Saturday, March 31, 2018

Magical March 18: Warrior Princess

Magical March 18
Warrior Princess
Mark A Davis

"No," said Lakshmi.  "Absolutely not.

Icarus stared at Lakshmi from across the table.  The two former angels and current agents for the pro-magical girl entity known as Nibiru were seated in a North Carolina diner.  Icarus was a handsome young man dressed a bit too much like a rock star, with a leather jacket, silk shirt open down the front, and leather pants.  His counterpart Lakshmi had long pink hair, which did not exactly earn fewer sidelong glances from the regular patrons.

"You're only saying that because you haven't really given it any thought," said Icarus.  "I mean, just imagine it...."

"No," Lakshmi replied.  "No, no, no, no.  Also:  No!"  She was busy sketching in her virtual computer pad as her southwestern omelette grew cold.

"Elsa controls ice," said Icarus.  "Rapunzel has magical hair...."

"If you had paid any attention to the movie," said Lakshmi, "then you would know that Rapunzel's magical hair has been cut off.  Also:  NO!"

"Moana can control water," said Icarus.  "Sort of, after a fashion, and there's Mereda with her bow and arrows, she's basically Hawkeye, and Mulan is a trained warrior...."

"No," said Lakshmi.  "A thousand times no!"

"But the Magical March theme for day 18 is Disney," Icarus said.  "We have to do it!"

"No we don't," Lakshmi replied.  She waved her hand, and her artpad momentarily vanished.  She glared across the table. "You can whine and complain all you want, Icarus, but we are not going to form another magical girl group...."

"But... a Magical Princess Avengers team!" he exclaimed.  "It's perfect!  It would be so awesome!"

"However awesome it might be," Lakshmi said, returning to her drawing, "it's not happening.  Managing an entire team is too much work.  Look, Sita just finished assembling a team which she is the adviser for, Octava and Daesdamona are still struggling with their own team...."

"Exactly!" Icarus exclaimed.  "Now it's our turn!"

"No!" Lakshmi said forcefully.  "How many times do I have to say it?  We are not creating a whole third magical girl team -- we have too many other obligations."

"If we combine several themes," said Icarus.  "We eliminate those other obligations.  That's what Sita and Octava and Daesdamona have done.  We kill two birds with one stone.  Or three birds, or four...."

Lakshmi made a face.  "Do not speak of killing birds while I create a Snow White magical girl," she said.  "Birds are her friends."

"You're working on Snow White?" Icarus asked, perking up.

"Yes.  You will not find a more iconic Disney princess on which to base a magical girl.  She's the first of them, she has a look that's unmistakable, with the short bobbed black hair, the red hair bow, the yellow dress and the blue bodice with those puffed sleeves with red cutouts... you can merely suggest some of that with the appropriate colors and a similar sleeve and neckline -- say a short skirt in yellow with lolita petticoats, a laced-up bodice of blue with those classic Snow White sleeves -- and people automatically think:  Snow White!  Very simple to do."

"And you call her... what?" he asked.  "Magical Princess Snow White?"

"Something a little more complex than that," said Lakshmi.  "Something a little less obvious, a little less straightforward, like...."

"Mahou Shoujo Snow White?"


"Pretty Soldier Snow White?"


"La mujer lanco como la nieve?"

Lakshmi glared at Icarus.

"Snow White, Monster Slayer?" he suggested.

"Now you're just trying to troll me," she said.

Icarus shrugged.  "I kind of like Snow White, Monster Slayer," he said.  "Anyway, sounds good.  It's a start.  Then tomorrow is fairy tale, and that dovetails perfectly with a Disney theme.  Every Disney princess is based on one.  Snow White is a fairy tale princess, Beauty is a fairy tale princess...."

"We are not doing a full team," Lakshmi said again.  "End.  Of.  Discussion."


"Listen to me," said Lakshmi.  "Today I am designing a Disney-themed magical girl.  Tomorrow we can decide what a fairy tale-themed magical girl might look like.  I am not designing a team of magical girls.  Not now, not tomorrow, not next week.  Understand?"


