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Wstfgl

Magical Girl Sparkling Subaru

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Ten years ago, an unexplained explosion shook the city of Tokyo in the early hours of the morning. Some people were hurt, a few homes were destroyed, and the media was predictably abuzz with speculation about terrorism, meteorites and other such bizarre explanations. Oddly, two hundred people, mostly young girls, were miraculously unharmed by the blast -- however, all their memories of the time of the blast had been completely erased, leaving their escape a riddle wrapped within a puzzle ensconced in an enigma. Eventually, the authorities concluded it had been caused by an earthquake, closed the case, and over the years, it quickly faded from public memory.

Obviously, the story didn't end here, or I wouldn't be recounting it to you now. Over the years, more strange occurrences began to transpire in Tokyo, from strange noises in the night, inexplicable property damage and even people seemingly disappearing into thin air. The effects of that strange explosion had only just begun to become apparent -- those who had lost their memories in the blast began to see strange things. They saw the world standing still around them as though they were trapped in a still photograph, huge, bizarre beasts plodding silently down the streets of Tokyo, and people moving among this strange, frozen tableau -- others with powers like them.

They were the ones who possessed The Heart. Those who were fated... to become Magical Girls.

This is the story of the life of one of those with The Heart -- one whose life would change forever...



MAHOU SHOUJO SPARKLING SUBARU


A Totally Legit Magical Girl RP by Wstfgl, Demonic Gate and HerculeHastings


Why would we lie to you


Subaru Kirara eyed the huge creature lumbering down the street towards her, its mouth gaping open and dripping with spittle and its eyes flashing with menace. The creature stopped before her; she smelt the beast's cloying, rancid stench clogging the air around her and winced in disgust. It loomed above her, its beady eyes staring down her with a cold, inhuman menace -- and she didn't flinch, continuing to stare it down, her feet firmly planted on the ground in its way. "I won't let you have your way with my friends! Not while I can still fight!"

The creature opened its mouth, and an infernal noise issued forth -- and slowly, Subaru realized that the monster was laughing. "Don't you underestimate me! You might think you've broken me, but I still believe in friendship!" Then, there was a flash of light as a jewel-studded baby-blue rod appeared in her hands, and she twirled it around like a band leader's baton as the air filled with brilliant sparkles. "Pretty Lyrical Magical Transformation! By the power of the stars above, you shall know the price of your sins!"

Then, her clothes exploded as the surroundings became awash with pink light. After a half-minute sequence with far too much whirling, close-ups of each part of her outfit materializing in slow motion and entirely too much possibly-underage nudity, the pink light flared up and faded, revealing Subaru again, now dressed in a gorgeous, frilly blue dress adorned with sparkling green gemstones and silver filigree, the tip of her magical wand blazing with blue light. "STAR SAPPHIRE SPARKLE SUBARU, READY FOR COMBAT!"

The beast roared, its head snapping forward to crush its new opponent between its powerful jaws -- and its teeth closed around air, and a hint of what could have been bewilderment flashed through its eyes. Then, there was a rush of wind, and Star Sapphire Sparkle Subaru appeared behind it, her wand raised as the light at its tip intensified to a blinding radiance. "SHINY BLAZE... SPARK!"

For a moment, the world turned into a solid wall of blue. Then, there was a roar of rushing wind as the shockwave spread, shattering windows down the street and sending debris flying in every direction. There was a little clack as Star Sapphire Sparkle Subaru's heels clicked against the asphalt of the street -- then, as the smoke began to clear, she saw a huge shadow looming within the gloom. Then, an ear-splitting roar pierced the air.

The Jewel Monster was still alive.

Subaru took a step back, her eyes widening in shock as the dust cloud suddenly dispersed, revealing a crackling hemisphere of purple energy covering the Jewel Monster like a parasol. Standing in front of it, like a circus ringmaster before a lion, was a girl in a black-and-purple dress adorned with far too many unnecessary leather belts and laces. She had long, straight black hair, purple eyes that glowed like candle lights in the darkness and a wicked grin upon her face -- and held in her hands was another wand like Star Sapphire Sparkle Subaru's, except this one was jet-black, with a glowing purple eye upon its head instead of the silver heart upon Subaru's.

"Impossible..." Subaru gasped, pointing her wand towards her fellow magical girl. "Kuro Schwarznoir banished you to the Shadow Realm! How could you have returned... and why are you working for them?!"

"I am no longer the Fabulous Amethyst Dazzling Darling you know, Subaru Kirara!" the other girl declared, her eyes flashing as the head of her weapon transformed into a huge axe-head of purple energy. "I am Evil Amethyst Dazzling Darling now, and the Jewel Monster will be ours!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"



TO BE CONTINUED


*click*

...

Norio turned the TV off, glancing at the digital clock on top of his TV. It displayed 2:56 am in luminescent green digits -- the night was still young, by his standards, but that didn’t change the fact that he still had to show up for work tomorrow -- and he’d already been warned that he’d get fired if he showed up late again. Say what he liked about his work, it put the food on the table. And without money, how will I ever be able to afford those wonderful lunch dates with Subaru-chan?

He sighed, gazing lovingly at the wall painstakingly festooned with dozens of photos of his angel, the sweet, demure light of his life; then, just for good measure, he whispered under his breath, “I love you, Subaru-chan. I hope you notice me someday.â€

Then, he staggered to his futon and collapsed onto it, letting a dreamless sleep overtake him.

A new day dawned upon Tokyo.

The skies today were steel-grey, with massed clouds gathering across the sky like a great armada moored at anchor thousands of feet above the scurrying masses of humanity below. Norio was among the massed crowds below, hurriedly pacing towards the entrance of the Metro line that would lead him to work. His dead-end, boring, repetitive job, a chore he did not for passion or ambition, but merely for the adequate paychecks his employers saw fit to give him -- just joining thousands of other people as anonymous, faceless cogs in some great machine churning to some unknown end.

This daily grind sickened him. It had been why he’d retreated from it all, and yet he’d been forced to return every time. His late parents had called it the meaning of becoming an adult, but to Norio, this mindless day-to-day drudgery was a drawn-out death. Onwards I toil towards retirement and senescence, working, eating, and sleeping until my time comes to be replaced like a rusty gear or worn-out spring. All so that some fat cat can proudly boast about a change of numbers on some arcane pie chart. Whatever happened to your hopes, Norio Takamichi? Your dreams, your pride, all swallowed by the merciless grinder of society. It disgusts me.

Work, as usual, was more of the same unfruitful drudgery. Once again, his superior, a balding, plump man with bottle-thick glasses and a propensity for wearing so-called ‘humorous’ ties in a sad pretense at hiding the unfeeling, humorless void he had for a heart (and probably for a brain, too), screamed at him for not being more productive, and as usual, he had just bowed his head and nodded, muttering the usual platitudes about trying harder at his work. All empty promises. Meaningless. He avoided eye contact with his fellow employees -- he cared nothing for their presence, and they surely reciprocated the sentiment -- and shuffled back to his tiny, bare cubicle like one of the walking dead, burying himself in his work and clearing his mind of thought.

…

“Akihabara Station,†the soothing female voice intoned as the doors hissed open. Norio filed out of the train, immediately making a beeline towards the familiar exit he had walked through so many times before. Finally, he felt free, no longer bound by the suffocating atmosphere of his workplace. Even if it was just for a scant hour, he was free… and once again, he could see the light of his life again.

His footsteps quickened as he headed through the passageway beside the train station, straight towards Akihabara’s Electrical Town -- the Mecca of men like him everywhere, the place where his heart truly felt at peace.

Finally, as he stepped out onto the street again, he was greeted by the sounds of bubblegum pop music and the bright primary colours of anime posters, and he knew that he had come home.

Subaru-chan… I know you’ll be waiting for me… as always.

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One of Hoshino Subaru’s unique occupational habits was accidentally saying “nya?†when somebody who was not a customer called her name.

Those who worked in a maid café were used to such embarrassing mistakes by now. There were girls who would ball their hands into fists when placing them on any flat surface. There was a rare case of a girl who couldn’t stop calling her elder brother “goshujin-samaâ€, though many in the Happy Happy Nyan Café wondered if perhaps this betrayed a far darker instinct entirely.

And so it was, on this Thursday afternoon, that Subaru heard her name, turned around and said “nya?†to the manager of the café, Eriko.

Eriko was the oldest worker in the café, but also the top favourite, winning Monthly Meido votes by a large margin everytime. She was short, which must have helped her, and had a squeaky voice. Customers loved the squeaky voice. They said it made her gentle and feminine. Every maid of the Happy Happy Nyan Café spent part of their first paycheck on a pair of earplugs.

During business hours, though, Eriko was a picture of cuteness. She giggled for no reason at all (except that some customers were ogling her at that moment) and said, “Subaru-chan, it looks like Norio-san is here again.â€

Subaru glanced to the side without moving her head. There he was again, sitting at his usual seat by the window, trying not to look like he was looking at her. An awkward moment passed when both of them glanced at each other at the same time, and Norio-san’s face twitched into what was supposed to be a smile.

Norio-san’s name was known throughout the Happy Happy Nyan Café, having set the record of levelling up his mew-mbership card to “S Rank†in just under a month. He came every weekday at the same time. Initially, all the maids took their turns coming up to talk to him. He never refused any of them, or mentioned anything, until the maids learnt to read the signs (an excellent job skill when facing lonely antisocial otaku men) and concluded that his face brightened most when Subaru came up. From then on he was “hersâ€, which many maids declared with slightly too much excitement.

“Goshujin-sama, you’re here again~!†Subaru cried, bounding up to him with the menu. “I’ve been waiting for you~. In fact, knowing you would arrive, I’ve already prepared the Full Premium Lunch Set personally in the kitchen, all for you!†She flashed a grin and thumbed the 5000-yen Full Premium Lunch Set on the menu, which included an appetiser of Hidden Secrets Milky Éclair, a “write something on me†omurice, a chocolate strawberry Magic Meow Meow Parfait, and the highlight of the course – a Polaroid taken with your favourite maid of choice. For just an additional 500 yen, he could choose to take a photo with all the maids. He politely refused that bonus.

Norio-san stared at her wordlessly for a few more seconds before saying yes indeed, he was feeling quite hungry as usual and would like a Full Premium Lunch Set.

The Hidden Secrets Milky Éclair arrived twenty minutes later, followed by the omurice. Subaru waved the tomato sauce around and obediently penned “aishiteru, sempai†in squiggly rounded handwriting.

“Shall we play a game, goshujin-sama?†said Subaru after the Magic Meow Meow Parfait had been gobbled up. “I’m getting better at the Flip-Flip game, and would like to challenge someone to practise!â€

The Flip-Flip game, which was really just a game of Reversi where black was switched out for pink, was quickly won by Norio-san, after which Subaru sighed, looked sadly downwards and asked if perhaps they could play another round.

