 'Guardian Angels'. This is an awesome team and it deserves a better name." Naruto stated with a little scowl on his face.
The girls looked at him tiredly, "Well what would you call it Whiskers?"
"Hmmm..." Naruto thought for a minute as he cupped his chin in thought. He tilted his head, "Mini-Rubra?"
Setsuna blinked, "M-Mini-Rubra?"
"Yeah. Stupid red-head." He pointed at Negi. "Crazy powerhouse." Pointing at Asuna. "Reserved swordsman." Pointing a Setsuna. "Filthy pervert no one wants to associate with." Pointing at Chamo (who looked really insulted at the moment). "Awesome idiot." Pointing at himself with a smug grin.
Setsuna and Asuna shared a quick look before looking back to the taller blond, "I don't think that-"
"Yes! I love that!" Negi interrupted with a big smile on his face. He looked up at he older girls, "Can we call ourselves that?! Please? Oh please?"
The girls shared a nervous look when they saw the two boys smiling at them and awaiting their answer. They decided to just go along with it and nodded their heads.
And for the rest of the trip, Mini-Rubra promised they would save the day.
"It feels so tense. Almost like a battlefield before the fighting starts." Negi said to himself as he tightened his grip on his staff, "I-I'm really nervous."
"Don't be Aniki!" Chamo said as he tried to calm his partner's nerves. He tired to get the young man's attention, "You need to stay tough an' take this challenge head on! That's what a strong man does!"
Negi weakly nodded his head in agreement with his little familiar's way of action.
"A strong man faces his foes head on with no fear. A smart man sees what he's facing and plans what to do." Naruto said over his shoulder as he looked out at the lights in the town. He looked over his shoulder, "I always felt like it was good to be a little tense before a mission. It keeps us on our toes and ready for anything that could happen."
Chamo fumed and started waving his little paws at the large blond, "Dammit Aniue, don't say that! I'm tryin' t' cheer him up and yer jus' pushin' that back down!"
"Calm down, calm down." Naruto mediated as Chamo's little paws bounced off his palm, "I was just saying that even the guys you look up to can be nervous sometimes. It's natural."
"Well what about the Rubra guys?! I bet they didn't have any problems!"
"Well they were always idiots who played it cool and cocky. But I bet they felt excited or even anxious at times. Eishun-San was actually the one who told me to always be aware of my surroundings in a fight."
Negi watched as his friends talked to each other and smiled at how they were able to diffuse the tension so easily. He thought for a moment about something that always interested him, "Nii-San?"
Naruto and Chamo stopped their little heated debate as they looked over at the red-headed Welsh boy, "Yeah Negi?"
"Do you know what my father was like in battle?" Negi asked as he looked down at his feet, "I-I mean all I know about him personally was from Evangeline-san's dream but I know she has a bit of a grudge against him. She made it look like he was really stupid and careless when he-"
"Yeah that's pretty much on the mark."
Negi's eyes turned into little black plates when he heard Naruto casually state the vampire's memories were right. He weakly looked up at him, "H-huh?"
"Yeah, Evangeline was probably right about what Nagi acted like when he fought." Naruto looked off to the side as he scratched his cheek, "He was cocky. Overconfident. Pretty arrogant. And he didn't know a lot of spells. So yeah, he was pretty stupid compared to all the hype he's gotten over the years."
Chamo's jaw was slacked in disbelief as Negi hung his head dejectedly, "O...oh. I see."
"Which actually makes it all the more impressive how amazing he was." Negi and Chamo looked up at him as Naruto had a nostalgic smile on his face, "He fought the most powerful and menacing forces in the world with just his own power. He saved the entirety of Mundus Magicus from destruction just because he had the power and chance to do so. He may not be a genius or anything but that idiot definitely earned the title 'Thousand Master'."
The young men looked at each other before they smiled and laughed at the imagery of the powerful red-head being a moron.
Until Naruto stopped laughing and turned towards the hotel in an instant. Negi saw the worry in his face and grew concerned, "Nii-San? What's wrong?"
Naruto narrowed his eyes tensely, "Someone broke the barrier."
He started sprinting down the path towards the hotel as Negi and Chamo panicked. They started frantically chasing after him as he ran down the steps like an Olympic runner. He went through the sliding doors and stopped in place, giving Negi enough time to reach his side, "Nii-San, what is it?"
Standing in the middle of the empty lobby was a hooded figure in a black cloak. His face was hidden by the shadow of the hood and a mask to cover the lower half of their face. He looked over to the two boys that appeared in the doorway and sprinted towards the back exit.
"Catch 'im!" Chamo yelled before the hood could get out of sight. Negi and Naruto chased after the figure as he ran around the corners and tried to lose them.
They came out the back and found a parking lot for all the cars of the people in the hotel. Negi looked around curiously, "W-Wait. Where did he-"
Naruto grabbed Negi's collar and pulled him out of the way as the figure came down from over head and plunged a knife into the ground. Naruto jumped back with a startled Negi as they looked at the hooded figure crouched on the ground.
The hood slowly pulled the knife out of the ground and twirled it in hand. He held it in a front grip and pointed it at the two young men.
Naruto smirked when he saw the ready battle stance, "Well...this just got interesting."
Setsuna felt a strange change in the atmosphere and was worried that something might go wrong. She wanted to check up on Konoka before going downstairs to see what was wrong. She popped her head in, "Kagurazaka-San, I was just going to-...what are you doing?"
Asuna was standing in front of the bathroom and Yue was next to her...pathetically lying on the ground and desperately scrapping at the door. Asuna turned around, "Oh, Sakurazaki-San. We're just waiting for Konoka to finish up in there."
Yue painfully scratched the door, "S-she's been in there f-for 10 minutes." Her fingers started scrap down the wood of the wall, "But every time we ask, s-she just says-"
"Sorry~, I'll be done in a minute~."
"UWAHHHHHH! KONOKA! THIS ISN'T FUNNY!" Yue screeched with a geyser of tears coming out of her eyes.
Asuna looked over to Setsuna again before knocking on the door, "Konoka, are you sure you're all right? Yue-chan's out here and she looks like she's gonna pop at any moment."
"Sorry~, I'll be done in a minute~."
Then Setsuna came up next, "Ojou-sama? Do you need anything? I'll go get you something if you feel uncomfortable."
"Sorry~. I'll be out in a-"
Yue came in with a small chair and threw it against the door, breaking the handle and prying it open. And the surprising act of force left Asuna and Setsuna to gawk at her in shock.
"Yue-chan/Ayase-San! What are you-"
But the bathroom was empty. There was only a piece of paper on the toilet seat with a strange formula written on it. Setsuna's eyes widened in shock and she ripped it off of the seat. She looked it over, "This is a charm! She's gone!"