In a forest clearing, a girl with dark skin grasped a sword with a golden hilt.  She was lifted up into the air and spun about.  Her clothing seemed to melt and reform into new attire -- blue leather boots that laced to the knee; a short skirt that fanned out sharply from the waist, thanks to thick petticoats; a blue bodice that laced tightly up the front, with puffed sleeves, slashed to show red beneath a la the Disney version of Snow White.

The girl landed, sword still in hand.  She aimed it at an evil-looking creature creature made entirely of black armor, with a red glow emanating from the helm and shining between the armor pieces.  "Know, Sir Knight," she said, "that you now face Snow White, Warrior Princess!  I shall protect the people of this land!"

From under a nearby bush, Lakshmi and Icarus watched -- a pure white cat and a winged tabby cat.

"I'm glad I talked you into a dark-skinned Snow White," Icarus said.  "The white in Snow White need not refer to her skin."

"Well, technically the tale specifies skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony," Lakshmi said.  "But for a take the Disney version, I feel we don't need to follow the pattern of the story...."

As the girl engaged the spectral knight in combat, Icarus said, "You know, there are two Snow White fairy tales.  In the other, she has a sister named Rose Red...."

"No," Lakshmi said.  "No team."

"Not a team," said Icarus.  "Just a duo."


"Well," said Icarus after a moment, "I can just do it myself.  You're not the boss of me, after all...."


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Magical March 17: Noble Steed

Magical March 17
Noble Steed
Mark A Davis

Celerity was an angel -- or at least, an angelic magical girl.  She was a young woman but tall and powerfully built, with the muscles of a weight lifter.  She had dark skin but braided blonde hair that shone like sunlight, and wore bright silver armor -- breastplate, pauldrons, greaves, vambraces -- that flashed like polished steel in the noonday sun, even though the skies were overcast.  Her pleated skirt was as white as new-fallen snow, and she swooped down over the city streets like a hawk or eagle, on feathered wings of white.

Ahead was her foe -- a creature of black soot and twisted limb.  It towered over nearby buildings, more than two feet in the air, and skittered about on long, thin limbs, like a giant, spider-like harvestman, or a creature made entirely from black pipe cleaners.  This was just the latest minion of Indolencia, the demonic magical girl who opposed Celerity. 

As she swiftly approached, the creature spit acid -- a sticky, tar-like substance that splattered and burned and corrupted.  Celerity dodged.  Steam rose from blackened ground where the liquid landed.  She drew her sword, which shone like molten metal, and sliced through three of the creature's limbs.  She spun and flew straight up.  The creature thrashed about in silent pain.  Holding her sword before her, Celerity called out, "Purifying light of Heaven, Cleansing Blade!"

A beam of bright light descended from they skies, piercing the creature through its center.  The creature froze, then desintigrated.

Celerity landed on the street below.  A new person appeared -- a woman with skin as black as India ink, dressed in flowing black robes with a high collar.  She had wild black hair, and yellowed horns that curved about her head like those of a goat.

"Indolencia," Celerity said.

"So!  You have defeated my corruption spider!" the demonic woman said.  "Victory is yours -- for now!  I shall return tomorrow with a new plan to defeat you and corrupt this city to its core.  Ha ha ha ha ha!"

The dark magical girl vanished.  Celerity sheathed her sword.

A badger as black as night separated from the shadows of a nearby alleyway and padded out to greet the angelic magical girl.

"You did a good job, Celerity," the badger said.

"My thanks, Nyx," the magical girl replied.  "However, I can not help but feel that, in opposing Indolencia, I am not truly bringing more light or love or justice to the world.  She and I were created at the same time.  To what point?  Is it not true that, should I not exist, then neither would Indolencia?  Her evils are only brought into existence so that I might banish them; together we are a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I only fight that evil which exists as a counter to my existence."

"Don't stress too much or overthink it," said the badger Nyx.  "I know it seems like a pointless game, but at best we're keeping an agent of the Dark Magical Girl Division of Hell engaged and therefore in check.  Otherwise they might decide to do something else, and cause real trouble.  And to be honest, few magical girls can say that they are directly opposing agents of Hell."

"That is a noble cause, I do admit," Celerity said.  She paused as a white ball of fur with large brown eyes and bunny ears popped into existence.  "Sita?" she asked.