After about 5 rounds of games (where Norio-san became the deciding winner) costing 100 yen per round, Norio-san needed to return to work again. He grabbed his briefcase and made a mad dash for the exit, promising Subaru that of course, he would return again tomorrow.

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For a while, Norio could have sworn he was among the company of angels. 5000 yen was a small price to pay for the time he had with Subaru-chan and the rest of the lovely posse at the cafe. If only she wouldn't just stop at serving me. I wonder what it'd feel like if she actually fed me. However, all good things had to come to an end, and it was with a heavy heart that he departed the Happy Happy Nyan Cafe, back into the dull, monochrome monotony of the real world- 

 

Wait a moment. Wasn't the dull and monochrome part supposed to be a metaphor?

 

The streets of Akihabara were silent -- an outright impossibility in such a bustling place -- and the color had been seemingly bleached from his surroundings, leaving everything in stark black, white and grey as if he'd stepped into the panels of a manga. That wasn't even the strangest thing about his current predicament -- everything had stopped moving, as if time had stopped completely. People were frozen in mid-stride, the clouds that should have been slowly scudding across the sky hung motionless in the air like a stage backdrop, and one unfortunate schoolgirl had tripped and was now stuck in mid-fall, her skirt billowing upwards in a most compromising way. Feeling only slightly ashamed of himself, Norio strolled over, whipped out his phone and saved that happy memory for posterity. I'm so sorry. Luckily, you won't ever know that this happened.

 

So distracted he was by this latest fortuitous find that he didn't once pause to wonder why he could still move amid this strange tableau -- or notice the enormous tabby kitten that had stalked up behind him.

 

"NYA."

 

When that noise came from a little critter small enough to curl up in your lap, it was endearing, a siren call for the soft-hearted to bring offerings of food and attention. However, when that noise came from a creature large enough to swallow a minivan, it became something else altogether -- deep within the animal depths of the human psyche, that basso rumble awakened a primal fear, an instinctual warning that behind Norio lurked a monster that should not be, a nightmare reawakened from mankind's prehistory. 

 

And so, his body decided that to expedite a swift, successful skedaddling, the best option was to relieve excess ballast.

 

And as Norio Takamichi fled as fast as his pathetic, untoned and stick-thin legs could carry him, he silently wished that Subaru-chan was still there to get him a fresh change of undies.

 

...

 

Norio ducked around a corner, shoved past a bunch of overly made-up girls who'd probably have recoiled in disgust from the sweaty otaku touching them if they hadn't been, well, frozen in time, and ducked behind a row of gachapon machines, his limbs quivering and his heartbeat pounding in his head as he tried to curl into as small a ball as possible. He froze as he heard the sound of approaching footfalls, and heaved a sigh of relief as the sound receded...

 

Only to, ahem, 'lose excess weight' for a second time that day when he looked up and saw the colossal cat pouncing at him from above. 

 

He took flight with an alacrity never before seen from his measly frame, and the Kaiju Kitty's pounce mercifully missed, smashing the time-frozen gachapon machines and sending capsules flying. One of them flew out and beaned Norio in the face, and he dimly registered that the figure within was a rare limited-edition. I'M LUCKY! ... Ha ha ha, no. But maybe this is God's way of distracting me from my imminent death by kitty... because this is a dead end.

 

"NYA."

 
The monstrous moggy's gaze landed on him, and it purred, a thunderous rumble that would have registered on the Richter scale, and bared its multitudes of gleaming, pearly-white teeth. As it opened its gaping maw, Norio felt its hot, wet breath on his face, and shrunk back, frantically regretting the lifetime of bad decision that must have culminated in this moment...
 
Then, a red blur dropped out of the sky and collided with Ponderous Puss's head, making the hulking housecat yowl as it was thrown backwards fifty feet into the side of a merchandise store. Concrete crumbled, glass shattered and dozens of copies of first print N*na Mizuki music CDs spilled out across the street, an extraordinary, inexplicable windfall that N*na Mizuki fanboys across Akihabara later spoke in awed whispers about for weeks.
 
The blur resolved into a red-haired girl in a rather... imaginative schoolgirl outfit, and Norio immediately wondered what he had done in his life to deserve the likes of her descending from the heavens to save him. A LIFE OF DEVOTION TO 2D HAS FINALLY COME TO FRUITION!
 
Unlike the rest of Akihabara save for himself and Towering Tiddles, the girl had color to her -- the brilliant red of her hair and eyes, the warm tone of her skin and the vivid hues of scarlet accenting her attenuated, midriff-baring outfit made her stand out among the monochrome scenery like a sunbeam peeking through a bank of clouds. In her hand, she held a two-foot-long pink rod decorated with golden filigree and topped with a bright red crystal in the shape of a heart,  and when her platform heels clacked against the ground as she curtsied, there was a little starburst of golden sparks. She twirled elegantly and gave him a curtsy, and struck a cutesy pose with fingers held in a 'V' to her eye, declaring in a saccharine-sweet voice high-pitched enough to give any ordinary girl a hernia, "Salutations, fellow bearer of THE HEART! I am Eriko Yamaguchi, but in this form, you can call me... SUNSHINE RUBY ~ BLAZING HEART!!!"
 
Suddenly, a display of fireworks appeared from nowhere, and Norio started pinching himself. Alas, it was to no avail, for all he got for his efforts was an aching thigh. "...What's going on?" He ventured hesitantly.
 
"So, I know this sounds, like, totally weird and awkward and all and you probably won't, like, believe a thing I say to you at first, but you, like, totally watched a magical girl kick a giant cat in the face so you should, like, realize that this is for real, you understand? Okay, this isn't a work of fiction and all characters you see over here are, like, totally real and legit, you got me? Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is completely intentional because these are, like, real people we're talking about. For realsies. So, have we got that straight? Good. Any questions before we begin? I'll take it that stunned, traumatized slack-jawed silence is totally consent, because there's a whole lot to explain and we got to start from the very beginning, you see~ So, once upon a time in a place called Akihabara, which is number one: totally a real place unlike how these stories always go because as I said this isn't a work of fiction, besides, number two: you were standing there until, like, five minutes ago, there was a huge explosion! So some people got hurt, and the world's most famous (and only) Ne*n Genes*s Ev*ngelion Cosplay Yakitori Karaoke Bar was, like, totally wrecked, but the weirdest thing was that the explosion, like, hurt some people but left some people unharmed, even if they were like standing right next to them at the time everything went kaboom! And when they, like, interviewed these miraculous survivors to find out what happened, they didn't remember anything! Their minds were just blank, with, like, a forty-five minute segment of their memories just zapped away like a grease stain wiped off by a Sham-Wow! BTW, buy a Sham-Wow and get a whole 15% off! Yeah, it's like Will Smith totally took a neuralyzer to those poor kids' heads -- did I forget to mention that 99% of these survivors were all young girls? So AAAAANYWAY, they totally blamed that explosion on earthquakes and stuff. Like, a gas leak. Now I have no idea what kind of gas leak would cause that kind of uncanny occurrence but that's the civil service for you, amirite~ Any questions?"
 
Timidly, hesitantly, Norio raised his hand. "What is it?" Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart asked brightly.
 
With a trembling hand, Norio pointed behind her. "The... T-The cat..."
 
"NYA!"
 
Just like a kitten -- well, a regular kitten, not one that could have crushed a typical European car under one paw -- Gigantic Gato batted at Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart with one giant, furry paw. For a moment, it looked like nothing had happened... And then, Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart was sliced into two at the waist, her upper body slowly sliding off her lower body and landing flat on the ground, spraying a torrent of blood from the surprisingly clean cut.
 
"ERIKO-CHAN!!"  Norio screamed, reaching a hand out towards the bisected corpse.
 
"... Can you flip me over, pretty please?" A voice suddenly came from the face-down body, and through eyes blurry with tears, Norio obliged, gently setting the top half of Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart the right way up. 
 
"Okay! Let's begin again, and this time I won't let myself be interrupted!!" Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart continued, a sunny smile still on her face.
 
What.
 
"Yeah, so... um, where were we? Ah, yes, the explosion, that's right. So these survivors -- you know, the ones who lost their memories but inexplicably emerged from the blast unharmed -- they totally went through their lives normally, well, except for the men in black who followed them everywhere trying to figure out what was their deal. But then again the NSA, like, totally watches everybody's lives in secret so another bunch of guys in suits is, like, no big deal anyway. Yeah, you get the idea -- they grew up, went through middle school,  fell into bad company in high school, started doing hard drugs, got disowned by their parents and kicked out of the house after coming home wasted at 3 in the morning for like the fifty-seventh time, realized the error of their ways only after flunking their college admission exams and having an epiphany while on the toilet, had to work at some silly overly-cutesy gimmick maid cafe to pay their way through college, then realized college was overrated when one was already the idol of every man in Akihabara -- oh wait, that's my autobiography, sorry. Well, basically they started seeing things when they grew up! Strange, spooky things, like time freezing for everybody like them, and having giant cats chase them down the street and try to kill them! Like what kinda just happened right now! Anyway, it turned out that these girls had a super-special awesome power called THE HEART, which allows them to use SYNAPSE SYNCHRONIZE -- no, I flunked biology and I don't know what a synapse is either -- to unite their hearts with these magical uniforms they found inside these time-frozen places, and become MAGICAL GIRLS! And it turns out that the purpose of being a Magical Girl is to fight off these giant monsters, which aren't always cats by the way -- called Jewel Monsters, which are called that because they're, like, ordinary creatures with a jewel inside them that mutates them to make them super-huge and super-strong like that cat over there, which, by the way, is taking dreadfully long to finish you off! I think it must be frightened of the talking bisected Magical Girl or something -- so protip: if you ever want to scare of a Jewel Monster, slice yourself into half! Hopefully you'll get better! So there were 200 of these survivors -- potential Magical Girls -- in the beginning, but many of them never found a uniform, or moved out of Tokyo, or just hung up their uniforms and went to become respectable sorts like accountants or lawyers or nuclear reactor engineers or something... so there aren't so many of us fighting the good fight any more... and even worse, some of our kind have turned EVIL, trying to summon more of the Jewel Monsters for their nefarious ends!  And the worst of them, the one I'm trying to find, is Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling, once our top Magical Girl with over 300 confirmed kills who knew 700 ways to befriend a rival Magical Girl with just her bare hands, but now a sinister agent working for her own mysterious ends! Since you're up and moving within this Broken Space -- that's, like, the name for these time frozen places, FYI -- you must have THE HEART even though you're like totally not a cute girl, which means that you too can wear the Starlight Ruby Unison Form and become the new Sunlight Ruby ~ Blazing Heart, since I think I've been bisected and I can't get up! Sooo, now that we've come to the end of the lesson, do you have any questions?"
 
