Chapter 2:

Magical Aka's Daily Heroics; Karin QUITS?!

Otomaho: Who Said an Adult Can No Longer Be a Magical Girl?!

Three figures sat around a table in a dimly lit room.

“You’ve read the news right?” The first asked, tossing a pile of newspapers onto the table.

Magical Aka makes her return to the spotlight after a 7 year absence!

Magical Aka stops petty thief!

Magical Aka captures the entire Blue’s gang!

The second of them adjusted their glasses, “Yes, something has to be done about her now, even if it’s ahead of schedule. Her actions could jeopardize our entire plan.”

“We should proceed with caution though,” the third mentioned, “she can be rather… difficult at times.”

“I’ll handle this, I’m the best suited for taking her on if anything goes awry. We can’t let our hard work crumble to dust due to her interference,” the first declared as he stood up from his seat. The other two nodded their heads in agreement as he left the room.

“I hope it doesn’t end up with combat… for her sake.”


Horns blaring, street lights blinking, shoes tap, tap, tapping against the road. The natural sounds of the city polluted the cityscape in its entirety. Those familiar with its noise could tune it out like a resting person might ignore the droning of their alarm clock when they do not want to get out of bed. But it was never something Karin was capable of. She didn’t grow up with it, she didn’t adapt to it. She had moved here thinking the new setting would be a nice change of pace, but besides her job, the city noise was probably her least favorite part of living here.

Karin escaped from the sidewalk down an alleyway. Hiding behind a dumpster, she crouched down into a ball shape, trying to make herself as small as possible as she closed her eyes. Then she constricted her breath, trying to take her very soul within her, and condense it down further inside. She could feel the anger at the noises surrounding her compress itself within her, becoming smaller and smaller. But the pressure upon it just caused it to get denser and denser, and hotter and hotter. She felt sweat beading upon her skin, like steam trying to escape an engine. Finally, when she felt like it was too much to bear, a red glow emanated from her chest, bright enough that she could see it even through closed eyes.

Focusing on that feeling, she escaped her ball, pulled her hand out and clasped that light inside her fist. The light appeared to fizzle out within the palm of her hand, but then began to glow brighter, before eventually consuming her. The light dispelled her clothing in an instant, before replacing it with her magical girl outfit in the next.

Her anger, which had felt so tight bunched up within her body, now radiated throughout her entire being. Compressed inside her, it felt like a volcano ready to blow, but now that it had erupted, it only felt like a light flame warming her insides; it was oddly comforting.

Magical Aka bolted out of the alleyway and onto the streets, making sure to go 3 blocks over before stopping to search out evils she could punch in the face. Xi’er had told her she should always move as fast as she possibly can and relocate to a new spot after transforming, so no nearby cameras could possibly pick up on the initial spot of her transformation.

Their magic was good at concealing their identities, as even close friends and family had never been able to figure out the truth when seeing them transformed. However, it wouldn’t be able to hide the circumstantial evidence, like them disappearing whenever their magical counterparts appeared, which Xi’er had always been concerned about.

Magical Aka crossed between street and sidewalk at the speed of magic, weaving between people and cars that may as well have been standing still from her perception. She didn’t even think as she ran, her magic willing her body to move in the most efficient way to achieve its goal, bringing herself to a stop in the city’s main square.

She took in a deep breath to appreciate all the ways her suit changed her very perception of the world. The noise that had surrounded her was now all but muted, only amplifying what she focused on, or what was focused on her. The lights were much the same, no longer leaving a glare in her eyes due to their brightness, but leaving a soft glow that was pretty to look at. Even the breath she took felt fresher than it normally did.

The changes didn’t make any logical sense, but from an emotional perspective it made all the sense in the world. The suit tuned out noises from non-living sources, such as cars, phones rings, and sirens that blared all throughout the city. Even from living sources of noise, like plants, animals, and humans, it would deafen them so she could focus on those in a more emotionally based manner, rather than the actual volume of their noise.