"Celerity, Nyx," Sita said.  "Greetings."  Although one could not read expressions on a ball of fur, Celerity had the distinct impression that Sita was glaring at Nyx.  Sita had designed Celerity's costume and powers, and had chosen her name -- an angelic magical girl had been something of a pet project for her, and she'd expressed great disdain that a guide for an angelic magical girl would choose the form of a black badger.  But Sita had her own hands full, if a ball of fur could be said to have hands, with a team of magical girls further south.

They had also argued over Celerity's name.  Nyx was of the opinion that a magical girl with a one-word name was not a proper magical girl at all.

"How goes things?" Sita asked.

"So far so good," Nyx replied.  "Indolencia presents a new threat nearly every day, and Celerity counters it...."

As he spoke, three winged fairies flew down from the sky and landed beside Sita.  They were two girls and a boy, and they darted through the air like dragonflies.  Celerity had met them before -- Fairy Princess Bluebell, in a flower-like dress of deep violet; Fairy Princess Foxglove, in a similar magenta dress; and Fairy Knight Hollyhock, who wore a pink tunic that was almost a dress, and pink bloomer that were not quite shorts.

"Greetings, Dark Realm Quartet," Celerity said, lowering her head slightly.  In point of fact, they were not a quartet yet, or had not been when last they met.  "What do you this far north?  Eugene is where you fight your battles, while Portland is my realm to defend."

"We're on the trail of one of the Dark Adversary's minions," said Foxglove.  "We go wherever our enemies are found."

"This is probably going to be our toughest battle yet," said Bluebell.  "You're welcome to join us if you like, Celerity."

"We'd appreciate the help in battle," added Hollyhock.

The angelic girl frowned.  "While the Kingdom of Portland is mine to defend," she said, "my enemies are not the minions of the Dark Realm.  I have my own foes to contend with...."

"The... Kingdom of Portland?" Hollyhock asked.

"You know," said Foxglove, "you don't get any brownie points for talking like that."

Celerity raised an eyebrow.  "Do you have concerns with my manner of speech?"

"Only that it sounds incredibly pretentious," Foxglove said.

"Sis is right," said Bluebell.  "I mean, you're not a real angel, are you?  That's just your magical girl form.  The rest of the time you're just a high school girl like us.  Try being a bit more down-to-earth...."

Hollyhock raised a hand.  "I hate to keep pointing this out," he said, "but I am not a girl...."

"Nor am I," said Foxglove.  "I'm your brother, remember?"

"Right now you're a girl," Bluebell pointed out.

As they bickered, a girl in an aquamarine dress rode up on a white unicorn -- a muscular stallion with a shining horn protruding from its forehead.

Celerity's eyes widened.  "Mermaid Princess Nisha," she said, inclining her head.  "May I say that this new steed of yours is a magnificent creature...."

Nisha slid off the unicorn's back.  "Oh, he's much more than that," she said.  "May I present to you the last member of our quartet:  Unicorn Knight Sterling."

The unicorn transformed into a well-muscled and very handsome boy in white armor, with a sword and shield.  He had blonde hair, blue eyes, and tanned skin.  A horn still protruded from his forehead.  Celerity was quite tall for a girl, but Sterling stood several inches taller.

He bowed low.  "Greetings, Celerity.  It is an honor to meet the angel who guards the city of Portland," he said.

Celerity felt her knees grow weak.  "I... that is..." she said, stumbling over her words.  "I was just... saying that I would love to accompany your quartet on your quest to engage a minion of the Dark Adversary...."

"You were?" asked Foxglove.

"Yes," Celerity said more forcefully.  "Also, I can imagine nothing finer than if I could ride into battle on the back of a noble unicorn...."

"But," said Hollyhock, "surely you're an angel who can fly...."

Celerity blinked.  She glanced at her white wings.  "Oh," she said.  "Right.  Flight.  I mean, if you like that sort of thing...."


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Magical March 16: Angel on the Balcony

Magical March 16
Angel on the Balcony
Mark A Davis

"Aw man," said Fairy Princess Foxglove.  "Why does he get to stay a boy?"

Three magical girls and a magical boy were seated in a corner booth at a Denny's in Eugene, OR.  Fairy Princess Foxglove, Fairy Princess Bluebell, and Mermaid Princess Nisha were here, along with fairy Knight Hollyhock.  With them were three magical girl guides in human form -- Sita, Icarus, and Lakshmi.