Like any of the six billion human beings on the planet (save for a few particularly out-there ones), Norio's response was merely to stare slack-jawed while his mind slowly, laboriously attempted to grind its way through the implications of whatever she'd just said.
 
"Oh, no questions? Okay!" Sunlight Ruby ~ Blazing Heart said with a radiant, beatific smile.
 
Then, she died.
 
...
 
Norio stared blankly at Mega Meow, then looked back at the fallen Magical Girl's rod, lying abandoned on the pavement. Then, he looked back at Felis Freakingbiggus (the narrator had clearly run out of alliterative synonyms for 'giant cat' at this point) again, before staring at his own hands. Did she say 'become the next Sunlight Ruby ~ Blazing Heart'?! Wake up, Eriko-chan! C'mon, hang in there, I really do have a question! Don't just freaking die on me like that! Didn't you speak for a full five minutes after getting cut into half? IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?! 
 
"NYAAAAAAA..." For some reason, Le Chat Magnifique (the narrator's stopped caring at this point)'s throaty purr sounded oddly like a chainsaw revving up.
 
Okay, fuck it. 
 
The feline Jewel Monster (you can hear the sound of the narrator sobbing into his keyboard at this point) pounced, and with grace not befitting his stick-thin, positively skeletal frame, he dived under its enormous bulk, making a grab for the magical girl wand -- and the moment his hand touched it, he suddenly became aware of a veritable cumulonimbus of pink sparkles gathering around him.  
 
Then, his soiled, ruined clothes exploded as the transformation began. After half a minute of gratuitous vertiginous twirling in circles, gratuitous pans over individual frills and straps coalescing in slow-motion and even more gratuitous male nudity barely censored by the all-pervading sparkles, Norio stood proud in his new combat outfit -- an exact replica of the late Eriko Yamaguchi's one, in the sense that it fit her (if skimpily) but was still somewhere around three sizes too tight for Norio -- and struck a pose, raising his fingers in a V to his eyes as it flashed with crimson light. "My heartbeat resounds like thunder! My blood burns with the gross incandescence of the sun! SYNAPSE SYNCHRONIZATION!! SUNSHINE RUBY ~ MOE HEART!!!"
 
 
A SOMEWHAT Legit Magical Girl RP by Wstfgl, Demonic Gate and Herculehastings
 
I guess we kinda lied to you after all
 
TO BE CONTINUED

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The pot of water never boiled.

Subaru had been assigned to boil water in the kitchen, to make a pot of Floral Joy Tea for a customer with heart disease. No one else was with her, so she had taken the chance to settle into a comfortable chair and begin the excruciating task of watching for the first signs of steam, her sequinned green dress fanned out over her spread-out legs as she pondered over the many lecherous old men who frequented their maid café, and started imagining scenarios where these men would miraculously drop dead after saying “moe moe kyun†a bit too enthusiastically, leaving all their money to the maids, of course.

Come to think of it, maybe that was why Eriko was always so friendly with the older men… The bitc-.

A “BLEEP†sound escaped her lips, and like an alarm, she was suddenly reminded of her original task. She leaned forward again, the sapphires dotting her bright blue choker glimmering off the flame of the stove. No sign of steam yet. She let out a sigh and tapped her foot impatiently.

And then the colours disappeared right in front of her eyes and everything went still. The door to the kitchen became just a big bottomless black void. Subaru’s eyes narrowed. A BLEEP-ing Broken Space had emerged right here in Akihabara. She hastily held out her hands and assumed her MOE TRANSFORMATION pose.

“BLEEP-ing Moe light! Shine over me, bearer of the Heart, to save the world and dispel the BLEEP-ing darkness!†she began shouting to no one in particular, making a variety of obscene gestures as she waved her hands about. A trail of green sparkles followed her movements as she turned around and around in circles, her clothes gradually vanishing to be replaced by a suspiciously similar bright green dress (with perhaps more layers of frills). Her choker sparkled on her neck and a white sparkly thing appeared on her right hand. When the sparkles subsided twenty seconds later, what materialised on her hand was a large rusty-looking dark green rocket launcher. She swung it around in her hands, muttered a “tch†and ran into the void.

She emerged on the other side conveniently smack in the middle of the battle scene. The Jewel Monster that had arrived to wreak chaos was a giant cat this time, its ginormous paw batting away at something pink on the ground. Subaru didn’t need to look closer to know that the glaring pink must belong to her fellow Magical Girl partner, Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart. She hoisted the missile launcher on her shoulder and ran up to join her. The red-headed girl was clubbing the cat repeatedly with her star-shaped wand, an uncharacteristically manly action. Wherever her cute feminine graces had gone, this was an effective move in its own right. The cat was getting confused and dizzy, and was making thunderous snarls to signify its displeasure.

“Well done!†Subaru screamed, running up to join Sunshine Ruby ~ Blazing Heart. In her enthusiasm, she failed to notice a roadblock ahead of her, and tripped over it, landing on the ground in an ugly sprawl.

“Who the BLEEP left this-“ She got up and turned to look at what she had tripped over, only to find the upper half of Eriko staring back at her with a dazed grin. Her face turned pale.

If this is Eriko, then who is…

Upon closer look, the girl in the pink dress did look a little too broad-shouldered…

“WHO THE BLEEP ARE YOU?!†she yelled, completely ignoring the Plus-Sized Puss and aiming her gigantic 4-shot missile launcher at the stranger instead. “YOU’D BETTER BLEEPING SPILL WHAT YOU KNOW YOU PIECE OF BLEEP- SHUT THE BLEEP UP!†The cat had chosen an unfortunate time to mew, and with barely any hesitation Subaru squeezed the trigger and let loose a rocket in its direction. It landed on the feline’s nose, and with a whoosh louder than any of Subaru’s BLEEPs, the hair on its face caught fire and copious amounts of smoke surrounded the Jewel Monster. It let out an ear-splitting cry and thrashed about, but it only made things worse. Subaru sent it a death-glare and marched up to the impostor. She would deal with the Jewel Monster after she had avenged her compatriot.

“What did you do to Eriko-chan?†she demanded, slapping a hand on the person’s beefy shoulder. It was most definitely a man, and when he turned around to look at her her jaw dropped. It was hard to make him out amidst the makeup and gratuitous sparkles, but it did not take long to identify Norio-san.

“Er, nya?†she said belatedly.

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The first thing Norio noticed was the strange feeling of lightness around his crotch -- it felt... drafty, to say the least. Definitely preferable to the dreadful feeling of wearing soiled underwear... in fact, to him, it felt liberating, in a way. It's like... It's like I feel this sailor fuku was meant for me! Even if it's so tight I can't possibly put it on without a magical transformation, and my magical underwear is riding up into places where the sun doesn't shine... I feel more alive than ever before! Was this my destiny all along?

 

The second thing he noticed was that he felt much stronger than before. For Norio, a man who could barely climb a flight of stairs without pausing to catch his breath, the feeling of actually being athletic was a sensation completely alien to him, one that made the shock of finding himself in women's clothing seem minor in comparison. While the power the Ruby Sunshine Unison Uniform lent to someone with some semblance of athletic ability would have made them feel an extra spring in their step and make them feel a good deal lighter on their feet, what had transpired was better termed a metamorphosis than a transformation. It was the only term fit to describe the difference between the sniveling weakling from five minutes before and the Michelangelo-worthy Adonis, all rippling deltoids and rock-hard abs, who had emerged when he took up the wand -- like a Franz Kafka novel, if it were about George Samsa waking up to find he'd become Godzilla. Or, more accurately, Godzilla in a dainty pink tutu. I feel like I'm literally flying! Stairs are no longer my enemy! I'm freaking invincible! I won't be afraid of anything any more! 

 

Filled with renewed vigor, valor and virile spirit, he raised the wand, grinning audaciously at the enormous cat that loomed before him, ready to deliver his long-awaited payback... and realized he had no idea how to actually use his powers.

 

He settled for beating the cat with the wand.

 

...

 

Surprisingly, the wand had turned out to be an unexpectedly effective close-combat weapon. It was long enough to give decent reach and yet not too long as to become unwieldy, had just the right amount of heft without being ill-balanced, and the gimmicky decorative star on its head turned out to give a very satisfying 'thwack' when he slammed it into the kitten's cranium. It yowled feebly, attempting to bat at him with his paws, but with a speed he'd once thought of as inconceivable, he bobbed and weaved past its clumsy blows. School bus-sized or not, it was still just a kitten, and historically, kittens had not proven to be very skilled adversaries in hand-to-hand combat. The fight was a decidedly one-sided affair, with him smacking the kitten around and the kitten helplessly flailing at air, but something didn't seem quite right -- this wasn't how a magical girl was supposed to defeat her foes! It just felt... wrong, and Norio felt vaguely ashamed of himself.

 

Then, a wave of heat washed over him as a rocket slammed into the kitten and enveloped it in a fireball, and someone slapped him on the shoulder while shouting something he didn't quite catch. He turned, and beheld an angel standing before him -- a fellow magical girl garbed in green and blue, with a prominent sapphire-studded choker around her neck. In fact, ignoring the neon blue-green hair, she did look very, very familiar. In fact, he had seen that face smiling to him (and presenting him a receipt for 5500 yen) just before this whole craziness had started.

 

Subaru-chan!!!!

 

Before he managed to say anything, she interjected him with a sudden exclamation. "Er, nya?"

 

HNNNNNNNNNNNG

 

Norio collapsed, a fountain of blood spraying from his nose and splashing over Subaru's face. "Ugh, BLEEP. What the BLEEP is wrong with you, you pervert?" she muttered as she wiped the blood off her face, gazing at his unconscious form, his face plastered with a strangely beatific smile, rather creepily mirroring the one on the dear departed Eriko-chan's face. Then, she heard a rumbling purr from behind her, and raised her rocket launcher as she turned to face the recovering Jewel Monster. "Whatever, I got better BLEEPing things to do." She took aim, took a cursory step to the side to prevent the backblast from frying Norio, and armed the weapon again. "LOVELY AZURE BLEEP KISS~"

 

Three incendiary rockets burst into starbursts of brilliant blue flame as they slammed into the cat's face, and it yowled, its fur crisping and smoking as flames licked at it.

 

...

