Shelly stared blankly towards Shauna who was still floating behind her with a confused expression. The other three girls who weren’t being headlocked by her looked at Red with expression of either hope or impatience.
Staring at the scene beneath her with confusion, Red changed her gaze from the group and then to the sky while scratching her head.
“…Wasn’t the monster a massive flying dragon?” She asked confused.
“Yeah, but with the…”
“Pink blinded him.”
“She love-love flash or whatever.”
Pink started her explanation, but Yellow and Blue quickly summarized everything before she could even begin. Meanwhile, Green was completely silent, but had an oddly satisfied glint in her otherwise motionless face.
“Ah… I see. Then you came to deal with her?” Red asked and the not absent-minded trio nodded in agreement. “Okay, I can kind of understand why you’d do that.” She said while eyeing Shelly with a critical gaze. “But, where’s the dragon?”
“The foul monster is still up th-” Pink started saying while pointing towards the place where she had used the power of love and friendship to stop the monster, only to notice that there was absolutely no sign of the massive monster anywhere in the sky. “…Huh?”
“…Aaaah, Crap.” Yellow and Blue each left their input as they followed pink’s gaze.
“…That might not be good.” Even green added a comment this time.
Shelly was the only one who didn’t show a reaction to what they had noticed. If something, she was still thinking of how possibly she could manage to get away from her situation. Running away still seemed to be a bad idea seeing how easily Blue and Yellow kept up with her earlier. It’d be a different story if she could reach the water, because if her previous attempt showed her anything, it was that she was even faster underwater than she was on the ground.
“Ah, I see now. So this was all a plot from this foul creature to allow its friend to run away!” Pink suddenly said while pointing at the Leviathan in an accusing manner.
“Oh no. No No No No No!” Shelly shouted back furiously, her intensity surprising Pink. “Don’t you even dare to try and pin the blame onto me!” She said angrily. “If anything, I was the ONLY one in here who kept insisting on you four to focus on the dragon and leave me alone! Don’t you EVEN dare say that I was trying to distract you from him!” She said furiously.
“You dare spout such lies!” Pink said furiously. “Yellow, Blue and Green can all agree with me that was your plan since the beginning!” Pink said while turning towards her friends in search for agreement.
Not one of the three were able to even dare to meet her pure and trusting gaze as they recalled how many times the monster girl had actually tried to redirect their attention to the dragon.
“…This… Looks awkward.” Red said with a wry smile as she scratched her cheek.
“I can’t believe I have to deal with this in my second…” Shelly muttered annoyed under her breath before taking in a deep breath and putting back her serious expression as she stared at red, who tensed up under her intense gaze. Only for her expression to change into one of disappointment as she recalled the other four. “Okay, before we start, out with it.” She said in an annoyed tone.
“Huh?” Shauna let out a confused tone.
“What’s wrong with you. Might as well leave it clear so that it doesn’t become annoying later.” Shelly said with her heart feeling a bit heavy at the idea that her younger sister might be a bit crazier in the head than what she originally thought.
“What you mean what’s wrong with me?” Shauna said in a mix of annoyance and confusion.
“Magical girl Otaku.” She suddenly said while pointing at yellow. “Chuunibyou.” She pointed to pink. “Anger management issues. Yuri pervert.” Blue then green.
“Ah… Yeah… Sorry, I can see where you are coming from.” Red said a bit embarrassed at the fact she couldn’t even defend her friends.
“So, what do you have? Hero syndrome?” Shelly asked in a tired tone.
“Huh… I like to think that I’m not that eccentric myself.” Red said worriedly. Shelly’s incriminating gaze didn’t exactly help her keep up her point as she started to feel a bit nervous. “A-Anyway. What about you?” Red suddenly said, trying to change back to her serious mode. “Who exactly are you.”
“I’m just the random minion who got dragged into this mess because they wouldn’t leave me alone.” Shelly said with a deadpan expression. “All I wanted was for them to leave me alone, yet they kept coming after me non stop.”
“She’s also a future recruit to our group!” Yellow suddenly added. “She’s Sparkle Black!”
