Chapter 4:

Karin's New Morning; Magical Aka's Nightmare

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

Since Karin had quit her job, she thankfully did not need to multitask her morning routine to ensure a complete workout and breakfast. As she chopped up the spinach and tomatoes to add to her scrambled eggs, she found that being able to use both hands made breakfast prep go by much faster.

The eggs provided her protein for her workout, and the vegetables helped cover her other nutritional needs that allowed her body to function properly. It was also cheap, quick, and tasty, factors that were of unquestionable value to Karin, whose stomach valued food in the only equation she knew:

Love equals the taste of food divided by the effort necessary to make it.

Still, no matter how short the time necessary to prepare her meal was, Karin always scarfed it down faster.

She washed her dish, the pan, the cutting board, and her silverware, before putting them back in their proper spots. She did own duplicates of these items, but at this point they were mostly there for back-up in case her primary ones broke.

With breakfast done she decided to get to weight lifting, starting with some lighter reps given her stress workout yesterday. It was best not to overtax one’s body, but she still needed to keep to her morning routine for some semblance of normalcy.

With that finished, she decided to skip her morning anime. It was helpful for her to unwind and relax before a stressful day of work, but she felt she needed to be fully serious for this particular day coming ahead.

Going to her bathroom she took a quick shower to clean away the sweat she built up. After her shower she went to work on her hair. Since she didn’t wear make-up, most of the difficulty in her morning maintenance was due to the need to tame her long red hair, which was made all the worse by her decision to use her punching bag as a pillow last night.

She brushed and brushed to untangle and unknot her hair strand by strand, feeling like she might rip her hair out of her scalp with how much force she needed to get it in line. However, despite all her daily struggles, she just couldn’t bring herself to cut it short.

With that finished, she just needed to brush her teeth, apply some deodorant, and she was off for the day.

She decided to transform at home this time before heading to the public defender’s office, not wanting to have to worry about finding a suitable place to transform on the way there.

Thinking about Carol and Tyler, the injustices they had faced, Karin found her anger welling up rather quickly. Grabbing hold of it, she began her transformation into Magical Aka.

Staring at the mirror, Karin saw Aka look back at herself. It felt strange to transform in her own home, like the divide between who she was as civilian Karin Radcliff and as Magical Girl Magical Aka shrank even narrower.

Magical Aka with her fiery red hair and determined eyes that looked like they could bore a hole straight into the heart of any evildoer with just a glance.

The same warm feeling accompanied each transformation, with a confident smirk and pose to punctuate it. It was not her own actions though, not her own feelings. It was Aka’s… at least, that’s the only explanation she could come up with.

When she did something wrong as Aka, she couldn’t help but feel she had besmirched her name.

Would the true Magical Aka really act this way?

Karin shook her head, she couldn’t be Karin right now. She had a problem only Aka could fix, and that’s why she had called her.

Looking at herself one last time in the mirror, she couldn’t help but think about how her hairstyle had become even cleaner as well. Had she even needed to brush her hair if she could just transform like this?

Karin quickly ran from the mirror, not wanting to indulge such a slobbish thought. There was a basic line of human decency that humans should stay above, no matter how easy technology made it for them to skip it.


The sprint to the public defender’s office across the city only took 5 minutes, and that was only because Aka stopped to help 3 children on the way. Helping Carol and Tyler may have been her main mission, but it’s not like she could just turn a blind eye to those in need.

Arriving at the office, Aka couldn’t help but notice how bright her colors were in contrast to the rather drab building. It was another strange change she had to get used to compared to her previous run as a Magical Girl. She wasn’t fighting otherworldly threats anymore, just trying to keep the peace on her own planet. The threats were on a much smaller scale, and the consequences weren’t world ending.

In the grand scheme of things, Tyler’s plight was inconsequential next to the fate of Earth, but to Karin it had been among the worst experiences of her life up until now. She was supposed to protect people, and her protection had ended up hurting someone instead. Maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a Magical Girl?

Aka took a deep breath, her thoughts started to cool. She couldn’t quit because of a single mistake, especially when doing so would mean leaving it to someone else to clean up. With that she opened the door to be greeted by a different, yet oddly familiar hellscape.

Magical Aka’s body automatically dulled her senses, allowing her to focus further on things of importance. The change someone would feel when they walked into an air conditioned room from the boiling hot outside was not a relief she felt, as external cold and heat were not something that affected her all that much in the first place.

However, despite her dulled yet focused senses, Karin’s recognition of this work setting was something that transcended Aka’s magical abilities.

The phones’ constantly ringing, the lifeless eyes of people just going through the motions, the feet hitting the floor needing to get somewhere fast, despite not even knowing their destination. These people were overworked.

Aka walked up to one of the tellers who seemed to be near the end of her call. Said teller took a casual glance up at her, held up one finger, and proceeded to place her phone on hold once her conversation had ended. Aka couldn’t help but notice half the hold lights were on.

“Hello, this is the public defender’s office, are you the client who partied too hard at the costume party?”