 

When Norio came to, a good portion of the time-frozen street seemed to be on fire. The local Animate store seemed to have partially collapsed, in part due to the charred, near-unrecognizable burning mess that was all that was left of the Jewel Monster now lodged in a huge, smoldering crater that had marred its facade.  He blinked and looked around, and spotted Subaru-chan standing a short distance away, a rather uncharacteristic deranged grin on her face. She squeezed the trigger of her rocket launcher, emptying its last shot into the cat's head and setting it ablaze yet again, then tossing away the empty weapon to join the dozens of others of its kind now littering the street. Then, she clambered up the fallen Jewel Monster's chest, stabbed a hand through its charred, carbonized chest and yanked free a glowing, iridescent teardrop-shaped jewel the size of her fist, then jumped down, gazing down upon him with a gaze of disdain.

 

"Awake now? Good. Now tell me what BLEEPing happened to Eriko, and why you're wearing her BLEEPing uniform like some kind of BLEEEEEEEEEEEP pervert." she said, and Norio somehow got the feeling the loud BLEEPs punctuating her sentences weren't actually being vocalized by her.

 

"S-she... got cut into half." Norio said weakly. "To be fair, s-she seemed kind of, um, Zen about the whole thing."

 

Subaru-chan merely sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, letting out a relatively subdued BLEEP.

 

"If it helps, s-she told me I had THE HEART, so I could wear her, um, Sunshine Ruby Unison Uniform." Norio ventured helpfully.

 

Immediately, Subaru-chan's face turned into a slack-jawed mask of pure shock, and she let out a little 'nya'. Norio somehow managed to survive this repeated mental onslaught with nothing to show but some odd stirrings between his legs. Subaru-chan looked at his face, then at the uniform he was wearing, her gaze lingering for slightly longer than was strictly necessary on his bare midriff, then back at his face, and muttered, "You got to be BLEEPing BLEEPing me. You? With THE HEART?"

 

"Uh, yeah! I guess I'm the new Sunshine Ruby ~ Moe Heart now!" Norio somehow managed to spring to his feet and assume her signature V pose, and suddenly there was a fanfare and a burst of fireworks went off behind him, to Subaru-chan's great consternation. "I even figured out my first special move..." He hefted the magical wand and started waving it like a cudgel while making excited little Bruce Lee noises. "I call it MAHOU LOVE CQC!"

 

Subaru-chan looked like she'd bitten into a particularly nasty-tasting bug. "You can stop waving that around like a BLEEP featherduster now. Secondly, the Jewel Monster's been dead for a minute or so already, so you better find something other than that to wear-"

 

There was suddenly a whoosh like a train door opening, and color flooded back into the world.

 

"- as the Broken Space will disappear." Subaru-chan finished lamely, staring at the denizens of Akihabara as they resumed whatever they'd been doing before the Break. Somehow, the streets of Akihabara had been restored to the way they'd been earlier, with the curious exception of several dozen N*na Mizuki CDs scattered across the street (and starting to draw a crowd of curious onlookers) -- and Norio was standing right there, still wearing the incredibly undersized sailor fuku. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew, lifting his skirt up, and only the sudden appearance of a gratuitous lens flare saved Subaru-chan from throwing up. Norio glanced around, turned white in horror and grabbed Subaru-chan by the hand, hurriedly ducking past a morbidly obese man carrying a genuine K*ntai C*llection hugging pillow and retreating into the seclusion of a conveniently-placed alleyway as he panted heavily.

 

"I tried to warn you," Subaru-chan muttered. "I'm alright, since this isn't much different from my work attire, but for you..."

 

"My old clothes exploded. And were covered in shit." Norio explained lamely.  "I- I can't wear this! Not now!"

 

"Afraid of people seeing you wearing that affront to all things good and pure in the world? Not surprised." Subaru-chan said bitingly.

 

"I CAN'T GO BACK TO WORK WEARING THIS! IT'S NOT CASUAL FRIDAY!!" Norio wailed, kneeling down and pounding his fists on the ground in despair.

 

"Those are some BLEEP skewed priorities there..." Subaru-chan muttered, peering out of the alleyway for a moment.

 

...

 

Toshiro Miki, Age 25, Go-Getting, High-Flying Young Businessman Of The Year (Self-Proclaimed), was in a big hurry. At least, he was making himself look like he was in one, seeing the way he hastily shoved past the crowds on the street while simultaneously jabbering on his phone in a most sibilant, obnoxious tone. It was naturally quite an unpleasant shock when he felt a strong hand grab his collar and yank him into an shady alleyway. He didn't even have the time to mentally compose a tweet about this rude interruption when he found a rather petite girl in a green-and-blue dress staring him down, her hands wrapped around his shirt collar, and giving him the kind of death glare typically associated with the yakuza and unfortunate astigmatic people who'd misplaced their glasses. "Take off your clothes." she hissed as she shoved him against the wall.

 

"This is uncalled for! I'm attending to some very important business here!!" he shrieked, before raising his phone back to his face and hurriedly babbling, "Sorry, I got interrupted. Could you hold for a second?"

 

Subaru-chan frowned, an expression that only deepened when Norio sidled up to her and whispered something.  Then, a perfect, pearly-white smile suddenly spread across Subaru-chan's face as she cooed, "Take off your clothes, nya~!"

 

Suddenly, Toshiro started breathing heavily, a strange, glazed look spreading across his features. Slowly, his fingers wandered over to the fly of his pants as he moaned, "Oh of course, hime-sama~ I've been a bad boy and I must be punished~"

 

A single cold-cock to the head knocked him out cold.

 

...

 

A few moments later, Norio was dressed appropriately, with the unconscious form of their unwitting victim, now sans $400 Pierre Cardin suit, safely stuffed face-first halfway into a trash can. "Thanks so much for your help," Norio murmured, turning beet-red as he looked at Subaru-chan. "By the way, I... I, I, uh..."

 

"Aren't you supposed to be off to work? Meet me again at the Cafe tomorrow. There's going to be a lot of BLEEP to explain to you." Subaru-chan said evenly, giving him a shove towards the direction of the exit of the alleyway.

 

"OF COURSE!" he gasped, rushing off back onto the street and disappearing into the massed crowds. "Give me a BLEEP break," Subaru-chan groaned, giving a cursory kick to the creepy businessman's behind (she wasn't quite sure why he'd been wearing women's panties under his suit either) as she stalked off back to the Maid Cafe. Then, as she left, a sense of foreboding filled the area, and if any audience to this little pantomime had glanced upwards at the rooftops, they'd have sworn that they saw floating onomatopoeia wafting through the air...

 

TO BE CONTINUED

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The day started out pretty simple. Drive down to the usual spot with the friends, get some breakfast and then go work. Lunch time came around pretty quickly, and the moment I decided to head out to grab a bite to eat, the building I 'used' to work at was stomped on by an over-sized feline with an anger issue. Well, once again I had to find a new job. Not that that's terribly hard. I seem to find a new job pretty quickly when the time comes. But the annoying part was to come right after...those damned magical girls...I can't stand them and their self-righteous crap. I had to expect more damage to come with them coming, so I simply got driving before my vehicle would get damaged. I figured take it into a parking complex would be best, get to a high place, since now that my day was free I could watch the mangy monstrosity combat the magical wastes of space.

 

 

 

I didn't used to hate magical girls. In fact they seemed pretty cool. But...ever since this past month, everything changed. Someone important to me was killed and left me something important, which has become a bit of a curse to me. I need to find their murderer, and I can't expect help from anyone. Driving quicker and quicker up the parking complex, the gift slowly changed me like it did when I got into these moods. My clothes changed to a deep purple, shimmering in the spotlights of the garages. The wheels of my vehicle became sleek blazing orbs that lifted it up as I hoisted it, driving up the middle column that left an opening all the way to the top. 

 

 

 

Getting to the top level of the massive parking complex I had the best view of the combat beginning to occur. My outfit showing what I really was in the air of the open sky. I too...contained the powers of a magical girl...and it ashamed me on the inside. The thing that killed the one I cared for...a magical girl...I was given this strength somehow...and was meant to use it to one ultimate goal...seeing the explosions in the distance against the colossal cat caused a blast that rustled my clothes. This might be the day I get revenge. I will kill those magical girls and then they'll be avenged...

 

I'll kill them all...and get justice...with this accursed power...

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“I know that you think that I’m BLEEP-ing mad,†was the first thing Subaru said to Norio when they met.

They had agreed to meet after work, at a café far away from both their working places. Norio had been reluctant to let Subaru see where he worked, and Subaru had a reputation to maintain in the neighbourhood of Akihabara by virtue of her job, but it would be quite inefficient to need to pause every few minutes to utter a meaningless “nyaâ€.

“I’m not actually the Subaru-chan that you know at Happy Happy Meow,†she added, crossing her legs in a most ungainly fashion despite the green dress she still wore for work. “I’ve always been a BLEEP-ing rude, loud-mouthed, crass woman who talks dirty and BLEEP-ing hates every BLEEP-ing person on this BLEEP-ing land. The Subaru-chan you know is just a façade. In fact I’m not even a virgin,†she said as an afterthought, as if she suddenly remembered something.

A manly tear ran down Norio’s cheek.

“Anyway, you should know by now that you’re a Magical Girl,†she continued, a distasteful look on her face as if she had just uttered a swear word that trumped even all her usual swear words, “by some BLEEP-ed up circumstance. We were all awakened by an explosion a long time ago in Akihabara, but were left un-“

“Unharmed!†Norio piped up excitedly. “But your memories were lost! And you started being tailed by shady men in black suits!â€

“Yeah… how did you know that?â€

“Oh,†said Norio proudly, “Eriko-chan told me, before she died.â€

“Oh okay. Well after that, as we grew older, things started to get strange for us. Time would freeze-“

“And strange monsters would chase them down, but they had the Heart, so they’d wear magical uniforms and fight off these Jewel Monsters! And some of those girls turned to the dark side, and used Jewel Monsters for their own ends, while others became, er, accountants or something…†he paused in confusion.

“Just how long did Eriko take to die?!†said Subaru, slamming her hand on the table in frustration.

“Well, hm, it’s hard to say. Time did freeze, didn’t it? So technically she took no time to die, or she took infinite time to die…†Norio trailed off philosophically.

“Well then I suppose you know everything there is to know about our lore now,†said Subaru, pausing to ask the flustered waitress for some beer, “is there anything you want to ask?â€

“Well yes. First of all, where does that BLEEP sound come from?â€

“Oh that’s a good question,†said Subaru, pointing at the shiny choker on her neck. “My uniform came with this choker. Whenever I utter a swear word, it’ll automatically censor it for me. The choker stays with me even in my normal form though, which is BLEEP-ing rare for Magical Girls and a pain in the BLEEP.â€

“Another question,†said Norio thoughtfully. “Will my Starlight Ruby ~ Unison Form lose its power if I sew some sequins on it? I think it’ll look even better on me if I make some modifications… perhaps do something about the waistline too…â€

Subaru sighed.

