Sorry for the delay! Hopefully things will be picking up now that the real fun is starting. Also big shout out to all those who reviewed, followed and favourite, I'll work extra hard to get chapter four out faster so I won't keep you waiting.
Disclaimer – I do not own Negima or any of its characters.
Shinata-Riyoko, thanks for the great help!
Surfacing with harsh coughs and splutters, Setsuna struggled to stay afloat and cursed at the robot and her mistress. The matted raven locks clinging over eyes were not helping matters as her glaring became ineffective with her eyes half squinted and red due to the hair worming their way into them. "This isn't funny," the half demon muttered, mostly to herself, seeing as how Chachamaru had already exited the room with not so much of a glance in her direction. "Throwing people, no, unconscious people into the water and thinking they won't drown is absurd."
The dark haired girl moved to wash her body, continuing her silent brooding, once stripped and armed with soap and a cloth, taking care to tread lightly over her still open wounds. Setsuna winced as the cloth crossed over what was an especially tender cut on her arm; the skin was jagged from Eva's claw-like nails. Flexing her pale arm to see the extent of the damage she was relieved to see that it was only slightly sore now, the warm water easing most of her muscles aches and pains.
It was getting harder to ignore the pain after each session; the blonde dark mage seemed to make it her personal mission to inflict as much pain on her as possible without actually killing her. Her hand moved slowly to rest on the nape of her neck, unconsciously covering two faint dots, or at least to leave enough blood in my body to drink afterwards.
Setsuna shook her head to clear her thoughts before dunking her head under the water when she felt it wasn't enough. Surfacing shortly after, she wiped away the water and raven strands from her face, the girl's mind still plagued as she mentally ran over the recent training session. I've improved in the sense that it took longer than before to reach my boiling point, Setsuna summarized, frowning in thought, however I still can't control my blood lust and as a result I was knocked out. Touching her forehead gingerly, where her face met the floor, the girl flinched at the unexpected jolt of pain at the light touch, again.
Sighing the dark haired girl lowered her hand, eyes unfocused as she considered the situation she was in. Her training was practically suicide and was only taking small; almost minute steps towards helping her. Her senses were getting stronger but at a great toll, distracting her from her studies and duties, a faint blush appearing on her normally pale cheeks as she recalls sniffing Asuna and Konoka once. They threw off her focus; the scents were setting off headaches or well, just putting her into awkward situations. It was frustrating and frightening all at the same time, she felt powerless at the lack of control she had over her body.
At the thought of having no control Setsuna's chest rumbled with a quiet growl, nails digging aggressively into her palm, drawing blood as she allowed her anger over the recent events to wash over her. Distracted by the dark loathing, she failed to see in the water the rash on her neck progressively deepening in colour, becoming an almost purple red and spreading further across her neck, disappearing as they neared her shoulder blades.
Setsuna climbed out of the hot spring slowly, feet padding softly on the tiled floor as she made her way to the rack with a towel and robe draped over, most likely left by Chachamaru. Once dry and dressed the dark haired girl stopped to inspect her features in front of a fogged mirror, dark eyes meeting her gaze evenly. The left of her face held a blue hue, the bruise spread from her cheek to her forehead, probably caused when Evangeline slammed her face to the ground. Not that I completely blame her since I was getting out of control at that point, tracing the light scabs forming from dry blood on her arms as she briefly pieced together what happened from her recollection, having not much to work from as her memory waivers when her demon half takes control.
The half demon smiled bitterly at that, mildly impressed to see that her canines could now be seen when she smiled normally. Deciding that she did enough admiring she turned and trekked out the door, walking into a dimly lit hallway. The path was familiar now after practicing for weeks in this specific dome with Evangeline, the room she was journeying to a fixed location.
She knocked firmly, her knuckles beating twice before falling down to her side as she waited with a rigid posture for the order to enter. When it eventually came she eased the door open silently and stepped into the room, hyper aware of the eyes on her and her surroundings. She wasn't letting down her guard until the last minute, having learned the hard way that Eva took her training very seriously. Thinking of the undying mage, she could smell her; the distinct scent of sulphur and rain dew, an odd combination. The sulphur chalked up to being unpleasant because she was evil and well the rain dew because she did have a rather hefty arsenal of ice spells.
Abruptly the dark haired girl stopped walking. Holding her breath quickly as the hairs on the back of her neck and arms rose in alarm, eyes darting around the room before narrowing in front of her where a single, almost invisible trap wire was present; the light of the fire briefly illuminating the wire, allowing for its presence to be announced quietly. Taking care in order to walk over the wire, the girl calmly stepped over the trap, faintly proud that she didn't fall for the set up.
