Chapter 1:

Canto I: Arcadia

Magical Girl Hadrinyan: The Dust Princess From Yuggoth!

In the rural, Andalusian village of Carcabuey, all was quiet. Most of its 2400 villagers slumbered in peace, having nothing to fear. However, one citizen was not slumbering. No, she had put on adequate clothes and marched into the hills and mountains surrounding the village, tucking a radio under her arm, and holding a pair of binoculars in her hands. Walking along a quiet road which exited the village, she stopped in front of a hill which was covered in little olive trees, and which also housed a large signal repeater. Jumping over the metal railing which separated the road from the olive grove, she made her way up the hill, and avoided bumping into the trees.

She then laid down on the dirt at the top of the hill, switched her radio on and started observing the sky with her binoculars, looking for something up there. What could it possibly be? And why did she have a revolver hidden in her jacket, when all was good here? Was it due to boars roaming the area, or did she have another reason?

‘’Love, justice and power are within arm’s reach for the lucky few! With the recent jump of Magical Girls from fiction to reality , anything is possible. Those who are lucky enough to be chosen by this mysterious phenomena from the stars are sure to become great heroes! Experts have estimated that one person out of a million will end up becoming a Magical Girl at some point of said person’s life. That fits with the current number of around 7000 Magical Girls living among us. It’s only been a year since the transformations started, but these bona-fide superheroes with amazing powers are already the idols of humanity, garnering millions of fans all across the world! Now, let us talk about Magical Girl-sponsored, official merchandise! For starters, this Totenslag-sponsored shirt-"

The girl turned off the radio and let out a displeased sigh. ‘’Bright side, Olivia. Bright side. Even if your job is being turned into a machine to make money, at least most people respect you now and don’t think you’re some freak… But you ignore most people, and even if they called you a freak, you wouldn’t be bothered at all. We’re supposed to be like superheroes, not like money printers. Where’s saving the world?‘’

The girl kept staring at the sky, through her eyepatch and her monocle. Indeed, this girl had her own fashion sense! A white and blue sailor’s hat, a monocle, and an eyepatch. Blue overalls, a grey shirt with long sleeves, and blue jeans. Add to that the fact that she always wore white gloves and carried an umbrella with her most days, and you had a strange person. And don’t even mention her obsession with black sneakers, or the black collar with a bell around her neck.

The girl, Olivia, tensed up when she saw a moving light in the sky. She relaxed when she noticed it was a plane, and not a UFO. Yes, the girl was a UFO hunter. Or would calling her an alien hunter be more appropriate? She really wanted to obtain alien artefacts to carve a path towards world peace, so she could get the desk job of her dreams. But until that happened, she’d be stuck looking at funny lights in the sky, and occasionally hunting for aliens with a gun in her hand. She made almost no money out of this job, so how did she make a living?

The 22-year-old let go of her binoculars and cradled her head in her hands. ‘’This isn’t a conspiracy against me, is it? I’m not being betrayed by my superiors or by the villagers, am I? Ever since I moved from Madrid to this village to find peace and quiet, I’ve been staring at the sky in search of… something.’’ Her mind was filled with doubt for a second, but she dispelled it easily.

‘’It’s all worth it. And no one would want to conspire against me, I’m nowhere near relevant enough in the Magical Girl Scene... Right? Please wait for me, desk job. As long as my will burns on, I will never give up on you.’’ She stretched her arm to the heavens, which twinkled on. She lowered her arm and sat down.

‘’We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbours - Sun Tzu.’’ It appears that she was trying to justify being lonely and having no friends.

Her fellow villagers saw her as a slightly strange neighbour, but still treated her like a good friend, even if they went overboard with the praises and exaltations.

She felt like she had no equals in the area, though: There were barely any other Magical Girls in this rural corner of Andalusia, and a good chunk of the villagers were quite old, leaving her little chance to make friends or to find romantic partners. Nobody here was worthy, she said to hide her loneliness…. In fact, there were a bunch of young girls in the village, and they mostly got along with Olivia very well, but she was as stubborn as a mule!

The young woman stared at the sky for a few minutes before gathering her resolve and getting up. ‘’Gladstone, I’m doing it.’’ She spoke to something or someone just out of sight, which was then revealed: A cute-looking, golden Japanese dragon, the size of a small bike, came floating out of the darkness. ‘’I am glad you’re becoming more proactive, Your Royal Highness!’’

‘’Please don’t call me that. You can call her that, but not me. I’m human to the bone.’’

"Understood, Princess!"