Of course, that meant she could hear all the people whispering about the weirdo standing out in cosplay in the middle of the main square as they commuted to work like they were talking right next to her. But even those were but mere whispers compared to the emotional cries of people near her.

She heard a tear splatter against the pavement. Turning to its source, everything began to blur out of focus except the crying child before her, her blue tears hitting the pavement like a rainstorm, at least from Aka’s point of view. Aka’s suit naturally guided her view to the source of the child’s misery: a balloon that had flown off into the sky. With a quick leap she plucked it out of the sky, and returned to the ground in front of the child with nary a sound made.

“Is this your balloon little kid?” Aka asked, as she held said balloon in front of the kid’s sullen face.

The kid looked up, and the tears in her eyes quickly cleared as an excited smile came onto her face.

“My balloon!” she exclaimed, clasping its string with both hands, “how’d you get it?!” She asked as she wiped at her tears with both hands rather awkwardly, refusing to let it go.

Magical Aka held her hand out, magic materializing within it into a handkerchief.

“Here!” she said, as she wiped away the girl’s tears, “now, what’s your name?”


“Alright Susie, can you tell me where your mommy or daddy is?”

The kid looked down again, as she uttered a small, “I don’t know.”

“Hmm,” Aka held her forehead to Susie’s own, “I want you to think of your mommy or daddy for me, can you do that?”

Susie nodded her head, accidentally headbutting Aka as she did so. Thankfully neither seemed to mind at all.

As Susie focused, so too did Aka. From Susie’s forehead, a pink thread unfurled and flew off into the sky. Aka scooped Susie up in her arms and jumped into the air as she followed the thread.

“We’re flying!” The girl cheered.

Aka didn’t want to rain on her parade by telling her she couldn’t “technically fly” as Xi’er put it, and decided to just let out a big yell right alongside her.

You’d expect such a large leap to leave a crater in the ground, but instead Aka’s feet came in for a soft landing, like a cat. Despite this, the lady she landed in front of let out quite the scream at her sudden appearance as she fell to the ground.

“Mommy, are you okay?!” The kid asked.

“Susie?!” She asked as she recollected herself.

Aka handed Susie over to the woman, who embraced Susie with a tightness that looked like she’d never let go.

“Don’t ever run away like that,” she sobbed.

“But momma, the balloon you gave me flew off, I didn’t want to lose it.”

Aka felt a twinge of second hand embarrassment. Thinking about the trivial things she’d gotten upset over as a kid in the past. How others had worried about her over them.

“We can always buy another balloon, but we can’t get another you. Just promise me you won’t do it again.”

“I promise.”

The mom finally ended her embrace, before holding her hands out together in front of Aka, “Thank you so much for helping my daughter! I don’t know what I’d do if I’d lost her!”

Aka blushed at the gesture.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. All in a day’s work for Magical Aka! If you ever need my help, just yell out my name and I’ll be sure to come!”

“Wait, Aka, as in the Magical Girl? I thought you’d retired?”

“I did, but I’m back at it now, trying to help where I can!” She grinned with a thumbs-up.

“I’m happy to see your return, I feel like we could all use your help again! Thanks so much for your help!”

“Just doing my job!” Aka dashed off with a wave, ready to help more people on her way to work. Wondering what wonders she would weave.


Aka continued helping wherever she could in the short hour before work. Whether it was getting kids to school who’d missed the bus, or healing kids who’d skinned their knee while playing, or breaking up fights between kids. Honestly, a bit too many events with kids.

Aka liked kids, but she sorta wanted to help with the adult issues, considering those were what had been plaguing her life, and motivated her to continue being a Magical Girl. And well, she knew the kind of stories they’d write about a colorfully dressed person who seems a bit too friendly with kids. She really didn’t want to see such a clickbait title while scrolling through news online.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have many ideas on how to do that. Reading the news was depressing and most of its contents were events that were already over so she couldn’t really help with them. She kind of wished she had one of those police radios she’d seen so often in comic books, but it was apparently illegal to possess them?