Setsuna dashed past Asuna and looked out the window to see a bulky monkey figure with smaller monkeys around it. She clicked her teeth and jumped out the window to chase it down. Asuna watched her in disbelief, "Sa-Sakurazaki-San, what are you doing?!"
"WHO CARES! GET OUT!" Yue kicked Asuna away and tried to close the door as much as she could. It was quiet for a moment-
"OH MY GOD! THERE ISN'T ANY PAPER IN HERE! WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?!"
"Sagitta Magica Series Fulguratio!" Three lightning arrows shot out of Negi's staff and soared toward the hooded figure. But the intruder just flipped through the air and sliced the magical attacks apart with the knife.
Naruto lunged and lowered himself to the floor to attack the spot where the intruder's feet were going to land. But he gripped the cloak and gave it a powerful flap to give himself another flip to escape the attack.
Naruto spun back up to his feet and dashed towards the descending figure. But the moment the attacker landed on his feet again he spun around with the knife out to cut Naruto through the face. The whiskered blond leaned his head back and barely dodged the knife from slicing off his ear.
Naruto rolled under the attacking arm and jumped back up to his feet before spinning back around to face the attacker. Naruto felt something flap on his neck and notice the collar of his Yukata was only hanging on by a thread.
He also noticed that the scratches around the area were deeper than a normal knife could make and it was making a ringing sound when it passed by his ear. This guy had placed a lightning spell on the knife to make it vibrate at an immense speed and frequency. It was basically a much more powerful and compact chainsaw in his hand.
If that came in contact with flesh it would be like cutting through warm butter...but messier.
"NEGI! WHISKERS! CODE RED!" Asuna came running out of the hotel in a hysteria, "Konoka's been taken! Sakurazaki-San is already- Who the hell is that?!"
"Konoka-San is gone!"
"Quickly!" Negi started running towards Asuna's position, "We have to follow them or-"
In an instant, the hood appeared behind him and was bringing a fist down to the young boy's head. Asuna watched in horror as the attacker's fist came down on the boy in slow motion. It was an inch from cracking his skull-
Until Naruto's foot caught the strike as the blond teen Shundō over to their position. He spun and locked the hood's arm with one leg and wrapped his other leg around their neck. He lifted the intruder off the ground and threw them several meters away with just the strength in his legs.
The hood spun through the air before landing on the roof of one of the buses and staring the little group down. Naruto stood back up and looked back at Negi and Asuna, "You guys go! Follow Setsuna and catch Konoka before it's too late!"
"You can't be serious Whiskers!"
"Are you sure Nii-San?!"
"Go! If you have any trouble just call me and I'll come help!" Asuna, Negi and Chamo all looked between each other before they nodded and started running down the street to follow Setsuna. Naruto looked back towards the hooded figure as he jumped back down to the asphalt.
"Not too much ruckus...not too much damage...all right." Naruto nodded and pulled out his Pactio card from his Yukata. He held it out in front of him, "Adeat!"
A bright light shined in the empty lot for a second before a pair of black and red gloves formed around Naruto's hands. He knocked them together and caused sparks to shoot out in every direction. He smirked, "Let's go."
Negi and Asuna ran as fast as they could to follow the trail of energy Negi could sense. They finally arrived at a train station to find the sight of Setsuna fighting off several large bears and monkeys that looked like something a kid would pick out from Build-A-Bear. Asuna's eyes widened comically, "What the hell?"
Setsuna pushed the bears away and looked back, "Negi-sensei! Kagurazaka-San! They're all Shikigami! She set them up!"
"AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" They looked over to a pretty young woman dressed in a full-body monkey suit with an unconscious Konoka in her arms. She gave an evil smile, "Well, what'd ya know, the newcomers knew what they were talkin' 'bout when they said to set up some traps for ya West mages! Gotta remember t' thank 'em for that!"
"S-she's a giant monkey!" Negi stated in confusion as everything that had happened that night was making his head spin, "Why does a giant monkey-San want Konoka-San?"
The woman in the monkey suit smiled as the empty train doors slid open and she made her way in. Setsuna gritted her teeth and pushed several of the large Shikigami out of her way, "You bitch! Come back here with Konoka-ojousama! I'll-"
But all of the Shikigami just got in her way and tried to attack her again. Setsuna used her Yunagi to block their blunt strikes and glared at the monkey woman's retreating back. She prepared herself for a powerful attack-
"Ras tel Ma Scir Magister! Unus Fulgor Concidens Noctem, in Mea Manu Ens Inimicum Edat! Fulguratio Albicans!"
A bolt of white lightning struck down some of the familiars that crowded in front of Setsuna. She looked back to see several more come up to ambush her but Asuna jumped in and tackled them to the ground. Negi came running in and whacked a few of them with his staff while they were down.
He looked up at Setsuna, "Setsuna-San, follow after her! We will take care of all these Shikigami!"
"Negi-sensei, you can't! I can't leave you and Kagurazaka-San to fight by yourselves!"
"Sure you can!" Asuna said as she stepped on a Shikigami that was attempting to stand back up and smiled at the Shimei-Ryū girl, "Go save Konoka from that oversized chimp and we'll catch up! Trust us!"
Setsuna looked at her classmate and teacher for a moment before bowing to them gratefully and sprinting towards the train. She dove inside as the doors clamped shut and the vehicle started making its way to the next station.
Setsuna looked towards the door and saw the monkey woman's back through the glass window. She clicked her teeth and opened the door to the next car. Inside was the Kansai woman carrying Konoka in her arms and another girl in a sundress and hat sitting off to the side like nothing was happening.
But Setsuna was only focused on the woman holding her mistress.
"Haha, you actually followed me in here?" The woman known as Chigusa Amagasaki laughed as she held Konoka closer to her body, "You must really want t' hold on t' Ojou-sama, dontcha?"
"This is your last warning..." Setsuna held the blade out towards the Kansai woman and narrowed her eyes, "Put Ojou-sama down or I won't stop at just drawing blood."
Chigusa smiled and tilted her head in thought for a moment before snickering and sticking her tongue out, "Hell no."
Setsuna growled in anger and dashed forward, ready to beat the woman to a pulp for her arrogance. However...
Setsuna's blade was parried by the girl in the sundress as she pulled out two katanas of her own. Setsuna struggled to push through the sword block but couldn't gain an inch.
Chigusa smiled and turned toward at he next car, "I'll leave it t' ya."
The younger girl tensed her arms and swung her blades in every direction to push back Setsuna. She jumped back to keep herself away from the dual sharp blades as the young girl in the sundress giggled lightly. She grasped the edge of her large hat and took it off...