She took a deep breath and yelled out: ‘’’Beast Mode: Activate! Slay my foes in the name of peace, Dust Princess Hadrinyan!’’ Olivia knew how ridiculous it sounded, but she couldn’t do anything about it: It was set in stone now, and she was going to have to put up with it. Before her train of thought could go anywhere else, Olivia’s transformation started!

Her body was covered in a warm, oily black sludge, and her surroundings blasted by an intense cloud of dust. The sludge melded with her body and changed her completely. Her hair went from a light sand colour to a vibrant yellow, her eyes changed from a sand colour to a deep red! Her side tail on the left side of her head changed to two drill-like tails, one for each side of her hair, with black hair bands at the root: One for each! After that, her long sideburns which were styled into long tails became a bit longer, and were contained by black bands. Her messy bangs became more orderly, but they didn’t change that much: They were still concentrated in the middle of her forehead, in the shape of a large triangle which went down to her newly formed square-shaped pink glasses.

Immediately after that, from the sludge on her head… two catlike ears sprung up, and her height changed: From 158 cm to 167cm! With a huff, the Magical Girl started taking a more definite form. But it was not over yet: After all, her outfit had yet to change! From the sludge of her body, a maid’s uniform emerged: A white apron with frilly straps over her shoulders, and a maid’s outfit painted a dark shade of grey were the replacement for her previous clothes. A frilly headband appeared on her head . The more the transformation progressed, the less sludge remained, and the same thing was happening to the dust cloud.

The transformation was almost complete: A dark grey cat’s tail appeared on her back, two white frills with a black band in the middle appeared on her legs, which had donned semi-transparent, greyish stockings. On her hands and feet, giant cat paw gloves showed up! Finally, in her left hand, a giant white scythe with a glowing blue handle. The transformation was complete now: The sludge melted away into her body, along with her binoculars, and the dust cloud turned into a pillar of light that pierced the heavens! And all of this happened in less than a second, but it was slowed down for the enjoyment of the audience.

‘’The lovely maid, Dust Princess Hadrinyan, has landed! Say your prayers, evildoers: It is my duty as a maid to clean this world of filth! In the name of Yuggoth, I will bury you!’’

Hadrinyan stared at nowhere in particular before muttering to herself: ‘’Olivia, you dummy, what did you mean by I’m doing it!? You didn’t have anything in mind when you called me forth! What exactly did you want me to do, and what did you want to do yourself? Just what you were thinking, Olivia?’’ Her confused expression vanished after saying that, and a satisfied expression appeared on her face. ‘’Well, no use worrying about that now. If she doesn't have anything in mind, I’ll just find something to do. A maid must be elegant and hardworking; A Magical Girl, even more so!’’

The maid knelt down and touched the ground. Immediately after that, all the hill she was standing on was covered in dust, dust you’d usually expect to find in your home! And then, she waited patiently for the sun’s first rays. For hours, she stood there, thinking about various inconsequential things, like how a ham sandwich would do wonders at that time of the morning. And finally, with the sun slowly rising from beyond the mountains, she raised her arms and the dust on the hill swirled around it to form a rather large arrow made out of dust. She then threw it over the village and yelled out: ‘’Dust Of Earth, Light of Yuggoth!’’

The villagers were in for a rude awakening: At her command, the dust … exploded into light, awakening everyone in the village. As expected, the Dust Princess really excelled at Dust Magic! ‘’H-hmph! Be grateful: I have helped you out! Cry at my kindness!’’ She glanced at Gladstone and fidgeted with her cat gloves. ‘’Was that appropriate, Gladstone? Did I do well? Will they appreciate my act?’’

The dragon which acted as her mascot and mentor, which had remained silent until now, blurted out: ‘’Bless the Government for appointing me as your mentor and letting me witness such sights! That was an excellent display of skill, which the villagers will surely appreciate! You should greet them, Your Royal Highness!’' Mascots were in high demand and came in low numbers, so only about a tenth of all Magical Girls had one.

’’H-hmph! I do not need your praise, Gladstone.’’ She looked at the ground and sighed: ‘’I hope my Supervisor shares your enthusiasm.’’

The maid then gazed at the sky without saying a word, preferring to ignore Gladstone’s fervent and raving enthusiasm. Wordlessly, she then gazed at the road which led to the village, prepared her legs, and hopped from the hill to the road. After facing in the direction of the village, she took a moment to stare at the valley to admire the olive trees to her left, and the rugged terrain to her right, full of mountains, a valley, and of course, olive trees.