“Uh… no, I’m Magical Aka, I was wanting to speak with Winona about one of her cases involving Tyler.”

“Do you have an appointment?”


“So a walk-in then. Winona is rather busy today, so you’ll have to wait out here for a while. I don’t suggest leaving, as her openings are very brief, and we do not have the capacity to give calls for reminders. Please take a seat over there,” she exposited, before picking up her phone to continue speaking to the next client.

“Okay,” Aka replied, doing just that. The teller’s description and reasoning had been swift and succinct, leaving little room for Aka to question anything she had said.

Karin recognized that way of speaking. The way she had to speak at her own work. Having to talk as efficiently as possible and hope that the customer, or in this case, client, wouldn’t blow their lid at the slightest hint of some transgression against them.

Karin found that looking over that hell was different from directly experiencing it herself, but it was still painful nonetheless. She watched the tellers try their best to keep up with all the calls as clients got frustrated at them more and more, but they couldn’t say anything back in turn.

Her suit began to tune out the droning sound and noise further as they cause her stress, as it perceived them as threats to their wearer’s wellbeing. Karin wanted to protest, but she couldn’t bring herself to witness that same hell in full.

Her suit soon even shut out the constant drone she imagined from the area’s harsh environment. With all things removed, no stimulus acting upon her, Karin closed her eyes.


“Come on Rose! Get out here and fight like a man!” Magical Aka yelled at the forest.

“Trying to take the lead I see! I can’t help but love your passion!” Rose’s voice echoed throughout the trees.

Aka gritted her teeth as she grunted in annoyance. She clapped her hands together causing them to spark up and envelop in fire.

“I’m giving you until the count of 3, get out of that forest, or you’re being cooked alive inside of it!”

“That doesn’t seem very hero-like,” Magical Yellow commented from up on high.

“One!” Aka continued, ignoring her friend’s words.

“That’s the point,” Magical Báisè countered cooly, “she’s supposed to be playing the villain.”

“Two!” Aka pumped her fists, causing jets of flame to extend backwards from her wrists to her elbow.


“That won’t be necessary!” Rose exclaimed. With a single swing of his sword, a tree toppled over, revealing him behind it. “I have to make sure I see you at the peak of your beauty.”

Aka smirked, ready to continue their fight, her fiery fists growing even brighter.

“A flower in bloom such as yourself, I need it to reach the peak of its beauty before I can pluck it myself.”

With that, Rose sliced the fallen tree in half with an explosive downward thrust, causing both halves to fly upward in opposite directions. Using her magic again, Rose was no longer alone, having two copies of himself join the fray. Said copies jumped to reach their respective logs, and with a sharp kick, sent them flying straight towards Aka from opposite directions. Their job finished, they poofed in a puff of smoke.

“What, you think I can’t hit two targets at the same time?!”

Aka’s left fist sliced to her right side, sending an arc of flames forward that immediately disintegrated both of the falling pieces of lumber cratering toward her face. The flames shifted slightly as something dived through them. Fire surrounded the object for an instant, dissipating as it reached Aka overhead. She knew it could only be one thing: Rose.

Rose threw her down at that instant, but Aka was ready.

“You’re not going to get me with the same trick you pulled last time.”

With her right arm pulled back, she jabbed straight at Rose, sending a massive fireball into the sky. All things within its path were disintegrated, the sword, Rose, and the clouds up on high.

“Shit!” Aka yelled.

“Now, now, a lady shouldn’t curse!” The real Rose chided, already beneath her. Aka tried to cross guard with her arms, but a quick jab from the butt of Rose’s sword broke straight through it, hitting her square in the gut.

Aka doubled over, the wind taken completely out of her.

“Rose is the winner,” Báisè declared, her and Yellow jumping down from their sky platforms.

“It was a good fight,” Rose said, extending his hand out to Aka.

Aka grunted in frustration, still laying back on the ground. Her upper body rose up to grab hold of his hand while she yelled, “Sneak attack!”

Her right foot shot upward like a puck on a strength tester.

Though Rose was quick to intercept by turning his knees inward to block it.

“Doesn’t it defeat the point of it being a sneak attack if you yell it out loud?”

“Shut up! Double sneak attack!”

Kicking her other leg up into the heel of her first, she caused it to break past the knees that blocked her path to the bell she had aimed for.

Pink braced himself for impact, but it was too late, Karin’s foot hitting him square in the crotch with all its might. A tear formed in his eyes, a rare time it was not the result from looking at a beautiful lady, and he keeled over.

“Haha, looks like I actually won!” Aka declared, as she jumped to her feet to do a jig over Rose’s crumpled body, only to fall back down to her knees when landed on the heel of her foot she had just broken with her own kick.

“Karin, how could you?!” Yellow yelled, already going over to help Rose up.

“I’m the bad guy, you think I should play fair?”

“The fight was already over though.”

“No,” Báisè interjected, “Aka’s correct. It’s foolish to think a fight is over just because you’ve incapacitated the enemy. We’re facing monsters who won’t fight fair, who will look for chances even after they're downed to flee or attack us. We have to make sure we’re ready for that. Still, I’m only recording this as a tie: Aka, your maneuver cost you a leg, so both of you would likely be incapable of fighting at this point.”

