They were all gone. My friends, my comrades from UQ Holder, even Kitty. I was the only one left. Thanks to a one second miracle, Negi broke free from the Eternal Empathetic and used a prototype time machine to send me back in time to fix everything. Now I am ready. Now I am worthy of Evangeline McDowell. Now I am ready. Now I am ready to free my ancestors from their prisons!
A swirling matrix or color… this was not Kirie's usual time travel. Normally, when she dies, she and whoever she is in physical contact with get sent back to her last save point instantly. This…this was different.
No sooner had I finished that thought, I, Touta Konoe, the only being capable of standing against my grandpa and his father, was back on solid ground. I let myself relax for half a second before crouching into a defensive pose and taking in my surroundings. I could see nothing out of the ordinary. I had landed in a plain, flatland as far as the vampire eye could see. Massive trees shot out of the ground and loomed over me, the gentle breeze refreshing, and the grass bending under its caress. I looked at my feet and my immediate vicinity, looking for a certain something. There was nothing within a ten-foot radius of me. If I still had tears left in me, I would have cried. Thankfully, there were none left. I didn't have time to think on this. I needed to find out when I landed.
Using continuous instant movement, flash-stepping or shunpo as I came to call it, I shot off in an unknown direction, looking to find some kind of hint as to the time period I was in, hoping that the prototype didn't send me too far back. Then again, even if it did, I still had a way to pass the time. After about five minutes of constant shunpo, I came to a road. Not breaking stride, I instantly played a game of eeny meeny miny moe on which way to go, it ended up with me deciding to turn right. I grasped the air around me with my outstretched foot, made a foothold out of air, and used it to change my direction so I was still hidden by the trees on the side of the highway, as it appeared to be, out of view from the human eye in case any drivers showed up. I followed the road for another five minutes and came into a town. I broke out of shunpo and started walking at a human pace. I need to find a newspaper. I thought as I scanned my surroundings. I walked up to a nearby person to ask for directions. She was a brunette, skinny, hourglass figure...basically your average twenty year old woman. "Excuse me," I asked her politely, "I am a little new to town so I was wondering if you could direct me to the nearest post office or gas station?"
She turned around to see who was talking to her and smiled. "Aw, you are so cute. There is actually a gas station on your left if you keep going straight. Tell me, why do you need to go the gas station?"
I used the excuse I had already thought of, even though it pained me to say it. "My mom wants the newspaper so she sent me to get it." I faked a smile back. Before she could try to keep me there talking, I started jogging in the direction she indicated. Sure enough, just as she said, there was a shell station up ahead. Once I got there, I quickly opened the door and found a stack of newspapers just as I walked in. I reached over and grabbed a New York Inquirer. The date on it was July 27 of 2084. The same night my 'parents' died… I shook my head. Despite the overwhelming desire to rescue them, I didn't know how it would change the timeline. "Whatever you do Touta," Grandpa had said, "Don't change the timeline if you don't need to! Only do what you need to to make the fight against me easier! Now hurry! I can't hold her off much longer!"
Those were his words before he sent me back to this…alternate timeline he called it. I put the newspaper down and exited the store, deep in thought.
I needed to become stronger. That was the one sole purpose of me coming back. Everyone else was erased, and I had gotten lucky that Negi had broken free from her control, even if he only broke it for a second. I needed the strength to overpower the Thousand Master and the Magister of Magic. It would have been great if the time machine Negi used on me sent me back to the era of the Thousand Master. This way, I could have been his student up until he had to go to Mars. Even better, I could have been Kitty's student and been under both of their tutelages for a few hundred years. Kitty…
No! Don't think about it! I shook my head to get that hellish image out of my head. Back to the time machine matter, even going back to Negi's time would have been more beneficial than being in this time. I can't go to Evangeline since the me of this timeline will be there and I can't reveal myself to either of them yet. Both of my ancestors are under the control of the Eternal Empathetic, and if I go to UQ Holder what would even happen? Would they let me in if I used an alias? But what about when this timeline's me goes there? They would instantly come to me for answers and in a not so kind fashion.
I reached into the inside of the black and white vest that I snatched out a nearby store not five minutes ago and pulled out the phone that I had placed inside. Looks like I have no choice but to go there. Maybe she can help me out if I explain my situation. I opened up the flip-phone and saw that there was only 1 button. I pushed it and brought it to my ear.
On the fourth ring I heard the person on the other side answer, but they didn't say anything.