"Hiya! My name's Tsukuyomi " She gave Setsuna an innocent and lovely smile as she revealed her faded blonde hair and the glasses that hung off her nose. She delicately placed the hat on the seat besides her before facing Setsuna again, "I see ya use the Shinmei-Ryū style jus' like me! That must make ya my Senpai, right?"
She dashed forward and used one of her blades to strike at Setsuna. When she used her Yunagi to block, Tsukuyomi swung her other blonde out in a large arc to strike Setsuna's unguarded side. But she pulled her long sword down and used the base of it to block the deadly blade.
Setsuna jumped back and took a deep breath. Her sword was too big to use in this closed space. And this girl was really good with two swords.
She was at a disadvantage.
"I hope ya take good care of me, Senpai!"
Asuna yelled as she smacked her weapon on the head of one of the Shikigami, instantly dispelling it back into paper. She took a long breath and stood with her back to Negi, "You know when you said I would get a super cool weapon that was suited just for me, I was really excited."
Negi had a nervous look on his face while sweat dripped off his chin, "A-Asuna-San, w-we really should worry about the trouble at-"
"Although I gotta tell ya, out of all the possible stuff I thought I could get in the magical world...I GOT A FAN!" She yelled indignantly as she held out the large hairsen she had gotten from activating her Pactio and revealing her artifact. She started waving it around, "What does this mean?! Is the universe trying to tell me something?! Is it trying to tell me I'm gonna be a tsukkomi for the rest of my life?! How is that fair?!"
"Asuna-San, watch out!"
Asuna spun and smacked an approaching Shikigami in the head and dispelled it into a paper figure again.
Chamo popped out of Negi's collar and looked at the fan in amazement, "But that thing is awesome Ane-San! Yer makin' this job twice as easy with that thing!"
"Yeah yeah!" Asuna said with an off-hand remark as she tried to keep her little scowl on her face. She looked around and noticed that there were far less enemies to face than there were when Setsuna was fighting them. She gripped her fan a little tighter and looked down at Negi, "Negi!"
Negi looked up at her, "Huh?"
"Go help Sakurazaki-San! I can take the rest of these guys!"
"W-what?!" Negi turned to face Asuna in disbelief, "A-Asuna-San I can't! This is dangerous! I won't leave you by yourself!"
"Saving Konoka is way more important than fighting some stupid bears and monkeys! I'm not fast enough to catch up to them but you are!"
Negi wilted a little as he tried to think of a way to help them in this frantic time, "Asuna-San, I-"
"Hey!" Negi looked up to see Asuna giving him a confident grin and wiping away his worry. She smiled, "Don't you trust me brat?"
Negi looked up at her before nodding his head and running towards the exit. One of the Shikigami got in his way but he jumped on his staff and flew out the exit.
He flew alongside the city buildings and followed the monorail towards the next station. He had a worried look on his face but knew that the situation called for them to stay strong. Chamo popped out of his collar again, "It'll be all right Aniki."
He looked down at his familiar in concern, "Are you sure?"
"Course I am! Ane-San is super dependable! She can take of herself!" Chamo have him a big thumbs-up to ease his worry, "She's your partner for a reason!"
Negi thought for a moment before he smiled and nodded his head. He looked forward again, "Yeah, she'll be fine."
"More importantly Aniki, we gotta worry about what's up ahead! That Monkey-oneechan's probably got more traps and those stupid Shikigami set up around the station! Maybe even some more guys to help her!"
Negi furrowed his eyes before looking down at the ermine, "Do you think we will be all right?"
"Pfft!" Chamo gave his boss a big thumbs up, "You ain't got nothin' to worry about from some little helpers, Aniki! It they ain't even got the balls t' face ya at the last station, then they must be afraid t' fight the son of the great 'Thousand Master'! I'm tellin' ya, throw that title out an' everyone will run away cryin!"
"Well that's rather rude."
Negi and Chamo's eyes widened in shock before they looked behind them towards the direction of he voice. Standing on the back of the staff was a boy about as tall as Negi with faded white hair. He was wearing a purple uniform and he had emotionless grey eyes.
He looked down at the red-head, "I might have actually felt insulted if I thought that was true."
Negi reacted and threw his hand out at him, "Ras tel Ma-"
But he was already gone before Negi could even finish his incantation. Negi turned back around to see the boy standing on the front of the staff, just a few inches away from the Welsh boy's hands. The boy looked down at Negi before bending down to look the young teacher in the eye, "You are Negi Springfield-kun, correct?"
Negi was frozen in fear as Chamo was shaking uncontrollably in place. The white-haired boy grabbed one of Negi's hairs and examined it, "Well, you look like the profile described you so I'll just make the assumption. Negi-kun..."
The boy stood back up and looked down at Negi with piercing eyes, "You can't stop us. You can't even try."
Negi gritted his teeth and looked up at the older boy defiantly, "I will do whatever I have to so I can save Konoka-San! If I have to beat you then-"
Negi's eyes started to shake as the white-haired boy continued speaking in a flat tone, "You won't be able to save Konoka Konoe-San. Not you. Not the girl with bells. Not the Shinmei-Ryū practitioner. Not even the blond man you left behind at the hotel. None of you will be able to save her from us."
He fixed his collar that flapped in the wind intensely and looked down at the boy in the Yukata, "But I promise that I shall make sure no harm comes to Konoe-San under my watch. So if you go now, take your friends and enjoy your trip, you can save yourself the wasted effort."
Negi was silent. His eyes were hidden by his hair as he was shaking. He couldn't respond to the older boy's level tone and promise that no matter what they did, they couldn't stop them. Chamo looked up at his brother in concern, "Ani-"
Negi grabbed Chamo and held him close to his chest. Negi fell forward until his face touched the staff and his limbs were close together.
The white-haired boy just blinked in confusion as he looked down at the younger Mage, "What in the world are you-"
Due to his focus on Negi lying on the staff, the white-haired boy didn't notice that Negi had changed the trajectory of the staff. And he didn't notice that they were flying so closely to a large billboard that anything too high up from the staff would have crashed into the metal so brutally they left an imprint on the other side.
Chamo popped out and looked over Negi's shoulder at the retreating sight of the billboard. He was too stunned to say anything, "A-a-Aniki...th-that-"
"THAT WAS AWESOME! YOU WERE AWESOME ANIKI!"
Negi sheepishly looked back up and scratched the back of his head meekly, "Well, I thought back to what Nii-San said at the inn. 'A smart man sees what he's facing and plans what to do.' And I kind of thought what Father would do in a situation where someone said we couldn't fight them."