In human form Sita was a young woman with long black hair, who wore a white toga-like dress and leather sandals with straps that crisscrossed up to her knees.  Lakshmi was a woman of about the same age with long pink hair, dressed in jeans and a Seahawks jersey.  Icarus had spiked black hair and wore dark glasses, black jeans, a Ramones tee shirt and a black leather jacket.  Somehow he always managed to look like a rock star.

Three of the magical girls wore outfits that resembled flowers.  Nisha wore an aquamarine dress that, in deference to the fact that magical girls must be able to move, did not include a mermaid skirt.  Bluebell's was a dress of violet blue with a skirt that resembled petals.  Foxglove's dress was similar, but magenta pink in color.  Hollyhock's outfit was very similar, but a lighter pink and with a top that was shorter, more a loose shirt than a dress.  He wore bloomer shorts of the same color -- perhaps they were intended to resemble the pumpkin pant breeches common in Elizabethan times, but they were totally bloomers.

"So," said Fairy Princess Bluebell, "you're Fairy Prince Bluebell, I take it?"

"Um... no," the boy said.  "They had to choose a new name, so I'm Fairy Knight Hollyhock."

"Nice!" she said.  "I'm Fairy Princess Bluebell, and this is Mermaid Princess Nisha, and my brother, Fairy Princess Foxglove."

"Your... brother?" asked Hollyhock.

"When he's not a magical girl, yes," she said.  "You can call us Bluebell and Foxglove, and we'll call you Holly."

"It's... Hollyhock, actually," said Hollyhock.  "It's a flower...."

"I see you've altered my costume design, along with the name and gender change," said Sita.

"Just enough to match a magical boy," Lakshmi replied.  "No reason for him to wear a dress, after all!"

"You could easily have made him transform into a magical girl...." Sita began.

"No thanks!" Hollyhock added.

"She did that to me," Foxglove grumbled.

"Let me get this straight," said Icarus.  "We set out to establish one fairy themed magical girl, and we somehow wound up with three?"

"That appears to be the case, yes," Sita replied.  "The fact that I have two, however, is not my doing...."

Foxglove raised a hand.  "Guilty as charged.  I ate the dream pill thing."

"It's not the end of the world, Icarus," said Lakshmi.  "The more magical girls, the better!"

"I'm a magical boy," Hollyhock inserted.

"Sita, Lakshmi," said Icarus, "we're already straining Nibiru resources to provide guides for all of these magical girls!  We can't request extra guides!"

"It's not a problem," said Sita.  "I'm seeing to the Dark Realm Trio personally."

"The... Dark Realm Trio?" asked Icarus.

"They oppose the minions of the Dark Adversary from the Dark Realm," said Sita.  "The Kingdom of Penumbra."

"This sounds suspiciously like one of the White-Haired One's setups...." said Lakshmi.

"Who?" asked Sita.

"I dare not speak her name in front of Icarus," said Lakshmi.  "She is an immortal goddess with a fascination for Terran magical girls.  She likes nothing more than to involve herself in our affairs and stir things up, I suppose I would say.  She appears as a regal woman with long white hair and glowing eyes...."

"Oh!  Yes, I believe I've met this woman," said Sita.  "Her name is Eternia...."

Lakshmi's hand shot across the table like a bullet from a rifle, and covered Sita's mouth.

"Do not speak that woman's name in front of Icarus!" Lakshmi declared forcefully.

Sita's eyes widened.  She glanced at Icarus, who shook his head, then back to Lakshmi.  She pulled Lakshmi's hand away from her mouth.

"Does this name drive him mad?" she asked.  "Does he foam at the mouth?  Does he attack people indescriminantly?"

Lakshmi rolled her eyes.  "Nothing like that," she said.  "It's just... well, after the Poughkeepsie Love Chain Incident, Icarus has been forbidden to interact with the White Haired One."

"The... Poughkeepsie Love Chain Incident?" asked Sita.

"You really don't want to know," said Icarus.

"I do, actually," said Sita.  "If I'm to work with this person, any knowledge of what she's done in the past would be most helpful."

"Let's just say that she provided me with a spell that caused a temporary Love Fascination -- a kind of instant love spell with an effect that lasted half an hour.  The problem was, it would chain to anyone near an affected target, and then chain to anyone near that target... and it had a radius of half a mile...."