"No, you can't. The uniform reverts to its original state when it transforms. Or else I'd have torn this BLEEP-ing choker away from me already wouldn't I? What a BLEEP," she answered, rolling her eyes.

But all of a sudden the area around them turned monochrome again. Norio had been drinking his strawberry milkshake, and the bright pink liquid froze in mid-air as he lowered his cup in panic. He tried pushing the liquid back into the cup with his bare hands, to no avail, and looked up at Subaru.

“Did a Broken Space emerge again? Is it another Jewel Monster invasion?†he spluttered, readying his moe stance for the transformation.

“I created it,†said Subaru nonchalantly. “Magical Girls have the ability, after gathering enough experience fighting, to create their own Broken Spaces, complete with Jewel Monsters from their imagination. Some evil Magical BLEEPs have exploited this ability for their own BLEEP ends, but this is just a practice session for you. I don’t really know what tricks your Unison Form has up your sleeve, so you’ve got to experiment for yourself. Also, I’ve full control over this Broken Space so it doesn’t BLEEP up the real world, so feel free to do whatever you want – the damage won’t be permanent. What’re you BLEEP-ing rummaging for?â€

“Er, nothing,†said Norio shamefacedly, hiding what looked like a camera behind his back as he eyed the waitresses here with their miniskirts.

Subaru had already ignored him and started with her own transformation, which was suspiciously identical to her last transformation.

She hastily held out her hands and assumed her MOE TRANSFORMATION pose.

“BLEEP-ing Moe light! Shine over me, bearer of the Heart, to save the world and dispel the BLEEP-ing darkness!†she began shouting to no one in particular, making a variety of obscene gestures as she waved her hands about. A trail of green sparkles followed her movements as she turned around and around in circles, her clothes gradually vanishing to be replaced by a suspiciously similar bright green dress (with perhaps more layers of frills). Her choker sparkled on her neck and a white sparkly thing appeared on her right hand. When the sparkles subsided twenty seconds later, what materialised on her hand was a large rusty-looking dark green rocket launcher. She swung it around in her hands, muttered a “tch†and ran into the void.

The Jewel Monster she had conjured up was thrashing and flailing ferociously, its resplendent jewel embedded in its chest. She eyed the creature solemnly, then turned towards Norio.

“I’m BLEEP-ing bad at creating my own Jewel Monsters, aren’t I?â€

For the Jewel Monster before them was nothing but a grey blob with slits for eyes and a wide gaping maw. The ground tremored as it walked and swiped wildly with its four lanky fingers (she had forgotten to imagine opposable thumbs).

In short, it was the least cute Jewel Monster anyone could ever come up with.

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"Oh god."  Norio gazed at the horrible abomination that Subaru had created, and quivered in his dainty pink heels. God, just looking at it makes me feel dirty. Well, dirtier than usual. .After fighting this horrible, horrible thing, I'm going to take a cold, cold shower. And god help me, if I can find a way to scrub my eyes out with soap, I'm totally doing that.

 

The fake Jewel Monster made a choked, phlegmy gargling noise, and one of its fingers broke off, the break leaking gooey, sticky clear ichor. "Will you stop BLEEP staring at that BLEEP monster and go BLEEP kill it, you BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP pussy?!!" Subaru yelled, gesticulating wildly in the air.

 

A newfound emotion burst into Norio's consciousness like a firework. Subaru is actually noticing me now! She turned out not to be moe at all... and she says such mean, mean things... but for some reason, I think I'm okay with that! I CAN'T LET HER DOWN! He struck Sunshine Ruby ~ Moe Heart's signature 'V-for-victory' pose and his clothes exploded off him as he began to revolve, the components of his uniform materializing over his body at a rather frustratingly slow rate. Finally, the transformation completed, and he yelled his catchphrase. "My heartbeat resounds like thunder! My blood burns with the gross incandescence of the sun! SYNAPSE SYNCHRONIZATION!! SUNSHINE RUBY ~ MOE HEART!!!"

 

Then, he sprung into battle, striking one of the Jewel Monster's swiping arms with his wand. It snapped and crumbled as if it were made of plasticine, bits of its destroyed arm splattering to the ground and leaking more goo. Wincing in disgust, he parried a clumsy blow from the monster, and the monster's frail arm broke, falling bonelessly and hanging limply from its shoulder joint. As she watched, Subaru put her palm to her face and groaned. "It's a training dummy... but still, why is this BLEEP thing so BLEEPing embarrassing?!" she muttered as Norio, screaming with triumph, snapped off the remainder of its stick-like arms with a pair of swipes. Norio then took a swing at the main Jewel Monster, striking it with a mighty blow from his wand, but it did nothing more than leave a dent in the ponderous bulk of the fake Jewel Monster. He gazed at the dent he'd made, then at the Monster's huge bulk, and groaned. He turned, calling out to Subaru, "How do I even kill this thing?!"

 

"Don't you have a BLEEP finishing move, you idiot?!" Subaru shouted back, flipping him the bird. Huh? Finishing move? All I know how to do with this wand thing is to hit things with it!

 

"How do I do that?!" he called back, but was met with a second flipped bird. "Stop asking stupid questions! It's your BLEEP Unison Form, not mine!"

 

It's mine? So she's saying... that these things are personalized to their user? Norio frantically backpedaled as the disarmed monster fell forward, attempting to crush him under his bulk. It struck the ground with an earth-shaking crash, but had failed to hit Norio at all -- and without arms, it was bereft of a way to right itself again. Norio stared blankly at the prone body of the Jewel Monster. Now what? Do I, just, like... make up a finishing move on the spot? Or something? Jeez, couldn't Eriko-chan have left me an instruction manual too? 

 

"YOU'RE A MAGICAL GIRL! WHAT THE BLEEP DO YOU THINK MAGICAL GIRLS DO, WAIT FOR THEIR ENEMIES TO BLEEPING COMMIT SUICIDE?!! BLEEP YOU!!!" Subaru jeered, clearly impatient to get this over and done with. I'm a Magical Girl. What do magical girls do... They... um, show up late for school with toast in their mouth? Talk about the power of friendship? Have ambiguously lesbian relationships with their teammates and main rival? Uh... Shout really cheesy Engrish words when they shoot laser beams?

 

Eureka!

 

"That's right, I haven't tried shouting anything... I'm going to have to try that out, then!" Norio concluded triumphantly, pointing his wand at the fallen Jewel Monster. Then, striking a cool Sentai-esque pose, he shouted, "CERTAIN KILL! HYPER POSITRON KILL-BUSTER!!" That was a cool attack. Surely something cool will happen! 

 

And... nothing happened.

 

"What kind of BLEEP magical girl has an attack name like that?!" Subaru yelled back. "It's not BLEEP moe at all!"

 

Oh, yeah! I'm a Magical Girl, not Ult*aman! So I must call an appropriate attack... well, I bid you adieu, my sense of shame! Norio took a deep breath, steeling himself for the extreme humiliation that was sure to befall him, even should he succeed. Then, striking a cutesy little pose (which caused a shower of sparkles to appear from nowhere around him), he shouted, "MAHOU CQC SECRET MOVE! PRETTY LOVELY SUNSHINE KISSSSSSSS~"

 

A burst of power suddenly ran into him from the wand like living lightning, and a heady feeling of power engulfed his senses. Then, his limbs moved on their own, launching him in a sprint towards the Jewel Monster -- then leaping upwards and hitting the Jewel Monster with a flying axe kick as he involuntarily screamed, "HWA-CHAAAAAAAA!!!!" 

 

There was a flash of pink light as his dainty heel dug into the Jewel Monster's eye -- and then the entire creature exploded into a huge pillar of light that lanced into the skies above. He landed, a little starburst of light popping out where his shoes touched the pavement, and gazed at the destruction he'd wrought, flabbergasted. There was nothing left of the monster save for a huge black scorch mark in the pavement forming the shape of a heart. 

 

"B-but that wasn't even a k-kiss..." he mumbled in confusion, staring at his own hands. How on earth did that happen?

 

"You finally BLEEPing did it, idiot," Subaru said as she jumped down from her elevated vantage point to the street. "If you don't BLEEPing name your attacks, you can't use your BLEEPing magic. And it needs to be a moe name, or the attack just won't BLEEPing work, for some reason." She sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. "If I had a say in what I could call my attacks, I'd call it BLEEPBLEEP BLEEP BLEEPBLEEP BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP."

 

"I didn't catch the meaning of that," Norio muttered, "And I don't think I really want to..."

 

"Congratulations on completing your first lesson!" Subaru declared, a smile finally showing on her face. "But don't get too BLEEPing full of yourself! SInce you're learning fast,  I'll just move on to the second lesson right now!"

 

"What's the second lesson?" Norio eagerly asked.

 

Subaru shouldered her rocket launcher and gave him a grin with far too many teeth showing. Then, she pointed the four-barreled monstrosity in his direction. "DODGING!"

 

Oh god, why?!

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The Happy Happy Nyan Café was abuzz with excitement and gossip when Subaru reported for work the next day. News had spread at last that Eriko was missing (Hikari-chan had paid her home a visit a few days after she stopped reporting for work, fuelled by a determination to avoid taking the night shift in her place) and found no one at home, with newspapers and bottles of papaya milk piled on her doorstep. No self-respecting Japanese woman would lay bare to all and sundry her secret to seemingly naturally bouncy chest assets, and it was with this overwhelming proof that led to the maids’ conclusion that something untoward must have happened to her.

Subaru serenely put on her maid apron and observed the scene before her. She hadn’t revealed any knowledge of Eriko’s whereabouts, of course (in fact she wasn’t completely sure where her bottom half had rolled off to, at the end of the battle), but one couldn’t help but feel a bit pensive after witnessing the death of someone one knew. Questions would inevitably force themselves into one’s mind, such as “What is the meaning of lifeâ€, “Was Eriko happy?†and “Who is going to take over as manager of the Happy Happy Nyan Café now?†with the unavoidable follow-up of “Will I get that promotion?†She let out a sigh as Hikari sidled up to a bespectacled freckled man who drew a cap over his eyes and wished only to be known as “Kiritoâ€.

“I’m so scared and worried about what has happened to Eriko~†Hikari squealed. “What if the same bad person comes and takes me away too? Will you protect me, Kirito-kun~?â€

“Of course, Asuna,†said Kirito smoothly, drawing out 2 mechanical pencils and pushing Hikari forcefully away (a cry of “uguu!†could be heard as she crashed into a neighbouring chair) so that he could wave a single pencil in each hand. “With my dual-wielding technique, I can kill 2 enemies in one go! This means if 2 enemies try to catch you at the same time, or if an enemy uses Double Strike to make two attempts at this action, I can still fend them off instantaneously! It’s ruthlessly efficient!â€

“Yes it is, how marvellous~†twittered Hikari. “You get 200 EXP, along with an item bonus of a chocolate strawberry Magic Meow Meow Parfait!â€

“Excellent, I shall drink it to restore my HP,†said Kirito, and Hikari quickly jotted down the new order and tottered towards the kitchen.

