Chapter 18:

ENCOUNTER!!! Doom delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it's free! [Part 2]

Magical Knight Lune XY: My HOMIE Swooped Me off My Feet, and Now I Think I Might Be in LOVE?!

What the heck was Red Sandrea doing here?! And why’s she delivering pizza?! She had to be up to something, right? But my phone didn’t go off... That’s the second time in a row now! Is the app broken or something?! Do I need to install an update?!

I turned to Belliney, wondering how she was responding to this development. A villain from the Monster Race, sworn enemies of the Celestial Plane, standing mere feet away.

“So gooood~!” cried Belliney as she took a bite into a cheese-stuffed crust supreme pizza.

Oh, come on!!! For real?! Red Sandrea’s right outside and you’re too busy eating pizza?! What if it’s poisoned?!

A look of pure joy glowed from Belliney’s face as she carefully devoured her pizza. With each rapturous bite, pieces of onion and jalapeno fell from her hand back into the pizza box. She was lost in her own little world.

I wanted to yell at her to at least get a plate and not eat over the open pizza box so badly!

But there wasn’t time to worry about that. Jack was staring down at Red as he clearly remembered what she had done to him. Meanwhile, a puzzled Red sifted through her memories to see if she could remember him.

Finally, her eyes widened as a realization dawned on her. “Nyoh! Ya were one of those security guards grapplin’ me!”

“Not quite,” Jack answered sternly. “I was an employee with Kuma Cakes, and when I approached you to find out what the problem was, you grabbed my arm and sent me flying. Almost landed in the ice rink and cracked my skull.”

“Oh! That guy!”

Guess she remembered him specifically.

I grew worried as Jack glared down at her. At any moment he could drop the pizza boxes square on the ground and throw a fist.

Then, something unexpected happened.

“I’m sorry!” Red apologized, going so far as to bow her head.

“Huh?” I murmured in confusion.

Red continued. “I was in a sour mood as I had a lot of things goin’ on. Then I try’n cheer myself up with my favorite treat before work, only to get stuck in that godfersaken line. Y’all were there, so ya saw it! Imagine waiting all that time being late for work due to sunk cost fallacy, only to be told the thing ya waited so long for is sold out! Yeah, I snapped. Then all those security guards putin’ their hands all over me. Wrestlin’ me to the ground.”

Jack remained silent as Red talked, still gripping the pizza boxes.

“Did I overdo it? Definitely. And I’m sorry. I try not to hurt people, but sometimes I get carried away. Next thing ya know, yer accidentally hurtin’ those ya care about. I’m sorry!”

That sounded very out of character. The Red I knew would brag about being evil and annoy others like a cartoon villain. Was there some sort of ulterior motive here? I wasn’t buying her act.

Jack listened to her entire apology without so much as blinking. Once Red finished her speech, he entrusted the pizzas to me. He then placed a hand on Red’s shoulder, which caused her to jump. What was happening?

“It’s cool,” Jack said with a smile and a thumbs up.

“What?!” I yelled, dropping the pizzas.

Belliney was quick to catch them and carry them inside to put them on the table with the others.

“Huh?” Jack said, raising an eyebrow. “What’s wrong?”

“You’re accepting her apology just like that?!”


I was gobsmacked. “She almost killed you! Threw you halfway across the mall! You could’ve died!!!”

He responded with a shrug. “Her apology sounded sincere to me. Besides, what’s done is done. Best to move forward. Nobody was seriously injured. By the way, how much do you lift? Because, man, the way you tossed me was amazing. Perfect form! I’ve been wanting a good sparring buddy for a while now. If you ever want to let out some steam and go full out, hit me up.”

Even Red was surprised by how quick he was to accept the apology. Doubly so as Jack wrote his cellphone number on some scratch paper and handed it to her. Regardless, she appeared thankful.

“Thank ya. I might take ya up on your offer sometime. Nyoh! I haven’t collected payment for the pizza. Yer total’s $978.78.”

Belliney slid up to the door and handed Red Sandrea her credit card. Red pulled out a card reader, swiped it, then asked for Belliney to sign.

“Here’s a tip,” she said, handing Red a $20 bill.

“Thanks,” she replied. “Enjoy!”

With that, Red hopped back onto her scooter and drove away. I kept watching as Jack went inside with Belliney, murmuring something about passing a slice of BBQ pizza.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was up. Did she change her tactics to hide from me? First, she pretended to be a customer at the mall, and now she was pretending to be a pizza delivery driver! Well, okay, maybe not exactly pretend as she did deliver pizza. And with how Belliney and Jack were scarfing it down, I guess they aren’t poisoned or anything.

Even so…

“I’ll be right back!” I shouted.