Sita's eyes widened considerably.  Lakshmi said, "the upshot is that Icarus can lose his license if he knowingly interacts with her again.  Also, he's to immediately report any associate if he has credible evidence that they are working with her.  Hearing her name mentioned definitely would count."

Sita sat up straight.  "Well," she said, "That's very interesting but I've never heard of the woman.  White Haired One?  Doesn't ring a bell."

"Getting back to the subject at hand," said Lakshmi, "you've set up a trio of magical girls to oppose this...."

"Dark Adversary," said Sita.  "Basically, a malevolent fairy incursion from another reality.  The trio will consist of a fairy magical girl in control of air, a mermaid in control of water, and a unicorn themed magical girl in control of earth."

"And fire as well, I hope?" asked Icarus.  "I mean, if you're going for the full elemental theme...."

"Perhaps," said Sita.

Lakshmi frowned.  She glanced at the three magical girls and the magical boy present.  "You have... three fairy-themed magical girls...."

"Two girls, one boy," said Sita.  "That would make it a trio of five, I suppose...."

"The word you're looking for," said Icarus, "is a quartet."

"Am I part of your group?" asked Hollyhock.  "Because they're based in Eugene, right?  I'm from Toronto...."

"And you were going to set up an entire magical girl team," said Icarus, "consisting of three of our next four themes, and you weren't even going to tell us?"

"I was going to tell you!" Sita exclaimed.  "I left a message!"

"Were you still going to claim the angel theme as well?" he asked.

Sita slumped.  "I really wanted to do that angel theme," she said.  "I had it all planned out... but then this thing came up.  I met that woman...."  She paused and glanced at Icarus.  "The person I will not speak of... and it seemed prudent to go along with her ideas since a malevolent fairy invasion was going to take place regardless, and she offered tools to combat it.  I thought I could handle it myself, and not involve you two."  Again she glanced at Icarus.  "Which, in retrospect, seems like it was a very good decision...."

"Am I going to be working with these magical girls from Oregon or not?" asked Hollyhock.  "Because that's a long ways from Toronto...."

"Don't worry, Holly," said Sita.  "We can set up a communication system, and a dimensional gateway in your closet or something...."

"My name's not Holly," said Fairy Knight Hollyhock.

"You might as well add the angel to your team, you know," said Lakshmi.  "I don't know why you didn't include her in the first place."

"It wasn't my decision," said Sita.  "It was... the person I can't name."

"And did she plan for three fairy magical girls?" asked Icarus.

"Only I'm a guy," said Hollyhock.  "I keep saying.  You should know; you're the one who gave me these powers."

"That's a fair point," said Sita, "but the trio have specific knowledge and skills useful in fighting the minions of the Dark Adversary.  Not counting the two extra fairy girls, of course."

Hollyhock raised his hand.  "Yes, my mistake, you're a guy," Sita said, "You know, I can still arrange it so that you transform into a magical girl like Foxglove here."

Hollyhock lowered his hand.

There came a flash of fire and a pungent puff of brimstone.  A woman with pale skin appeared.  She had bright red hair in two braids, and was dressed in a black lolita-style dress with black tights, black lipstick, and black nail polish.

"Why, Icarus and Lakshmi, Darlings!" she exclaimed.  "You threw a party and forgot to invite moi?  For shame!"

"Xenagalmok!" Icarus exclaimed.

"Just Xena is fine," the newcomer replied.

"What the Hades are you doing here?" he demanded.

Xena grinned.  "Now, Darling, don't be like that!  I heard you were planning a magical girl on the theme of angel, and I just had to offer my aid!  Any angelic magical girl deserves a devil to oppose her, don't you think?  And I just happen to be an operative for the Dark Magical Girl Division of Hell...."

"Okay, that's it," Icarus said, standing up.  "I am so out of here.  Also," he added, turning to Xena, "I never saw you!"  With a poof, he vanished.

Lakshmi looked from Xenagalmok, to the magical girls, who were staring.  She glanced to Sita.

"He's not supposed to interact with this person, either," she said.  "Ever since the Boulder, CO Starburst Love Monster Radiation Incident...."