Negi sat back up on the staff with a strong will in his eyes, "None of my students are going to be hurt on my watch! And no one is going to stop me!"
"WOOHOO! GO ANIKI!"
Negi smiled and sent a burst of magical power into his staff, accelerating him towards the station.
Back at the billboard, the white-haired boy was still imbedded into the picture of the woman eating 'Kyoto Style Four Heavens Yogurt'. He pulled himself out of the imprint his body made and rubbed his neck. He jumped onto the top of the billboard and watched as Negi's image faded into the night, "Well, that was rather unexpected."
The hooded figure jumped back from the force of the strike and flipped over a van that was in his way. Naruto clicked his teeth and slid underneath the van until he came out the other side. The hooded figure spun through the air and attempted to pierce his knife into Naruto's shoulder but once again his knife was parried by the black gloves.
Naruto jumped back up to his feet and readied himself for the next attack. He felt his clothes flap in the wind as they had been cut near to shreds from the close slashes he had dodged. He looked down and sighed, "Damn. The staff is gonna be pissed when they see this."
Naruto looked down at the gloves on his arms and examined the scratches they had gained from knocking away the High-Frequency Knife. Plus this had taken much longer then he thought it was going to take to fight this guy because he was so damn quick.
Naruto rubbed his shoulder a little and glanced over to the attacker in the hood. He gave a little smile and placed his hands on his hips, "I gotta say, you are a lot tougher than most of the hired muscle I've faced lately. Really quick and all of your strikes have been aimed at my vitals." Naruto placed his hands at his sides and looked at the man sternly, "I don't want to drag this out any longer than I have to. Keeping Konoka and everyone else safe is more important than a silly match. If you leave now and never come close to anyone in this hotel again I promise I won't hurt you."
Calm and diplomatic. Just like Eishun-San and Gateau-San taught him to be.
Naruto waited for an answer from the hooded man as a tense silence settled between them. The cloaked intruder shifted a little and seemed silent, but Naruto heard his quiet reply float through the wind...
A vein popped on Naruto's forehead as he had a horrific scowl aimed at his opponent. He gave an evil smirk as he slowly cracked his knuckles, "Oooooh~, you're gonna laugh, eh? Throw away the peaceful negotiations, ehhhhhhhhhhh~?"
His black gloves started to smoke and turned red hot from the Fire Ki he was using to power himself up, "Then maybe I'll just beat you into a twitchy pulp and let ya run back home to cry to mommy! Well! DOES THAT SOUND BETTER!"
Aggressive and uncontrollable. Nagi and Raka-Ji had beaten that mindset into him quite firmly over the years.
Naruto dashed towards the hood and tensed his arms. The mercenary gripped his destructive knife in a reverse grip and started slashing at Naruto up and down his chest. But each cut was blocked by the metal gloves as Naruto easily smacked them away.
The hood sent a fast roundhouse kick at Naruto's head but he fell back and used his hands to brace himself from hitting the concrete. He pushed himself back off the ground, "Practe Bigi Nar..."
He came back up to his knees and spun to put his hand in front of the hood's face. He gathered his magic as a ball of light formed in his hands, "LUX!"
The hooded man was stunned as the blindingly bright light filled the parking lot like a sun. And in that moment of weakness, two palms were placed firmly against his chest.
Naruto gathered his Ki and charged his Pactio gloves until they turned bright white. They started to give off a bright glow as his feet cracked into the ground, "Crimson Spiral Art:..."
"Kingdom Dragons Strike!"
The hooded figure was blown away at break-neck speeds through the parking lot and through one of the iron gates that surrounded it. A smoking hot furrow and bubbling asphalt was evident in the ground from how destructive Naruto's attack was. And the blast was so loud that it set off all the alarms of the parked cars and vans in the lot.
"Abeat." The gloves dissolved and returned back into their base card form. He pocketed the Pactio in his Yukata and ran over to the smoking crater he made on the other side of the fence. He ignored the sounds of the alarms going off and jumped to look at his defeated opponent to see...
There was a smoking crater with warped metal, burnt leaves and smoldering rubble but not an unconscious body. Not even a shred of fabric. That surprised Naruto more than anything else because he knew he made contact. He felt it.
Naruto felt his phone vibrate against his chest and pulled it out. He answered it and covered his other ear to hear better, "Yeah Negi?"
"Nii-San! Thank goodness you're all right! I was worried about- what's all that noise in the background?"
"It's nothing. Just finishing up with that guy in the cloak."
"Oh! Are you all right?"
"Yeah. He cut my clothes up a little but there was no way he was gonna catch me with something weak like that. What about you? Did you find Konoka?"
"Yes! The woman that took her is on a train and is heading for the next station! They'll be there in a few minutes! Setsuna-San is in the train with them and I'm following it on my staff! But I had to leave Asuna-San at the last terminal to fight against a group of Shikigami! Can you go help her?"
"Yeah, I'm on my way." Naruto shut off his phone and looked down the street towards the station they had arrived at this morning. He placed his feet further apart into a strong stance and tensed his muscles before he used Shundō to make his way to the bell-wearing girl.
Asuna was panting heavily and her Yukata was all dirty and disheveled. Her shoulder was bare from where her dress had slipped down a little and she was doing the best she could to keep the remaining two Shikigami in her sight.
These things were a pain in the ass to deal with but luckily for her she had the fan that knocked them down in one hit. All she had to do was hit them over the head with it and they would no longer be able to fight.
But this was where her inexperience in fighting was taking its toll. She had done her best to keep away from all of them and try to face them one at a time. But she had been knocked over and tackled when she had her guard down and now the fatigue was starting to settle in. She really wished that Negi or Sakurazaki-San was here to help her...
But she couldn't give up. Konoka needed those two right now more than she did. Hell, Konoka needed her by her side! She wasn't going to let some stupid little bears and monkeys get in her way!
"Eat this!" She ran forward and waved her harisen wildly to throw the bear familiar out of its defense. It jumped to the side and left Asuna completely vulnerable for the monkey familiar to attack her from behind. But she smiled and pivoted on her foot, swinging the fan out in a wide arc and barely hitting the oncoming target.
But it was still enough to dispel it.
She smiled but yelled when the bear tackled her in the side before she could land and threw her several yards away. Asuna groaned and pushed herself up to her knees to see the bear fast approaching her tired form. She gripped the harisen a little tighter and prepared for another fight...
But several holes appeared around the bear's body and face and it was instantly destroyed in a puff of white smoke. Asuna blinked in surprise before the back of a figure appeared in front of her.
Naruto smiled as he turned to look at his roommate, "Hey Bells, you look like you just went a few rounds with the light-weight champ."
