Disclaimer: I do not own Magister Magi Negima! or any other variant of the name.


Katarina glanced over at the furthest seats of the front row as she entered the classroom, hoping to spot Sayo, but unfortunately today the ghost couldn't be seen.

There were a few potential explanations for why this was.

For one, it could be that the ghost girl simply wasn't there today. Katarina was pretty sure Sayo could roam at least some distance around the campus if she fancied, and there wasn't much you could do to stop her.

That explanation had a problem of course. That being that Katarina was also quite sure Sayo made sure to attend like a regular student.

Another explanation, and one far more reasonable, was simply that Sayo was quite illusive, and while Katarina's ability to perceive her had improved (or at least the frequency and clarity of sightings had increased), it was still somewhat rare for her to spot the ghost.

Besides, Katarina had a feeling even Negi couldn't always see her.

She sighed softly. And she had actually been able to see the ghost yesterday…

She wanted to try talking to Sayo, for a number of reasons.

Both out of a genuine desire to get to know her, and just to see if she could.

Alas, it seemed like it would have to wait, and she instead struck up a conversation with Haruna about manga.

They were soon joined by Yue and Nodoka, and their conversation broadened into a more general discussion of literature.

Katarina couldn't help but observe Nodoka perhaps a bit too closely, something which didn't go unnoticed.

"I-Is something the matter, Katarina-chan?" The purple-haired girl queried, slightly flustered.

The blonde smiled awkwardly. "No, there's nothing. Just thinking about something."

It was rather blatantly a deflection, but she could hardly say the truth.

That she'd been worried about Evangeline's attack on her, even if she knew it had been interrupted before anything could really happen.

After all, Miyazaki Nodoka wasn't supposed to know about that incident, her memory of it had probably been erased or otherwise tampered with.

As expected, the three girls she was chatting with didn't look particularly convinced of her reply, but it seemed they wouldn't call her out on it.

Suddenly Haruna clapped her hands with a face as if she had just remembered something she had wanted to talk about.

"By the way Kat-tan! It seems Negi-sensei has a pet!" She exclaimed.

"A pet?" Katarina tilted her head.

Could they be talking about?

"Yeah, an ermine." Yue informed.

"Oh, that's interesting."

Chamomile has arrived then…

Negi's support is coming together, but Katarina had a vague memory that the ermine was honestly a pretty bad influence…

Oh well. She wasn't about to start interfering in the boy's growth and personal life. That would be… a bit much.

Before the conversation could continue, Negi finally arrived, and they all headed to their seats.

'Evangeline isn't here…' Katarina noted as she arrived by their seats.

Thinking about it, neither had she been there yesterday…

Now, Katarina knew Eva had come to school both yesterday and today. After all, they'd been together all the way to the entrance before the vampire had just disappeared, and Chachamaru was sitting in her seat.

So the vampire was being truant somewhere in the school.

It did make some sense that this would happen. Negi was terrified of Evangeline after their encounter and his subsequent defeat, and the vampire would probably quite happily seize upon the opportunity to not have to participate.

The bespectacled girl considered talking to her 'sister' about it, but decided against it for now.

Evangeline was headstrong and Katarina had difficulty even beginning to influence her, and in many ways this was an important trial for Negi, one that he would have to overcome.

If she was asked to talk to Eva about it, she would of course, but until that time came, there was no need to waste time on it.

-Break—

Unfortunately for any plans Katarina may have considered, it seems Evangeline's truancy had somehow motivated her when it came to their magic studies.

As a matter of fact, the school day had barely ended before the vampire stormed into the classroom, scaring poor Negi in the process, and dragging her 'sister' away.

All Katarina could do was give an apologetic wave and shrug as she allowed this to happen.

Chachamaru meanwhile politely bowed and followed them out.

"Why did you have to come drag me out of the classroom?" The bespectacled girl asked as they walked through the forest.

"What can I say? I had something of an epiphany as I was taking a nap." The vampire responded with an evil smirk.

"And what's that?"

"It's quite simple really. There are some principles based on a certain technique of mine that could prove beneficial for you. So I thought we'd go over them, see if it helps you finally grasp that control you are lacking."

"I… see. And what is this technique of yours?"

Katarina's query came with a strong suspicion she desperately tried to keep from creeping into her voice.

If Evangeline noticed, she gave no indication, instead just giving the bespectacled girl a kind of threatening smile.

"Now, I'd rather you didn't go blathering about anything you are about to hear, is that understood."

The vampire might have worded it like a request, but it was without any doubt a command, one with quite a bit of threat baked into it.

"O-of course."

"You see, during my time travelling the world I developed a technique I call 'Magia Erebea', roughly translating to 'dark magic'. While I doubt you would be able to safely use the technique itself, it has many aspects dealing in manipulating and controlling magical energy. Those are what we will go over."

So it was 'Magia Erebea' she was talking about. That said, she might have something of a point when she mentions it has aspects that might be useful, and if so…

"Why didn't you think of that sooner?" Katarina felt compelled to ask.

"It's not a technique I've ever found particularly useful, so it slipped my mind is all." Evangeline replied nonchalantly.

"Is that so…?"