"My name is Touta Konoe." I started. "My situation is dire and I am in need of assistance. I humbly request an audience with you. I am in July 27, 2084…hey mister what is the name of this town?" I quickly asked a nearby police officer. He looked at me for a little bit but decided to answer my question.
"It's Austin." I gave him a blank stare. "Austin, Texas…? This ringing any bells for you kid?" At least send me to a place nearby! Baka-Negi!
"Okay," I spoke into the phone. "It is July 27, 2084, I am in Austin Texas, and it is 4:57 in the afternoon. I will explain everything once you bring me to you." Still nothing. I sighed. I was really hoping I wouldn't have to say this because it is embarrassing as hell but it looks like this is the only chance I have of her picking me up. "Um...There are two things immortals give to mortals. Either fear and chaos…or beauty. There have been some mortals giving me a hard time and they don't fear me. T-there is a-also an immortal who doesn't think I am beautiful. I want to become the perfect immortal. One that spreads fear to those that dare oppose me… a-and beauty to those who follow him." I almost chocked on that last part.
The silence continued. Then the voice spoke.
"If your forearm is severed how long should it take to regenerate?"
"0.1 seconds." There was a pause before the voice spoke again.
"And if your entire torso is blown into pieces?"
"0.5 seconds with flair and dramatic effects." I said, remembering what I was taught.
"Who do you love and who is giving you trouble?"
"The one I love is Kitty. The ones giving me trouble…are Negi and Nagi." Not even an instant later, an arm appeared over my head, grabbed my entire top half, and pulled me into the black portal from which the arm spawned.
I was back. Back in the only place where I could train as much as I wanted. The only problem was convincing the person that stood before me to let me train here.
"You have a lot of explaining to do Touta Konoe." Said the immortal, confusion and anger written all over her face.
"Where do you want me to start… Dana Ananga Jagannatha?" I asked the noble in front of me, dressed in her usual attire.
"You can start by telling me why you came from the future to the past for starters. And before you even ask me how I know that, let me remind you that I am the Witch of the Void. I am connected to everything, meaning I am connected to all of time. The moment you said you were Touta Konoe I looked at time and found that exact being in the sametime period in two different places. One with my former disciple, who you know as Kitty, and then you. So, when I tried to look into your time, I found nothing. Do you know what it means when the Witch of the Void looks at time and doesn't see anything? That means there is no time to see, meaning that time had ended a few decillion years early! And, just to let you know, is NOT something that happens on a daily basis here!"
Surprised by this information that I, a being from said future, did not know about, i just dumbly stared up and the ridiculously tall woman slack jawed. Now… I knew that the situation was dire…but it being this dire! What happened after I left that time line?
I decided that I might as well tell my part of the story and find the rest out from Negi himself when the time for our, epic to be, battle came. "Well, it all started when an immortal hunter used me and my friends to try to kill Evangeline…" I decided to tell her my entire life story, only stopping after I had explained the erasure of UQ holder.
"…Negi had that kind of weapon?" Dana muttered, taking a few steps back, not believing what she was just told.
"It's the truth master. Somehow they managed to create a magical weapon that erases the existence of whoever is fatally wounded by it. They called it The Sword of Nonexistence. Thankfully, my grandfather managed to break free from Ialda's control for a single second just before she was about to cut my head off and erase me. He used instantaneous movement to explain what I had to do. Then, he sent me back to this time period using a prototype time machine based off of the one they first used to bring my grandma back in time. If I had to guess, they somehow managed to find a way to combine the save point and reset concepts of Kirie's immortality along with the blueprints of the time machine used to first bring back my grandma. Once Ialda regained control, I'm assuming she tried using it to follow me back but it malfunctioned as she was trying to calibrate it. If she was using her own magical energy as its power source, the resulting explosion must have erased the entire timeline..."
Once I finished giving her my opinion on what I believe explained the erasure of my original timeline, Dana was grasping her head in disbelief and confusion.
"I have so many questions." she groaned slowly, "First of all, using instantaneous movement to speak at instant speed…only Negi would have been able to pull off something like that. Second, for you to be able to understand instant speech is just ridiculous in of its own right. But at the top of the list, not mentioning the weapon capable of erasing anything it kills, a malfunctioning time machine erasing an entire timeline!? What are the chances of that actually happening? Witch of the Beginning's power or not that is just not possible!" She walked away from me and started circling the area, staying near what I believed was the wall.
