Chapter 0:

I Am a Magical Girl

Happy Sweet Magical Girl Life

“I don’t like this, not one little bit!” I screamed, running sideways across the surface of a sky scraper. “I don’t wanna die! You never told me about this parrrrrrttt!” I bawled, kicking up dust as the-the-thing tried to get me. I just managed to dodge the big, blue and orange creature’s hand as it tried to smoosh me into oblivion.

This was a drag! I was basically fighting Godzilla…if Godzilla was looked more like an adult Charzard. A very, very pissed Charzard! The thing was literally glowing from blue flames burning off of its body and reminded me of the ‘plasma ghost’ that had been in the haunted house at the School Halloween carnival last year!

I was so regretting all my recent choices at this moment! ‘Make a contact and become a real Magical Girl, they said. It would be fun, they said.’ I thought sarcastically.

Well, no one had said that specifically, per say, but Kyuu-Chan told me that it would be fun. Darn little devil cat had chosen his exact words wisely! He told me that while, by typical standards, it would be scary and I would see it as dangerous, but I wouldn’t actually die. Probably. Magical immunity, endurance, supernatural healing, and all that. But that belied the fact that this was as scary as all heck! Though, if he told me that being near invulnerable came with the catch of still being in constant fear of death and injury…I probably wouldn’t have agreed to his proposal. Cheeky demon-cat! Though, since he was a tiny, magical cat with little horns and two pointed devil tails, but wasn’t actually evil or demonic in origin, I suppose he had to at least be a trickster.

Kyuu frantically flapped his little, black, bat wings and freaked out next to me. “Ahh! Calm down! You’re scaring me- Kyaa!” The little cat freaked out. “Look who’s talking!” “Your wand, dummy! Use your wand! Why have you just been holding it all this time? You’ve literally been gifted magical powers of good and justice, but all you’re doing is running? What in the world is wrong in your head? Kyaa!”

I started crying in panic and waved around the long, pink and gold staff that was topped with a heart and several, rotating, shiny rings. “How do I use this? You never told me anything! How am I supposed to do this if you don’t actually teach me?” I whined.

Why in the world had Kyuu decided that just shoving me into battle was a good idea? I literally had just contracted with him this afternoon! And it wasn’t like it was an actual choice of mine. I mean, if a cute little horned cat wearing a red ascot, who could talk and fly literally fell into your lap and said that you’ve been chosen to become a warrior of justice to protect people from invaders from another dimension and that he was from the that other dimension’s benevolent counterpart dimension…well, what would most humans do? You would do what I did! How could you not say yes when something so insane and convoluted was shoved on you, especially when it seemed like a dream or hallucination that you’d wake up from? I mean, I was literally just sitting on a park bench with my earbuds in and daydreaming like any other teenage girl. Not normally the sort of situation you would equate with your understanding of reality being flipped inside-out.

Okay, full confession…I was also Twitter-stalking Ryo Igumi-Kun. I couldn’t help myself, okay? He’s so cute and utterly sweet! He’s the kind of person that everyone loves, but he’s popular not because he’s perfect prince or anything like that. Everyone at school likes him because he’s so endearing, kind, and a tad ditsy and clumsy in an innocent, childish way. He’s utterly perfect, to me at last! He’s my ideal guy and I swear I will make him mine forever! Not that I’ve thought about it a lot…

But the point I’m making here is that Kyuu suddenly just fell out of the sky and crashed into my face! He told me that he was looking for a little girl to become a magical warrior of love and justice. He kept poking and prodding at me until I told him that, okay, maybe there was one guy I liked…then he was like ‘Hey, you’re a cute, innocent 8th grade maiden in love! You’re the stereotypical, perfect Magical Girl candidate! Make a contract with me and fight against evil for the sake of love and justice! Your world has two parallel dimensions; one is good, and one is evil. I’m from the good one and I’m here to find someone to fight to stop the bad guys from the evil dimension because your city intersects with a portal for both dimensions and I need a champion of goodness for humanity…’ blah-blah-blah. The short of all the insanity he had spewed was that I had instantly agreed like a moron without even really thinking it though.

So…my life is now something right out of the Glitter Star Warriors! Anime franchise.

“What do I do with this?” I panicked, jumping down to the roof of a lower skyscraper. I darted into a maze of pipes for a short respite. “Tell me, devil cat!”

