Otomaho: Who Said an Adult Can No Longer Be a Magical Girl?!
“Your scream,” Ryu said, his face twisted in delight, “it sounds grander and sweeter than any symphony! My only regret is that I must bring it to an end so quickly!”
With a quick jab of his drill, Ryu pierced Aka’s heart and lungs, ending her screams of torment. Ryu morphed his arm back to normal, letting Aka’s body slide off of it and to the ground.
“I hope you enjoyed the last meal I made you as much as I enjoyed your singing,” he said with a laugh, walking towards the nearby forest as rain continued to fall all around him. “Hmm, it’s unfortunate she wasn’t stronger though. I don’t think I have an accurate gauge on how I’d stack up to the other Rainbow members based on her performance.”
Ryu’s plan was to strike the other members after they had used their ace in the hole of Rainbow Mode. However, against all three, or even just two of them, it might be a bit difficult for him to guarantee victory. His device had been destroyed, so it’s not like he had a supply of minions to force one-on-one confrontations.
“Unless…” he turned back to Magical Aka’s body. It made perfect sense. It would be the perfect bait to garner their rage, make them fight how he wants. He could even animate her body to make it look like she was alive and force a one-on-one confrontation.
As Ryu walked back to her body, he couldn’t help but find it curious the magical suit remained on. He thought it would disappear after the death of the user. It’s possible she wasn’t quite dead yet. Death was rarely instant, even in his line of work, and her suit was a basically on-the-wheels life support system. However, with his anti-magic, it shouldn’t be able to heal the fatal damage he inflicted upon her organs.
He picked her up by her shoulders, asking, “Are you alive?”
He felt silly doing so, but it’s not like there was an easier way to confirm it. He put his ear to her chest, attempting to listen for a heartbeat that he knew wouldn’t be there. It’d be difficult, if not impossible, for a punctured heart to pump blood. He didn’t feel her breath upon his neck either, owing to her pierced lung. He raised her up to view her at eye level, shifting to hold her by one hand to open one of her eyelids with the other.
His heart skipped a beat as the air seemed to be sucked out of his very body. Staring into Aka- no, that thing’s pitch-black eyes, it felt gazing into an endless abyss, impenetrable by light. He threw the dead body to the ground in a panic, like an arachnophobe who found a spider crawling on their skin, causing the bones within it to twist, gnarl, and shatter. Not content with that, he jumped back several feet, the only thing keeping him from turning away being the fear of what it might do to him if he lost sight of it.
The body twitched and convulsed. Ryu thought he should stop it, but found himself unable to move, the fear instilled in him by its eyes penetrating his very being. He could only watch in terror as its broken bones snapped over, its ripped muscles teared further, the very destruction of its body somehow animating it to life.
As it twisted itself into an upright position, its eyes focused on Ryu. The darkness within her sockets welled up, and flooded over, trailing down its face like tears. The flood only increased, and soon its whole body was covered in the substance that resembled a solidified shadow. Finally, the darkness stopped seeping out of its eyeducts. The monster blinked, revealing blood-red eyes.
It took a step forward, its right leg shaking as it lifted it up and then slammed it into the ground. Its tibia and femur shattered, breaking through its very leg. In that very instant though, the shadows surrounding it pulled the broken pieces back into place, like it’d never been hurt in the first place. It took another step towards Ryu, repeating the process.
“You should be dead!” Ryu cried, his hands gripping his head. The monster cared not for what he said though, as it shambled towards him, the sounds of its creaking bones ringing throughout the forest. Its footsteps became steadier and steadier, as its stride grew faster and faster. Soon it began pumping its arms in unison with its legs, the crackle of its bones multiplying.
Ryu’s fear of the monster had frozen him like a deer in headlights, all he could do was stand there in denial as the monster continued to charge at him. They collided, and Ryu was pushed into the ground, the monster pinning him to the ground underneath it. Its body flailed atop him, hitting him with its fists and feet haphazardly.