"I think after all of this, the one thing I can say for certain is that nothing is impossible, just highly improbably."
"Apparently!" she shrilled, walking even faster.
As I watched the Witch of the Void circle me anxiously, I began to wonder where I was. The only thing I could see was Dana. I concluded that it must be a special room to keep people that Dana believes could be dangerous. Honestly, I couldn't blame her since my original timeline doesn't exist anymore. I was still trying to get over that shock myself!
"And what would you like for me to do for you?" Dana asked, expecting rather than asking.
"Just like I told you. I spent 8 months training under you in my timeline. This time, I want to stay for at the very least twenty years. A century if that is how long it takes. I want your help making me the strongest immortal in existence!"
There was a pause before she spoke again. "You say this knowing that we don't have that long. Putting the fact that this timeline's counterpart of you will be here in a decade, give or take a few years, to the side, there is still the fact that the timeline might be erased if we don't stop Negi and Nagi in that same amount of time. How do you plan on staying here for that long when we don't have that long?"
"I was told that since you were the Witch of Time, and not only you, but this building is linked across all of time, I figured we could go back millions of years into the past and train! This way, no one will know of our existence and we can train to our hearts content!"
"No." The instant denial of my proposition made me falter.
"Wh-what? Why!?" I asked once I had recovered.
"You are still so young and ignorant." She sighed. "Then again, that is one of the things that makes you…delectable." I tried not to shiver at that comment and let her continue. "The only problem is that we are going back in time in the first place. If we go that far back then surely what we do there will have repercussions on today's society. Kill a certain dinosaur or make a certain volcano explode and we could end up with bugs ruling the world or perhaps erasing the very concept of immortality from existence, making it so immortals like us would not exist and we would live mortal lives."
"Then we would die in a little under a century and not being able to meet Kitty and the rest of UQ Holder." I realized.
"Among other things, yes. The farther we go back in time, the harsher the consequences will become. Not even I know what would happen if we did that. Going back in time is not an option." She stated, crossing her arms in finality.
I couldn't help but lower my head in shock and dismay. Was my coming back in time pointless? I can't reach my grandparent's level in under a decade! Even if I did train for that long and by some miracle made it to Kitty's level, even she couldn't do anything against Negi so what would I be able to do?
Just as I was about to give up, Dana said, "Don't give up yet kid." I looked back up at my master, seeing her with a wide grin, arms still crossed under her bust. "Just because we can't go back in time, doesn't mean we can't train for as long as we like."
"…what do you mean?" I asked hesitantly, not knowing what she was planning. I had the same dark and bad feeling that I had back when my friends and I first started training here. The same feeling we had found out that we would be killed hundreds of times a day to speed up our regeneration time. She raised her hands from her hips and clapped twice. Instantly, the dark room came to life with light. Yelling in pain from the sudden transition, I quickly raised my hands to cover my eyes from the blinding light. It took me about one second for my eyes to adjust to the new lighting. When I removed my hand, and looked around me I saw…nothing. Just a wide expanse of nothing. Nothing as far as the eye could see.
"What is this place?" I asked. Dana walked up to me and explained.
"A long, long time ago, my sister and I made this room for us to fight in. My sister's name is Nada, another Witch of the Void." I was nodding as she was explaining what this room was, letting her know I was following along. When she said that, however, I couldn't help but blink a few times and take a mental step back.
"Wait…there are two Witches?"
"Correct." She could see that I didn't believe her. I asked her how there could be two Void Witches. She asked me, "Do you know what a void is?"
I answered, "Isn't a void something like a space."
"Correct." Was her reply. "There are two different concepts that a void is subject to." She continued, entering full on teacher mode.
"Concepts?" I asked, feeling dumb as rocks right now.
She smiled. "Take the void called Outer Space for example. What two concepts is it subject to?" After five minutes of me trying to guess and not getting any of them right she gave me the correct answer to her question. "The answer is time and space. Just as mortals and immortals alike perceive time, so does Outer Space. Just because nothing is there doesn't mean it is not subject to time. The same principle applies to space. Space is all around us; it is the whole reason why Outer Space is called Outer Space. On an unrelated note, don't even try to get me started why we don't call everything that is not Outer Space, Inner Space." Funny, I was just about to ask her that too.
"So, what does this have to do with being a void witch?" I wondered aloud.