She relaxed when she saw it was just Naruto and tiredly laid out on the floor. She moaned, "Shut up Whiskers, I'm too tired for your jokes." She opened one of her eyes and looked up at him with a pout, "What took you so long?"
"Well in case you haven't noticed I was a hair's width away from getting cut into ribbons, literally." He said as he emphasized the cuts that riddled his Yukata by pulling them out for her to see. He gave a lazy smile to the tired girl, "Were those two really giving you so much trouble?"
"Pfft! Two! There were-like-twelve when I started!" She yelled at the calm blond as she tried to assert her awesomeness over the last few minutes, "And they surrounded me on all sides! It was too much for just one person but I told Negi to go ahead and catch Konoka!" She lifted up the fan in her hand and waved it around, "I took all of those guys out with just this thing!"
"Yeah I wanted to ask that; what's with the fan?"
"Oh-um..." She had a little blush on her face as she was a little embarrassed to explain what it was to the blond boy. Because she just had a sinking feeling that he would laugh at her for it. She sighed and held it up weakly, "I got this...from that stupid card thing Negi made with me..."
"Card?" Naruto thought for a moment before he realized what she was referring to, "So that fan...is your artifact?"
"Don't laugh Whiskers! I thought I was gonna get that sword in the picture but all I got was this!" She yelled at him before she expected him to start laughing at her, "Besides this thing turned all those weird animals back into paper so I don't wanna hear it!"
"Pfft, I didn't say anything." Naruto said as he gestured with his hands for her to calm down. He chuckled a little at the annoyed expression she aimed at him, "Negi said they were going to the next station, right?"
"Oh! That's right!" Asuna pointed her harisen at Naruto and sternly looked at him, "You've gotta hurry! They need your help!"
Naruto nodded with a confident smirk, "Got it." He walked over to her and bent down to her side.
Asuna raised an eyebrow at him questiongly, "What are you-"
"Alley oop." Naruto said as he snaked his arms under her knees and back and lifted Asuna up in a bridal carry.
Her face instantly turned red at the familiar act. She pushed her hand against his face and sputtered, "Wh-Wh-what are you doing Whiskers?!"
"Carrying you. You're too tired to run and it's too far away." He stated a-matter-of-factly like it was common knowledge he wasn't going to leave her here.
Naruto dashed off in a burst of speed that caught Asuna off guard. She squeaked and wrapped her arms around his neck instinctively to make sure she didn't lose her balance. She looked around at the buildings and streets that became nothing more than a blur in her eyes.
It was incredible. He could run this fast whenever he wanted. And he could still do it while carrying her.
Asuna looked back when she heard him call her by her little moniker and realized just how close her face was to his. She blushed a little at the proximity before she shook her head and looked directly at him, "Yeah?"
"How far can you jump? And how do you feel about heights?"
Asuna could only blink in confusion as her eyes turned into little black pinholes.
Setsuna was breathing heavily from the constant blocking of the swift sword strikes in the small area. This Tsukuyomi girl was younger than her but she had talent to spare. She handled two katanas so well they might as well have been extensions of her arms.
Meanwhile Setsuna could only gain the upper hand in attacks if she had a moment to counter her slashes. But with the bullet-time reactions and total abandonment of all self-preservation on her part, Tsukuyomi was definitely a problem for the Mahora girl to face. And with the drop-off point coming up in a minute, she didn't have any time to spare.
"Ahahahahaha! This is amazing! You are so good at fightin', Senpai! Everyone else I fight never lasts long enough t' make it fun!" Tsukuyomi swung her swords around, slicing through the metal poles and leather seats like they were nothing as she laughed wholeheartedly. She smiled, "I don't wanna stop fightin' you! Ever!"
Setsuna clicked her teeth and stood back up with her sword in hand, "You're insane."
"Lil' bit!" Tsukuyomi charged forward with her swords crossed in front of her before she gathered up her Ki for a powerful attack. She swung them out in front of her, "Shinmei-Ryū Ougi: Zankōsen!"
A flurry of air slashes soared towards Setsuna, cutting everything else in its way into ribbons. Setsuna used her sword to block the many powerful Ki attacks but felt her body get pushed back from the force. She flew back several feet and gasped in pain as Tsukuyomi laughed and charged towards her falling form.
Despite the shock that caught her off guard for a moment, Setsuna's mind was working in double time. She knew she would hit the back of the car in a moment. Tsukuyomi was going to take that chance to either incapacitate her or kill her; it depended on what her employer told her to do. And the train was starting to brake, meaning they were going to stop at any moment.
Setsuna could do nothing but curse herself. She had failed again. Ojou-sama was in the other car, being carried away to be used as a hostage and she couldn't do anything to help her. She had let her down...
Negi-sensei...Kagurazaka-San...Naruto-sensei...they had all trusted her to save Konoka-ojousama...and she couldn't do anything.
Was she just going to let her be taken again?
Setsuna opened her eyes again with a powerful and unyielding will burning in her eyes. She tensed her muscles to get the feeling back into them and planted her feet into the floor underneath her. Tsukuyomi was caught off guard by the quick reaction but continued her charge forward.
Setsuna gripped her Yunagi as tightly as she could and gathered her Ki for a quick, explosive strike. She raised her head and looked at her opponent with a furious glare...
"Shinmei-Ryū Ougi: Shin Raikōken!"
The train finally arrived at the drop-off point with Chigusa abandoning her monkey outfit and running out with Konoka over her shoulder. She looked around anxiously for her teammate that never showed up and clicked her teeth, "Dammit! Newcomer! Where the hell are you?! Shit, I knew I should have brought Kotarou-kun with us! What am I-"
Chigusa jumped up in surprise when the loud blast reached her ears. She looked back to see one of the train cars spewing out smoke, windows completely shattered to scrap and doors blown out before they could even open.
On one of the destroyed doors was the Shinmei-Ryū swordswoman working for her, her clothes slightly burnt up and her glasses broken on her face. A beaten Tsukuyomi lifted her head up weakly and looked towards the older woman, "S-sorry Chigusa-Han, she got me good-bleh."
Chigusa was shaking in fright before she saw a figure start making its way out of the smoke.
Setsuna came out with a stern look on her face, her clothes were disheveled and her hair a little messy but no worse for wear. She walked forward towards the frightened woman and growled out, "What is your name?"
"Chigusa Amakusa, I no longer care what your reason was for kidnapping Ojou-sama. Whether it'd be for a ransom or if she is necessary for you to make your point, this is as far as you go with it." Setsuna held out her sword and gripped it with both hands, "I will ask you once again, return Ojou-sama to me right now!"