Then the two switched places. Ryu was now on top of the monster, as it struggled and clawed at the ground. Ryu, wanting so desperately to escape his situation, but being unable to move his body physically in the slightest, had used power out of an instinctual fear.
“Wait, if I can use my power on you, that must mean you’re weaker than me, aren’t you?” he asked, not able to believe it himself.
He clasped his two hands together, and brought them down upon the back of the monster’s head, causing its flailing to stop momentarily. He could feel the bone underneath break, floating up on the surface of its skin, only to be pulled back inside.
He gave a light laugh, “Why was I even scared of you then?”
The monster turned its head up to face him, staring into its blood-red eyes, he found his answer once again as his body involuntarily froze up again. The back of the monster opened up, and from it, a turbine emerged upon its surface, pushing Ryu off of it.
The turbine revved up, whirring at intense speeds. Ryu felt his body being sucked towards it. He tried to run, but each step away felt like he was running up an incline that continued to shift more and more vertical. As his body was sucked towards the blades, he tried to use his power to swap places with the monster, but found he no longer could.
As the blades inched ever closer, the look of fright became more and more obvious. The sludge pulled back over his head to reveal the scared human underneath, crying.
“I think giving Karin space is our most optimal course of action,” Báisè said.
“You saw those flames didn’t you?” Rose asked, “it’s obvious its powers have reawakened.”
“So what will you do about it?” Yellow asked pointedly.
“Whatever we need to!” he snapped back.
Yellow sped up in front of the two, holding her hands out wide to stop them both. “You can’t just say that! She’s our friend!”
“Do you believe she’d wish to exist as that creature?” Báisè inquired.
Yellow’s hands and face lowered, unable to answer their question. The rain slid down her face, but she could not feel it against her skin.
The night sky turned red as a giant laser rose up into it. In an instant the clouds above were vaporized, mere seconds laters, the rain all but stopped.
The three of them stared in silence, recognizing the attack from so long ago.
“We have to stop it, by any means necessary, it’s our responsibility,” Rose said.
“We stopped her before without needing to go that far!” Yellow pleaded, putting her foot down.
“And it destroyed an entire galaxy in the process. It’ll destroy the Earth if we hesitate, and halt our plans permanently,” Báisè said, moving to walk past her.
“Fine,” Yellow said, “we’ll each do it our own way.” Yellow turned around. From her hands static electricity fired, freezing their feet to the ground. Before they could even react, she used her super speed to gun over to the source of the red laser, intent on reaching her friend before them.
“So you’re saying you found some awesome power-up?” Karin asked, a look of wonder in her eyes.
“Yeah girl,” Roxy squeed, “you should have seen the Dark Lord, we had him running with his tail between his legs.”
“How’s it work?” Karin asked, already envisioning how badass she’d look with it.
“It converts the body into magic itself.” Xi’er answered, elaborating further upon viewing Karin’s befuddled expression, “When the body is converted into magic, one’s command of magic operates at one-hundred percent efficiency. Delay from one’s thoughts being converted into actions becomes non-existent, as both body and mind are connected directly in the magical mass. The suit no longer needs to use magic to heal wounds, as the act of supplying magic is enough to reconstitute one’s being. Also, as the suit no longer needs to regulate the human body, it can dedicate more functions to further increasing one’s combat capabilities. In addition…”
Karin only understood about half of what Xi’er was saying, and continued to say as she tried to process all of it, but it was enough to understand that this form was quite powerful. Something that would bring her to the next level.
“Amazing!” Karin marveled under her breath as she looked into the distance, “I can’t wait to get Rainbow Mode.
Karin felt her rising hopes and dreams crater with just two words. Xi’er’s explanation stopped flat as Roxy shot a look of contempt at the source of the comment: Calice.
“It’s less cruel this way,” Calice said, staring pointedly at Karin, but talking right through her, “or would you prefer she vainly struggle in an attempt to achieve the impossible?”
