Chapter 9:

Karin’s Wake-Up Call; Magical Aka's New Role

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

Aka gasped, her body spasmed, her eyes shut close, not wanting to confront her impending death.

A few seconds passed.

Aka feels the ground flow around her feet, a soft breeze blowing against the back of her skin. She hears rhythmic noises pulsing against her.

Where am I?

Wherever she was, Aka knew it wasn't with the Dark Lord.

Am I dead?

She heard her own thoughts echo around her; a realization struck.

“He can’t hurt me anymore,” she whispered.

Slowly her legs split open, and she could see in front of her; realize she’d awoken from a dream. Well, not quite.

Stretching out in front of her was the narrow, but unending tunnel of her dreamscape. What was once a river that had thrown her off the edge of her mind was now but a shallow stream that didn’t even reach a half inch up her feet.

She had awoken in a fetal position, unable to see in front of her. No, not wanting to see what was in front of her.

She looked down at her arms and legs, confirming their length had increased, even if only slightly. She wasn’t that child anymore, she was an adult now.

He’s gone now.

Aka’s hands rested themselves upon her knees as her view narrowed to the small bit of ground encircled by her legs.

Magical dreams were far too realistic.

Aka exhaled, her breath reached her legs, and she looked up again.

She knew what happened next, even if she hadn’t been able to see it. Yellow, like a hero, a true Magical Girl, would discover Rainbow Mode and save her from the clutches of the Dark Lord before he could crush down upon her heart.

Then Rose and Báisè would be inspired to achieve the same feat, and drive him off the Earth for good. But they wouldn’t be able to finish him off, not yet, because they had to ensure Aka’s safety.

Aka knew what came after, but chose to ignore it. It wouldn’t do well to dwell on the past. She only needed to confirm to herself that she had not died that day; she could continue living.

With her stream this shallow she could actually leave now if she wanted to.

“Aka!” A distorted voice called out.

A door appeared in front of her, opening to a white room.

Aka turned away.

“Aka!” The voice called again.

It’s not like she needed to get up now.

“Aka!” The voice continued.

Still she ignored it.

The door creaked.

It’s not like she couldn’t find it again.

It began to close.

She just wasn’t in the mood to accept charity right now.

A hand rested upon her back.

A jolt ran through Aka’s body.

It moved to where her heart would be.

Aka trembled.

She could feel its fingers raise, ready to press down upon her back.

Scrambling to her feet Aka ran to the closing door, catching it with her foot.

She opened it with a wild swing, then slammed it shut behind her without looking back.


Karin awoke this time, darkness still surrounding her, but she knew this wasn’t the dreamscape anymore at least.

She attempted to move, but found her arms and legs were tied down.

“I see you’re finally awake Karin,” a voice called out from up on high.

Karin craned her head to identify its source, her eyes adjusting quickly to the darkness to see a figure leaning over some railing.


“Yes, it is I, Calice!” He interrupted with bravado.

Karin sighed, seeing his flair for the dramatic hadn’t wavered in the slightest as an adult.

“You’re probably wondering why I brought you here?”

“Actually, I’m more concerned with why I’m tied up,” she replied.

“And I’ll answer such questions in due time, but first a story.”

“Okay, would you be willing to untie me before you start at the very least?”

“There once was a woman named Jeanne d’Arc,” Calice began as he walked along the railing.

“And you’re ignoring me.”

“She saw the horrors of the Hundred Years’ War and wished to save her people. Divinely inspired by voices from God to do so.”

Aka struggled to get the rope loose around her hands as Calice continued his tale.

“Alas, poor Jeanne, she was betrayed by her own country despite fighting to better it,” Calide continued as he began to descend the stairway.

“Dammit, how did you tie these knots so tight?!” Karin swore as her fingers failed to grip the ends of the rope for the third time.

Calice stopped halfway down the flight of stairs, his face briefly betraying a twinge of annoyance, before resuming his monologue.

“She found herself entrapped, just like you. Yet still, she kept true to her values, even in death.”

“I don’t mean to be personal, but is it something you practiced in bed with Roxy?” Aka smirked.

Calice stamped his foot down in protest upon Karin’s remark, only to find his foot missing the step beneath him, causing him to tumble down the remaining flight of stairs. Karin had to hold in her laughter at the display of grace with which Calice descended the stairs, landing upon the floor face first.

A door slammed upstairs.

“What’s going on, did someone fall?”

“It’s okay Roxy, I’m quite alright,” he replied, already back on his feet and dusting himself off.

Though Roxy was even quicker, already by his side to look him over for bruises and scrapes.

“Okay, I’m not seeing any major bruises, but baby you really need to be more care-” Roxy trailed off as she noticed Karin tied up.

An uncomfortable silence overtook the room, Karin and Calice at the mercy of Roxy.

“Why is Karin tied up?”

“I just-”

“Untie her,” Roxy demanded, cutting him off.