She honestly wasn’t sure about that given what she had read online, so she decided not to take the risk. She couldn’t be a hero if she was breaking the law.

Whatever the case, she decided to continue her superhero duties all the way up to her arrival at work. Only ending her transformation somewhere outside the view of possible cameras.


“That’ll be $58.39 please,” Karin said with a real smile.

“Here you go,” the customer handed her the cash to which Karin gave them their change in turn.

“Thank you for shopping at Mall-Mart, have a great day!” She replied, still with a smile.

“Wow Karin, something change for you?” A voice at her back asked.

“Nothing too much, just my outlook on life,” she replied as she turned around, meeting with her coworker Grace.

It was a slower period so Grace was taking the chance to play hooky from her register. She never got caught despite how often she did it, and Karin couldn’t help but wonder if she had some kind of superpower herself.

“Ah, you got some of that good stuff?” She asked, while sucking air in through her teeth, and making an exaggerated puffing noise.

“Quit it!” Karin laughed as she gave a love tap to Grace’s forearm.

“Come on, I gotta get me some of whatever you’re having, boss man won’t stop breathing down my neck. He may not be able to catch me, but he can sense the troublemaker inside me.”

“Really, it’s nothing much. I just made a change in my life, and suddenly, everything feels better now. Work’s still not great, but everything else sucks less, so I can stay happy in spite of that.”

“Hmm, good for you Karin, honestly,” Grace said, “I remember when you were starting out, and I thought, ‘damn, that girl ain’t going to last a month,’ and wasn’t because you weren’t a hard worker, just had this anger inside you that you couldn’t seem to control.”

Karin laughed, not able to deny that.

“Still, I guess I underestimated how much of a survivor you were, because you stuck with it no matter how much he badgered you, put you down, or ate into you. You endured it all, and now you’re not only surviving, you’re thriving.”

“Thanks, I-“


“Yes sir?!” Karin replied instinctually. She couldn’t help but look around her, wondering where Grace went, before seeing her back at her register, already hard at work. That girl had to share her magic with her.

“I’ve noticed you’ve been a lot more efficient with work, haven’t heard a single complaint from a customer in months. I know I’ve been tough on you, but I’m glad to see you’ve taken my advice to heart.”

Karin kept up her smile, despite her boss’s words annoying her to her very core.

“Anyway, it’s not much, but here’s a $20 Mall-Mart gift card for your hard work.”

“Thank you sir!” She said with her fakest smile as she accepted it. She knew it was the same gift card corporate gave each of its employees at their yearly anniversaries, and for some reason he was pretending to be generous in giving it to her, but she decided to not to mention that bit.

“Oh yeah, has my new nametag finally come in yet?” Karin asked.

“Are you still asking about that? It’s close enough, isn’t it Karen?”

“I just want to have my name properly displayed,” she said, forcing her smile even more.

“Alright, come to my office after work so we can discuss this in more detail.”


Her shift finally over, Karin clocked out using her name tag like a credit card before entering her bosses office.

“So as you should hopefully know,” he said pointedly, “the nametag’s meant to function as your punch card for clocking in and out. So replacing it requires some money, as corporate needs to manufacture a new one. That’s why we advise our employees to make sure it’s marked down correctly to avoid this issue.

“I understand sir, but to be fair, it was only misprinted because you decided to transcribe it.”

He responded with a slight cough, before continuing, “Be that as it may, it’s still something you should have verified.”

Karin could still remember him getting annoyed on her first day when she tried to check the name tag application for that very reason, but decided to say nothing.

“I could just write over it,” she replied instead, “or stick a lettered sticker over it.”

“Those would violate our store dress code on accessories.”