There was a Super Special Maid Meeting at the end of the day, thirty minutes after the café’s closing time, to discuss new work arrangements after Eriko’s incident. Hikari called the meeting to order by banging a pink paper fan on the table.

“Everyone~, we’re here to discuss about the selection of a new manager for our Happy Happy Nyan Café. We need someone who is responsible, hardworking and most importantly, cute! This person will be responsible for ensuring that every single shift is filled, even if it means she must cover the inconvenient ones on her own!â€

A chorus of gasps was heard from around the room, with cries of “that’s so responsible!†and “I’m not cute enough to take the early morning shift!†Subaru made sure to gasp in synchronicity with the rest of the girls to avoid drawing attention to herself. However, it seemed she needn’t have tried. She was initially too busy timing her gasps to notice Hikari’s gleaming eyes bearing down on her.

“How about Subaru-chan?†Hikari asked with a bright smile. “Subaru-chan’s won the fancy of Norio-san, hasn’t she? I see her meeting him in private after work nowadays! Why, they seem awfully close, don’t they?â€

Suddenly all the maids were staring at Subaru now. She feebly mustered a “Nya? What’re you talking about?†but she knew it was useless. In a time of crisis, every maid knew the First Principle – nom or be nommed on.

BLEEP. BLEEP. BLEEP. BLEEP. BLEEP.

It was a sign of great stress that even when her thoughts were out of the range of control of her choker, Subaru couldn’t think of a single proper swear word.

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It was 10 in the morning, and Norio Takamichi had no desire to climb out of bed.

 

It wasn't even a weekend, when such unbecoming behavior could be expected out of him. In fact, on any normal day, he'd still be at his desk manipulating yet another soulless spreadsheet or trying to stay awake through another interminable meeting. However, he'd just done the unthinkable and applied for sick leave. It was truly inconceivable for a meek little drone like him to do that, not because he had joined the ranks of the subhuman degenerates who had the gall to concede defeat to illness, but because he wasn't technically sick at all. Taking days off for illness was bad enough, but he was fairly sure the company's stance on taking sick leave when you weren't actually ill was to hand you a wakizashi and expect you to do the honorable thing.  In his mind, however, it was very much justified, even if the doctor would have laughed him off if he'd tried to get an MC for 'Excessive Cardiopulmonary Stress As A Result Of A Crazy Magical Girl Conducting Live-Firing Survival Training Without Prior Consent' -- not in a thousand years would a condition like that show up in the textbook, even if Norio was now firmly convinced it should be a valid ailment.

 

That Subaru girl was really something. He'd been attracted to her at first because she'd been pure-looking and demure, the perfect Yamato Nadeshiko every red-blooded Japanese man dreamed of -- and yet, she turned out to be someone far different, someone that said red-blooded Japanese men should rightfully be recoiling from in abject horror. She was uncouth, short-tempered, cranky and slightly insane -- she raised so many red flags that he would probably be , and yet, just like watching the train wreck of the century, Norio found himself unable to turn away from her. He wasn't quite sure why -- was it that subconsciously, he was still clinging on to the illusion, to the hope that his dearest angel Subaru-chan still had a heart of gold deep within? Or was it that the danger she represented was what drew him closer; was she his Charybdis, a maelstrom he'd been ensnared in without hope of escape? He'd heard that people became more receptive to love in dangerous situations -- perhaps, by being a walking dangerous situation, she had somehow, in a convoluted and roundabout way, achieved the ultimate moe. Could love bloom, even on the battlefield?

 

He didn't particularly feel like ruminating on those thoughts at the moment; though. Might as well go back to sleep for now; they only ever showed depressing news from meatspace and baseball games in the day, and all the interesting chatter on *chan and moe shows only started at night, anyway. He needed his rest, as something in his mind told him that there were yet more trials to come...

 

He hadn't quite expected said trials to show up just 5 minutes later, of course.

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It was Subaru’s first day of work as manager. Everything looked different, even though everything was still the same. Suddenly table stains became more glaring, the maids seemed a bit too relaxed, and the food didn’t seem all that appealing. She tightened the knot on her voluminous green dress. It was time for a reform! This was always, after all, every new manager’s dream at the start.

If Subaru had had her way, this entire post would have been about her spending the day teaching maids how to do their job right, working out the budget for new decorations, and taste-testing the signature Magic Meow Meow strawberry chocolate parfait. However, Fate (and The Reader’s Right to No More Fillers) had a plan of its own. Just as she was about to dip a finger into the popular Secret Recipe Chocolate Sauce, time suddenly froze and a Broken Space emerged again from where the oven previously sat.

“BLEEP-ing Broken Space,†she murmured as she ran into the void, “all they do is mess up my plans.â€

Norio had arrived before her, rubbing his bleary eyes as if all he had been doing before was lying in bed thinking of completely unnecessary things. He had already transformed, his voluminous pink dress flailing in the absent breeze. Subaru hastily entered her transformation as well.

She hastily held out her hands and assumed her MOE TRANSFORMATION pose.

“BLEEP-ing Moe light! Shine over me, bearer of the Heart, to save the world and dispel the BLEEP-ing darkness!†she began shouting to no one in particular, making a variety of obscene gestures as she waved her hands about. A trail of green sparkles followed her movements as she turned around and around in circles, her clothes gradually vanishing to be replaced by a suspiciously similar bright green dress (with perhaps more layers of frills). Her choker sparkled on her neck and a white sparkly thing appeared on her right hand. When the sparkles subsided twenty seconds later, what materialised on her hand was a large rusty-looking dark green rocket launcher. She swung it around in her hands, muttered a “tch†under her breath and shouted, “Star Sapphire Sparkle BLEEP!â€

“Hey!†said Norio with great interest. “I don’t remember you shouting that last part the last time!â€

“I forgot,†she admitted. “The last two times I transformed I forgot this last bit. It must be why I felt kinda BLEEP-ed up when I was fighting. No worries, that part is settled now. I should be in optimal condition when fighting the Jewel Monster now- oh what is that?â€

That was a yellow winged creature, its lips flattened into plates, and thin scraggly legs emerging from its lower body. It flapped its small wings, trying to fly, but didn’t seem to succeed, and instead made a forlorn “quack†sound.

“That,†said Norio intelligently, “is a duck. You do know what a duck is, don’t you, Subaru-chan?â€

“Of course I do,†snapped Subaru in return, “but from what I remember ducks weren’t meant to be this big. I mean well it’s not really big, but it’s not very small either. It’s just… oh I need a size reference.â€

As if on cue, the sound of galloping was heard. Both Magical Girls turned in time to see a horse galloping up beside the duck and then disappearing again in a puff of logic.

“Of course!†said Norio perceptively. “It’s a horse-sized duck! Look, they were of the same size!â€

“Okay,†said Subaru with a shrug, readying her rocket launcher on her shoulder. “Next question is, where is its Jewel?â€

That question was also quickly answered. The duck turned to fix its beady gaze on them, and then it opened its mouth. A tongue extended from its wet sticky depths, and extended, and extended, and finally licked Subaru on the face. She winced as fluids dripped down her chin, clung to her clothes, and more importantly, wiped off her mascara. Right at the back of its tongue, there was a glint in the darkness. The jewel must have been embedded on it.

Subaru twitched and glared at the duck with dangerous flashing eyes (unfortunately made much less potent with now shorter eyelashes).

“Is that…†she growled with gritted teeth, “… a challenge? BLEEPING MOVE IT, NORIO!â€

“Yayy~†cheered Norio as he jumped lightly into the air, pointing his star-shaped wand as the non-existent breeze brought him closer to his target. "RAINBOW SECRET! STARDUST BLOOMING SUNNY SWEET CANDY WHIPPING ANGELS-â€

His wand landed on the duck’s head, sending explosions of psychedelic colours swimming in all directions. Subaru shielded her eyes from the impact, and when the colours cleared, part of the duck’s head was dented. The duck swivelled around to glare at Norio, letting out a loud menacing “QUAAAACKâ€. Norio landed on the ground with a starburst of light, a scowl emerging on his face.

“I didn’t finish saying my move in time!†he cried with a pout. “I didn’t even get to say the all-important Sunshine Kiss!â€

“Well don’t make your BLEEP-ing move name so long then!†said Subaru, who was already kneeling on the ground, her missile launcher pointed at the duck’s face. “All you did was hit the duck with your wand in a very anti-climactic fashion! Now stand aside! EMERALD BEA- oh man it moves fast!â€

The duck Jewel Monster had sprinted away, its deceptively frail legs carrying it towards Norio, who was jumping backward as quickly as he could to avoid being trampled. Quick as a flash, Subaru reached out and grabbed the duck’s lagging tongue and pulled. To her utter alarm, the duck continued running, completely oblivious to the soft wet cord that kept on lengthening from its mouth, and lengthening, and lengthening. There was no end to it!

“DON’T YOU DARE BLEEPING IGNORE ME!†screamed Subaru. She slapped the tongue hard on the ground and ran onto it, following its trail closer and closer to its source. When she judged that she was near enough, she swung her launcher onto her shoulder and fired off a missile with a yell of “EMERALD BLAST! STARFIRE ERUPTION!â€

Norio did a powerful backflip, getting out of the way at the nick of time as a missile whooshed up to the duck and exploded in its face with a powerful bang. Subaru jumped to where Norio stood, watching for the outcome. The duck swung its head violently about, blood gushing from one of its eyes, but its legs continued thrashing around. It hobbled to its feet and sprinted up to them again. As if to show off its power, it bent down and pecked on an unlucky stone in its way. Cracks immediately formed on the stone and it broke into pieces.

“This thing won’t go down!†exclaimed Subaru in vexation. “We’ve got to get that jewel!â€

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The duck was far more sturdy than any duck, horse-sized or not, had the right to be -- while Norio was a city mouse and hadn't seen many ducks besides the ones drifting leisurely in the lotus-covered pond of Ueno Park, he was fairly sure farmers didn't need anti-tank weaponry to kill them. In fact, the missiles Subaru had been blasting it with only seemed to anger it, and as it honked and quacked in a frenzy as it charged, leaving webbed footprints in the concrete, Norio thought he could hear a distorted, hate-filled voice screeching through the chorus of dissonant quacks: "YOUR RESISTANCE ONLY MAKES MY ***** HARDER!"