“What do you mean?” Karin asked her friend.
“Komodo told us you’ll never be able to achieve Rainbow Mode,” Xi’er stated plainly.
Karin scrunched up her bedsheets, moving to pull them off, only for her broken arm to fail her.
“It’s nothing wrong with you Karin,” Roxy cooed, sitting next to her, “it’s just the suit, it won’t show its full capabilities unless you’re chosen by it.”
“How do I get chosen by it?!” Karin demanded, slamming her right fist onto the mattress.
“It was through the same method we used to find Calice,” Xi’er said, “when I activated the homing function on the suit, it flew to the person it decided would be the appropriate wearer.”
“Then let’s do that! I’m sure the suit will pick me!”
“You can’t,” Calice said, “it’s already binded to your very soul. The only way to take it off would be through your death.”
Karin’s hands tensed up, the world began to spin, she felt her anger boiling up, but nowhere to direct it. Her friends weren’t wrong for telling her this, even though it made her upset. She could curse the world, but that wouldn’t change the truth. She couldn’t hate the suit, it had saved her very life. Who could she be angry at?
“Did you guys see the news?!” Karin exclaimed as she crawled into their hideout.
“Yes, we’re quite aware,” Calice replied.
Xi’er pointed at a diagram projection on the wall, “In one week, the Dark Lord announced he will complete his doomsday device, one strong enough to destroy the entire Milky Way Galaxy.”
“This must be some last desperate bid by him!” Calice declared, “He might as well say he’s not strong enough to beat us in a fair fight!”
“It’s certainly true he can’t beat us all together in a fair fight. However, he could’ve destroyed our planet without announcing his plans to do so. There’s a 95% probability that this is a trap designed to make us fight on his turf and potentially split us up. If only two of us are fighting him with Rainbow Mode, then the odds of victory are 50-50. He only needs to separate one of us from the other two for that to occur.”
“Hey, aren’t you forgetting about me,” Karin said, pumping her fist, “I can help with that odd-evening.”
A silence struck the room, Karin’s fist lowered, knowing she wouldn’t be happy to hear what came next.
“Karin,” Calice started, “the team talked it over, and we think it’d be best if you sat this one out.”
“The team talked?” Karin asked, scanning the room, “That’s funny, I thought I was a part of this team. What, is there some sort of special club among the rainbow users?”
“Karin…” Roxy stopped, unable to offer a rebuttal.
“Or is it because you think I’m not good enough?!” Karin screamed at them.
“That’s exactly it!” Calice yelled back, causing Karin to step back in shock. “You couldn’t hurt him in the slightest with your strongest attack. He has scared you to the very core of your being, you have to stop acting like you have something to prove, and accept your limitations. Or else you’re going to hurt everyone around you!”
Karin’s tears welled up as her knees buckled underneath her, she didn’t want to cry in front of Calice. He was the one person she never wanted to lose to. But he was always the one who would defeat her, and the gap between them had widened into an uncrossable chasm.
“Calice, there’s no reason to be that cruel!” Roxy yelled.
“It’s tough love!” Calice countered, gripping his fist.
“Calice,” Xi’er interjected, “we agreed she shouldn’t fight. But I never said she shouldn’t come with us.”
Karin, Roxy, and Calice all looked at Xi’er in shock, surprised to see them coming to the former’s aid.
“We could fail,” Xi’er started, “we might very well die. There’s a high likelihood this is a trap, and we have to be prepared for that possibility. In the event that we should die, we’ll need Magical Aka to enact our final recourse.”
“What’s that?” Karin asked, turning up to Xi’er who seemed to offer her the salvation she so desperately needed.