Today was a special day for the village, and she was going to make sure they all did their best. Hadrinyan passed next to a path which led to a 10th Century bridge to the right of the road. "I should pay it a visit one day: It's only two kilometres away."

She waved at the workers of the mortuary-crematory who had begun their shifts. She couldn’t handle death and the like, but someone had to do it. Not her, of course, but she was still glad for their work! After briefly reminding them that it was election day, she departed from the modern-looking building and continued her walk into the village.

She stopped a second in front of a gate to her right, which led to a parking further down and also doubled as an entrance. There was nobody there, but she still felt the need to clean it: She began to engage in a one-sided slapping contest against it, turning the dust which had built up into light. It was the equivalent of shining a lantern into her own eyes, but she was used to it. After finishing, she hopped along the road, passing next to a large plant nursery and a few houses here and there. She then started noticing a large descent in the road, and turned her head to look at the white buildings with green doors to her right: Storage units owned by the villagers.

A few more steps, and she was surrounded by white houses, most of them which had a parking unit inside, and two storeys. She started racing down the street, quickly waving at the villagers who had come out of their houses to check what that blast of light had been. They quickly comprehended what had happened, and simply waved back at her. She stopped to help an elderly woman whose wheelchair had stopped working properly, and then continued racing the street, which was called Arenal.

Avoiding the cars and the occasional tractor, she rushed down until she found a four-sided intersection near a supermarket. Her destination was the village’s town hall and main square, so she charged straight ahead. Wherever she went, dust turned into light, making for a spectacular light show… If you weren’t near her, of course. If you were, you were asking to get flashbanged. Once she crossed the intersection, the street became wider.

The maid then stopped to guide a dog back to its owner, which it had strayed too far from, and continued moving until she found the village’s mailwoman.

Then, she stuck her scythe in a nearby gutter, managing to stop her charge. ‘’Good day to you, Miss Almudena Briareo. Is there any mail for me?’’ The young mailwoman rummaged in her blue and yellow mail bag before giving her a couple of letters. ‘’That’s all for now, Olivia. By the way, your outfit looks really good on you. To be honest, everything looks good on you! Perhaps you should try changing your outfit more often? It would be quite refreshing, and everyone would be able to appreciate your charm! That goes for your human form too. I think I should ramp up my st-’’ She barely stopped herself from rambling and revealing her not-so-secret secret.

The maid’s face went red and she looked aside. ‘’I-I already know that. There is no need to compliment me. It’s not like I’m grateful or anything… dummy! And don’t call me Olivia when I’m this form!’’

Our protagonist took off again, and Almudena watched her go with a smile before going back to her job. Why was the mailwoman’s face tinged red? A mystery! Had shen perhaps fallen for our hero’s charms? That is a secret! But the town hall was now in sight: Our friend walked past an ATM and a bank and then stopped in front of the village's main square. There were a few dozen people there, and she walked the three steps that led up to it before hopping on a bench and waving her arms to attract the attention of those present. ‘’Good day, citizens of Carcabuey. I, Dust Princess Hadrinyan, have gathered you here to remind you that it is election day!’’ She pointed at the town hall on the other side of the road: It was a white corner building, located next to a smoke shop.

‘’Let’s all do our best today, then…’’ She stared at the crowd with a blank expression. ‘’What was I supposed to say now? I forgot… Hm, yes, this is all part of my plan! It’s not like I’m so nervous I forgot everything I had in mind! And it’s not like I’m giving a speech because I want to, alright?!’’ Hadrinyan was then spooked by a pigeon which almost hit her in the face, and proceeded to unceremoniously fall off the bench. Before anyone could help her out, she dashed off at an astounding speed, with tears in her eyes. Gladstone could barely keep up with her speed! ‘’Your Royal Highness, a Maiden Of Yuggoth must not run away!’’

‘’I’d rather be a maid than a maiden!’’ She dashed forwards and kept charging ahead, eventually arriving at a stone fountain which acted as a roundabout, which she jumped over. Those who were there acted like it was nothing special; They were used to this, and found it charming. Gladstone, even more so.

With a final sprint, she dashed past a phone box, and a bus stop with a few trash bins on its right. She then stopped and sat down, just in the second bus stop which was located next to the right of the containers. It was older than its nearby equivalent, and it was covered in faded posters which announced circus shows, and also bullfighting and biking ads.

Most of them were too degraded to be read properly, but they evoked a comforting sense of nostalgia in our hero the Yuggoth Cat. The bus stop served as a shelter from the rain, and it was located in front of her house, reminding her that she was just a few steps away from safety. After a few minutes of sitting down, she stood up to look at her mentor.