Karin was pretty sure he was being rather liberal with that definition of accessories, but still, it was something she should avoid commenting on.

“Okay, then why don’t we just order a new one?”

“As I said, it costs money.”

“How much?”


Karin had to resist the urge to raise her hands up to her face, not only because she felt like her boss would interpret it as a sign of disrespect, but if the tension in her body tightened just the slightest bit, she was liable to claw her own face off with her nails.

“Okay, how about you just take my $20 Mall-Mart card and we can order a hot new badge straight off the presses.” She stated more than she asked.

“Yeah… we can’t really do that?” He said, trailing off.

“And why’s that?”

“Well it’s technically illegal to require employees to pay for their own equipment that should be provided by the store.”

“So then why haven’t you ordered it? It probably wouldn’t put a dent in our store profits.” Karin gripled the edges of her chair, tapping her fingers along the sides to try and stay calm.

“Well… you see… it’s about optics. Our store prides itself on never making a mistake. We hold that above all other stores in our chain. We aren’t asking for a new card because that would mean admitting a mistake, and having that added to our record.”

The velocity of Karin’s finger tapping along the sides of her chair increased, but she managed to remain calm in spite of it, or more likely, because of it.

“So, are you saying I can’t get a new nametag?”

“Look at it this way, everyone that frequents our stores knows you as Karen already anyway. Kah-reen, or however you say it is difficult for people to say, do you want to inconvenience our customers? Besides, it’s a much better name in my opinion. Wouldn’t you agree, Karen?”

Karin’s finger tapping cane to halt with a sudden vice grip on the edges of her chair. She knew if she didn’t they’d fly straight for her boss's neck. She could feel the blood vessels in her eyes pump harder and harder as her brain was forced to process what he was saying, ready to burst at any moment and turn her eyes bloodshot red. Her very vision was starting to darken at the sheer gall of this man who claimed to be a leader. She wanted to-

Karin took a deep breath.

“Understood. Unrelated to this topic, I’d like to hand in my two weeks notice.”


Karin walked out into the parking lot, taking a deep breath in as she did. This time it was not to calm herself, but to take in her new sense of freedom.

“Karin!” A voice called out to her.

“Grace!” She smiled back as she turned around.

Grace stopped for a second. “So,” she kicked the ground, “you’re really quitting? It seemed like you had finally adapted to the place.”

“Yeah, I had. I probably could have kept going on for years if I had stayed, but I realized something?”

“What’s that?”

“I just can’t keep working at a place that doesn’t feel like it respects me as a person, and not someone to satisfy customers like a tool. I may feel better now, but it still hurts to feel that way, and know nothing’s going to change about that.”

“I see what you mean. Still, I hope you have something lined up, it can be tough to get a job out there.”

“Yeah,” Karin said, “but like you said, I’m a survivor, I’ll get through it.”

“I know you will girl! We’ll still keep in touch, right?”

“Do you even have to ask?” She retorted.


Karin was walking home this time, not Magical Aka. She may have felt better about quitting her job, but it felt a bit wrong to go straight into that without any certainty about her future. She should probably try to hand in some applications first, be a responsible adult and all that.

Karin sighed, it’s not like her evening patrols went much better than her night patrols anyway. She hadn’t really found any criminals since catching that petty thief and those gang members. Ordinary life was just kinda boring compared to the anime she watched and the magical threats she had once faced as a kid. Maybe this was why people said one’s childhood is the most exciting time of their lives?


Karin was knocked out of her thoughts by the blare of a horn. Her eyes focused on what was in front of the truck to cause its horn to go ablaze, seeing a woman kneeling in the crosswalk within its path.

Before Karin had fully processed what was going, her body leaped into action, running to try and save the woman from becoming a pancake. But she knew there was no way she would make it in time, not without the help of Magical Aka.

But if she transformed now, people would learn who she was. The horn blared louder as the world appeared to move in slow motion, and Karin realized she was left with an impossible decision.