“Oi oi oi! Don’t make her mad!” Pris said worriedly as she noticed Green’s brief expression of discomfort as Shelly reacted to the name.
“Huuh… Isn’t she a monster?” Shauna asked confused.
“But she’s also a magi-Ugh!” FJust as Ellie was about to say the fatidic word, Prys landed a nice elbow blow to her sides, possibly saving Green’s windpipe in the process.
While she watched her friend’s interactions, Shauna started to get a general idea of what was happening exactly.Turning towards the monster girl who was just staring at her while holding onto Green.
While she wasn’t as sensible towards magic as Green or Pink, even she could understand that the girl before her was not someone she should mess with. Just the fact that she could keep Green in check through sheer strength was already proof of how powerful she was, and the fact that, from the way her friends were reacting, she had not only managed to survive, but even cause trouble to four of them despite being alone was also incredible. Even more if she counted the fact that both Blue and Yellow seemed to have even more damage than the girl herself, who at most had some scratches on her clothes.
Usually, she’d have already attacked her by now, but since she had Kathy as a hostage, she was hesitant to show any sign of aggression at the risk of her friend being harmed in exchange.
“Foul monster, let go of my friend and come fight us fairly already!” Pink complained once the stalemate started getting on their nerves.
“A fair fight like when the four of you came after me all at once?” Shelly asked in an incriminating manner. “Look, all I want is to be left alone and you really don’t have any reason to come after me, so why don’t you just let me go, and I let go of her? And please, don’t look disappointed, that’s a bit worrying.” Shelly added the last part to Green, who despite not reacting much, had the atmosphere around her change drastically.
“And how can we know you won’t pull off a cheap move?” Blue asked dubiously.
“Because whatever ‘cheap move’ I pull out will leave me at a disadvantage in a five versus one? Look, I can kind of guess why none of you want to trust me, but this way we aren’t going anywhere, you know?”
“She has a point.” Red said with a conflicted tone.
“Ah! I know!” Yellow suddenly shouted like she just had the best idea possible. “Why don’t we have Black and Red duel each other?”
“…What?” It was no surprise that Shelly was thoroughly confused at how she even reached that kind of answer.
“Huh? Why?” Even Shauna looked a bit confused at her words.
“I mean, if you think about it, sometimes the dark magical girl only joins the team when the leader defeats her, right?” She said as if it was the most obvious thing ever. Both Prys and Shelly felt like facepalming.
“That makes sense.” Shauna agreed with an understanding nod.
HOW DOES THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE? Shelly shouted in her mind as she had to be satisfied with simply lightly hitting her forehead against green’s head. The Shauna she knew would never have even thought about that! Who was this gullible girl wearing a hero magical girl outfit?
Maybe these weren’t the girls she knew after all? Yeah, that would make sense. A lot of sense.
As she tried to convince herself of such, she heard as Shauna landed on the rooftop behind her and unsheathed the sword on her waist while staring at Shelly full of expectation.
The Leviathan was about to complain at their lack of common sense again, but noticing something about the situation, she quickly closed her mouth as she thought up a plan.
“Okay, I’ll do this on one condition.” She said, Red’s eyes widening slightly at that. “If I win, you all let me go, no questions asked.” This was the best chance for her to manage to get away from the five flying magical girls without needing to fight with them. Too much, at least.
“…Sounds fair to me.” Shauna said while fixing her grip on the blade.
“Okay.” Shelly said while letting go of Green. “And no help from your friends.”
“Finally, first to land a hit wins.” Shelly added, much to Shauna’s surprise. “We don’t need to make this more dangerous than it already is.”
“Ahh. That’s true. Okay, first hit wins.”
“Ku ku ku ku ku ku.” An evil sounding laughter echoed from yellow. “Foolish Black! Don’t you know that Red is the leader and the strongest?” She said while smiling evilly. “There’s no way she’ll lose!”
For someone so keen about magical girls tropes, she surely didn’t know how to not set a flag. Waiting for the disappointed Green to fly away, the leviathan and the red magical girl both took their stances.