“I am not a ‘devil cat’! Kyaa! My name is Kyuu! Kyuu-Chan Kyaa.” Her new companion creature pouted.

“Oh, for the love of…!” I rolled my eyes. “Kyuu-Chan! Help me, please! Give me a clue here!”

“Just wave it around and do what feels natural-Kyaa! It’s really hard to explain, and every magical girl’s powers work differently-Kyaa! Just try something and then the natural Magical Girl intuition will kick in! Just trust your heart and your gut-Kyaa! It will tell you what to do!”

“Grrr! That’s your idea of help? Why couldn’t this be as easy as it looked in Glitter Star Warriors? “I sighed. “Why can’t the supernatural just come with an instruction manual?” It was a cool fall night. Why couldn’t I be back at home, wrapped up in my fuzzy blanket and sleeping? It was almost midnight and long past sane hours for anyone to be out moving around!

Oh…crap! What if my family noticed that I was missing? Mom typically would stay up having her ‘mommy time’ until around 11pm, and then check in on us kids before heading to bed. I had waited to try out my transformation and sneak out until I knew she was in bed. My mother would literally die in a blazing fire with all the smoke alarms going off in the house, she slept that soundly. She wasn’t a real threat and my father was away on a business trip yet again. The real issue…my baby brother Junchi was a typical 4-year-old who was scared of his own shadow and thought that every single little noise in the entire house was a monster coming from him. He was a cute kid and basically thought that I was the cool big sister who could do no wrong, but he was so dang clingy! He always would climb in bed with me crying because of bad dreams, or the monster under his bed or…anything really. If he came into my room and realized that I wasn’t there, he would definitely spaz the heck out and run crying to wake up mom, and the chance of that scenario was extremely high.

Ugh…the only choice I had was just to get this over with as quickly as possible so that that I could get back before anyone realized I was missing

I took a deep breath, balled my fists, and tried to psych myself up. “Let’s do this!”

I sprinted towards the edge of the roof, where the evil dragon-lizard-thing was standing in confusion.

I skidded to a stop a few feet from the edge of the roof and held out my new wand.

“Hey, ugly!” I taunted, waving the wand around erratically. “I am the Magical Girl…Miracle Nanna!” Okay, generic, but it ‘felt right’, as Kyuu had put it. Though I was still a bit iffy on the wisdom of using my real name. Words flew out of my mouth without me even thinking, and my hand moved as if an outside force was guiding it. Probably my new magic and Magical Girl instincts? Or me being an otaku weirdo? But at this point, I was just going to roll with it. Besides, this is how all Magical Girl stories usually started, right?

“I’m the guardian of this city and the protector of its people! I’ve been chosen to receive the powers of good and justice! I won’t let you evil spirits do whatever you want!” A whirring sound, like some sort of engine, started up and got progressively louder. The ground began to shake, and a mysterious wind blew and tore at my dress and hair, until I felt like a mysterious train was about to barrel down one me. A sound like a computer booting up, only ten times louder, emitted from my wand. Suddenly, the light grew brighter, and brighter, and brighter, until it shot out from my wand like a ball of lightning, lighting up the night sky.

· * *


“Nugggggh!” I moaned, rolling over and punching my ringing alarm clock.

I stared at the ceiling. “That was a weird dream I had last n-“ I stopped as soon as I saw Kyuu-Chan curled up on a throw-pillow next to me. He was out like a light.

‘Of course,’ I thought, clutching one of my stuffed animals, a fluffy squirrel, to my chest. Rolling over to my side, I closed my eyes again. ‘How stereotypical. It wasn’t a dream at all. I’m a goof.’ Ugh. But, what else would I think about that whole ordeal? I’m tired and still hoping this was all a dream. It wasn’t really as scary as I complained that it was and I actually had enjoyed it, honestly...but it was still confusing and a burden to just be expected to be a magical protector of the city, let alone the whole world.But…I can’t really change that now, this late, can I? I sighted and snuggled deeper into my nest of blankets and plushies, trying to not think about anything at all.

Suddenly, I heard my bedroom door swing open and slam into the wall. Seconds later, screaming filled the room and something heavy slammed into my gut with the force of a dropped anvil.