The bespectacled girl wasn't fully convinced. But she couldn't quite formulate a particularly convincing line of reasoning to contest the vampire's claim, and Eva was giving her a look indicating that contesting her might end poorly, so Katarina elected to say nothing more.

Still, to resort to something like this… Was Evangeline getting impatient… or is it right about time? Katarina couldn't tell.

They continued through the forest. The path was somewhat lengthy, a nuisance when it came to getting to school, but which gave plenty of time for pondering or conversation, or, as in this case, both.

"Oh, and don't spread what I'm about to teach you, not even to Zazie." Eva suddenly declared.

"Not even Zazie? I suppose I can guess why…" Katarina walked in thought for a while after trailing off. "Do you think it will help?" She then asked.

She'd tried keeping the question neutral, but even she could tell there was an audible tinge of worry.

Evangeline hummed and tilted her head, before giving a weird smile that was somehow a mix of benevolent and malevolent.

"You're doing just fine. I have no doubts that you will arrive at an answer that works for you. Of course, I won't pretend that I think this will be the thing you need, but I do think you could make use of it later."

Those words surprised Katarina a bit, even if she recognized they kind of shouldn't have, and honestly? She kind of needed them.

A small smile snuck onto her face.

-Break—

Later, as Katarina and Evangeline were taking a break from the younger girl's education, the bespectacled girl was mulling over what she had been taught.

It was esoteric, as one might have expected, and difficult to truly comprehend.

She felt like she could glimpse the logic and systems lying underneath, but it was hard to get a grasp on what it really meant, even after all this time.

But there was something that had had a bigger impact on Katarina than expected.

Something that hadn't even been a big part of what Evangeline had taught her.

Acceptance.

Magia Erebea was, at its core, all about acceptance.

Drawing out power you didn't even know you had by accepting everything about yourself, or transforming your body by accepting magic into your soul…

Evangeline might not describe it that way herself, but that was how Katarina saw it, at the very least.

Of course, these aspects had been mostly avoided during their session, especially the latter part, and any time Evangeline's teachings had approached those aspects, she had promptly either diverted or halted herself altogether.

So what then, was it that had impacted Katarina?

Simple. It was the idea that she needed to accept the magical energy, and perhaps more importantly, that she was almost… afraid… of it.

Of course, it was difficult to set that realization into tangible results. Because how would you?

She took a deep breath, leaned back into the sofa until she was looking up into the ceiling, and just… tried to feel. To open herself to that feeling.

Feeling was simple enough. She'd been feeling the magical energy ever since she came to Mahora, to the point it barely even registered now.

It was all around her, it was always all around her. It was on her skin, it was in her muscles… absolutely indescribable.

But how did you open yourself to it?

What did that even mean?

Was it even the right line of thinking?

She reached out her hand into the air, not for any practical reason, but more like to try and grasp at that which she could feel all around.

A futile gesture from a purely practical standpoint, trying to reach for something intangible, but sometimes a practically futile gesture held symbolic meaning.

And sometimes… symbolic actions held power.

And suddenly, despite the fact that Evangeline's cottage should have remained consistent in ambient magical power, Katarina felt the feeling intensify, as if she had headed into a place with a higher concentration.

And suddenly there seemed to be a sheen to everything around even as the air itself seemed to shimmer.

At first she was bewildered.

Then she was amazed.

And then, finally, she was terrified.

Because she definitely couldn't run around like this.

Even now she felt the beginnings of unwellness, and she knew discomfort would follow.

She almost panicked a bit before she tried to close herself.

Somehow it worked after she drew her arms about herself, but it would be damn inconvenient if she needed to make gestures like that all the time.

She breathed a small sigh as everything returned to normal.

Then she looked up and saw Evangeline's intrigued and just slightly amused gaze.

-Break—

That had been… interesting.

Evangeline had been watching Katarina mull, even letting the girl continue to do so after their break should have been over because of how deeply in thought she had seemed.

She'd known something was going on, that the girl had found a line of thought she hadn't before, and that she was on the verge of either a breakthrough, or disappointment.

Either would have had value and would arguably have been more progress than usual.

Even so, the vampire hadn't expected what actually happened.

A rush of energy so potent Evangeline could sense it even in her current heavily sealed state.

Heck, there was a literal glow to the girl's eyes, albeit a very subtle one.

Evangeline could only guess what the girl had seen during those moments, although it seemed she'd found it wonderous.

It was of course a bit of a relief when the girl also managed to shut it off, partly because Evangeline also saw the panic that set in, but also since it would have been very inconvenient, not to mention dangerous, if the girl was in that state for a prolonged period.

Even now there was a heightened potency to the magical energy that was always seeping out of Katarina…

Still… this might just be the breakthrough they were looking for…

The first step…


Author's notes: You know, I think it's been a while... Oh. Oh yeah. Oh dear. It has been way too long. I've... kind of been taking a break. Might have been burnt out or something, but I'd been having a really bad time writing, so I just stopped for a while. Then this chapter took longer than I would have liked too, which I'll apologize for.

Originally I'd intended to include stuff from the next day as well in this chapter, but a certain event took up more space than I'd thought it would, so...

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed, and that you have a nice day.