"A maid should be brave; A Magical Girl, even more so! You were right: I shouldn't be running away from my problems, I should be facing them directly. Problems are like filth to me: I will sweep them away!’’ Gladstone’s words of praise towards her never left his mouth, as his built-in radar detected an approaching Magical Girl in the vicinity, exiting from a bus which had stopped nearby.

"Watch out, Your Royal Highness! Magical Girl incoming, and I cannot tell if they’re an ally or an enemy!’’

Hadrinyan readied her scythe and prayed that she could avoid being forced to engage in combat, lest the village be damaged in some way.

"What a paaaaain, I'm dizzy and want to go home. Oh, hello there." The figure struck a pose and lazily spoke: "The moocher from the future, Clockwise Fetail, limps onto the stage. Yaaaay. Now lead me, follow me or drop dead. I'd rather not deal with you, but if you oppose me, I'll make sure not even your bones are left… Just kidding, I'd rather run away. Haaaah."

The speech was given by a girl who was 163cm tall. She had short, white hair styled into long twintails. They started off thin and compressed, but they grew more open and darker the more they grew, until they reached their end: There, the ends of her twintails were black, and the area above them was grey. Her back hair was covered by her clothing, but it barely covered one quarter of the back of her neck. Her bangs were straight and covered half of her eyes. Her side hair came down strongly from the sides of her straight bangs, curving slightly inwards, with its ends following the same colour scheme as her twintails. In short, her hair left a mostly rectangular-shaped opening in front of her face, with its lower end curving inwards. And what was in that opening? Her face, of course! Her eyes were light pink, like a cherry blossom in bloom. In fact, her white pupils were shaped like a cherry blossom. That gave her a special sort of charm!

But her mouth and nose were covered by the respirator of a small and black gas mask! On her forehead, attached to the front of her hair, was a cute accessory which was shaped like a cherry blossom and colored in the same way: However, the centre was a dark pink, and its edges were white. On her head, the girl was wearing a white Peruvian knitted hat, which had a large band in the middle: It was flanked at the top and bottom by a thick red line, and in the middle, there was a line of red reindeers. Below, there was a red line and a row of red Christmas ribbons. It was followed by a red line, then white space, and finally met with the red line which flanked the bottom. However, there was no pom-pom at the top of her hat: No, two of them hung from the sides of her cap, one for each side: They hung from a long, thick string and reached her shoulders.

The girl’s most important characteristic was on her head too, poking through holes made in the hat: Two large fox ears, which wiggled around! Yes, she was a fox-girl! Their tips and the area around them were black, as expected, but the ears themselves were white.

Her outfit was a zipped up, white turtleneck parka with a pink cherry blossom motif, and it covered her neck. Her sleeves were long with black cuffs which covered a bit less than half of her hands, which were clad in Christmas mittens. In her left hand, she held a silver wand, with its end being a snowflake. In her right hand, there was an orange, torpedo-shaped rescue buoy.

The lower front of her parka had two large pockets, and the edges of said parka were black too. The fox-girl was wearing white soccer shorts with a black skull motif, and the edge of the shorts was black too. However, no skin could be seen there: Long and white leg warmers with a pink cherry blossom motif covered it up, going from her inner thighs and down to her soles, but with a hole in her heels, and it didn’t cover the front of her feet.

Her shoes were strange: They were flat, rectangle-shaped wooden flip-flops with two rectangles at the base: For each geta, which was the name of the flip-flop, there was a rectangle near the front and one near the back. And since it was a flip-flop, it had a thong to attach her feet to the shoe, and it was red… Finally, one had to look at her back! 9 fox-like tails, arranged almost like a flower’s petals, emerged from her lower back, through a hole in her parka. But these tails were light blue, transparent and made out of a gooey, slimy substance, like some sort of jelly.

The fox girl used her 9 gooey tails as a makeshift chair. "You must be Dust Princess Hadrinyan. I am your supervisor, and I'll be staying here for an indefinite amount of time… I think. I wasn't paying attention to what the university's dean told me to do. Honestly, I don't feel like working. Not today, not ever. Is this their idea of a reward? I just drop a technological singularity-inducing rock from the sky, it's nothing to reward. If I knew I was going to be forced to do such bothersome tasks, I would have stayed at home in Moscow instead of going to Florence to study philosophy." She swung her legs around, a mocking look on her face.