Gooood Mooooornnnniiiiiiinnnnnnnggggggg OOOOO-NEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-CHAAAAAAANNNNNNN!” My little brother bellowed as he belly-flopped on me.

All the air shot out of my lungs and I held back the urge to vomit as the little jerk jumped up and down on my bed.

“ONee-Chaaaan! It’s time to go! You’ve overslept! Again! You need to leave in thirty minutes! Mama says you need to get your sorry butt out of bed if you want to shower before school!”

Oh, for the love of -! This child! He never runs out of energy and never calms down! He’s seriously going to be the death of me one day.

I shoved Junchi and he tumbled off of my bed with a yelp and hit the floor with a mighty thud.

“Y-you bully!” He pouted. “What you’d do that for?”

Ugh, I still felt so exhausted and had a headache! Getting up was the last thing that I wanted to do today! Much less deal with my brother!

I sat up and clutched the squirrel to my chest. “I get the point, Ju-Chan! I’m sorry, but I couldn’t sleep last night, so I feel sick now, okay? You jumped on my stomach and made me feel like I was going to throw up! Please, don’t do that! I set my alarm and was trying to psych myself up to get out of bed, but I accidently fell back asleep!”

“Well, that isn’t my problem.” He declared. “Mama said to get you up and do whatever I needed to do to get it done. I’m supposed to tell you to get going right now!” He blinked at me as I stared back in annoyance.

“Well… are you ‘gonna leave, kid? I’m not doing anything ‘til you scram.” I insisted.

“What?” He looked confused. I rolled my eyes and spelled it out.

“I’m not going to get naked to change with you in here! It’s creepy! I’ll get dressed, but I want you get out first.”

“But why? I don’t wanna help Mommy with breakfast and it’s not like we don’t still take baths together. And don’t you have to shower? Why would you change now before that?”

Ughh…smart kid! He had a point…I mean, he was just a child! Why not? What really was the difference? Well, honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with him today. Oh, wait! Yeah, I had to shower! Why was I even thinking that I needed to change right away? I massaged my forehead. My poor brain was completely fried from being up so late!

Suddenly, I saw Kyuu-Chan, half-hidden in my blankets and plushies.

‘Oh, crap! I can’t let Ju-Chan see him! If he does, there are a whole lot of things that I won’t be able explain!’ I panicked.

I jumped out of bed and stared at Junchi. “Okay, I’m up. I’ll get ready. You. Out. Now.” I demanded, pointing to the hallway.

“Ok-a-ay.” Junchi whined, standing up and sulking out the door. I shut and locked it behind him and let out a massive sigh of relief.

“Wuz going on?” Kyuu yawned, suddenly waking up. I jumped.

“Oh, gosh!” I put my hand over my racing heart. “My little brother just barged in here! I was so worried that he would see you!”

“Oh, didn’t I tell you, Nya?” The cat-creature stretched his body out. “I can make myself visible or invisible to whoever I chose, whenever I want. I’m making myself invisible to everyone but you right now, because I know that it would be a bad idea to let people see me. Nya!” Kyuu made himself comfortable and drifted back off to sleep.

“You fluffy jerk!” I complained. “No, you did not tell me that! I was just an ass to my little brother for nothing!” I crossed my arms over my chest and pouted. Well, at least this didn’t happen at school or in front of my parents. That would have been real fun to explain away.
“Why are you yelling up there? Hurry up and shower already, Nana!” Mom screamed from downstairs. “I wanna take a bath before work! If you don’t get going, you won’t get to use the bathroom today!”

“Ugh.” I rolled my eyes as I grabbed my school uniform from my desk chair.

“Mooooom! Stop it! I’m moving, I swear! Cut me a break!”

“Move it or lose it, brat! If you don’t hurry up, I’m going to eat your pancakes and juice!”

“Do it and I’ll kill you!” I shot back and stomped down the stairs and to our large bathroom behind the spiral staircase.

I locked the door behind me, ripped off my pajamas, and hopped into the shower. I cranked up the temperature and let the steaming water wash over my body. I aggressively scrubbed my sleep-crusted eyes, willing myself to wake up.

“Uggghhh….I can’t believe that this happened.” I stared up at the shower head, blinking water out of my eyes. Why…why…why me? I grabbed my bodywash off the shelf and started lathering up my body.