Norio could have sworn he heard Eriko's disembodied voice announcing, "We feel that kids these days are, like, growing stupid and sluggish because of too much TV, and as socially responsible magical girls, we feel that it's only right that we, like, try to correct this unsettling trend, y'know? We're going to do this by, like, intrusively cramming exposition into dramatic junctures in a ham-fisted attempt to. like, make at least some of these tidbits of information sink into the little ones' heads! Never mind that our adventures, like, totally air on the equivalent of a late-night time slot, and no children would watch that... unless they're, like, really really naughty -- we must still do our best for the young geniuses, leaders, Olympians and emotionally-broken lap dancers of the future! So here's today's fun fact of the day: Ducks, like, totally try to rape each other all the time! Seriously, ducks are creepy. The more you know!"

Apparently, that was either some kind of near-death traumatic flashback, or time dilated when exposition happened, because Norio managed to bring his guard up in time, bobbing out of the way of a mighty peck and punching the duck in the neck, making its soulless black eyes bulge as it found itself struggling to breathe. The fiend tried to bat him away with its wings, but he didn't relent, sweat streaking down his brow in an exceedingly manly way as he grabbed the duck's neck and twisted, fighting against the giant duck's thrashing and flailing. He grunted to Subaru, "Grab its tongue and pull!"

"I'M BLEEPING TRYING!" Subaru yelled as she scrabbled at the unnecessarily long, flaccid appendage, which was becoming slick with some fluid best not described without publishing the account under a pseudonym. "IT'S... IT'S JUST THAT THERE'S NO BLEEPING END TO IT!" she exclaimed as she continued pulling at it, to no avail.

"QUACK!" The duck honked as its eyes flashed, the air seeming to grow tense from the hatred it exuded. Suddenly, its neck contorted and twisted in ways a neck was never meant to bend, tearing itself free from Norio's grasp, and its formerly limp tongue suddenly stiffened, lashing like a whip and batting Subaru into the side of a building with a crash. The tongue, now free of the impediment, then coiled around Norio, constricting him in a disturbing and strangely fetishistic way as its saliva dripped all over Norio's skin and clothing, turning the pink-and-white fabric of his outfit clingy and translucent. Norio screamed in protest, thrashing against his restraints, but the duck's slippery tongue offered no purchase for him, and he could do nothing as the duck slowly stepped towards him, a predatory gleam in its eye. Suddenly, Eriko's words came unbidden to his mind: Ducks, like, totally try to rape each other all the time! Seriously, ducks are creepy. Sweat and tears poured down his face as he whimpered and tried to avert his eyes from the horror to come, but there was no stopping the duck from its relentless advance. Already, he swore he saw a strange light shining from somewhere in the vicinity of the duck's hindquarters...

Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Subaru picking her way back out of the rubble and aiming her rocket launcher at the duck, her face pale and blood running from several scratches and grazes on her face and arms. "TAKE THE SHOT!" Norio screamed desperately, trying to roll away from the advancing duck, only for the prehensile tongue to inexorably pull him towards it.

"YOU'LL BLEEPING DIE!" She screamed back, her hands trembling as she flicked the safety off.

"IT'S OKAY! I'VE LIVED A FULL LIFE!!" Norio yelled, tears running from his eyes in a torrent now. I lied. I haven't even seen your panties once, Subaru-chan... but I guess only men like R*oh can die without a single regret... "JUST TAKE ME WITH IT! I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN A H-SCENE!!!" The duck was on top of him already, and he could smell its strangely appetizing smell enveloping him, and sense it inching closer... and closer... and closer...

Subaru grimaced, a tear running from her eye, and placed her index finger on the trigger, closing her eyes and gritting her teeth. Goodbye, Subaru-chan. It has been a pleasure.

"SPARKLE STARLIGHT SAPPHIRE-"

"-KISS!!!!!!"

A shockwave rippled through the air with a deafening boom, and every window in the time-frozen street shattered at once as cracks worked their way through the asphalt.

Then, there was silence, save for the steady patter-patter of blood dripping to the ground.

Subaru opened her eyes, taking her finger off the trigger -- and immediately went pale, reflexively taking a step backwards as her pupils shrunk to points. Standing in between Norio and her was a figure completely shrouded in shadow, its very presence alone seeming to make the air grow thick with menace. The figure turned around to face Subaru, its eyes, two glowing points of violet like fragments of a star, the only discernible feature through the all-encompassing shroud of darkness. Then, it raised the thing it was holding in one hand -- the decapitated head of the Jewel Monster, dripping blood across the floor as its tongue lolled lifelessly, releasing Norio's prone figure from its constraining 'embrace'. There was a squelch as it plunged its other hand into the monster's mouth, tearing out a scintillating jewel with a sickly ripping noise. Immediately, the duck's body dissolved into sparkling, kaleidoscopic bubbles, which drifted away and dissipated with a gust of wind.

"MAGICAL GIRL." the shrouded voice declared in a modulated, unidentifiable voice, taking a step towards Subaru as it tossed the disintegrating duck head away. Subaru took a step backwards, but found her back against a wall. She raised the rocket launcher in trembling hands, pointing it towards the shadowy figure's feet. "I'm not afraid of you. I'm not afraid of you." She muttered, seemingly to herself. "Back off. I'll BLEEPing shoot, and I BLEEPING mean it!"

The figure continued advancing, heedless of the threat, and Subaru let out a panicked little 'nya' as thoughts raced through her head. My bluff's failed! She's realized I can't fire without BLEEPing frying myself from the backblast! I'm screwed. I'm totally screwed.

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" Norio's voice came from behind the figure. He was a sorry sight, with a panicked, terrified expression on his face, a uniform near-transparent from being soaked through with duck saliva, and holding up a wand that looked more like a toy in his trembling hands. "You look like an enemy of justice! In the name of the Sun, I, Sunshine Ruby ~ Moe Heart, will not let you lay a finger on her!" The shadowy figure turned to regard him with a dispassionate gaze. "... I'm serious!" Norio added lamely.

For a moment, the shadowy figure looked back and forth, regarding the Magical Girl (and Magical Not-Girl) flanking them.

Then, the figure growled, "FUCK IT," and leaped into the air with an acrobatic spring, swiftly vanishing from sight behind a building. Norio ran up to Subaru, who had collapsed to her knees, her face pale with shock, and gasped, "Are you alright?"

"BLEEP." Subaru weakly muttered.

"Hang in there, Subaru-chan!" Norio pleaded. "You're not making any sense!"

"BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP -- Uh... argh. BLEEP." Subaru finally managed, clutching her head. "I'm alright... just that... that was her."

"Her?" Norio repeated confusedly.

"Without a doubt. That was her special move, 'Supersonic Surprise Romantic Kiss'." Subaru growled as ominous written onomatopoeia started gathering around her like storm clouds. "That was none other than Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling."

"Wha-"

TO BE CONTINUED

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“Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling,†hissed Subaru as she leaned across the bright pink countertop, her eyes glowing with an indignant light, “is a Magical Girl gone rogue, who’s rumoured to be using Jewel Monsters for her own nefarious purposes.â€

They were sitting now in the Happy Happy Nyan Café, holding a hushed meeting over what had transpired the day before. Subaru was dressed in her usual cute maid get-up, and leaning in so closely that Norio could count each individual fake eyelash over her contact-lens-enhanced eyes. They were within kissing range! If Subaru so much as uttered a “nya†he would definitely lose control of himself! However, Subaru was never going to “nya†at him again, because according to her, “now that we’re working together, I don’t want to hide anything from you.â€

And so it was with sincerely cross eyes and a genuine snarl reflecting her unconcealed true nature that she explained Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling’s story.

“All we know is that Kissy was one of the pioneer batches of Magical Girls, one of the first twenty who took up the costume and accepted her destiny. She also received a discount voucher at Momoji Sweets Shop for being one of the first 20 Magical Girls. I missed it by 5 BLEEP-ing spots,†she spat ungraciously into Norio’s Super Cool Lime Cherry Soda. “Not that I like candy anyway; those Magical Girls became afflicted with tooth decay not long after. At any rate, she was one of the top Magical Girls. She had over 300 confirmed kills who knew 700 ways to befriend a rival Magical Girl with just her bare hands- well that’s just hearsay. I’m quite sure she only knew 70.â€

“How would you know? Did she befriend you too?†Norio asked curiously, inviting a furious blush on Subaru’s cheeks.

“Pay attention you son of a BLEEP, the tale’s getting BLEEP-ing serious!†she snapped, inducing a number of shocked gazes from nearby patrons. She cleared her throat and lowered her voice again, and Norio leaned in obligingly.

“A few months ago, she seemed to disappear from the scene. Then a fortnight or so after that, she reappeared, but seemed completely different. Witnesses say she must’ve gone through a period of depression, like all teenage girls do at some point, binged herself and lost that slender figure that made her such a capable Magical Girl. Other witnesses say her depression turned her heart toward darkness, and since then she’s been an antagonist to all Magical Girls, sometimes hurting or even killing Magical Girls, and using Jewel Monsters for her own nefarious ends, as I said before.â€

“Did anyone try to befriend her back with their bare hands?†Norio asked with a gasp, and was promptly met with a “shut the BLEEP upâ€.

“Why was she depressed?†he tried again with a different question.

“Sources say her boyfriend jilted her,†Subaru answered, “because after she disappeared, she was never seen with her boyfriend again. I really pity her. This is the greatest trauma any girl can ever face. Little wonder she was steered towards the dark side.â€

Norio nodded, sipping on his Super Cool Lime Cherry Soda. The ice had started to melt, making the drink a lot less Super Cool. Subaru rested her chin on her hand, her brows furrowed in thought.

“What I worry about now,†she said, “is what Kissy will do with the duck Jewel Monster. I wonder how many Jewel Monsters she has in her collection now.â€

Norio nodded again, then said hopefully, “Do you want to play the Flip-Flip Game, Subaru-chan?â€

“No,†she said simply. “It’s a dumb game. Besides, your lunch break’s ending soon, you should get back to work. Meeting’s over.â€

Norio hastily collected his briefcase and tore out of the café, wondering how his life had changed so suddenly. What was the point of visiting the Happy Happy Nyan Café anymore, if all Subaru-chan would do was talk about work? He made a dissatisfied sniffle and began to contemplate the prudence of that 500 yen he was paying everyday.

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It had already been a week since Norio had last visited the Happy Happy Nyan Cafe. The Norio of three weeks ago would have thought that inconceivable. After all, he was a man who had spent a considerable portion of his disposable income on purchasing the maids' affections; there had once been a time in his life where dire financial straits had forced him to either forsake a trip to the Cafe, or eat nothing but near-expired instant ramen for a fortnight. He had chosen moe, and he had never looked back, never shedding a single tear as he solemnly sucked down his greasy, soulless food-substitute. In a sense, one could have called him a moe junkie -- but extending that analogy would imply his dearest Subaru-chan was some unsavory drug dealer, which Norio would have taken great offense to. Even though it would have seemed rather appropriate, given what he'd seen of her true self.