"Well, for each concept that applies to a void there is a witch. Seeing how the entire universe is a void and time and space applies to voids…"
"Wait a minute…" I said, the gears in my head spinning like crazy. "A witch for each concept that applies to a void…space and time influence voids…so that means there are two witches…one for time… that is you…and…a witch for space! The Witch of Space!?"
"Good work Touta. I wasn't sure if you would get that. Indeed, that is my sister, Nada Agantha Jagannatha. Using the powers of time and space, we made a void in each of our strongholds. Here, there is a time dilation that bends to my will. To put it simply, we can train to our hearts intent and we can come out in just the nick of time to come out and have you take your other self's place."
"That sounds amazing! Thanks Dana!" I ran up to her and tried to give her a hug but her finger piercing my chest stopped me dead in my tracks, quite literally. It took me about a minute to regenerate my chest and sit up from the floor.
"What was that for!?" I yelled at her.
"An immortal does not thank someone when they have not done anything to be thanked for." She said quite sternly. Then she soften up and gave me a small grin. "Get strong enough to beat Negi and Nagi and then you can thank me."
"Y-yes master!" I exclaimed. Then I realized something. "Wait, what do you mean 'take my other self's place?" I asked, still very eager to start training but a little worried by what she meant.
"I'll tell you the plan once we get you in tip top shape. Once our training is over, you will be in your best shape possible! Now before we begin, is there anything else you want to ask of me before we get started?"
"Actually yes." I told her, having a few ideas. "There is sword at UQ Holder headquarters that can change its weight by turning a dial on the hilt. I used that sword in my other timeline. I want that sword to make my training a lot more beneficial."
"Sounds like an interesting weapon. How much weight can you wield the sword at?"
"There have been a few times when I swung it when it was five hundred thousand times its own base weight... and a time where I was about to swing it at one million times its weight. Never got to swing it though since Negi attacked me before I could. Oh, and there was a time when I swung it at one tenth its weight." I told her. I could see her lick her lips in…is that anticipation?
"...Yes... if you can handle that sword like a master swordsman than that does sound like a useful tool to have, in both training and fighting. Expertly swinging a sword that weighs several tons like its nothing certainly sounds promising. I can most certainly grab that for you, especially if Kitty is the one in charge of that organization. Then I can just return it to a time a few seconds past when I first grabbed it, making them none the wiser. Anything else?"
"Just one other thing. Back in my timeline I couldn't use magic. That is because of the White of Venus and the Black of Mars magic being mixed together in my system correct?"
"That is correct." The purple lady answered.
"So, if I were to get better control of my spiritual energy and blood and accelerate it to the point when I can separate them…would I be able to use magic? Once they are not mixed anymore, I mean?" Judging by the look on her face, she honestly did not know. The whole reason I asked is because my Negi is able to use magic just like his father, Nagi. Since I am his clone, I should be able to use magic as well. I already got a small hold on Thunder in Heaven: Great Vigor. I should be able to use other magic besides that one. Hopefully, the only hurdles I need to overcome are my limited knowledge of magic, and the hula hoops I rely on.
"You just thought of the differences between yourself and Negi didn't you?" Dana asked, suddenly very serious. This made me hesitate, unable to respond since what she just said was true. I could only look up at her in shock. "The level you are at in comparison to your grandfather is worlds apart."
"Wha..?" I said, shocked and frustrated. What did she know about Negi? He didn't fight her ever… did he? "I-I already know that! I went toe to toe with him! I know how strong he is! I know he is not someone who can be looked down on!"
"Fool. Anyone standing in his presence without Ialda giving him more power would know that he is not someone to be messed with." I ground my teeth in frustration, knowing she was right. Back when he first showed himself, the entire area went silent from his mere aura. Then, with a single sneeze, the clothes of everyone in the area were destroyed. But I do remember someone saying that whenever he sneezed his magic goes out of control...
"It will take more than magic to defeat Negi." Dana continued. "He can absorb any spell that directly affects him or he is in contact with and use it to give himself more power."
"Then…then what am I supposed to do!?" I yelled at her, beginning to lose hope. "I have to defeat my grandfather in order to save everyone I care about. I need more power in order to do that!" I would have said more, but Dana suddenly thrust her finger at me, successfully stabbing me in the chest and shutting me up, blood covering the floor under me as I coughed it up from impact.
"While you are correct in saying that you need power in order to fight him, what you need us not just power." She drew her finger out of me, allowing me to regenerate as I gasped in pain. "Your regeneration speed, your combat skills, your physical capabilities, your magic abilities, your battle tactics…they all need improvement."