This was like a dream come true. I’d always loved magical girl shows. The cutesy uniforms, the fluffy animals, the friendships, the romance and true love…the whole genre was just a giant, modern-day fairytale and a comforting escape from reality.

But…even in the super innocent ones like the Glitter Star Warriors franchise, Solar Sailor Warriors, Musical Magical Girl Lyrical-Chan, and Card Collector Sapphire, there was an undertone of fear, sadness, and loneliness. The old classics were pretty dark when you looked closely. Magical Girl-Princess Marmalade- Chan ended her series by dying, in all things, a tragic traffic accident. After all the things the little fairy did to spread goodness and happiness across Japan out of her love for fragile, flawed humans, her reward was dying a forgettable, unlucky death like a normal human when a semi hit her human family’s car. The Magical Paladins of Ragnarök started as a fun, girl-power anime and ended with them realizing that they were only chosen by the universe to kill the guardian angel of the earth realm to fulfill some stupid cosmic karma or destiny or whatever…after having to kill her and the demon king and realizing that the “demon lord” wasn’t actually evil. Now, of course, there were all sorts of magical girl deconstruction anime that were basically tragedy-filled gore-fests with cute visual packaging. The magical girl-themed killing game of Magical Girl selection File. The desire to create more suffering and hatred to end the universe of Magical Girls Online. The flat-out military utilitarianism and violence of Magical Girl Special Forces. The human soul-sacrifices of We are Heroes and Millennium Magus Nadoka…no matter what sort of medium or set up they took; Magical Girl series always had a dark side. Wielding power that others thought couldn’t exist, carrying the fate of humanity and the lives of others on your shoulders; it would take a mental toll on you no matter what.

I know I was chosen and all that junk, but was I actually up to this, really? Could I do this? Even if my story would be more like Glitter Star Warriors than Millennium Magus Nadoka, would I be able to handle the stress and the day-to-day compartmentalization of this job I’d been given? What about my schoolwork? And my health and sleep schedule? And my family and friends, who I’d now be lying to a ton? Would I be able to handle the stress, or would I eventually crack?

‘I guess…I don’t have much of a choice now, though.’ I thought as I combed conditioner through my blond hair. ‘I said I would do it. I made a contract. It’s a sealed deal now. All I can do is do this and try my best. I can’t say what will happen or if I’ll regret it or not…but I’m responsible for protecting this world and my city now. I can’t run from that responsibility. I’ll just have to jump in, and we’ll deal with complications as they happen. Worrying myself sick isn’t going to make this end well. I’m just going to have to do this and try for the best.’

I stared up into the stream of water coming from the showerhead. “I’m Nana Miyuki. I’m a second-year at Zuzo Middle School in Tokyo. I’m naturally blond and a bit of an airhead. I like to read manga and draw. I have a massive crush on Ryo Igumi. My best friend is Nanoka Tatsumi. I have an overly energetic little brother who worships me, a doting father who’s gone on business a lot, and an extremely loud and sarcastic mother. I’m also a Magical Girl. I made a contract with a magical demon cat from another dimension named Kyu. I have to fight to protect this world from interdimensional invaders. I’ll do my best because it’s my job to protect this city. No matter what happens, no matter what…I’ll still be Nana Miyuki. I am me, and that will never change, no matter what weird stuff happens in my life.” I recited to myself to steel my resolve. I had to do this This was just a normal day and I had to enjoy school, enjoy my precious normal life and take my job as a Magical Girl seriously after school. This was the start of a new chapter in my life.

“Nana! Get out of the freakin’ shower already!” My mother startled me as she screamed and pounded on the bathroom door. “You’re gonna use all the hot water and I told you that I’m going to take a bath once you brats leave!”

Ughhh…I rolled my tired eyes at the ceiling. This is going to be a very long day.

“Nana! Did you hear me?”

I turned the shower off. “Oh, my God. Yes! You can shut up now! I’m getting out! Chill, lady!”

“Don’t you “lady” me! Hurry up!”

· * *

I snapped my knee-high socks into place and pulled on my fur-trimmed boots. I reached down and pulled up my second set of socks, the decorative ankle ones, so the massive frills could be seen. “Okay.” I fluffed my hair and tightened the red ribbons in it. “I think I look good enough.” I grabbed my pink sweater from the doorknob and exited the bathroom.

