Chapter 18:

Meeting Mac's Merry Band (Part 1)

It’s My First Time Working Late Nights at a Convenience Store, and If I Keep Getting Demon Lords, Kappa and Other Oddballs as Customers, I’m Giving My Two-Weeks’ Notice

This is my twenty-third graveyard shift.Bookmark here

“Oh, noooo! I’m gonna craaaash!”Bookmark here

Ding-a-ling-a-ling...Bookmark here

I hear a high-pitched shriek as a pink-colored blur comes barreling into the convenience store on a broom.Bookmark here

“Whoa! What the hell?!”Bookmark here

The broom comes to an abrupt stop as it clears the automatic doors, flinging its rider to the ground. The human (?) figure rolls rapidly across the floor, crashing into the wall at the opposite end.Bookmark here

The person sprawled out on the tile is dressed in pink from head to what looks like some kind of magical girl costume. Maybe she’s supposed to be a witch? Hard to tell.Bookmark here

“Um... Are you alright?”Bookmark here

“Uuuugh... What does it look like, genius?”Bookmark here

With that mumbled comeback, I figure she’s fine to get up by herself — but the female cosplayer stays flat on the floor instead, giving me the odd meaningful glance.Bookmark here

“There’s a girl! On the floor! The least you could do is offer her a hand, don’t you think?”Bookmark here

...Ugh, seriously?Bookmark here

“Hey, now! Don’t you give me that look!”Bookmark here

Pissed off, the cosplayer hauls herself up, planting her hands on her hips with a huff.Bookmark here

“That isn’t any way to treat a lady! And you’re standing in front of THE pretty witch prodigy, Sacco! Well, I guess you can’t help but gasp in awe in the face of such exquisite beauty and skill! M-hm, makes sense. Of course, you’d be standing around, helpless as can be!”Bookmark here

The pastel pink witch snaps into a pose that reminds me of a certain celestial sailor scout. Sitting atop her mushroom bob is a traditional looking witch’s hat, but her dress is a mass of pink and white fluff, ribbons and frills. It’s, um...oh, that “lolita” style. Except that she’s also got a bunch of pins tacked to it, which are all pictures of like, mandragoras or poisonous mushrooms and other less-cute-more-creepy things. ...Yeah, that’s weird.Bookmark here

Stuck to her back is what looks like a magic wand — only it’s been wrapped in decorative masking tape and covered in stickers. The whole thing’s a questionable clash of colors and designs.Bookmark here

...Is it okay to cover up a wand like that? Will it still work?Bookmark here

And now that I’ve gotten a better look, I can see that she’s decorated her broom with even more tape and...are those bandages? Bookmark here

“So, you’re some kind of magical gi-... Uh, a witch?”Bookmark here

“Yep, that’s right! Tee-hee-hee!”Bookmark here

She gives me a self-satisfied chuckle, but her aesthetic transcends common sense. She looks like she stepped out of a TV special on the people who wander the streets of Harajuku. Bookmark here

“So, I’m not all that up on current trends, that normal? Do all witches bling out their wands and stuff like that now?”Bookmark here

“Honestly! You boys just don’t get it, do you? It’s street fashion! It gets me soooo many compliments out in Harajuku, you know! The girls all say my style is so extra! I’m a fashion icon! Isn’t that amazing? Tee-hee-hee!”Bookmark here

I’m really not sure what teenage girls these days are all about, so I can’t tell if that “extra” means that she’s killing it, or that she ought to send that look out to pasture.Bookmark here

All I can say is that this girl’s style is completely over the top, and who knows? Other people might agree with me.Bookmark here

“Well, all this chatting is making me thirsty! Better grab a drink while I’m here.”Bookmark here

...That reminds me. I get the feeling that I’ve heard of a witch called Sacco before. But where?Bookmark here

She sounds like some kind of anime character, that’s for sure. Maybe that’s it?Bookmark here

“Alright! It’s gotta be strawberry milk — ‘cause it’s perfectly pink, like me!☆”Bookmark here

The witch brings it up to the register, plunking the carton down on the counter. She pulls out a kind of creepy looking goblin-shaped purse and takes a couple of coins out from a hidden its mouth... Yeah, no, that’s gross.Bookmark here

“And this is for you!”Bookmark here

Whoa, she’s actually paying. In actual yen.Bookmark here

“I’ve been modeling for magazines since we crossed over, so I’ve got plenty! Ehe!”Bookmark here

Hm? “Crossed over”...? Ooooh, hold on...I know who she is!!Bookmark here

“Wait, you’re THAT pink witch, aren’t you?! The one who’s part of the hero’s party!”  Bookmark here

“...‘Hero’? Huh? D’you know Mac?”Bookmark here

I knew it! I’ve got to tell him that I found one of his merry band.Bookmark here

“Where’s the rest of your group?”Bookmark here

I never thought I’d run into these guys so quickly. Man, what a small world. I’d better try and get as much info as I can to pass along to the hero.Bookmark here

“Oh, the three of us are all living together. We stuck together — Mac’s the only one we lost track of.”Bookmark here

“Well, I’m glad to hear it. Mac’ll be thrilled, too. The last time he was here, he asked me to keep an eye out for you guys.”Bookmark here

And since they’ve all kept in touch, telling just one of them is like killing three birds with one stone!Bookmark here

“...Oh, he has? That guy, huh... Well, whatever, I guess...”Bookmark here

The witch glances away, like she couldn’t care less about him. That’s awkward enough, but what really gets me is how quickly she drops her magical girl persona. I guess that whole cutesy thing was all an act, huh...Bookmark here

Ding-a-ling-a-ling...Bookmark here

“Hey, pink for brains! Where the hell’ve you been?!”Bookmark here

A brash female knight dressed in bright red armor comes barging into the store, her rumbling voice at odds with her cropped, bright purple hair. Bookmark here

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