Well, first things first, Akamatsu suddenly announced the testing of a new online manga service: free-to-read manga available in .pdf format with no DRM and paid for by ads. A trial featuring volumes 1 to 14 of Love Hina will be publicly available beginning from November 26.
As for 309: Kaede puts everyone in her cloak and leaps off to join Kotarou’s group; Chisame, Chamo, Konoka, Ku, Ako, and Akira are staying behind to watch over Negi.
Here, Chisame-chan, you should come help with Negi-kun’s recovery, too.
If we don’t at least get Negi-kun moving, even if things go well for the others, we wouldn’t be able to escape.
Well… going by what Fake Eva-chan says,
the stronger the feelings Negi-kun have for the person, the better the recovering effect will be.
So I think Chisame-chan is definitely needed.
Chisame goes “Bwah?!” as expected, and Chamo pulls out something that hasn’t been seen in quite some time: the Negi Affections Ranking.
Oh, no need to be shy now, Chisame-san. Even you’re pretty aware of it, right?
Ever since we got here, you’ve spent the most time together with Aniki.
(By the way, I don’t remember if this was ever brought up in the story, but apparently, the numbers in the Ranking come from a magic that Chamo knows which can sense emotions. Or something like that.)
Dunamis, chatty as ever:
The boy shows signs of an encroachment by demonic essences at the level of the soul itself.
Do not presume that what you are doing can let him recover.
At best, a few weeks – well, it should take a few months.
Chisame decides to talk:
Just what are you guys?
No, in the first place, that boss of yours… just who is he?
Kotarou and co. are closing in on the Great Altar, and Natsumi is really freaking out.
Calm down, Natsumi-neechan. This whole plan hinges on you.
No matter what happens, I will definitely be the one to protect you. So don’t worry.
Kotarou turns to Yue:
“Natsumi-neechan’s stealth is still working, right?”
“…How can we tell?”
“By application of basic magic.
There’s a ‘wired’ mana-detecting spirit connected to my fingertip right now, moving ahead of us by a few dozen metres.”
“Won’t that spirit get detected?”
“I’ve carefully studied the conditions. While it’s true that the stealth effect will weaken if it enters the Magic Cancel Field regardless of its connection to my finger, at the same time, the existential strength of the spirit itself will also weaken. Due to this, the enemy should not be able to detect it.”
“…I see… and this is safe for certain, right?”
“With the presense of enemies, I can’t say with 100% certainty, but… I have faith in my own calculations.”
Suddenly, Kaede appears from the ground (a shadow gate?) and she – followed by Makie, Yuuna, Nodoka, and Sayo from inside the cloak – immediately grabs Asakura’s hand.
Kotarou sums it up:
…Right, everyone’s here.
We’re definitely at the finale now.
With Negi down, we’ll just have to do something by ourselves, all right?
We’ve come this far, all of you better brace yourselves.
There’s still one hour left. We don’t need to rush.
We’ll walk slowly and get as close as we can.
Once we’ve reached the limits of Natsumi-neechan’s stealth, we’ll begin the final operation.
…Well, Kotarou points out that technically Fate isn’t supposed to kill them, so at most, they’ll just get sent back to their ‘dream worlds’ again. The girls start an impromptu discussion on what dreams they had. Until Fate crashes the party.
Fate walks right up to Natsumi – Kotarou, realising what he is about to do, tells everyone to jump to the right (while still holding hands). Fate proceeds to blow apart the entire walkway.
…Just my imagination.
At this point, he wouldn’t do anything like hiding to approach me.
(That really just makes it sound even more like a lie and that he’s just ignoring them…)
Kaede’s guess is that he managed to detect something when she teleported in. Kotarou praises Natsumi for not letting go, but…
“I… I can’t…. I can’t even stand up…
I’m, I’m sorry, everyone… K-Kotarou-kun… I just, can’t…”
“…Got it. It’s all right! We’ll think of another plan. You’ve done enough, Natsumi-neechan!”
“It… It’s not all right at all, is it. If… if I…
If I don’t try my best here, i-it just won’t work out, right…”
“…Well, to be honest, yeah, our chances won’t be as good… but I won’t ask that much from you. Don’t worry.”
“O-Okay… got it.
…I’ll do it.”
“H-Hey. Are you really okay?”
“I’m fine… after all, I finally got this leading role.”
Natsumi leads the entire group past Fate’s last defenses, and reaches the steps of the Altar, standing on the same platform as Fate. Yue tells them that they’ve reached the edges of the Magic Cancel Field.
Kotarou’s, um, last words:
…All right then.
Let’s start the operation.
The curtains rise…
Well, this looks to be the beginning of a very lop-sided match, though given the way it ends, the next chapter will probably jump back to one of the other battles first. And to be honest, who knows how many twists Akamatsu can pull off in these sixty minutes.
PS: I didn’t expect my 308 translation would actually be used. ^^;;