“That’s fine enough, I promised myself I wouldn’t lose this match at the very least,” Aka replied.

“Also, Yellow, I hope on the battlefield you won’t be so careless with speaking our civilian names, will you?”

Yellow looked down, realizing her earlier mistake.

“Now, going over all the data, what I can conclude from our practice sessions today. Yellow makes for the worst villain player, you’re far too kind and caring, and your demeanor doesn’t match well with villain types.”

“I’m not that kind.”

“Only a kind person would be able to be that humble, terrible villain material. I’m not much better at playing the role of villain though. My analytical skills keep me from making irrational choices, and I’m having issues with replicating villain dialogue.”

“Is that really that important?” Rose inquired through gritted teeth, the pain in his crotch still tingling.

“Yes, that’s why you’re the second best villain. You keep people off guard with your verbose dialogue and have a tendency to get into their heads. Villains love to exploit us that way since they aren’t a physical match for us. Your only weakness as a villain is that you focus so much on the individual playing the hero role that you don’t focus on creating chaos for the environment.”

“And that means I’m number one!” Aka yelled, falling on her back as she raised her hands into the air with double v-signs.

“Yes! Your reckless nature, rough vernacular, and being weaker than us leads us to underestimate you. Which could be the greatest source of our downfall when facing a villain.”

“Hey!” Aka yelled, trying to get to her feet, only to fall back over again.

Rose and Yellow couldn’t help but chuckle at Aka’s reaction, causing the former to double over again from the pain in his crotch.

“Oh come on Rose, didn’t even feel like I hit your junk down there.”

Rose looked at her like she had said the stupidest thing imaginable. It was a face she saw a lot in her life, and she always responded the same way: “What’d I say?”

Báisè gave a light before continuing, “Something else of note, your powers grow stronger over the course of a battle. I think that’ll be important when we face foes who might be stronger than us. You should work on your survival skills though, so you aren’t defeated before that time arrives.”

“Hey, my performance in training and on the battlefield are two entirely different things!” Aka retorted.

“One last thing Aka, I hope you don’t think you can pull such a stunt when a true villain comes along. They’re not going to give you a moment to catch your breath or extend a helping hand. They will kill you.” Báisè extended a hand to help Aka up.

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Aka replied, reaching out to grab her hand only to cusp air within it.

“Huh?” Aka reached out again, only to see a black void expand in front of her.

Aka turned back, seeing the same black void extend infinitely behind her. She tried to crawl back and away, to find some light source, but the darkness didn’t end. Eventually she found herself unable to move despite how hard she pushed herself back. Turning back, she saw why.

A shadowy hand had erupted from her chest, within its palm, her heart laid bare, beating before her.

Aka’s body trembled with fear and denial, but she already knew what came next.

The hand squeezed down, and Aka felt a chill spread within her. It wasn’t something that wished to end her life, but something far worse. The shadows spread from the hand’s fingertips to encapsulate her heart within the same aura of dread. Dancing along her aorta and other major veins, they creeped their way into her heart.

Aka tried to turn away, but it was pointless. She tried to grab at her veins, to cut them from her body. But the shadows had already surrounded them, she couldn’t seem to touch them no matter how hard she flailed her arms.

She could feel it creeping within her, eating her from the inside out. She tried to reach her hands to her chest, to tear herself open so she could rip the darkness right out. But found her arms no longer obeyed her commands. She could feel the same coldness creeping inside of them, a numbness that ate at her like frostbite.

Aka tried to scream for help, but even her mouth refused to obey her. The darkness consumed her all but whole, the only things left untainted were her eyes, ears, and her mind itself.

A voice whispered into her ear, “I want you to stay aware, to see the suffering you’ll cause, to hear the screams for mercy, to be able to have it wrack your mind everyday. Then, when the last light is plunged into shadows, the last scream is uttered into existence, only then will your mind know peace as it is consumed by the darkness.”

Aka wanted to quiver in fear, but she couldn’t even manage that primal reaction.

“Don’t be afraid, you’re next in line for this great responsibility. You’re next. You’re next. You’re next.”

Aka shut her eyes, trying to shut it out, but the shadows surrounding her face peeled her eyelids open, refusing to let her shut it out. Aka strained to shut them, but the only thing that came of this effort were tears streaming down her face. Tears consumed by the very darkness that had consumed her, as the voice continued to whisper “you’re next” into her eyes, but it might as well have been screaming it into them instead.


“Miss, you're next!”

Aka awoke with a jump, ready to fight, only to see a frightened teller in front of her.

“Are you sure you aren’t here for a drug related charge?”

Aka could only mumble out a meek “I’m sorry,” as her head hung down.

The teller sighed, “Look, Winona’s free for just a little bit, so I’d suggest you take this shot now before you miss your chance.”

“Thank you!” Aka squeaked out before heading to Winona’s office, wanting to run from this situation and her nightmares as fast as possible.