 

However, all that had changed when the Jewel Monsters attacked. It wasn't that he had to abruptly come to terms with his epiphany about the comfort and security cross-dressing brought him -- the world evidently didn't care about his insignificant presence, and thus his choice of wardrobe should logically have no bearing on anything. However, his illusions had been shattered; the mask that covered up the unsightly truth had been ripped away. Subaru-chan was no angel -- he'd stopped going when all that girl did was talk about 'work' in a tone liberally sprinkled with BLEEPs. He hadn't heard a 'nya' from her mouth for what seemed like several episodes already, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to. After all, it would be an insincere, hollow 'nya' bereft of any cuteness -- it might please his ears, but he would still have to confront the truth -- that the source of that adorable noise was a foul-mouthed, rocket-toting maniac with a chip on her shoulder the size of Greater Tokyo. She still seemed cute, in some perverse way, but it was impossible to reconcile her true self with his image of a dream girl. 

 

Indeed, he was already contemplating taking his business to some other maid cafe, where the maids were hopefully not lunatics (or deceased lunatics; Eriko's smiling face still haunted his dreams occasionally, usually accompanied by unsolicited, rapid-fire and mostly-irrelevant advice.)

 

It was with a heavy heart that Norio left his apartment and boarded the JR train on his dreary commute from the suburbs to the bustling heart of Tokyo. As he stood amid a sea of identically-dressed, faceless salarymen, the peppy beats of a L*ve L*ve song thumping through the earbuds shoved into his ears, he felt strangely detached from the world, as if color and sound had drained out of the world like water rushing down a plughole.

 

Indeed, it took him several moments to realize it when the color and sound literally drained out of the world as the Broken Space emerged.

 

With a start, Norio snapped back to his senses as he realized the salarymen around him were even stiffer and more monochrome than salarymen had a right to be (even if that was setting the bar rather high). A Jewel Monster! Immediately, he reacted, barging his way to the train doors and raising his fingers in a v-shape to his right eye. Then, feeling very slightly embarassed by the bystanders surrounding him despite their inability to see him, he yelled, "My heart pounds like thunder! My blood burns like a raging fire! O SUN, LET ME SHARE IN YOUR GROSS INCANDESCENCE! SYNAPSE SYNCHRONIZE ~ SUNSHINE RUBY! MOE HEART!"

 

His clothes exploded, the force throwing the salarymen packing the train into two heaps at each end of the carriage (he silently mouthed a word of apology), and in a spectacle of gratuitous slow-motion spinning, sparkles and full-frontal, barely censored nudity, his second-hand magical girl uniform appeared around him. WIth a shout of "CONSIDERATE LOVING KISS!", he kicked open the door of the frozen train, bounding out onto the the tracks and peering around, looking for traces of the Jewel Monster.

 

He didn't see a Jewel Monster anywhere, but it wasn't long before he saw something that filled his heart with even more dread. Standing imposingly upon a power transmission line was the shadowy figure who had interfered in their fight against the horse-sized duck, seemingly completely unfazed by her precarious footing. For some reason, there seemed to be written sound effects drifting out from somewhere behind the shadowy figure's back, as though the two of them were the sole inhabitants of a campy fantasy manga. Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling!

 

"YOU! You're the one who stole Subaru-chan's smile! You'll pay for that!!" he declared, striking a strange pose as sound effects started emerging from behind him as well like some sort of bizarre aura. It wasn't a completely baseless accusation, he felt -- after all, she seemed so resentful whenever she talked about Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling. That seemed like pretty damning circumstantial evidence to him.

 

The rival Magical Girl merely remained silent, continuing to stand ominously upon her perch. For a moment, she made a movement that almost looked like a shrug of confusion, but it had to be a trick of the light. There was no way an ominous rival would have done something so... uncertain. They were always aloof and unflappable to the end -- that was the way it had to be.

 

"I'm serious!" Norio called out again, and felt somewhat sheepish. However, the other Magical Girl remained silent and unmoving.

 

"Get out of my way! There's a Jewel Monster here, right?!" Norio shouted, dramatically waving the wand in his hand. Finally, the other Magical Girl responded -- she raised out a hand, and dropped something to the ground before Norio. He peered at it, and blanched in shock -- the object was a heart-shaped crystal, its innards glowing faintly with multicolored light. A Jewel! But that means... there's no Jewel Monster... I've been set up!

 

Then, while he was still looking down at the Jewel, Kissy Amethyst Moonlight Darling leaped off her perch and planted his face into the gravel with a kick from one high-heeled shoe. Ow! Argh! That's cheating -- not only did you distract me with a cheap trick, but you didn't even shout an attack name! Isn't that against the rules?!  He planted his hands on the ground, trying to push himself off the ground, but Kissy Amethyst Moonlight Darling -- man, that name was quite a mouthful, and he was pretty sure he'd mixed it up already -- merely pushed down harder with her heel, the pointed tip of her shoe digging painfully into the back of his head. She seemed strangely heavy for a young woman, for whatever reason, but Norio had little time to contemplate the ramifications of that on account of having his face ground into the gravel.  "ARE YOU THE ONE WHO KILLED KISSY MOONLIGHT AMETHYST DARLING?!" The shadowy Magical Girl shouted.

 

"Aren't YOU Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling?!" Norio feebly protested, but promptly felt the pressure on the back of his head return with renewed intensity.

 

"DID YOU KILL HER?!" She demanded again in what sounded suspiciously like a scarily accurate Christian Bale impersonation.

 

"YOU'RE KISSY MOONLIGHT AMETHYST DAR-" Norio shouted in exasperation, only for his vision to swim and a spike of pain to hammer through his skull as Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling With Identity Issues kicked him in the head. "THIS IDIOT ISN'T THE ONE." The other Magical Girl snorted in distaste, before strutting off, her heels clicking loudly on the tracks of the railway.

 

Darkness crept into Norio's field of vision as he gazed dazedly at the rival Magical Girl's receding silhouette, and before he lost consciousness, one last thought slipped through his mind: My, my, what broad shoulders you have...

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When Norio regained consciousness, he was in bed at an unfamiliar room, its walls painted a bleak, bleak shade of grey. He turned to his left and came face-to-face with Subaru’s glowering stare. He quickly snapped his eyes shut again, hoping she had not noticed him awake.

Not a chance.

“Congratulations,†her voice came, disturbingly calm, “you have made it on the celebrated citizen journalism portal of Akihabara, CurbSt*mp. You’re famous now.â€

CurbSt*mp? Norio’s eyes jolted open in alarm. CurbSt*mp, the online amalgamation of every vile sinister stalker in the country, was a portal where anybody could upload photographs and videos of news-worthy events and be paid “a feeâ€. There, on Subaru’s iP*d, was a photograph of Norio, lying on the ground, clad in his embarrassing Unison Form, blissfully unaware of the crowd that had gathered around him and the hundred other faceless people behind their screens with nothing better to do in life but post comments such as “#hashtagfashiondisaster†and “#therewasnoneedtospellouthashtagâ€.

“Fortunately you had the BLEEP-ing sense to keep your ugly BLEEP-face stuck to the ground, so nobody can tell who you are,†Subaru added, sitting on the edge of her bed with her legs spread out wide again. “Anyway you seem to have sustained some injuries. Were you pwned by a particularly powerful Jewel Monster?â€

“It was no Jewel Monster!†Norio exclaimed, sitting up on the bed in agitation. He quickly recounted the encounter with Kissy Amethyst Moonlight Darling (“it’s Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling, BLEEPâ€). Subaru’s face became increasingly serious as the story proceeded.

“So Kissy asked you if you killed Kissy Moonlight Amethyst Darling?†she repeated, picking her nose in deep concentration. “That seems to suggest she’s become delusional, which might be related to her turning evil – maybe she developed a demonic physique after being possessed by some demon-“

“Are demons supposed to exist in this setting?†Norio asked curiously. “I thought the antagonists here are limited to Jewel Monsters.â€

“Don’t be BLEEP,†Subaru answered. “The main antagonist is always some greater darker force. We have to find out more about Kissy, and who knows when she’ll come back for us again. We can’t wait for her.â€

“Oh…†said Norio, who seemed perfectly content waiting for years if he had to.

“We have to lure her… but how…†Subaru paced the cold cement floor of her bedroom, her fingers working even harder as she thought. “What did you say she wanted from you… whether you killed her, right? OF COURSE!†She stopped short, raising a triumphant booger to the air. “We’ll spread word around that I was the one who killed her! She’ll definitely come for me then!â€

“Sounds good,†Norio lied, clapping encouragingly. “How do we spread word around though? We can’t really list this on the Classifieds, can we?â€

He was met with only the glint of Subaru’s eye.

~~~

In a week, Subaru’s living-room had transformed from an even duller, dimmer version of her bedroom, into some kind of dollhouse. The walls were pink and draped with lacy ribbons, there were random plush toys arranged over the furniture, and Subaru had somehow managed to steal 2 large strawberry shortcakes from the Happy Happy Nyan Café. Subaru and Norio were in their respective Unison Forms – as per the dress code stated in Subaru’s invitation. There wouldn’t be very many people, just 15 today.

“Most of them have dates with their boyfriends, or manicure appointments, and some of the girls have gotten pregnant – I mean, married, and thus are less active. Oh it looks like they’re here.â€

Norio perched nervously in his seat as the multitude of mascara-heavy eyes centred on him.

“Like,†a blonde girl said, “I’m not sure if I’m just stupid, but, is that, like, a guy over there? I mean OMG I’m just, so confused, you know?â€

“Yes,†said a gravelly voice. Norio turned in alarm to see an old woman wearing what looked like a skimpy dress, stroking a tabby cat that was sitting on her lap. At her feet were two other ginger cats. She peered at him through a pair of glasses, leaning forward so Norio could see her uncomfortably saggy upper body.

“Yes, he is a boy all right,†she pronounced. “Why is he dressed in Sunlight Ruby ~ Blazing Heart’s clothing?â€

“A… tragedy happened,†Subaru said vaguely, “but really, the reason I called this tea party is to tell all of you about Kissy-“ but the entire room had erupted into a frenzy of shouts and screams as the other Magical Girls tried to take in the horrifying image.

“It’s not like I’m uncomfortably shy in the presence of men, you s-s-stupid~!†squealed a girl.

“I don’t get it at all; what’s happening? OMG I feel so stupid, but why’s there a guy as a Magical Girl? That’s like, wrong, isn’t it?†asked the blonde, looking around for confirmation.

Subaru sighed, jumped onto the table and yelled, “WILL YOU PLEASE BLEEP-ING SHUT UP?â€

The room fell silent.

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