"Haaaah, nope. That would be even worse: My stalker of a younger sister would find a plausible excuse to follow me around. And my older sister would probably send me to a gulag to mine rocks. Why must I have such a wacky family? Flamel, Qin Shi Huang, save me!" She extended her arms into the air and then reclined against her tail-chair before turning to look at Hadrinyan. "I have no real idea of exactly what I'm supposed to do or why they chose me to go, instead of a local." The newcomer stared at the sky for a moment before coming up with an idea and acting on it.

Fetail pumped her fists into the air and smiled brightly before jumping in front of the maid and taking hold of her hands. "I assume they expect me to report back to them. So let's forge documents! With a few hivemind clones created with my very cool Magic and your signature, we can probably fake it all!"

Hadrinyan was still stunned from the speed at which she spoke, and the content of her words, and stunned from how bizarre the situation was. This was her supervisor? She could feel this was going to be a headache to deal with. Was she going to end up catching some bizarre Magical Disease because of this? As she pondered that, the other girl's momentary cheer vanished, and she made a grim face. "Cazzo. I got too excited over the prospect of slacking off, and now I can see how stressful my life will become. What a pain. Oooooh deaaaar, a big one is coming. How fun. Mamma mia!"

When those words left her mouth, Fetail's left leg turned a semi-transparent blue, like her tails, and she slumped forward. Clearly concerned for this strange person's wellbeing, Hadrinyan took a step forward, but immediately jumped back and hit her head against the bus station: The girl's body was emitting smoke, which was quickly replaced by a huge pillar of fire. "Your Royal Highness, stand back!" Gladstone was clearly concerned too.

"I'm already standing back, you big dummy! I'm not going near that, no way! But I want to help her out! What do I do, Gladstone?!" She turned her head and saw a crowd of concerned villagers watching from a safe distance. Hadrinyan gave them a thumbs up: "I have a marvellous idea. Leave it to me, good villagers! Cry in joy, for I shall protect this Arcadia! Beast Charge!" Hadrinyan charged at the flaming girl. Magical Girls were very strong and didn't need to eat, sleep or drink, but they still appreciated it. That meant that a Magical Girl like Hadrinyan would be fine even if she got hit… Probably.

With a wail which sounded like a mix between an eagle's cry and a machine grinding to a halt, the flaming girl lifted her right leg and delivered a powerful kick which cracked the air like a whip, directed at Hadrinyan's face. Even a Magical Girl would die from something like that! She wouldn't be fine if she got hit, then.

So Hadrinyan quickly activated one of her powers: "Dust Parade!" From her cat gloves, a great number of clumps of dust shaped like cute and fluffy animals sprang out. Each one of them was emitting music, which was so loud it blew away the flames and caused Fetail to miss her kick. They then surrounded her. As the girl was battered by sound waves from all sides, a few of the animal-shaped clumps of dust burst into light, partially impairing Fetail's vision.

"Parade of Dust, Fortissimo!" They all exploded into light at the cat-maid's command! Before Hadrinyan could finish her charge, the fox girl came back to her senses and was restrained by her own tails. At the same time, the fire died out, and her legs returned to their original state. Thus, our hero simply bounced off the singed girl’s tails, and nobody was harmed.

‘’WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ABOUT!?’’ Hadrinyan had every right to yell, as she had risked life and limb to help Fetail out.

’"Ah, that? It was my Magic acting up. Don't worry about it. ☆!"

"AAAGHH, YOU DUMMY, I ALMOST DIED THERE! I CAN'T AND WON'T DEAL WITH THIS, NO WAY! OLIVIAAAA!" Hadrinyan disappeared like she had appeared: Surrounded by a cloud of dust and then by a pillar of light, from which OLIVIA did emerge.

"Hello there. You caused quite the scene, didn't you, lazy fox? That means you're a good Magical Girl and that you're probably not here to assassinate me. I'm sure you're tired, so why don't you switch to your human form?" The bait had been laid, and Fetail was going to bite it. Hook, line and sinker!

"How noble and considerate, Your Royal Highness! I am moved to tears!"

Fetail shook her head and stamped her left foot against the ground . "Eh, it’s a pain, and I really don’t want anybody to see my other form. I haven’t done anything wrong, it’s just that anonymity helps me laze around effectively. And it might kill me. So no, thank you.’’ And she fell for it. Now Olivia had all the information she needed to identify her! Thus, Olivia placed her hand on the girl’s shoulder and then said something which made Fetail's face turn pale: "Thou art Zoya Pasternak!"


Taylor Victoria
F.C Fondness
Erasmo De Claraval
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