Chapter 28:

Shadow Man

Former Magical Girls and their Daily Lives

The moon was fully out now. It shone on the back of a man dressed in black standing on the top of the roof of a building. He was practicing his epic entrance. So far, he was quite disappointed with the entrance. Standing on top of a building isn't that interesting unless someone looks at you, and it didn't help that he wanted a specific person to look at him. Be honest with me, when was the last time you looked at the roof of a building? It might be somewhat common, but if a mysterious figure stood quietly on top of your house, it would probably take a while before you noticed the man. Of course, we don't usually see anything on the roof of buildings. Most people never go on the roof of their houses unless it acts like another floor or something like that. In anime, the door to the roof tends to be quite popular, but it is usually locked in real life. The roof isn't a really safe place, to be honest.Bookmark here

Either way, the guy wearing all black figured out how to get to the top of this building. How? Honestly, the man forgot. Why? It was supposed to be an epic opening for the mysterious man, but it was the middle of the night, and there was nothing to really know. Frankly, he should've been concerned about getting down from the rooftop, but there was no real way to get down. The man started pacing around. He thought about how to get down from the rooftop. It was all flat, and it was too dark to really figure out how to get down. The wind blew his costume about. It was getting cold. This was probably a mistake.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Hat Lady was wondering how to get more customers. The cafe was empty and she couldn't really depend on the odd person who came in the middle of the night. She wondered if she could figure out how to do this. She sometimes got the occasional nighttime truck driver or college student who was burning the midnight oil, but she wasn't near any big roads or train stations. The cafe was pretty backroads. You'll have to go way out of your way if you wanted to eat at the Midnight Hat Cafe. On top of that, closing at 3 am was honestly quite early. She wasn't even open all night. Should she keep the cafe open 24 hours? She didn't know.Bookmark here

She heard something on the roof. She initially thought that it was construction, but she realized that it was 2 am in the morning and construction doesn't happen at that time. But then she realized that there wasn't much stopping construction from happening at 2 am in the morning. Theoretically, it could be pretty good for the workers. There wouldn't be any sun and it wouldn't be too hot. The lighting issue might be big, but it didn't seem impossible to do. But then she realized that it didn't sound anything like construction, but more like footsteps. But then she thought that it was a cat. But then she realized that cats are too small for that. It must be something like a gorilla. But then she realized that a gorilla on the roof would be a big problem. She decided that she was going to investigate and she grabbed her ladder. It was one of those extendable ladders. When it was small, it was about the height of her armpit, but once extended, it could reach about 30 feet or so.Bookmark here

She extended the ladder outside of her store and climbed it. She saw a dark figure pacing around with malice.Bookmark here

"What are you doing here?" She yelled out.Bookmark here

"Um," the figure said, "Sightseeing, but I got stuck on the roof."Bookmark here

"I could help you down. But you have to drink something at my cafe. Deal?"Bookmark here

"Deal."Bookmark here

The dark figure and Hat Lady went down the ladder and they entered the cafe. The dark figure sat at the cafe's bar thing.Bookmark here

"Why are you wearing that?" Hat Lady asked the mysterious figure. "You weren't trying to break into a store or anything were you?"Bookmark here

"No. No. I was just. Cosplaying. Yeah, I was cosplaying."Bookmark here

"As what?"Bookmark here

"Shadow Man."Bookmark here

"I never heard of Shadow Man. Tell me about him."Bookmark here

"He's a man that lurks in the shadows and watches over the heroine of the story. He makes sure that she is safe and sound. He sometimes steps in, but he is usually in the background."Bookmark here

"So, he's a stalker."Bookmark here

"No, he isn't a stalker. Actually, the heroine is the one who falls in love with the Shadow Man."Bookmark here

"That's still a stalker."Bookmark here

"No, the Shadow Man isn't attracted to the little girl."Bookmark here

"He sounds like a pedophile."Bookmark here

"He isn't a pedophile."Bookmark here

"But what's the reason for his existence? Is he fighting the Light Man?"Bookmark here

"No... You could say that he's fighting the Light Girl."Bookmark here

"The Light Girl?"Bookmark here

"The Light Girl is a girl that's pretending to be the little girl's friend, but she is actually her mortal enemy. She's a little taller than the little girl, but she is actually much older. She took this form to sneak into the girl's life without her noticing it. But Shadow Man knows exactly who the Light Girl is, and he is trying to stop her from harming the little girl."Bookmark here