“Huh? Where’re you going?” Jack asked, cheeks stuffed with pizza.

“I, uh, soda! We’re out, and you can’t eat pizza without soda! I’m gonna run to the store and get some! Be right back!”

I heard Jack go “Uh-”, but I was already out the front door before he could finish his statement.

Red was still at the end of the street, stopped at a stop sign as she waited for a passing car.

“Good,” I said.

I quickly ran to the side of my house and hid in a bush. There wasn’t much room to hide in as I transformed into Lune, but I didn’t have much of a choice. The longer I wait, the bigger the chance I’ll lose Red.

After a quick look around to make sure nobody could see me, I changed into Lune, armor and all. I then hopped along the roofs of the neighboring houses and caught up to Red as she continued down the street.

I didn’t confront her, however. Instead, I hung back and watched from a distance, hopping from buildings and gliding in the air with my wings when I had to. If I were to go after her too soon, then I wouldn’t learn what her diabolical scheme is.

She eventually pulled into the parking lot of a newly built strip mall. It was built within the last year, with a third of the stores still empty with a “for lease” sign plastered on them. The leased storefronts included a couple of mobile phone providers, a vape shop, a hair salon, a tax preparation office, and an independently owned pizza restaurant. Red Sandrea parked her scooter outside of the restaurant and walked inside.


Well, I guess not weird if you only see Red Sandrea as a pizza delivery driver. But I knew she was more than that. But she couldn’t possibly be working there, right? It had to be some sort of scheme! I just knew it!

I decided to walk into the restaurant. The inside was fairly cramped, with no dining space. It was strictly a delivery/carryout establishment. Their menu was written on a chalkboard behind the counter. Someone had drawn cute doodles on it to give it some character. A pair of swinging double doors led to the back, which is where I assumed the kitchen was.

I tiptoed up to the small windows on the doors to peek inside.

“Employees only,” said a voice.

I turned around, and I saw a guy who appeared to be in his early 20s sitting on a chair behind the counter with a book in his hand.

“Oh! Sorry. I wasn’t planning on going in there. I just wanted to see if someone was back there.”

“I see,” said the man. “Aren’t you that magical girl that goes around helping people?”

I smiled. “I am! The one and only Ma–”

“If you’re not gonna order anything, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave,” he said, returning to his book.

“Ah… I see. Could I ask you something? Does someone named Red Sandrea work here?”

“Yup,” he answered without hesitation.

“For how long?”

He shrugged. “I dunno. Longer than me, at least.”

“And how long is that?”

“What’re ya? A cop?”

“Uh, no?”

“Then I got no reason to play along with your interrogation.”

I frowned in annoyance. He had no reason to get all defensive with me, so why be like that? Come on!

The doors to the back swung open, revealing red holding several pizzas in hand.

“Heading out–”

When she saw me standing in the restaurant, she immediately froze. Her tail shot outward, where it got caught by the swinging doors.

NYAAAH!!!” she cried as her tail was crushed between the doors.

Despite that, she managed to continue holding the pizzas, refusing to let them fall. She carefully placed them down on the front counter, then held her tail, nursing the area that had been crushed.

“Told ya,” the guy at the counter said to Red, referencing some sort of conversation they must’ve had before.

“Sh-shut up!” she yelled back. She then looked at me and pointed. “What are ya doin’ here?! Can’t ya see I’m workin’?!”

“Don’t give me that! I know full well you’re up to no good!” I shouted back.

“Huh?! Ya think I’m… ARGH!!!” She took off her hat and slammed it on the counter, then swung the back doors open. “Derrick! I’m goin’ on break! There’s somethin’ I gotta do real quick!”

“No you ain’t!” yelled a gruff voice in the back. “You deliver those pizzas first! Then you get your break!”

“But I–”

“If I get a negative online review about cold pizzas because you’re taking your sweet ass time arguing with me, I’ll have your hide! Now get going!!!

Yeesh! Talk about a difficult boss. I actually felt sorry for Red.

Red gripped her fists, sighed, then put her hat back on, fiddling with her cat ears so they fit inside the holes she cut into them. “You’re gonna have to wait till after I get done deliverin’ these pizzas. ‘Kay?”

“Um… Okay.”

Red took the pizza and marched out to her scooter, put on her helmet, and drove off.

I flew as I followed closely behind, with her more or less ignoring my existence.

She drove to a house in a nearby neighborhood, where she handed the pizza to a mom with two kids celebrating Red's arrival. “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” the kids cheered. I watched from across the street to not make things awkward. From what I saw, nothing out of the ordinary seemed to happen during the exchange. Once the pizza was delivered, she hopped back onto her scooter and drove off, me following behind.