(Quite a wordy chapter.)
Kaede moves to stop him, but too late: Negi’s attack goes through Shiori, knocking down Homura and throwing Dunamis into the air.
Well done, Shiori. It is our victory.
He will fall.
Staring at the blood on his hands, Negi goes berserk and tries to attack again, only to be binded by Kaede’s ninjutsu.
While Ako and Akira are confused and frightened by respectively ‘Asuna’ becoming someone else and Negi falling into darkness again, Konoka runs up.
Adeat! Kochi no Hiougi!
I’ll heal Shiori-san! I won’t let Negi-kun fall!
Nodoka, Makie, and Kuu all grab onto Negi to restrain him, even while his body burns them. Chisame slaps him.
Settle down. You fool.
Negi, crying, slashes at her with his horns. Chisame grabs the horn, bleeding from a long cut on her face.
Stop flustering and look carefully.
She’s still okay.
Homura is supporting Shiori, who is clearly conscious.
Just… a scratch.
Negi-san turned his hand away… just before he hit…
Negi’s ‘shadows’ disappear while his legs begin to turn to stone, and he collapses.
Konoka tries to heal Negi with her artifact, to no success.
It’s no good…
Neither my Kochi no Hiougi (external damage complete healing) nor my Hae no Suehiro (status abnormality recovery) is activating.
And his body temperature is really low… his breathing and heartbeat are weak. And he’s not waking up, it’s like he’s half-dead.
And I can’t heal those cracks on his hands and feet, either…
Most likely, he cut off his own consciousness just before he was absorbed by the darkness – he’s probably keeping a very fine balance right now.
It wouldn’t do to move him now.
Makie suggests that they hold his hand like before, and Kaede agrees, but Chisame points out that they don’t know when he’ll recover… or if he’ll recover at all. And from the noise around them, Setsuna is clearly still fighting with Tsukuyomi; Konoka assures them that it’s all right, as Setsuna told Konoka to leave Tsukuyomi to her.
Fate’s girls, led by Homura (finally clothed) draw closer.
…Shiori, why did you help that boy – why did you help the Thousand Master’s son?
Kuu and Yuuna think that they’re here to fight, but Koyomi and Tamaki change back to human form, and Homura continues.
You were supposed to be the replacement for Kagurazaka Asuna, to spy on the brats! Why are you doing this?!
Shiori steps up:
I’ll explain now, Homura…
You know what our goal is – to ‘rewrite the world’, yes?
In these twenty years, Fate-sama and others have hurried with this plan because ‘the collapse of the magic world’ was closing in right before their eyes.
But… what if there was a way to stop this ‘collapse’?
Homura, Koyomi, and Tamaki are shocked.
We’ve already heard that! How can he be trusted?!
It’s just the babbling of a child!
But… what if, it’s true? Negi-san is one of the few people who even Fate-sama approves of.
Tamaki and Koyomi have no reply to this…
Please, Homura. Just think… what if it’s true?
But Homura refutes.
So what if it is true?! Even if this can really avoid the collapse, the world will just stay the same without improving a single thing! There wouldn’t be any less war orphans like us!
Well… that is true, but that is that, and this is this. If we start complaining about different things now, our talk will get complicated.
I spent one night talking to Negi-san.
And Homura… I… I’m going to believe in Negi-san.
Homura has a predictable response:
Shiori… you… you’re betraying us?!
But Dunamis stops her from attacking.
There is no need to fight. It is our victory.
Heh… it is unfortunate that he did not fall completely, but in any case, he is now useless.
You have lost your trump card against us.
Meanwhile, the Princess of the Twilight and Great Grand Master Key are being guarded by Tertium in the deepest section of the Palace.
The final ritual has already begun – our plan will succeed in one hour and forty-three
Without the boy… you cannot possibly oppose the Averruncus series.
Fwahaha! You have all failed!
It is a small cost to exchange one man for the Thousand Master’s son!
Fwahahahaha! This time, we win!!
Kuu shuts him up with a jab from her staff.
Don’t talk so big when you’ve only got a top half left -aru…
The rest of Ala Alba stands around Negi, wondering what to do next – and they think back to the friends they’ve lost back at Ostia. Kaede steps up:
We can’t give up now!!
We don’t believe in despair!!
…but I do, and next week is indeed break week.
So, quite some progress. As I thought after 306, Fate’s Girls probably won’t be participating in the fight any more, at least, not against Ala Alba, and Dunamis is too banged up to do anything – “hey, let’s all make fun of the half-dead guy!”
I can’t imagine how things can possibly go except that most of the current team will fight Fate, end up in a losing battle, and Negi will have wake up and fly in at the last moment to finish the fight alongside them. How Negi can recover from this is a bigger question – another phantasmagoria battle will really disrupt the flow, considering we’ve gone from “breaching outer defenses” to “world ending in an hour” in several chapters and there’s already been a Poyo-sized distraction. Will a Pactio Artifact be the key to this problem? Will he just get up after some inner monologues, heroic resolve and Rakan-brand FIGHTING SPIRIT? What is Akamatsu planning by KO’ing Negi halfway through the most climatic battle in the series?
…For now, wakarimasen lol.