"Tell me more about this Light Girl."Bookmark here

"Well, Light Girl looks like your average girl. She has brown hair, and she wears this dumb hat that looks like-"Bookmark here

The front door swings open, and there's a girl with brown hair and a dumb hat that looks like a pink alien. She didn't look that happy.Bookmark here

"Hey, Kasumi," Hat Lady said, "Couldn't sleep tonight."Bookmark here

"Yeah," Kasumi said, rubbing her eyes, "Who's this guy?" She motioned her hand at Shadow Man.Bookmark here

"He's a cosplayer that I found on the roof. Do you want any coffee?"Bookmark here

"No, I'll just have some milk." Kasumi sat down next to Shadow Man at the bar.Bookmark here

"Anyway," Hat Lady said, "What kind of hat does Light Girl have? As you may know, I do like my hats."Bookmark here

"Well, it's a weird top hat-looking thing. It has a lot of bells and whistles, and if Light Girl says 'Go Go Widget Gun!', it pulls out a gun and shoots someone. That's why Shadow Man can't get close to her."Bookmark here

"That sounds like a rip-off of something," Kasumi said. Hat Lady gave Kasumi her glass of milk. "Are you making this up on the spot?"Bookmark here

"No, it's a real show." Bookmark here

"Okay, what is it?"Bookmark here

"I forgot the name."Bookmark here

"How did you forget the name of the show you are cosplaying from?"Bookmark here

"That's just life, baby?"Bookmark here

"Why is there a question mark at the end of that sentence!? What are you trying to say?"Bookmark here

"It's just a show, man." Bookmark here

"Yes, but I feel like you are messing with me," Kasumi said, finishing her milk, "Hat Lady, I'm done with this. I'll pay you tomorrow."Bookmark here

"You better," Hat Lady said as Kasumi walked out of the door. "You aren't that good at explaining stuff are you?"Bookmark here

"No, it's just that I don't know. I cosplay as a lot of stuff so I don't always remember what I get."Bookmark here

"I guess I can relate. Sometimes I don't know what's in my store. There's a lot of hats that I can't remember the exact list of items."Bookmark here

"You sell hats."Bookmark here

"Yes, they are behind you."Bookmark here

"Oh," he said, looking behind himself.Bookmark here

"I don't know how many I have. I must've bought them at some point, but I can't remember all of them."Bookmark here

"How many do you have?"Bookmark here

"Nearing 1,000, I would guess. They are a bunch of stuff that I hope to sell. Business isn't doing that well. Do you want coffee or something?"Bookmark here

"I'll have something."Bookmark here

Hat Lady started grinding coffee beans to make the coffee.Bookmark here

"So, what is that girl who was here?"Bookmark here

"You mean, Kasumi? Well, she is just one of the only regulars I get. She apparently can't sleep that well. So, since I'm only thing open other than convenience stores, she comes here."Bookmark here

"What do you know about her?"Bookmark here

"Not much. It doesn't seem that she likes you, however. Do you know her?"Bookmark here

"No. I don't. Does she like coffee?"Bookmark here

"She isn't that much of a coffee person. She seems to just want the company or something. She only drank coffee once which is pretty weird for a cafe."Bookmark here

"Does she buy hats?"Bookmark here

"No, she only has the one hat that she was wearing and she didn't even buy that one. I gave it to her."Bookmark here

"Huh. Why did you give it to her?"Bookmark here

"Because she said that it fit me," Kasumi said.Bookmark here

Kasumi was suddenly back in the cafe to Shadow Man's shock.Bookmark here

"Personally, I think that she made a good choice. It kinda grew on me. A pink alien fit me very well. I don't know why though."Bookmark here

"I don't really know why I gave you that hat either," Hat Lady said, "I was just a gut feeling. You don't look like the alien type. You act too normal for an alien."Bookmark here

"That sounds like something someone who suspects me being an alien would say."Bookmark here

"But I really don't think that you are an alien. An alien would be unaware of coffee or something. How do aliens act?"Bookmark here

"In anime, I think aliens tend to be, I don't know. Do aliens have a stereotype? I don't think that aliens look that weird. They usually look like humans or some animal, but they reveal that 'Hey, I'm an alien.' or something like that."Bookmark here