Calice tried to get in a word edgewise, only to give up immediately when Roxy hissed the word “now.”

Calice ran on the double behind Karin’s chair to untie the knots faster than the strings on a woman’s dress. With that done, Karin was quick to get to her feet, rubbing her wrists.

“I’m so sorry I let him do that to you Karin,” Roxy said, already hugging her.

“It’s okay,” Aka blushed, happy to see her.

“No it’s not,” Roxy backed away slightly so she could look Calice in the eyes, “Calice, apologize.”

“What?!” Calice threw his hands up, “she jeopardized everything we’ve been working for, including you.”

Karin felt quite confused at this statement, but didn’t have time to mull it over.

“She had no way of knowing that, now apologize.”

Calice turned away with a pout.

“Calice,” she growled.

“Alright,” he turned around to face Karin, still not quite looking her in the eye, “my deepest apologies to you Karin.”

“No problem,” Karin commented, finding the whole ordeal little more than an annoyance, and wanting to put it behind her already.

“Now you’re friends again,” Roxy said with cheer.

An uncomfortable silence struck again. Neither Karin, nor Calice, were quite sure what they should say to that. Though, both knew they needed to say something.

“Why’reTheLightsOut?” Karin blurted out, trying to change the topics.

“Huh?” Roxy replied, not quite fully processing what Karin said.

“Oh, the lights, Calice fell ‘cause they’re not on,” Karin spat out, tripping over her words the whole time.

“Oh,” Roxy replied, having processed her word vomit this time, and she turned up to scream at the ceiling, “Báisè, how’re the lights comin’?!”

“They’re almost finished!” Báisè yelled back, “just have to connect these two wires.”

The lights shot on, revealing a rather spacious ballroom. It was the kind of area Karin never felt she’d be fancy enough to be seen in, one that felt a bit unreal to her.

Her eyes wandering over the space, she caught sight of a ring on Roxy’s finger. Her eyes tried not to dart too obviously to confirm a similar such ring was also on Calice’s finger.

“So…” Aka trailed off, not sure where to go with her thoughts.

Roxy looked at her expectantly, while Calice seemed disinterested.


“Okay, I think that’s satisfactory for this room,” Báisè said to themself, walking up to the railing as they undid their transformation.

Aka thanked whatever deity out there gave her this chance.

“Xi’er, if you were up there, why didn’t you stop Calice from going on his whole spiel?”

“You’d dare to call my inspiring speech a spiel?” Calice retorted.

“You should know better than I do that there’s no one, barring Roxy, that can stop him once he’s in his more romantic musings.”

“Maybe so,” Calice replied, “but I’m not sure how one could truly desire to change the world for the better without being a romantic.”

“Change the world?” Karin repeated unintentionally.

“Correct, that is my truest wish in the world,” Calice said, looking up to the ceiling, as if he could see past it to the sky above.

“Then why would you stop me from saving those people who were suffering? Did you not notice them, or not care about making the world better for them?” Karin accused, slamming her foot down.

“Karin, it’s not some well kept secret that the incarceration system exists solely to give a legal justification for slave labor,” Xi’er responded, looking at a device on their wrist instead of Karin, “of course he knew. That’s one of the institutions he plans to change.”

“Then why would he try to stop me?!” Karin said, her hands shaking.

“Because you’re being idiotic Karin,” Xi’er replied without hesitation.

Karin’s tense body went limp as her eyes rested upon her feet, not even sure what to say.

“Xi’er, how could you say that!?” Roxy asked.

“They’re not wrong,” Calice said in turn.

“It’s not about being right or wrong,” Roxy cried, “we’re supposed to communicate our feelings properly, not put people down.”

“It needs to be stated plainly and simply,” Xi’er countered, “it’s not about putting Karin down. It’s about communicating why what she’s doing as Magical Aka isn’t good for anyone.”

“What, I helped plenty of people!” Karin said, finding her anger returning.

“What good have you achieved as Magical Aka?”

“Well, I…” Karin paused, “I stopped those gang members.”

“Oh, you mean the teens who were just spray painting the side of a building to act tough? Do you think they deserved to be suspended for that? Some of them relied on school for food, and you took that away from them.”

Karin stepped back, not even aware of this fact. That was the only other criminal activity she’d stopped, and even that had just made things worse.

“I… saved Carol from getting run over,” Karin got out, trying to convince herself as much as the rest of them.

“Ah, yes, Carol, someone who came to be in danger due to her distraught over your actions causing the arrest of her son. A problem caused by your intervention.”

Karin stepped further back, hunching up, tears forming in her eyes, “I… helped kids everyday.”

“Does that in any way offset the harm you’ve done?”

Karin fell to the ground, tears coming loose from her eyes.

“You became a crime fighter as a means to fight for justice in the world. But you only stopped two crimes in total, both of which you seem to recognize were a mistake on your part. Because the people that society has deemed as criminals are subjected to their own grave injustices.”