When I entered the kitchen, my mother was busy flipping pancakes while Juchi was occupying himself by singing some nonsense song and fiddling with the ice cubes in his cup of juice. I draped my sweater over a chair, went over to the coffee pot and poured myself a cup of coffee, and stirred in a massive spoon of sugar. “I thought you said breakfast was done and I was late?” I commented to my mother. “I only said that I would eat your breakfast if you didn’t hurry up and that I was worried that you would be late. I never said anything about breakfast actually being done or you being late. Actually, you’re running a few minutes early, somehow. But I know you, Nana. I wanted to be safe and any misinformation you got was your brother’s fault, not mine!” I rolled my eyes. Figures. I sat down in my chair next to my brother and ruffled his hair.

“Hey, Ju-Chan. Sorry I was a grouch to you earlier. I couldn’t sleep last night, and I shouldn’t have taken my misery out on you.” He stopped singing and gave me one of his gap-toothed grins.

“It’s okay, sis!” I smiled back at him. He could be annoying, but my baby brother was a good kid. Pretty cute, too. He was going to be a real lady-killer when he grew up.

I sipped my coffee and slid the morning paper towards me. Electric Malfunction in the Industrial District Starts Fire; None Hurt, Three Factories Damaged Beyond Repair. I cringed. That had been no malfunction. I had thought it was a dream but now that I was fully remembering last night…yeah. Between me and the monster, we started that fire. I wasn’t sure how it had happened, but I had booked it out of there as fast as I could and left the fire to the firefighters. I felt bad about ruining the factories and messing with the jobs of people just trying to make a living, but I wasn’t equipped to fight magical fires, I didn’t want to be around when the authorities arrived, and it’s not like I actually did anything wrong. At least, if people had known about my situation and believed it, then no one would be blame me for an accidental fire. Right?

I scanned the other major news items. A police raid on a suspected illegal weapons stockpile, a landlady fighting the local ordinances on housing, boring foreign policy stuff…suddenly my eyes landed on an interesting article that made my blood freeze.

Body Found in Vacant Lot Scorched by Electrical Fire; Homicide Investigation Opened

While clearing the industrial district as part of the investigation into last night’s blaze, fire investigators discovered a body. It was determined to be that that of a male. While the body was completely charred, it was intact. A tentative cause of death was declared prior to transfer to the Corners office; homicidal blunt-force trauma. While the official autopsy results are forthcoming, it’s been clearly established that the man was a victim of homicide, likely prior to the fire, though a time of death will not be known until after the autopsy. He had dozens of broken bones that were a clear sign of pre-death violence and his skull had been caved in by blunt-force trauma using an unknown instrument. It is unknown at this time if the murder had any connection to the fire, which is believed to be either an accident or result of corporate negligence.

The police chief has stated that he personally believes that; “The murder happened prior to the fire and the body was left at the scene of the crime. When the fire was sparked, it burned the corpse. I believe that the murder had nothing to do with the fire, which in my opinion and the opinion of most fire fighters here, was just a freak accident. The murder was committed, and it just happened to be committed in the industrial district, which is rather unfortunate as the fire happened sometime afterwards. A total coincidence, but a frustrating one, as it incinerated the entire crime scene and destroyed much, if not all the evidence. It is my opinion that this is just a random murder.”

The chief also released the following statement: “In a few days, we’ll probably find out that it was just a mugging, a random act of violence by a disturbed individual, or something related to the Yakuza or some other crime syndicate. Sure, we have no official conclusions now, but I’m comfortable saying that people shouldn’t be worried. Even though our crime rates are very low, crime still happens in Japan all the time, just like it does anywhere else in the world. What I’m saying is that I don’t want citizens getting worked up or conspiracy theorists getting crazy ideas that this could be a major crime or part of a corporate plot or something just because of the location, the fire, and the rarity of crime here. People like that always come out after crimes happen, as our cities crime rate is so low. My message to everyone is to calm down and carry on with life as usual. Accidents and crimes both happen occasionally no matter where in the world you are. It’s unfortunate, but no one should be overly concerned or scared about this one instance. Just because this was such an extreme, freak occurrence does not mean that you need to be worrying that your workplace or home will explode due to bad wiring or gas leaks, nor does it mean that your or your children will be randomly murdered. Please, don’t panic. The police are on the case, we are not worried, and we are sure that we will be able to solve this.”