Monday, March 26, 2018

Magical March 15: Maiden de Mer

Magical March 15
Maiden de Mer
Mark A Davis

"I feel like a fool," said Fairy Princess Foxglove as she flew beside Fairy Princess Bluebell.  The two were nearly identical -- winged girl girls in colorful dresses with a flower theme.  Bluebell's was a violet blue, while Foxglove's was magenta pink.  Neither girl matched the traditional image of a flower fairy, that of a slender, nearly anorexic waif.  They skimmed above the trees of a dense forrest not far from their home in Eugene OR.  It was a reasonably sunny day, with just a few fluffy clouds in the sky, but something up ahead was casting a shadow over the woods.

"Perhaps," replied Bluebell, "someone shouldn't have eaten a dream pill that was not intended for them, or even to be edible.  It was designed to be applied to the skin, and it was supposed to give me information and abilities which you got instead.  I'm still angry about that, by the way.  I need that knowledge and those abilities to fight the emissaries of the Dark Adversary.  Turning you into a fairy magical girl to fight alongside me was really the only solution...."

"Becoming a magical girl is the entire problem..." Foxglove began.

"Oh, hush," said Bluebell.  "You're quite cute.  We look like twins!  also, getting to work with my big brother/sister is...."

Foxglove came to a stop.  "Hold up," she said.  "It's up ahead." 

"Where that shadow is?" asked Bluebell.  Foxglove nodded.  "You can sense it?"


"Man, I wish I could," Bluebell said.  "You stole that ability from me!"

"We can argue about that later," said Foxglove.  "For now, concentrate."

She flew down into the trees, with Bluebell trailing after.  The two of them were quite nimble flyers, able to hover or dart about like dragonflies.  Their flight was, of course, magically enhanced -- such wings could never support humans, or even human-sized fairies.

In the center of the woods stood a black humanoid with no face.  It was nearly twenty feet tall, and was made of a flowing, dripping black substance like India ink.  Where the liquid splashed onto the ground, plants withered and died.

It had no eyes, but turned towards them as they entered the clearing.  A ragged hole appeared in the head, a ragged maw where a mouth should be.  The creature screamed silently.

"Ick!" Bluebell exclaimed.  "What the Hades is that?"

"Fairy Princess Foxglove, Air Lance!" Foxglove called out.  Silver spears appeared in the air, shimmering, only half-seen, as if they were made of glass or cellophane, formed from the air itself.  They shot forward, piercing the inky creature.

"Nice one, Foxglove!" Bluebell called out.  But the holes in the creature flowed together and vanished as soon as they appeared.

"Fairy Princess Bluebell, Air Pressure Handclap!"  Bluebell brought her hands together as if squashing a mosquito.  At the same moment, air pressure flattened the creature from two sides, as if it were caught between her palms.  It looked quite painful, but moments later the creature reformed.  By all appearances it was completely unaffected by the attack.

"Crap," Bluebell said.  "That's one of my best attacks!  Are we even hurting it?"

"No," said a new voice.  Sita, their magical girl guide floated nearby.  She was a floating ball of fur with brown eyes and rabbit ears.  "You cannot destroy this creature by air pressure along, nor any blunt force attacks...."

"Fairy Princess Foxglove, Final Attack:  Air Tornado Wings!" Foxglove called out.  She flew forward and spun about, faster and faster, creating a tornado of swirling air that enveloped the inky creature.  Black liquid splattered everywhere, killing plant life all throughout the clearing.  It also splashed on Bluebell, where it burned like acid.

"Ow!" Bluebell exclaimed.  "Crap, that hurts!"

"That scattered it!" Foxglove exclaimed in triumph.  But in the next moments black ink flowed together, reforming the creature.

"Well, Bat Dung," Foxglove exclaimed.  "How do we kill this thing?"

Ropy tentacles of shadowy ink whipped out, slamming into the magical girls with full force.  Bluebell crashed into a tree while Foxglove was driven into the ground.

"As I said, you cannot defeat this creature with your air attacks," Sita said.  "Foxglove, you have knowledge of the Dark Adversary's minions.  You ought to know what this creature is."