“To blow up the ship,” Xi’er said, “even with our new found powers, such wide scale destruction is unavailable to us. While we’re attacking, you should charge up an attack to destroy the ship. We’ll check in with you in five minute intervals, if we are unable to contact you, you have to destroy the ship. The ensuing explosion from the ship’s engine will be enough to destroy the solar system and him along with it. It will mean the death of you, and this will be our last resort should all else fail. Are you willing to accept the responsibility?”
“Yes,” Karin said without the slightest hesitation, “I have to see this to the end. I can’t abandon my team now when we’re at the finish line. What kind of friends would I be if I did that?”
“Do you two agree to this plan as well?” Xi’er asked of Roxy and Calice.
“I don’t like this plan,” Roxy said.
“Please, Roxy!” Karin pleaded, “I’ll stick to the plan, I can be useful, I won’t hold you guys back, I promise!”
“Karin…” Roxy sighed, her various concerns clashing up against each other, “are you truly understanding what’s being asked of you?”
“Yes, I’m insurance in case things go wrong,” Karin said, before turning to Xi’er to ask, “that is what insurance is for, right?”
Xi’er gave a simple nod, as Roxy’s hands danced through her hair.
“Okay,” Roxy said softly in resignation.
Karin let out a small cheer before turning to Calice, ready to get on her hands and knees to beg. Calic ignored her groveling though, instead turning to Xi’er
“You’re certain this contingency plan is necessary?” Calice asked.
“Necessary: No; Recommended: Yes,” Xi’er answered.
“When did I ask for your recommendation?”
“When you decided I should continue on as our strategist.”
Calice finally turned to face Karin, “I don’t think it’s an understatement to say we don’t get along.”
“I promise to follow all your commands for the final mission,” Karin interjected, already getting to her knees.
“Karin, I wouldn’t exclude you because of my personal feeling, you’ve been a valuable asset to the team. I can see no logical reason to reject this plan, and my team has voted in support of it. To reject these wishes over my personal feelings would be a failure as a team leader.”
“So you’ll let me join?!” Karin asked, crawling on her knees up to Calice’s leg to give it a hug.
“Yes, but I want to make my personal feelings clear. I don’t think this mission is right for you, and for who you are. If you’re accepting it out of some fear, of us leaving you behind, or the Dark Lord-”
“It’s not fear!” Karin shouted, rising to her full height as she stared directly into Calice’s eyes. Calice returned Karin’s look with a glare of his own, and Karin immediately found herself as the chicken in their staredown.
“It’s not,” Karin whispered to herself.
“Only three of you,” Rose said, “where’s Fear?”
“The three of us are more than enough to beat you!” Wrath declared, smashing his fist into the floor of the ship. The tiles broke in a path straight to the three Magical Girls, causing them to disperse. Silent was quick to take Báisè, as Wrath jumped to cut off Yellow, leaving Judgment to face off against Rose.
The fighting raged on far longer than it should have. The Magical Girls noticed they could never seem to fully capitalize on the opening they found in their enemies, yet the three Emperors themselves never seemed to try and finish them off either.
“They’re stalling!” Rose shouted to her teammates.
“That makes sense, but what are they hoping to accomplish?” Yellow asked, dodging another attack.
“I’m not certain, they shouldn’t be nearing completion of their doomsday weapon,” Báisè replied, laying down suppressive fire from behind an upturned tile. The watch indicating 5 minutes had passed beeped.
“Aka, I’m checking in now, do you read me?” Xi’er asked.
Silence… and then, realization.
“Rainbow Mode, now!” Báisè shouted to them both.
The door opened. In front of Team Magical Rainbow on the bridge was the Dark Lord, his Dark Emperor Fear standing at his side. Next to them both, they saw their friend, Magical Aka, her hands and feet restrained by cuffs attached to a circular floating device. Her face was bloody and beaten.
“Ah, it seems your friends came sooner than I expected, but later than you hoped,” the Dark Lord laughed. “My power was wasted on those fools, even tripling their might wasn’t enough to deal with you lot.”