Well, at least Red did. Different from the others, Shelly knew that Shauna had some martial arts experience, even more, despite preferring to wield the sword, she still had some knowledge about the hand-to-hand part of their school thanks to always watching Michael’s spars. Worried that Red would recognize her stance if she put it up, Shelly just had a vaguely aggressive generic stance.
For a moment, the two simply stared at each other, Shelly’s serious gaze meeting Red’s surprisingly confident one.
“Ready?” Red asked.
That was the signal for the duel to start, as Red literally flew at lightning speed towards Shelly, her right hand that gripped the sword lingering to her left, her arm preparing to uncoil what would be a devastating and lightning fast attack.
As soon as she found herself close enough, she uncoiled her arm and the sword split the air in front of her with such ferocity that they could hear the sound of the vacuum being formed.
However, that was the only thing she cut, air.
In a split second reaction, Shauna redirected herself sideways as the Leviathan threw a punch where she had been.
Close, too close!
Panicking a bit at how little the Leviathan needed to land the attack, she took distance while extending her arm forward and shooting fireballs at the idol-swimsuit wearing monster girl.
However, she easily dodged those attacks, swerving right before each fireball reached her as she kept her uncessant advance.
Clicking her tongue, Shauna charged a fireball in her hand, but slammed it in her sword as she drew it forward.
The fire stuck to the blade intensified as she swung the sword, increasing its length and destructive power. But just as easily as her previous two attacks, the leviathan simply twisted her body to avoid it.
Not having time to recover, Shauna could only barely manage to crouch and avoid the high kick that came with the leviathan twisting her body.
However, this also left the monster wide open, and noticing this, she gripped her sword and prepared to slash at her ankles.
But then, she felt a powerful impact on her temple and found herself flying away from the rooftop.
“Red!” Yellow shouted in shock, barely managing to catch her friend before she flew too far away.
“W-what happened?” Shauna asked while trying to regain her sense of balance.
“That fucker… she used her tail!” Blue said surprised.
“Huh?” Red said, still a bit confused.
“Hmm, I might have underestimated you a little.” Shelly said, sounding disappointed at herself. “Oh well, still my victory. Bye!” She suddenly said before jumping out off the building and darting towards the river.
The five girls were still too stunned to even think about giving chase.
“Ah…” Shelly let out a surprised sound as she caught sight of something stuck to the pillar of one of the bridges. In the blink of an eye she put herself before the slightly tattered cloak that she had lost earlier when escaping Pris and Ellie.
Quickly grabbing the cloak and putting it on, she, for a moment, considered jumping back to the streets and making her way to the store, but decided to first go as far as she could on the river, seeing how much faster she was when she was in her element.
Giving a quick glance back towards the city, Shelly sighed tiredly as she took the moment of peace to finally process what she had done. Sure, they were after her life and did go in with the intention to harm, and she didn’t really regret fighting back to survive if that’s what she needed. It still didn’t change the fact that they were only young girls that could barely be called young teens, and she had struck them seriously, and no matter how much she was fighting to defend herself, it still didn’t make her feel any less guilty about it.
And then, was their weird personality quirks. Her expression contorted slightly as a thought came across her. Was that something that came out when they became magical girls or was it something they always were? Because she certainly didn’t remember any of them being that way.
Her time for wondering didn’t really last long, as she reached the bridge that she had jumped from earlier. A quick peek from the oddly clear water, searching for any possible signs of the girls being nearby, she deemed the area safe, so with one strong push, she leapt from the river to the bridge.
As soon as she landed, she darted towards the direction of the store, holding onto the cloak so it wouldn’t fly off and hoping it was still doing its job despite its poor treatment.
Still, she started imagining how she would face the girls next time they met. And even more, how she should carry on with the way her job was going. While it was clear that it already went beyond being a simple “dangerous” job, there was still the matter on the magical girls being the same kids she knew, and that made her plans go down the drain, as it was something she hadn’t even considered yet.
As she thought back to the girls, a random thought crossed her mind, recalling back to the way that the fight between herself and Shauna had gone.