Unfortunately, all the surveillance cameras in the immediate vicinity were ruined by the fire. All owners of the buildings in the nearby vicinity whose security cameras were untouched by the blaze are asked to review the footage from last night and report anything noteworthy to the authorities. If you know anything about the murder or have any information that could lead to the victim’s identity, please call the police hotline.

Oh my God! Oh my God! OH MY GOD! Someone had been murdered right by me last night! I grabbed the edge of the table hard as I started breathing heavily, concerned that I was going to throw up. My stomach felt as though I had swallowed a bunch of rocks. Not only had someone been murdered, but I had set the crime scene on fire and had destroyed all the evidence! This man’s identity and his murder may both potentially never be found now, all because I screwed up big time. Sure, it was my first night as a Magical Girl, but this was real life, not the sanitized pastel shows I had watched since I was a little girl. In the real world, accidents had consequences, even if you hadn’t been trying to mess up and had no desire to harm anyone. The Glitter Star Warriors franchise hardly ever touched on the aftermath of mass-brainwashing or monsterfication incidents. But…just because reality was being broken in secret didn’t mean that logical damage wasn’t done. A massive fight with “the bad guys” could cause property damage and bystander injuries, even if no one else saw or understood what was occurring. In my case, fighting an electrical-type monster by blasting energy attacks everywhere and me shooting light beams at it could cause a massive fire. Duh.

Even my little melodramatic moment in the shower had overlooked something crucial; reality was a real jerk. Introducing something supernatural into the real world didn’t negate basic logic and there was no animation team here to touch things up and edit out the natural end result of my actions. If I was going to be a magical girl, then stuff like this would be almost guaranteed to happen again. Even once I figured out what I was doing, there would still be more collateral. I was the only one who could protect my city from this threat that they didn’t even know existed, but this sort of thing would be the tradeoff.

Honestly…it hurt. Realizing what I had let happen hit me like a ton of bricks. Despite my whole meta-knowledge on the topic of Magical Girl anime, manga, and tropes, I still had rose-colored glasses. It was partially me being a generally positive person, but also…I mean, even the different “reality ensues” flavors of the dark Magical Girl/ Magical Girl deconstruction genres were still fiction. The concept of fiction had allowed me to downplay how bad things could turn back, had allowed me to not fully think things through. To be honest, my future was now a total question mark. I had no clue what could or would happen to me in just the next couple of days alone. I wanted to believe the best; that everyone would be saved, that good would triumph, and all that. But things are rarely that clear cut. So now…what should I…?

“Sis? Sis? Are you okay?” I snapped out of it and realized that Junchi was looking at me with concern and poking me in the head with the butt of his fork. I was drenched in cold sweat. “Uh…Oh! Y-yes! Big sister is fine! Ummm…I was just real concerned about…this…is all!” I said, jabbing my finger on the article about the murder so hard that I thought I’d break it. My brother peaked over my shoulder at the article.

“Ooooh! The murderer on the lose!” He smiled.

“Wrong reaction, kid! Please don’t act so cheerful about something so awful!” I cringed.

“Well…it is creepy and interesting isn’t it?” He asked. “More juice!” he demanded, holding out his cup. I reached for the carton and poured him a refill.

“You aren’t wrong. It’s just…so frustrating that the fire had to happen right after!” I said.

“Well…I don’t know about the chief’s statement, though.” My mother said, her back still towards us. “I mean, this thing is so rare around here. The whole murder makes me feel so uncomfortable. It was just so brutal! That’s bad any way that you cut it, but I think that its worse because It doesn’t seem like the typical clean, methodical brutality of the Yakuza. The beating that man took…” My mother paused, unusually concerned for her. “It’s just…I don’t think it had anything to do with the criminal syndicate because it doesn’t seem right. But that’s even worse, because that means that there’s some random crazy person out there. That man could be an innocent stranger and not some criminal who knew the risks of his behavior and that person could do the same thing to someone else, anyone else, anywhere at any time. Oh, sorry!” She panicked, seemingly realizing that she was ranting. “I just…I’m a mother, you know! These things make me nervous, that’s all!” I snickered.