Chigusa clenched her teeth and lowered her head while her shoulders were shaking. Her retribution was literally in her arms and she had to give it up now? When it was so close? She raised her head and pulled several more papers out of her pocket, "No fuckin' chance!"
Setsuna clicked her tongue and ran forward while Chigusa threw the papers, "Charm-San! Charm-San! Protect me from my foes!"
Another army of little monkey Shikigami popped out of the charm and charged towards Setsuna. She had no more patience for these little miscreants.
"Sagitta Magica Series Lucis!"
Dozens of arrows made of light impacted against the army of weak familiars and reduced them to smoke. Chigusa raised her arm to protect her face from the blast of wind as a little body jumped to the ground from out of the air.
Negi waved his staff and dispersed the smoke around them, "I'm sorry, but this all ends now!"
Setsuna felt a wave of relief wash over her and smiled, "Negi-sensei!"
Chamo popped out of Negi's collar and looked at the young pale beauty. He gave her a big thumbs up, "Told ya we had yer back Setsuna-neesan!"
She blinked in worry before she took a step towards them, "What happened at the last station?"
"We left Asuna-San there to take care of everything." Negi stated as he looked back to her, "She said she could handle it."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm positive!" He said with a smile brimming with confidence, "She can handle anything that's thrown at her."
Chigusa couldn't contain herself anymore. Not only was one of their own trying to stop her, a western Mage was helping too. The people she hated the most in the world. And they were going to ruin everything.
"Enough." Chigusa hissed out as she pulled out the last charm she had. She looked down at the duo with pure contempt in her eyes as she was barely able to control herself from wanting to end them, "Not you...or anyone else, is getting in my way! Charm-San! Charm-San! Facilitate my escape and burn my enemies to ash!"
She tossed her last charm and it started to burn. Until it burst into a magnificent wave of fire that covered everything below her in a wave of heat so hot they would have turned to charred meat if they touched it. Setsuna and Negi tensed up and pulled their weapons in front of them before they were completely swallowed up by the blazing flames.
Chigusa was heavily panting as she watched the flames settle over the stairs of the train entry. There was no more noise. No more threats or presence of those two fighters. They were gone. And she was safe. She let out a soft laugh in relief at her victory.
Until the flames started to swirl around and fluctuate sporadically. Chigusa's triumph died in her throat when she saw the flames she made start to separate and disperse. At the very bottom of the fire she saw a surprised Negi, a stunned Setsuna...
And a certain blond with his right hand stretched out to blow away the fire. All of the flames withered out against his hand as he looked up at the Kansai woman and smiled, "You're gonna need flames a lot hotter than that if you wanna burn me."
Chamo jumped out of Negi's collar and hugged Naruto's face. He rubbed his cheek with the older blond's, "I'm so happy t' see ya Aniue! I was so scared! I thought we were gonna have fried ermine for dinner!"
"Chamo...please stop...this is just weird what you're doing..." Naruto said dryly as he used his index finger to easily push the clingy ermine back.
Chigusa's eyes looked down at the group that completely outnumbered her and panicked. She took a step back, "B-but you were at the hotel. You were being distracted. H-how did you-"
"All your guys have been beaten. I took care of that hooded asshole. Bells beat all your little puppets and Setsuna beat that little sword girl back there." He smirked and glared at her, "Face it. It's end game."
She shook her head, "N-no."
"Tribus Fulguratio Sagitta Magica!" Negi yelled out as he sent several arrows careening towards the stunned woman. She looked up at the oncoming attack and panicked-
"Eek!" She held Konoka out in front of her as a shield to protect her from the attack. Mini-Rubra looked at the act in horror as Negi sent the arrows flying off in different directions. Chigusa opened her eyes when she realized there wasn't any attack and looked over Konoka's shoulder.
Negi stepped forward with a horrified look in his eyes, "How could you put Konoka-San in front of you like that?! She could have been hurt!"
Chigusa blinked when she realized these fools couldn't hurt their friend. She chuckled, "Tehehehe, oh, I get it. You're 'heroes' aren't you? Yeah, bleeding-heart do-gooders that wouldn't hurt a fly, right?" She wrapped her arms around Konoka sensually and put her chin on her neck as she looked down at the group of teens, "You don't wanna hurt yer lil' friend, am I right?"
Setsuna's eyes widened in anger and disgust as Negi worryingly stared up at the cold-hearted Kansai woman. She pulled Konoka back up and started to slowly take steps to retreat, "I'm leavin' with Ojou-sama. And if you don't want t' accidentally hurt her while fightin' me, I suggest you back off."
Negi couldn't believe what was happening. This horrible woman was using Konoka-San as a shield. Oh if he wasn't taught to be such a gentleman he would have used such vivid profanity to describe the situation right now.
Setsuna was seething with hatred as her arms started to shake. She took a step forward and exhaled venomously at the woman, "You wench, I'll-"
Naruto raised his arm in front of her and stopped her in place. She looked at him in shock, "Naruto-sensei! What are you doing?! You're strong, I know you are! You could still save Ojou-sama before it's too late!"
Naruto didn't say anything as he just kept her in place.
Chigusa chuckled and started to make her escape, "Good to see one of ya has the brains." She looked behind her and decided on her route of escape. She looked back to the mages, "Then if you'll excuse me-"
"Wait!" She looked back down to see the blond boy take a step forward. He looked up at her, "One last thing...before you go..."
She stayed silent for a moment before narrowing her eyes, "What?"
She had prepared for some gran last gesture...a threat or a promise to track her down...
But all she got was a kind smile and the whiskered boy waving goodbye to her.
She looked at him quizzically and lowered her guard for a moment, "What is that-"
Setsuna, Negi and Chamo weren't sure about what they had just seen. They had watched as the older blond waved her goodbye, like he was seeing her off before she took their friend away to some deep dark hole in the ground. And the next moment, Asuna came flying down from the sky and completely smacked the Kansai rebel behind the head with her fan as she yelled like some kind of righteous barbarian.
Chigusa's eyes were spinning in her head as she stumbled back and dropped Konoka on the ground. She tried to keep her balance and stood back up, "Ow." She fell backwards and passed out on the spot.
Asuna fell on her knees and exhaled loudly, "Holy crap! Dammit Whiskers that was way higher than you said it was! I thought I was gonna die!"
Naruto chuckled and clapped at Asuna's heroic deed, "That was great Bells! Just like we planned!"
"Screw you that was just like we planned!" Asuna yelled as she pointed her harisen at him accusingly, "You said there was gonna be a whole army here waiting for us and I was gonna drop down and attack anyone who tried to run off with Konoka! And what would have happened if I didn't land with Negi's magic boosting me?"