"What!?" I groaned more than asked, feeling hurt that she was able to tell me all of that as if they were just a few that she listed off the top of her head. Did that mean I had more weaknesses that could be exploited?
"Back to your question you asked earlier, I won't tell you you can't use other magic." She told me. "However, as you are right now it will take a few years of training for you to outgrow those hoops and control your magic energy freely, not to mention it will take quite a while for you to come close to a level that will make you a match for Fate and Kitty, let alone Negi and Nagi."
Trying to take in all of what Dana was saying, I knew she was right. Why couldn't I see it before? Before any of this, I was just trying to get revenge on Fate. That alone was a very high die to cast. But before I even reached his level, the responsibility of defeating Ialda fell onto my shoulders. All of a sudden, I felt a revelation. Ialda!
That was the person I needed to defeat! It wasn't about getting revenge on Fate, it wasn't about making Evangeline notice me, it wasn't even about beating my ancestors! In order for any of that to happen, Ialda had to go. Once I drive Ialda out of their minds and beat her into submission, then I can focus on the other stuff.
Seeing me with a huge grin on my face, Nada grinned as well. "I see you managed to figure it out." She told me.
"Yeah, Negi is not who I need to beat. Not even Nagi. It is Ialda."
Nada grinned even wider and clapped. "Well, now that you know who your true enemy is, I think I can begin training you. But be warned…," she stopped smiling and she donned a blackish aura. Her eyes looked like they were made of fire, her hair seemed to defy gravity as it rose and billowed in the wind her aura produced, her lips turned down in a scowl that would make all beings in creation hesitate to engage her. Honestly, I rather go back and fight Negi, Nagi, and the Mage of the Beginning at once than fight Dana as she is now. "…it will take more than a decade of my teachings in order for you to overcome the Life-Maker. We are going to be training non-stop, with no sleep, no breaks, for the next one thousand years in this room. I will not allow you to rest. Your mind will be destroyed thousands of times, your body millions, and your beliefs billions of times. But fear not, I will set the time dilation so that only two years will pass outside of this room. When I am done with you, you will bear all of your teachings with either pride or remorse. You will either be proud that you managed to remain in control of your sanity while managing to endure the most painful training you will ever face in all of time or you will be broken to the point where you define everything around you as pointless."
…Dana was serious. I couldn't help but take a few steps back as she began to stomp towards me. Never before, have I felt such an enormous pressure on me, not even when I fought my grandfather. And Dana still acknowledges Negi as being stronger. If she didn't she would be as serious as she was.
Then, in the presence of the full power of the Witch of the Void, I began to laugh. I didn't know how it was possible for me to laugh in this insane scenario, but I was. This seemed to make Dana hesitate as she waited for me to calm down.
When I finally finished, I was bent over myself, grasping my knees to keep myself from falling. "I…I see. So, when I fought you, you were holding back the majority of your power, weren't you grandpa?" I began to chuckle at the hopeless situation I brought upon myself. Well, if I was going to go insane, might as well loose it to save the solar system!
"Come at me Diana!" I challenged her in a sudden fit of courage, getting into a defensive stance. "I will stay here for the next one thousand years if I must! I will take everything you have to offer! All of your teachings! All of your power! All of your techniques! Everything! I expect you to teach me everything you know about my grandfather and my great grandfather! Their magic! Their knowledge! Their strengths and weaknesses! I want you to make me into the perfect copy! I WANT YOU TO MAKE ME SO PERFECT THAT NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLONE AND THE ORIGINAL!"
"Yes, Touta!" Dana screeched, her aura getting stronger, the pressure cracking the ground as far as this space expanded, her face turning red. "How beautiful you are! Get greedier, ask for more, take advantage of me! That is what being an immortal is all about! As long as you promise to not become an immortal with nothing but strength, I will give you everything you desire! After all, an immortal with only strength is an ugly thing!"
"And an immortal who isn't strong is just as ugly isn't it!" I roared in eagerness, sensing the battle that was about to begin: the eon of hell that awaited me.
"Yes! YES! You understand! That means there is only two paths left to you now!" She brought one leg forward, smashing the ground beneath her and used that force to throw herself at me with all her might. I mimicked her action with as much ferocity as I could.
"Either become an immortal that brings their enemies to their knees with awe at your sheer beauty!"
"Or become an immortal that makes their enemies fall to their knees in terror at the being they dared to stand against!"