"Maybe they are a little unaware of how the world works. But I think a stereotype is that they have a completely different set of morals. Like, us humans have a good and evil scale, while aliens have a bowtie and banana scale."Bookmark here

"But I think that makes sense. Doesn't it? If an alien race were to evolve on a completely different planet, it wouldn't just follow our moral compass. It's kinda like how different cultures see different things. Cows are sacred in India, but here they are just another animal. Different environments tend to bring out different beliefs."Bookmark here

"I think you are right there, but I wonder how the actual environment affects culture. Let's say that there are two places in different places of the world, but they have the same climate. Would their cultures be similar?"Bookmark here

"I have no idea. They might be, but I think that the cultures of the places around the place affect it more than the weather. I would imagine that there are places with similar climates in Europe and the United States, but you wouldn't say that the culture is the same. The influences from other parts would be a bigger effect than the climate."Bookmark here

"But wouldn't it be at least closer? The climate is an important thing in our everyday life. It should have an effect on our culture. The Eskimos in the Artic act very differently than the tribes in Africa, and I think that is largely due to the climate. We can't just discount climate."Bookmark here

"I don't want to discount climate, but it isn't the biggest factor in a lot of places. Japan doesn't have the same culture as ... New Zealand or something."Bookmark here

"I don't think that Japan and New Zealand have very similar climates."Bookmark here

"Well, sorry, I can't think of something that good in the middle of the night. Sue me. Japan and New Zealand kinda have the same shape and they are both in the ocean. They might have similar climates. I don't know."Bookmark here

"If New Zealand has a similar shape to Japan, we should sink New Zealand to the bottom of the ocean. There should be only one."Bookmark here

"Wait, South America and Africa have similar shapes. Which one should we sink to the bottom of the ocean?"Bookmark here

"I don't know. How about both just to be safe?"Bookmark here

"That'll kill hundreds of millions of people, if not billions. Are you sure you want to do that?"Bookmark here

"Sure, if it means that I get to see the unworthy people be erased from existence."Bookmark here

"What do you mean about that?"Bookmark here

"PC master race!"Bookmark here

"I'm pretty sure that South America and Africa aren't the leaders of the console market!"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I'm just playing around with you." Hat Lady looked at Shadow Man. "Anyway, here's your coffee."Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah, thanks," Shadow Man said. He looked at his coffee. It was a deep brown and it had the strong bean smell that coffee had. It was a delicious-looking cup of coffee. It looked so good that you would believe that the beasts from the underworld would like it. However, there was one problem. The Shadow Man was wearing clothes on all parts of his body. This was to make it so that no one could figure out his true identity, but it had a drawback. He couldn't drink or eat anything with the mask on. He could just take off the mask, but what's the point of the mask then? That'll just reveal his identity and embaress himself in front of one of Yuri's friends. That'll ruin his plan completely. That couldn't do. He had to do it a different way. He needed a different plan.Bookmark here

"Are you going to drink your coffee or not?" Kasumi asked.Bookmark here

Shadow Man looked at Kasumi. He knew exactly what to do.Bookmark here

"SMOKE BOMB!" he yelled, throwing a smoke bomb on the floor.Bookmark here

As the smoke cleared, Hat Lady and Kasumi looked around and didn't find the man.Bookmark here

"I'm surprised that actually worked," Hat Lady said, "Usually in movies, the people who threw it would be seen awkwardly running out of the door or something, but nope. He's actually gone. I should give him the coffee for free."Bookmark here

"Shame that he didn't drink it," Kasumi said.Bookmark here

"Think again," Hat Lady said, picking up the empty coffee mug.Bookmark here

"Wow. But I don't think that you should keep giving things for free. Think about your business first."Bookmark here

"Eh. Don't worry. I don't give everything for free. Just if I like to. And talking about my business... What do you think about working here from 3 am to 3 pm? I've been thinking about expanding my cafe's hours to 24 hours, and you might be the perfect person for the job."Bookmark here

"Well, I'm flattered, but I don't know how to put this nicely, I have school. There's no way that I can work at a cafe from 3 am to 3 pm. I don't even think that my school will let me have a job like that. In fact, I feel that that could go against basic child labor laws."Bookmark here

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