“Xi’er, you don’t need to go this far,” Roxy interjected.

“Let them finish,” Calice said, standing between them.

“However, what perplexes me the most is how even if you had been right in your assumption that stopping criminals would save the world, you chose to do so in the morning, when crime is least likely to occur. That you did your ‘heroics’ at set times that announced to any hardened criminals what times not to commit crimes.”

Karin’s only response was the tears that rolled down her cheeks.

“Xi’er, you’ve made your point,” Calice said, motioning them to step back for now, “Karin, you and I haven’t always been on the best of terms for a multitude of reasons.”

Calice placed his hand upon her shoulder, but she couldn’t bring herself to look him in the eye.

“However, Xi’er and I take no joy in your pain. We both know you’re a good person who cares about doing what’s right. I admire the time you spent trying to fix your mistake, your recognition of the pain of others caused by your own actions. These aren’t easy things to come to terms with. However, you can agree it would be better if that mistake never occurred in the first place, correct?”

“Yes,” Karin answered through her tears, “but why would it be a mistake to destroy a place that causes so much pain to others? Why am I an idiot for doing that?”

“Karin, do you want to be the next Dark Lord?” Xi’er answered with their own question.

Karin froze up at the mention of his name while Calice and Roxy glared daggers at them.

Xi’er relented, turning away again.

“Karin, if you use force to free them all, to force the world into your direction, you will be met with force in turn. Regularly this force would stamp out any attempt at violent revolution against the status quo. Of course, against Magical Aka, who can destroy the world with a single punch, it wouldn’t mean a thing in the slightest. However, that would also mean you have to become the force that dictates how this world will be run in the long term. And you’ll have to keep it running; hope that the tentative peace you establish will last after you die.”

“Then, what am I supposed to do?” Karin whimpered.

“Well, you’re a Magical Girl? What do they do?” Calice asked.

Karin thought about the Magical Girls she’d seen in anime. The various ways they’d overcome the issues they had faced. How violence was often used as a last resort.

“Listen to other’s problems, and help them overcome them?” Karin asked.

“Yes, it’s as simple as that. We’re Magical Girls, we’re supposed to communicate our emotions, our hopes, our feelings, into all the actions we take. But in turn, we should also use our powers to understand the pains others face, and inspire them to overcome it as well. If we make the people change the world for the better themselves, then that will create a sustainable future that won’t require our constant guidance.”

Karin was at a loss for words. It was obvious to her how much more thought and effort they had put into this idea than she had. What was she even trying to accomplish?

“So that’s why you needed to stop me, isn’t it?” Karin asked, “I was going to ruin your chances of doing this by becoming a criminal myself.”

“That’s correct,” Calice replied.

“I got it,” Karin sniffled, wiping away her tears, “I’ll just return back to retirement now. I shouldn’t have gotten obsessed with stupid dreams I didn’t know how to achieve.”

She turned to walk away, only for her hand to be caught.

“Oh no you don’t,” Roxy said.

“Wha-?” Was all Karin could sputter out.

“Any team without my best friend Karin is no team I want a part in. I wouldn’t have been inspired to fight against injustices if it weren’t for your short ass sticking up for me all those years back.”

“Roxy, that was years ago, you shouldn’t let those feelings ruin your future. I’ll just weigh you down.”

“Incorrect again,” Xi’er added, much to Karin’s surprise, “it’s true left to your own devices you caused a lot of problems. But you have a team to support you to keep you on the correct track now. I also observed that you remembered my advice on how to stop a moving vehicle, so it’s clear you can still listen to others and change your mode of operation.”

Karin looked to Calice, expecting his rebuttal but hoping for his approval.

“As I said before, we’ve never been on the best foot. But we all need each other for various reasons. Xi’er is able to identify loads of problems with the world along with the solutions necessary to fix them, something I’m nowhere near as proficient with. However, they lack the charisma to inspire others so that they can make this change, something I can assist with. And Roxy reminds us both that we are dealing with humans, to understand and empathize with them even when they hurt themselves and others.”

“Then why do you need me?” Karin asked, “it sounds like you have everything you need here.”

“That’s simple, to remind us there are things worth getting angry over. Things worth fighting for. Things worth not giving up on despite how unmatched we might be, and the scorn we might face for it.”

“I’m not that person anymore. I was just about to give up right there.”

“You’re making the choice to reject who you were and can still be, there’s a big difference. I know you Karin, you’re stubborn, you won’t back down from a fight, so why start now? This is the chance for Magical Aka to make a real change in the world. I know you don’t want to pass it up.”

Karin took it all in for a second that seemed to last for eternity. Roxy having her fingers interlocked together in a fist of prayer, Xi’er pretending to be detached from the situation, Calice extending his hand forward toward her.

“Okay, I’ll join,” Karin replied, offering her hand in turn.