“…It seems like she has way more to learn than what I originally thought.” She mumbled to herself, recalling how Shauna hadn’t even taken the time to look for an opening before attacking.
Near the place where they just fought, Sparkle red let out a whimper of fear as one of the worst goosebumps she ever felt in her entire life assaulted her. Her friends quickly coming to her aid wondering what had her so scared, yet none of them ever finding the answers.
While musing to herself about those things, the Leviathan soon found herself before the side of the building, where, exactly as Ammon had said, the spherical barrier made a cut that just barely touched the ceiling.
Leaping to the top of a nearby building then to the ceiling of the store, Shelly recalled back to what she had been told about leaving the barrier. Seeing how the barrier cut right inside the rooftop access, she walked in then touched the end of the barrier, feeling a feedback of the barrier forcing her back, she kept on pushing until her hand pierced through.
Then, the oddly coloured world went back to normal as the barrier disappeared from around her.
“…Haahh. There’s tiring, and then there’s that.” She muttered to herself while sighing and walking downstairs.
Taking off the cloak, she took advantage of the fact that the rooftop acess was empty to use her necklace and change back into her casual clothes.
However, before she even reached the office floor, she could already hear the sound of people talking nervously. For a moment she forgot her worries as she curiously approached the source of the sound. Frowning slightly, she found herself before a door that was wide-open with light pouring out from it.
“…ather too much attention.”
“Then I’ll go. I should be able to get her out and…”
“Nay. Thou art still injured from thy last venture.” She recognized Ammon’s voice. “Curses… Tis truly be a stroke of ill luck.”
“Maybe I should go back indeed.” A deep man’s voice echoed, making Shelly frown confused. Wasn’t ammon Androphobic or something?
Approaching the door, she knocked on it lightly as she entered.
“Hello. I’m back.” She said worriedly as she walked in, only to stop flabbergasted at the scene before her.
Dozens of various monsters with different shapes and forms, some of which she recognized, others that she didn’t, were standing in a room that was scarcely decorated with a couple of balloons and had a simple, yet appetizing cake sitting on a table near the middle.
However, contrary to the festive look of the scene, the atmosphere was strangely tense and heavy. Or at least it looked like to be the case before she walked in and had everyone stare at her in shock and awe.
“Wah…” Luna said surprised as she stared in disbelief at the girl.
“Thou… How…” Ammon also looked shocked.
It took Shelly less than a brief moment of processing to get a rough grasp of what was happening here. From the looks of it, this was a welcoming party of sorts for her.
“Hmm, a sweet after some exercising would be really nice.” She said in her best attempt at a pleasantly surprised voice. The tension on the room suddenly disappeared, as if it had been released, and most of the expressions turned from worry to relief.
“Indeed.” Ammon nodded, reading the mood and deciding to take advantage of the moment of surprise to shift the mood into something more comfortable. “We thought that a welcoming celebration would be most fitting.” She said while motioning towards the small party.
“Geez, there was no need for that.“ Shelly said with an awkward, but happy smile as all the various monsters started cheering and congratulating her.
Of the many things that she had expected to meet once she got back, a welcoming party certainly wasn’t something that had crossed her mind.
Shelly walked into the room while smiling embarrassedly and scratching her head awkwardly, not entirely sure on how to react to this scene. However, her awkwardness soon changed to surprise as a particularly large monster started walking towards her. With a body completely covered in scales and a large reptilian head that towered almost a full meter above her, the leviathan couldn’t help but stare at the massive creature, her surprise only growing as he suddenly lowered his head as his expression contorted into what she guessed was one of guilt.
“I humbly apologize for failing in my job of keeping their attention away from you.” He suddenly said, making the leviathan take a step back in surprise. “Not only have I dragged you into the battle, but I also left you to fend off for yourself…”
It took the shocked Shelly a couple of seconds to process his words, until she finally got an idea about what was happening.
“Ah, you were the dragon that was fighting the girls earlier.” Shelly said as she understood what he meant by that. “…I need to get used to not linking appearances to people around here…” She murmured to herself, knowing full she was one of the troublesome shapeshifters herself.