“Hey! It’s true! I just hope they catch the guy real soon. Hopefully, this was just a personal dispute or something. Here you guys go, the first pancakes.” My mother set a plate of pancakes on the table. A warm, sweet smell washed over me. My mother had a mouth on her, but she was the best cook ever!

“Hey, Ju-chan, which one do you want?” “That one!” Of course, the big one at the bottom of the stack. I stuck a fork in it and plopped it on my brother’s plate. “Here, which syrup do you want?” “Strawberry! Let me pour it!” “No way! You always make a big mess! You don’t need to get your school clothes all sticky and gross!” I sighed, swirling the syrup across my brother’s pancakes. “And here, you better eat some of the eggs and fruit to.” I plopped more food on my brother’s plate. “No! I don’t want none of that.” I rolled my eyes. “Kid, you cannot survive on sugar alone. Eat it all.”

I turned and served myself two of the smaller pancakes and a pile of the eggs. I also took some of fruit slices. I wasn’t in the mood for fruit today, but I wasn’t about to be the hypocritical big sister and get teased.

“Thanks, Nana.” My mother said as she refilled her own coffee. “You want some more?” She held up the coffee pot. “Yes, please.” She came over and poured me another cup.

“Are you really okay, Nana?” She asked, looking concerned. “You look…exhausted.” “Mmmm, yeah, I’m fine.” I continued eating. “I just couldn’t sleep last night for the life of me. I just feel…icky from being so exhausted from that. But I’m good besides that, honest.”

My mother looked relived. “Okay, good! I was just worried because you were acting a bit…Hmmm, you’re always spacy, but this was different than usual. You didn’t seem as perky as you normally are. You need to start getting your homework done earlier so you can get more sleep, but I’m glad insomnia is all it is.”

I thoughtfully cut up my pancakes. I was really fortunate. I had a good family, a good life. I was…happy. Really happy. I had nothing to complain about. I was so blessed to just be able to sit here eating pancakes with my little brother and mother. This was something worth protecting. I had a good life, but not everyone did, and more people would have sad lives or end up like that corpse if I didn’t take my Magical Girl life seriously.

I just…I was scared. I’m just a normal girl, I didn’t have the experience or strength for this. This wasn’t something that I had ever truely wanted; it was a fun fantasy, a nice dream, but not something that would be great in practice. I didn’t need any sort of stress or unknown in my life. But I had a responsibility now. Even if I wasn’t anything special…I still had something that other people didn’t. I still didn’t know what that thing was exactly, but it was enough for me to be chosen to become a real magical girl. Since there were only so many people who could do this, I had to do this to the best of my ability; this was something special I could do. Even if I couldn’t save everyone, even if things went wrong, even if I only could save some people…if there wasn’t someone to protect them from these monsters, they would die. If I could break fate in a way and save people who would otherwise die, even if it was just one or two, it would be enough. It was now or never. I had to give my all and be the best Magical Girl ever, so I didn’t make any more screw-ups!

I started shoveling the rest my breakfast into my mouth rapidly. I needed to get going and make the afternoon come as quickly as possible! Then it would be safe for me to talk to Kyuu-Chan and I could start learning as much as possible so I could get stronger! I also really wanted to check out the industrial district and the murder scene to see if there was any clue that only I could find about what happened there last night. I had some goals now; small ones that would move me forward. I had to get going!

“Geez! Nana-Chan, slow down!” My mother complained.

“Sorry, mom! It was really good! But I’m really excited to get to school and see my friends!” I said as I popped the last piece of fruit into my mouth. I picked up my school bag and bounced out of my chair. “Be good, I’ll see you after school.” I kissed Junchi on the head and ran over to give my mother a hug. “Love you, mom! I’m heading out!”

“Okay. Have a great day!” My mother smiled as I shot out the door.

As I sprinted down the street, Kyuu-Chan flew up next to my head on his little black wings. “Kyaa! You’re sure lively this morning Nana-Chan!” “Yep!” I announced proudly as the small heart keychain, my deactivated wand, bounced around and smacked my hip.

“I’m a Magical Girl, aren’t I? Starting today, I’m going to try my absolute best! This is going to be great! I will make my story the best Magical Girl story ever!

PART A: Sweetness X Faker: START
Joe Gold
Taylor Victoria
Ana Fowl