Chapter 32:


Half-Paid Heroes

Kirikagura next found himself at the feet of Heart Despair in a modern penthouse which allowed the light of the city below to stream in. The white arm-like phasing contraption that Souta showed to Ella previously lay to one side, and a copper machine lay behind her, crouching like a tiger waiting for its prey.

It was, undoubtedly, the same copper machine Valentine and Yuki had been connected to in the past.

Souta Odagaki, still wearing his blue spandex outfit, appeared to be lifeless as the magical girl grinned down upon her former boss.

It was a maniacal grin Kirikagura had never seen before, especially not on the normally agreeable Ella.

Despair spotted the look of confusion in Kirikagura's eyes. "It's your turn, Kirikagura," she growled ominously.

"You can't do this..." he murmured, too weak to protest as he was dragged and affixed to the machine.

"What if I don't care about what happens to you? Ross was right, you really are someone who'll do anything if it only benefits you," she spat at him with enough vitriol to overwhelm him.

What had happened to her after her resignation?
Jamie had her day off but she was still in her work outfit, trying to figure out how the hem of her skirt had become the way it was.

Once again, she glanced at the citrine ring glimmering on her finger so she pulled off the watch she was wearing - the one Kirikagura had given her at the start of her time at the Company - and recited the incantation she had learnt when she'd put on the ring.

The golden light enveloped her again, this time bestowing upon her a halterneck dress in a colour that resembled saffron pollen and ended in a flared skirt. Aside from this, Jamie now wore sandals with multiple crisscrossing leather straps like a ballerina's shoes.

"I am the elegant musician that heralds the spring wind, Heart Passion!" she announced, then twirled in front of the mirror, laughing and marvelling at her new outfit-

-beep beep beep...

A ringtone cut her fun short.

"Kirikagura's gone. You were the last one with him, weren't you?" read the associated text, which was from Alex.

Gerry Hines