“It’s over!” Rose declared, “All three of us are here together, we’re going to stop you from completing your doomsday device.”
“Oh, and after all the trouble you went through to hand-deliver it to me!”
The three rushed forward to save their friend, but the Dark Lord was just as quick to grab Fear by his throat, and throw his body to the ground in front of them. His body burst into a wide wall of black flames that reached to the ceiling, stopping them all dead in their tracks.
“Kindling, that’s all they’re good for now!” he laughed. “Now Aka, tell me the truth. What do you want? I can grant it to you.” His fingers danced upon her bruised skin.
Aka’s breathing became short and shallow, unable to contain her rage, she screamed, “I’m going to kill you, I’ll rip your throat right out of your body!”
“So you crave my very death? A bold request, but one I’m willing to grant. At the end of this very universe itself, I will grant you your wish to strike me down. You can have your freedom back then.”
His hand sharpened to a point, with a single strike, he penetrated through Aka’s back, gripped her heart, and held it in front of her face. The look of shock and terror was etched into her friends’ minds permanently that day.
“If you were a true Magical Girl, I wouldn’t be able to do this. So I must thank you, you have provided me with the perfect solution to pursue my path of destruction.”
With that, the darkness spilled from his fingertips, filling her very heart, and began to pump throughout her bloodstream. The very skin on her back which her magic attempted to mend back together, began to rot, die, and congeal into a scar of death.
“Forget yourself as Magical Girl Aka, discard the bonds you have created, that you rely on, just as I did! They are what make you weak, they are what fill you with false promises, that keep true power out of your reach. Only with that unrestrained power can you bring the true salvation this universe needs!”
Aka screamed as the darkness flooded inside of her and began to leak out. First as tears of black that completed her wails, then as bile that ran up her throat to silence them. Covered in that darkness, her resemblance to the Dark Lord became undeniable, the only differences being her shorter stature and more femine physique.
“With this, we’ll now have two Dark Lords. We’ll be more than enough to destroy this entire universe. Bring the loud noise it generates, all to a silent pea-” the Dark Lord grunted, Aka’s hand having ripped out of its holding to strike him through his chest.
“H-how?!” he exclaimed, his voice straining to form words, “You can’t hurt me, you fear me! You-” the Dark Lord trailed off, his pained final breaths turning into laughs.
“So that was your game! I underestimated you!”
The Dark Lord was ripped in half by the monster he created, and devoured by it. With each bite, her claws became more sharp, her teeth more jagged, her body more monstrous. Her friends were only able to watch in horror, sealed off by the black flames that slowly started to dwindle with the death of their master. As the bars of fire died down, her friends were left like kids at a zoo. Realizing that the cells they thought were meant to keep them out, were actually there to keep the animals inside.
“What should we do?” Rose asked, completely at a loss for the first time as their leader.
“What do you mean what should we do? She clearly needs our help!” Yellow yelled.
“We don’t even know if we can help her though,” Báisè said, looking at the readings on their visor.
“We have to!” Yellow demanded, “She’s our friend!”
The monster that was once Aka was just standing there in front of them. From its mouth a chilly fog exited, filling the room.
“This doesn’t look good,” Báisè said, their visor glowing red as various warnings popped up.
“What?!” Rose and Yellow asked in unison.
“It’s going to explode, and it will take this dead galaxy with it. We need to leave, now.”
On cue, a red glow started to become visible within the core of the monster. Glowing brighter and brighter by the second.
“No, we need to stop her!” Yellow said, running to her friend.
Rose was just as quick though, summoning a clone in front of the monster that struck at it with its sword. It ran the monster through its chest. The monster summarily picked up the clone within its claws, slammed it into the shipside, and then fired a laser point blank at it. The red glow within its core faded as the beam finally ended.
Air began to exit the ship through the hole it created. Though none of them were affected by the vacuum created, their magic holding them in place. Still, the monster decided to take that exit, leaving the ship and its past friends behind.