"I'm disappointed that you didn't trip the wire Setsuna, I wanted to see mistress's new blades tested," Chachazero commented from her perch on the armrest of the velvet couch, a small child's teacup resting in her hand. Setsuna rolled her eyes at the doll, glad she didn't give the murder happy doll any satisfaction. So caught up in her small victory the dark haired girl failed to notice the second wire just a few short metres in front of the first, causing the girl to trigger it and unleash a volley of arrows from the walls. Reacting quickly the half demon jumped back, rolling out of the firing range, hissing as an arrow nicked her cheek as she flew back in a hurry.
"Impressive. I was so sure you were going to be impaled by those arrows," Evangeline drawled out, her small frame stretched lazily across the couch, smirking at Chachazero who clearly enjoyed the show, chirping her own comments of forgetting there was a second wire. Setsuna stood half bent with a hand clutching her shirt, fighting to keep her heart rate down and preventing any bouts of stupidity like say, getting angry and thinking she could take the blonde. "But I guess its all the training you have been doing that enabled you to dodge my newest toys," Setsuna sweat dropped at the word 'toys'.
Straightening from her half bent stance the half demon cautiously made her way towards the still smirking girl, wary of her surroundings. "Kneel," Eva commanded, her eyes losing their playfulness, becoming cold. Setsuna knelt in front of the couch, one knee pressing into the plush carpet and the other up as a resting place for her arm, her neck presented to the dark mage. The dark haired girl sensed Chachazero moving out of the room, catching a flash of green out of the corner of her eye before refocusing on the velvet couch, never wavering away from the intricate wood work of the frame even when Evangeline moved to sit upright. Pale fingers danced over her flesh, tracing previous marks. The half demon barely flinched when the fingers moved to grasp her chin and tilt her head, warm puffs of air now on her neck.
The bite came without warning, fangs sinking in quickly, the pain sharp as Setsuna tightened her grip on the plush carpet. Each tug of her blood renewed the strength of her grip and work of the muscles in her jaw, clenched shut to avoid any hissing or cursing. Time seemed to move slower but eventually it was over, the fangs leaving her neck with only small pinpricks of blood as the visible trace that they were there. Forced to look up by the vampire's tug, Setsuna stared blankly at the cold emerald orbs, her stoic mask giving nothing away. Evangeline's thumb ran over her cheek bone, pressing on the bruise to draw a twitch from the dark haired girl before brushing on the somewhat wet blood left from the arrow's nick. Falling back the smaller girl brought her thumb to her mouth, her eyes never leaving Setsuna's as she licked her thumb clean, a faint smirk present as the half demon failed to stay entirely composed, her body tense and eyes flashing white.
"Are we done?" Setsuna questioned stonily, her voice scratchy as if she hadn't used it in days. Receiving a simple wave the girl slowly made her way onto her feet, steadying herself for the light-headedness that was to come. "That will be all for today, tomorrow we will move onto the next part of your training," nodding to show she heard, Setsuna then moved to exit the room, bringing the sleeve of her robe to wipe away any blood left on her neck. Once the door was closed the girl allowed her exhaustion to show, slumping her form and wincing from the sudden pain making itself known in her body. Dragging her feet Setsuna made her way to her bedroom outside of Mahora, barely shutting the door before allowing her body to sink into the mattress.
Ojou-sama and Asuna must be eating dinner right now with Negi-sensei and Chamo, Setsuna thought drowsily, a small smile on her lips at the image of Asuna stretching over to hit Negi or Chamo for something she deemed worthy of a beating. Yawning the girl's eyes closed, what I would give to be eating Kono-chan's cooking right now.
"How many times do I have to tell you? Stop trying to steal my underwear!"
Crash. "It's time to die vermin!"
"How was your day Negi-kun?" Konoka asked sweetly, folding her apron and placing it to her side before sitting at the table to eat with the teenager. "It was rather uneventful. I got chased around the campus again by some girls and stopped the twins from bungee jumping off the world tree," the boy stated casually, eating his food and ignoring the chaos happening around him as Chamo flew passed his head and into the window with a disturbing thump. Konoka giggled at the admission, dishing her own bowl of rice as Asuna stormed pass with a bat, "still as popular as ever it seems."
"Actually things seem to be calming down ever since Setsuna has reached puberty," Negi joked, rubbing the back of his neck, "when she walks in the attention immediately shifts from me." The brunette felt her smile fade as she thought of her childhood friend who would normally be sitting next to her but was out training. "Secchan has gotten popular hasn't she?" She murmured, unknowingly turning her head to stare at the empty space next to her. As if sensing the need for a distraction Asuna plonked down next to Konoka in a huff, muttering darkly about a certain ermine before lighting up at the sight of food. Turning her attention to her ravenous friend Konoka smiled lightly, moving to dish up for the girl.