"Ahahahaha!" Naruto gawked as he rubbed the back of his head, "Then we probably would have started sweeping up jello and bells, huh?"
"That's not funny at all you bastard!" She started to lift herself up to her feet with an angry scowl on her face, "Oh I am so gonna punch you when I-AH!"
Before she could stand back up she was tackled to the ground again by Negi. He had tears of joys streaming down his face as he hugged her and dug his face into her chest, "Asuna-San, you saved Konoka-San! You were so brave!"
"N-Negi! Get off of me! Stop rubbing me there-ah! S-stop it, t-that tickles!"
Setsuna breathed out in relief when the tension passed. Her eyes softened and she took a step forward, "Thank goodness."
"I told you we would help you." She looked over to Naruto as he smiled at her, "Mini-Rubra sticks together, no matter what."
She thought for a moment before she turned to him and bowed her head deeply, "Thank you very much for stopping me!"
He waved her worry off and started stepping forward, "Come on, let's pick her up and arrest that woman before she wakes up." Naruto jumped high in the air and over the stairs as he headed towards the fallen woman-
Until he felt malicious intent aimed at him in the air. He reacted and caught the side-kick from the hooded man he had beaten a few minutes ago.
Naruto's eyes widened. He didn't even sense him coming and he only made himself known when he was about to break Naruto in half. Who the hell was this guy?
The mercenary kicked off Naruto and spun through the air before he threw something against the ground. The entire area was covered in smoke and blinded the members of Mini-Rubra temporarily. Setsuna felt something speed past her and run up the stairs before disappearing.
The smoke finally faded away and the Kansai woman, the beaten Tsukuyomi and the hooded mercenary had vanished. Naruto and Setsuna ran to the top of the stairs looking for their adversaries as Asuna and Negi were completely shocked. They looked around, "Where'd they go?!"
Naruto looked around for any sign of the rebels and found nothing. But then he sensed a presence overhead and looked up to the tall building in front of him. On the roof of the complex was the girl in the sundress, the man in the black cloak and the unconscious Kansai woman being carried over the shoulder of...
Naruto's eyes slowly widened.
He tried to think of what could possibly be happening but all of his words and thoughts completely failed him.
There he was. A white-haired boy in a purple suit.
He looked exactly the same as the boy he faced over a decade ago in that forest surrounded by war.
Averruncus...that word was burnt into his memory. The soldiers that could even fight Ala Rubra to a standstill.
But...that was impossible.
Cosmo Entelecheia was gone. Their group was destroyed and disbanded. Everything Nagi sacrificed to stop them. The loss of Gateau-San as he tried to protect the Twilight Princess. It was all to stop that group from trying to make a new world order.
Maybe...maybe this was a fake...a construct or Shikigami that stole from his memories to look like his old enemy. Naruto thought of all the possibilities and explanations that could justify why that thing was standing up there right now.
And then he looked down and his eyes met Naruto...
And there was nothing...
Naruto's eyes darkened and a heavy aura started to form around him. The scar on his shoulder ached like hell when he looked at that emotionless little shit. And the look in his eyes...he still didn't even register that Naruto was a threat...
The whiskered blond took a step forward, silently summoning his Pactio as a black katana with a red lining formed in his hand. Naruto didn't know what he was going to do...but one of the reasons Asuna can't remember anything, why Takamichi couldn't believe in himself anymore and why Negi didn't have a family growing up...
It was standing right in front of him...
And he couldn't control himself anymore...
Naruto was shocked out of his stupor when he heard Setsuna yell as she ran over to the unmoving girl. His eyes were off of them for only a second but when he looked back up they were gone. Naruto clenched his hand and growled...he wanted to chase after him but-
Konoka came first.
He released his sword back into its card form and ran over to where the rest of the group was gathering around the air-headed girl. Setsuna gently placed her hands under her back and neck and slowly lifted her up off the ground. The Sninmei-Ryū girl had a horrified look on her face as she got no response from her oldest friend.
Until Konoka's eyes slowly started to flutter open and she looked around at her surroundings. She looked up to see the girl holding her up and tilted her head, "S-Secchan?"
They all looked at her in surprise as Setsuna had a joyful tear coming into the side of her eye, "Ojou-sama!"
"She's all right!"
Konoka slowly blinked her eyes as she wasn't quite sure if she was awake or in a dream. She looked at her savior, "Secchan...what happened? Where are we?"
"It's all right Ojou-sama. Someone tried to take you but we all made sure that you were safe." Setsuna looked up at everyone that had helped save her mistress and gave them all thankful bows of her head. They all smiled as she looked back down at the girl in her arms, "We'll make sure nothing bad ever happens to you again Ojou-sama."
Konoka's eyes widened when she said that and tears started to form. They went down the corners of her face and she tried to wipe them away as she sobbed lightly. Setsuna panicked and started to sputter, "I-I'm sorry! I-I didn't hurt you did I?! Are you okay?!"
"O-of course I am." Konoka sobbed out at she had the biggest, most sincere smile she could make and aimed it at the lop-sided ponytail girl, "I'm just so happy you're talking to me. I-I thought you were mad at me this whole time but..." She couldn't contain her tears and just let them spill as she laughed, "Thank you."
Setsuna was caught speechless as she looked at her charge. She said, "W-well of course I'm not mad at Kono-ch-" Her eyes turned into little white plates when she realized her slip of tongue, "-Wh-what I meant was Kono-chan is precious t-wait! That not it!" Her face turned red and she couldn't find anything to say, "I-I-"
She jumped up rigidly and started dashing away from the group, "I-I'm sorry!" She ignored the yells of her comrades and made a mad dash back to the hotel. Konoka reached out to her as the Shinmei-Ryū girl disappeared out of sight.
But she just smiled and giggled a little, "Secchan, you're so silly."
The group of roommates were walking down the city streets and making their way back to the hotel. Naruto was leading the group in the front, staying uncharacteristically quiet and not even saying anything to the rest of the group. Konoka, now clad in a oversized black jacket they had taken from the station's lost and found, had a coy little smile and heckling her other friends.
"C'mon~. I know you guys know what happened~." She walked over to Asuna and looked directly into her eyes, "Asuna~, we've known each other for years~. You wouldn't lie to me, would you~?" Konoka kept eye contact with her as long as possible and said it in a scared, unsure voice. That always got her to melt in the palm of her hand.
"U-um..." Asuna was shaking and doing her best to try and keep her eyes away from Konoka's. A decade of friendship and the bell-wearing girl still hadn't built up an immunity to her 'Poor Puppy' act. Asuna's voice was trembling, "I-I have no idea what you're talking about Konoka! You were sleepwalking and some people picked you up! We chased after them to make sure you didn't get hurt; you know how gangs are these days!"
