Chapter 11:

The Midnight Hat Shop

Former Magical Girls and their Daily Lives

Kasumi didn't do anything the rest of the hang-out time. Well, she did, but it was stuff like playing video games, which according to my mom isn't anything. They played for a good amount of time. Kasumi finally got used to the controls of the game, but she still didn't know what to think when it came to the believability of the game. Since she has killed demons in real life, she knew that everything about the game was unrealistic. For example, the game had plenty of low hp, easy-to-kill, fodder demons that ran at the player in a straight line. An easy-to-kill demon was an oxymoron in real life. Every demon is big and dangerous. They can take many direct hits without dying. The demons in the game sometimes had these hard-to-kill demons, but in reality, they didn't act like real demons either. The game demons tanked damage without even flinching. Real demons responded to every bump and hit.Bookmark here

She shut her mouth as hard as she could. She didn't want to keep interrupting Megumi's fun by telling her that the game is unrealistic. She told herself that there must be a reason that the game was like this. Escapism could be one of them, but she thought it would still be fun if she could take on a more dynamic demon. That isn't against the rules of escapism, right?Bookmark here

What are the rules of escapism, anyway?Bookmark here

I don't know.Bookmark here

Anyway, Megumi had to eventually leave, and all of the girls went home. The lemons went grocery shopping and they ate dinner at home. Then they went to sleep. And that was the end of day 2 of high school, right?Bookmark here

Wrong.Bookmark here

You see, while the lemons did go to sleep, Kasumi woke up in the middle of the night. Now, usually, you just go back to sleep, but Kasumi got up anyway.Bookmark here

Kasumi got out of her futon and quietly walked to the kitchen, where she opened the fridge and looked at it. She recounted her time at the grocery store. It was surprisingly calm for a group of people like them. The cash register person didn't do anything. They didn't fight for any flash sales that occurred. They just grabbed the food and left. There wasn't anything weird. It was quite boring, to be honest. Just groceries.Bookmark here

She went back into the living room. Yuri and Risa were sleeping peacefully. They didn't have a care in the world. There wasn't any conflict. Just sleep. They didn't even look weird while sleeping. They didn't look cute or funny. Just two girls in their futons. Asleep.Bookmark here

Kasumi found herself unable to describe a lot of what's going on. The floor was clean. The wall was intact. The door was locked well. The ceiling was stable. She couldn't find anything wrong with the place. Every danger detector she developed in her magical girl tenure was off. Nothing was in danger. No one will have to rush themselves to get up. There won't be any demons in this house tonight.Bookmark here

She decided to put on her shoes and go outside. She hasn't really seen the outside that much. I mean, she was there, but she hasn't gotten to the point where she could really take in the life of the neighborhood.Bookmark here

The outside was cold. The only lights were the street lights. You could only hear the ambient noise of the night. She walked on the street. She looked at the other houses. They were standard. Just a bunch of somewhat traditional Japanese houses. They looked safe. Mostly harmless.Bookmark here

She continued walking until she left the neighborhood and entered the local stores area. This is where the grocery store was, and you could find your average bakery and florist shop.Bookmark here

However, there was one shop she didn't recognize, and it was the only one with the lights on. The Midnight Hat Shop. What a strange name. She approached the shop with great care. She was about to pass it until the automatic doors opened up. The woman in the store made eye contact with her. It would be rude to not come in now.Bookmark here

"Hello," Kasumi said.Bookmark here

"Welcome to the Midnight Hat Shop," the tall blonde woman said, "How are you doing?"Bookmark here

"Fine, thank you. I just haven't noticed this shop until right now."Bookmark here

"That's fine. We did only open recently."Bookmark here

"Is it only open at midnight?"Bookmark here

"No, that's just the name. We are open at midnight, however. Should I tell you what this shop is about?"Bookmark here

"Sure."Bookmark here

"Well, as you can tell, we sell hats, but we also have a little cafe where we sell coffee and whatnot. The types of hats are varied. We have fedoras, cowboy hats, party hats, and hats from all of your favorite anime and TV shows. We have a hat that looks like Woku's hair from Wragon Ball Z. We also have the Witch hats from Wittle Witch Wacademia. If you can name it, we probably have it."Bookmark here

"Wow, how did you get the rights for all of this?"Bookmark here

"We didn't."Bookmark here

"That's copyright infringement!"Bookmark here

"You're copyright infringement." The woman karate chopped the top of Kasumi's head.Bookmark here

"Nyaa!" Kasumi yelped.Bookmark here

"Anyway, we have anything you could want. Why don't you look around?"Bookmark here

Kasumi looked at the hats. While she could admit that some of them were quite dapper, most of them seemed to be novelty hats or just plain silly. For example, they seemed to have a hat for cheddar, provolone, and pepper jack cheese. She wasn't that interested in hats, to be honest.Bookmark here

"Sorry, but I don't think that I like any of these hats,"Bookmark here

"Do you mind if I suggested a hat for you?"Bookmark here

"I guess."Bookmark here

The woman picked up a silly-looking pink alien hat that had three eyes on it. It had ear-flaps like a traditional Peruvian Chullo hat. Of course, the alien part wasn't part of the tradition or the pink part. Either way, the woman put it on Kasumi's head.Bookmark here

"I think it fits you," she said.Bookmark here

"I don't know."Bookmark here

"It'll grow on you. You know what. This is on the house. That hat is like 200 yen anyway, and I think there was a fourth eye, but it fell out."Bookmark here

"Okay, thanks," said Kasumi, whose feet were already pointing at the exitBookmark here

"Thanks for visiting!"Bookmark here

"Thanks, bye."
Bookmark here

Kasumi left and went back home with a cool hat.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.