Once Asuna was served, the friends settled back into a jovial atmosphere, talking about their day in between bites and sharing stories, forgetting about the twitching mess that was Chamo in the corner of the room. "Man I don't know what we'll do without you Konoka," the orange haired girl beamed, rubbing her stomach contently. "A great dinner as always," Negi chimed in, picking up the dishes to help clear, "I'm sure Setsuna is missing your food." The room stilled as the boy realized his mistake, sending a panicked expression to Asuna who was too busy facepalming at his blunder. "I mean! I'm sure she'll appreciate your dinner more then ever tomorrow! When she comes home. Because she was away and missed you and your food."
Konoka laughed at her friends, grateful that they would go out of their way to cheer her up and try filling the void Setsuna left, "It's okay Negi-kun, I know what you meant," the girl smiled, quelling his anxiety. "It's just very different without her around," the smile now dimming. Asuna and Negi shared a sad smile before the taller girl wrapped her arm around the brunette's shoulders, giving her a comforting squeeze. " Like Negi said, Setsuna will be home tomorrow! Giving him a run for his money again," a playful wink occupying the statement. Laughing at the visual of Setsuna's signature blush and stuttering the group forgot about the previous tension, oblivious to Chamo's whimpers of pain asking for help.
When Setsuna woke up there was a sharp pain shooting all around her body, muscles creaking as they shifted to sit up. The dark haired girl groaned as she climbed to her feet, ready to take on the new day, the thought that she was returning home for the weekend her motivation. I wonder if I should feel bad that I'm ecstatic at the fact that it's Negi-sensei's turn now, Setsuna pondered distractedly, throwing on her hakama and gi with some difficulty as her arms throbbed from the gashes she'd received yesterday. Staring at the gashes the dark haired girl decided she shouldn't feel bad since she paid her dues for the week; besides Negi willingly allowed Evangeline throw him around, Setsuna trained with the dark mage because it was her only option.
A crisp knock sounded on the door before Chachamaru poked her head around the corner, her face as expressionless as normal. "Mistress has told me to inform you that training today will be done in the garden today." The half demon nodded slowly, not sure if she liked the sound of the message. Not waiting to see if Setsuna had any questions the green haired robot disappeared, leaving the door half opened, her footsteps fading as Setsuna continued to stare at the door in confusion. Why was the venue changed? What did the girl have planned? The answers evaded the dark haired girl as she walked towards the garden, her body tensed at the prospect of a new form of torture. Maybe she's going to teleport me to the desert again, Setsuna thought, while attacking me, paling at the chance of survival.
Before she knew it the young woman had reached the 'garden', the term used loosely as it was more of a jungle in appearance with a clearing made in the middle for a small tea canopy. The trees stretched to the heavens with heavy, dark limbs covered by leaves of every shade and small animals took refuge under their cover, the braver ones risking a peek at the strange occupants in the middle of their home. The tea canopy housed Evangeline, the vampire sipping her cup, the blonde looking quite relaxed under the sunlight and surrounded by the exotic vegetation. In front two mats were placed on the ground, positioned a good few metres from the canopy's stairs and the path Setsuna was walking on.
"Get comfortable Setsuna, we will be here for quite some time," gesturing towards one of the mats with a flick of her wrist, her eyes glinting with something Setsuna couldn't fully identify but feared nonetheless. Lowering her body onto the mat, legs tucked underneath in the seiza position she often found herself in when meditating, Setsuna brought her head up to look at Evangeline silently. "You will be meditating today," the dark haired girl waited for the catch but it never came. "And?" She tempted, raising a disbelieving eyebrow at the dark mage, unable to see how this session would not end in her being hurt in some way.
"And that's it. I told you that training today will be different," Evangeline said, a smirk playing on her lips, "I'll just be enjoying my tea, taking a break from tossing you around. It gets tiring." Her sigh following the statement indicating just how tiresome she found it all, something that made Setsuna's eye twitch,I get tired of being tossed around. Noting that the girl was done with her and was now talking to Chachamaru, Setsuna resigned herself to her fate and focused on the task at hand. Breathing in deeply, then exhaling softly, allowing her eyes to close as she centered herself, unaware of Evangeline's eyes suddenly on her. Everything was dulling, becoming nothing but distant sounds and scents as Setsuna inhaled and exhaled, the light chattering of the animals fading into silence, fresh dew nothing but an afterthought. Inhale. Exhale. The air moved past Setsuna's lips in an invisible puff, her shoulders uncoiling as she drifted further into the meditative state.
Time passed peacefully as everything was silent.
Then blood sprayed out of Setsuna's mouth through an agonized scream.
Thanks for reading! Please continue to tell me what you think; reviews give me fluffy warm feelings inside as well as provide motivation!
P.s don't hate me too much for the cliff hanger.