Konoka pouted. Asuna was getting desperate if she was actively trying to avoid her gaze. She had a cheeky smile as her gaze slowly shifted to the red-headed boy who was sweating bullets when he felt her gaze. She swiftly appeared at his side, "Negi-kun~."
He jerked up, "H-hai!"
"You wouldn't lie to me, would you~?" She gave him a sweet smile before delivering the final blow, "I don't think that's the kind of thing an English gentleman would do."
Oooooohhhhhhhh, that cut deep.
Negi struggled to keep a poker face as his eyes darted around, "I-it's just like Asuna-San said, there was a group that tried to take you away. N-nothing mysterious about it."
Oh thank god he was able to wheeze that out.
Konoka grew a little miffed at their continuous lying and looked to the last bastion of hope. She walked up to Naruto and looked up at the back of his head. He didn't even turn around when she came so close to him, "Naruto-kun, they're being mean. You can tell me right? Please~?"
Asuna, Negi and Chamo exhaled in relief. They could trust the blond teen to lie with a straight face. If anyone could get Konoka off their tail, it was Naruto Uzumaki.
"It was the supernatural."
All three of the magically aware members of the group were slack-jawed at his answer while Konoka was caught off guard. She had stopped and looked at his back in confusion, "Wh-what? What do you mean-"
"I mean demons. Spirits. Charms. Priests. Wizards. Mages." He stopped walking but didn't look back at her as all this information came crashing down, "Magic."
Asuna briskly walked past a shocked Konoka and turned Naruto around to grab his collar. She shook him, "What the hell do you think you are doing Whiskers?! Wasn't that a secret?! Didn't we-"
She stopped in the middle of her rant when she saw the look on his face. He was showing a serious, angry glare on his face...one they had never seen on the free-spirited blond before this instant.
"I'm sorry..." He said as he slowly grasped her hands and lowered them off of his collar, "I'm sorry to all of you. Especially you Konoka."
"Yes. I didn't take this seriously." He said as he looked down at the ground in shame, "I thought when I came to Mahora it would be an easy job. The Ol'Geezer said I just had to watch over you and everything would be okay. But I didn't take this job as seriously as I should have and you were almost hurt...all of you were almost hurt because of it..."
Negi saw the look of self-loathing in Naruto face as he blamed himself for almost getting them hurt. He tried to mediate the situation, "I-it's all right Nii-San, we're all okay. We were worried but everything worked out in the end."
Naruto just shook his head, "No. Because I'm sorry Negi, but this mission is more dangerous than what we thought it was going to be...a dozen times more dangerous...and if we slip up, we might not be able to laugh it off so easily."
The inexperienced members in the group all had scared and worried faces as they listened to Naruto's warning. It wasn't bad enough that Konoka was being kidnapped? Was this really worse than they had imagined?
"But I won't let any of you get hurt. Not again. So you need to understand what we might be up against..." He took a step forward and looked at them all with a strong gaze, "I need to tell you what we are up against."
"Against the monsters known as the Averruncus."
"GODDAMMIT!" Chigusa shrieked as she threw a tea cup against the wall. She stomped her feet and kicked a table over on its side. She gripped the glasses in her hand even tighter, "We were this close! THIS CLOSE! And it was taken from us by those DAMN MAGES!"
A blind Tsukuyomi whined as she tried to calm her employer before she broke her glasses. She waved her little arms around, "I-I understand yer angry Chigusa-Han but you ain't gonna get anywhere by breakin' my glasses."
Chigusa clicked her tongue, "No, but I'd probably feel a whole lot better!" Before anything else could be done, the glasses were stolen from her hands in an instant.
"C'mon Nee-chan, that ain't any way t' be behavin'." A short boy in a black school uniform and beanie said with a thick Kansai accent to match the other girls. He smirked while he handed the Shinmei-Ryū girl her glasses, "Ya only got yerself t' blame for not invitin' me along. But no you jus' had to make me stick around and watch the base."
"That's enough outta you Kotarou-kun!" She reprimanded the young boy who just raised his hands defensively and stepped back. Chigusa took a deep breath before she turned to the biggest cause of her strife today, "And you, Newcomer!"
The white-haired boy was silently standing off to the side as she pointed him out. He looked towards her, "Yes Amakusa-San?"
"Where the hell were ya? Ya were supposed t' be waitin' at that entrance but you were off doin' god knows what!" She pointed at the mercenary that was lazily leaning against the wall, "If you were just gonna run I woulda told him t' stay at the station! Now our plans are ruined!"
"Amakusa-San, we never would have been able to escape and hide in Kyoto if we had stolen Konoka Konoe-San so soon. Eishun Konoe-San would have hunted us down the moment he had heard word of his daughter's kidnapping and sooner or later he would have discovered the summoning site." He poured himself a cup of coffee and took a quick sip of its delicious warming flow, "I know it may seem like things are hopeless, but believe me this isn't the end of our chances."
He poured another cup and handed it to his temporary employer, "If we wait and analyze our choice of actions, we can bring the whole system crumbling down."
Chigusa looked between the short boy and her coffee. Bring everything crumbling down? She smiled into her cup at the thought of it.
The white-haired boy stood off to the side while the rest of the group spoke to each other. He turned to his other silent colleague, "I trust you didn't cause too much damage."
"I held them off long enough for that useless woman to get a head start. Just like you said Fate." The young man said as he pulled the face mask down to get more air, "They were trash anyway."
The boy identified as Fate looked at him questioningly with a tilt of his head, "Really? Because I had a rather interesting meeting with the 'Thousand Master's' son myself. And if you were forced to resort to using 'that', then you must have found someone interesting. Even knowing what it will do to you."
"I didn't resort to anything. It's my body, I can use it how I want."
"I suppose." Fate stood silent as his comrade started to pull the cloak off over his head. He looked over to him, "So that boy I told you about...what did you think of him?"
He pulled the black cloak over his head, revealing the pitch black hair that laid on his head. He held it in his hands for a moment before a small smile formed on his face...
"He was nothing."
Yeah, I saw the immortal hunter with the high-frequency knife and I was reminded of Revengeance. And then I was reminded about how fucking awesome those weapons were so I made a version that used lightning magic to enhance their weapons. Like how Bee does it in Naruto or how Gamma did it in Reborn.
Every once in a while you need to let out a long ass chapter. This is that long ass chapter.
I'll try to get some more chapters out but like I've said, I'm a very slow writer.
But I hope you enjoyed this chapter.
Thank You and Bye