“That’s right.” The dragon nodded, allowing Shelly to recognize the voice as the one that had been talking to Ammon earlier. “I was afraid that if I were to try and help you, I could end up making the situation worse, since fighting is not a strong point of mine…”
“Haah, no need to worry.” Shelly shook off his worries in a hurry as she noticed the dragon’s actions was making the situation awkward again, so she tried to change the subject. “That kind of thing happens. Did you manage to at least set up the syphon?”
“Ah. Yes, I did.” He said before holding his jaw and moving it a bit. “I must say you had quite the throwing arm right there.” He commented with a slight frown.
“…Sorry…” Shelly said with an embarrassed smile. “Still getting used to the body and everything.” The dragon nodded with an amused expression. “Anyway, in the end, you used the last syphon for me, and I dealt with the girls. That count as even for me.”
“If you say so.” The dragon said, not exactly satisfied, but not really having a way to argue.
“And to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I expected…” Shelly added under her breath.
“Oh?” Her words were caught by a nearby monsters despite being said so low. Turning to her side, she saw the gryphon Kake staring at her with a surprised expression. “What you mean by that? They didn’t give you any trouble?”
“That’s amazing!” “Oi oi oi. They made quick work of me, you know?” “How did you do that? Wasn’t this your first mission?” “Here, you must be hungry” “I heard she was a human up to yesterday, you know?” “For reals? How does it feels to be a human?”
“Huuh…” Suddenly barraged by the questions of the impressed monsters, Shelly took a step back in surprise. “That’s…Well…”
“Thou are overwhelming her.” Shelly felt Ammon’s hand grabbing her arm as she dispersed the crowd and gave a quick glance at the Leviathan, who understood her message. “Thou can talk to her later, for now let her relax after her mission.”
It took her some moment, but after a few second she finally managed to calm down the crowd and had them disperse back into the room, leaving the Demon alone with the Leviathan who had, sometime in between, managed to grab herself a piece of cake that someone from the crowd had forced unto her.
“…I think it was Luna.” Shelly commented a bit unsure when Ammon looked at her confused.
“Aaah… That does indeed sounds like something she’d do.” The demon nodded before sighing. “How are thou faring? Hast thou sustained any injury? Does thou need any healing?” She asked worried.
“No no no. I’m fine.” Shelly shook her head while shaking her head. “I only received one or two attacks, and this body is pretty sturdy.”
“We understand… Thank the heavens thou are fine.” Ammon let out a sigh of relief as she smiled at Shelly, who froze a moment as she didn’t know exactly how to react.
“Aaah… It wasn’t much.” Shelly said while hiding her blush by biting into the cake.
“…We guess this shall be it, then.” Ammon suddenly said in a slightly disappointed tone.
“We had promised thee that thou wouldn’t enter harm’s way, yet on thy second day thou has met such a dangerous situation. We shall not blame thee if thou decides to leave after today.” The demoness said while keeping her head low.
“Ah… Yeah… About that…” Suddenly recalling back to what she had been thinking on her way here. “…I think I’ll have to reconsider that.” She said with a frown.
“…Uh?” Ammon simply stared back at Shelly with a blank face.
“That’s…” Shelly contorted her expression as she thought whether or not she should tell her boss. After a moment of thought, as she recalled back to how she had trusted her, and a little bit because she was just so weak against that face, Shelly finally decided to tell her the truth. “You see, the magical girls… I know them.” She said in a whisper.
“You…” Ammon said surprised, but quickly controlled her mouth, she still kept staring at Shelly in shock.
“One of them is my youngest foster-sister.” Shelly said in a whisper. “And right now, I’d rather keep an eye out for them if I can.”
(AN: Hooray for MMG! Sorry for the delay. Had finished yesterday but PR was computerless.)
(AN2: Anyway, for now I plan on working in Inari next. Following that IO. Let’s see how this goes.)
(AN3: Huhhh… Don’t think I have anything else to talk about… Oh well.)