Fairy Princess Foxglove scrambled out of a deep divot in the earth.  As her sister darted around the creature, keeping it busy, she brushed leaves and soil from herself, then concentrated on the inky humanoid.  Her brow furrowed.  "I remember now," she said.  "This one is called an enquehommein, literally a man of ink.  It is impervious to smashing, cutting, and piercing attacks, but can be diluted and dissolved."  She shook her head suddenly and added, "That's... weird.  If I concentrate, suddenly all that information surfaces from deep within my head...."

"The bad news," said Sita, "is that all of your attacks are air-based.  They do damage by smashing, by shredding, by pulling things apart or squishing them together.  None of that is going to be effective.

"The good news, however, is that I brought along your new companion...."

A dark-skinned girl in an aquamarine dress charged into the clearing.   "Mermaid Princess Nisha, Waterspout Blast!" she called out.  Her hand came down as if she were punching the ground.  Water burst upwards around the inky creature -- the enquehommein.  The creature flailed as the water diluted it, washing it away bit by bit.

"Mermaid Princess Nisha, Final Attack:  Localized Tsunami!" the newcomer cried out.  Water rose up and enveloped the creature.  It swirled about angrily, a tsunami wave confined to a single spot.  Nearly a minute later the water retreated, soaking into the ground.  The creature was no more.

"Wonderful job, girls!" Sita exclaimed, hovering over the clearing.  "Excellent work!  Now, going forward, you three must work together to...."

She paused as a bell tone chimed.  A holographic image of two cats -- one white, one a tabby with wings -- appeared in the air before her.  "Yes, what is it?" Sita asked.  Although the fur ball that was Sita had no mouth, it was somehow clear that she was frowning and very annoyed.

"Sita!" the tabby said.  "It's Icarus and Lakshmi.  You remember -- your partners?"

"Yes, of course," Sita said.

"It's been two days," said Icarus.  "We were wondering what was up."

"Oh..." Sita replied, glancing at the three magical girls waiting nearby.  "Nothing much...."  Suddenly she looked more nervous than annoyed.

"We sent you to investigate the bat and bunny show," said Icarus, "and you haven't reported back...."

"I..." said Sita.  "A few things came up.  I've been working with some new recruits... didn't you get my message?"

"We got no message," said Icarus.  "Anyway, when we didn't hear from you we went ahead and selected a candidate for the fairy-themed magical girl... a magical boy, actually...."

"Oh," said Sita.  "Um... you... did?  Without consulting me?"

"Yes, we did," Icarus said.  "You'd already done all the setup work, remember?  We went with the name you'd picked out:  Fairy Princess Bluebell, only slightly altered to match a magical boy.   But when we tried to register Fairy Prince Bluebell, we were informed that a Fairy Princess Bluebell had already been registered within the last twenty-four hours...."

Sita sighed.  "Ah, yes, she said, "well, about that...."


Friday, March 23, 2018

Magical March 14: Fairy Confection

Magical March 14
Fairy Confection
Mark A Davis

Claudia Dumitru opened her eyes and stared up at the ceiling.  It was morning.  Her body was bruised and sore, but her mind was racing.

The last twenty-four hours had been incredible.  Had it only been a dream?  It was like a dream.  She fumbled at her neck, and found the necklace was still there.  But what did that prove?  Quickly she grabbed her phone.  The photos were still there as well.

A talking ball of fur had appeared before her.  It had large brown eyes and rabbit ears, and its name was Sita.  It was a magical girl guide.  Soon after, Claudia had transformed into a magical girl.  Her!  She'd spun about and her clothing had changed into a fancy fairy outfit, just like Tinker Bell or a girl in a Brian Froud illustration.  She'd had a blue dress with a flower-like skirt, and wings like those of an insect.  She'd flown so high!

Claudia had asked about that, too -- she was a bit large for a winged fairy, or so it seemed.  But Sita had only scoffed and said that no girl could really fly with such ridiculous wings, it was only accomplished by magic so requiring that fairies be anorexic was hogwash.

Sita seemed a very forthright guide, who spoke her mind.

The fight with the giant centipede had been extremely tough -- she'd barely won.  She was still sore and bruised from the blows she'd absorbed.  But it had been the most exciting thing she'd ever done!

She dressed quickly and bounced down the stairs and into the kitchen.  She found Sita floating over the breakfast table.

"Sita?" she asked.  She still wasn't sure what her guide actually was.  Sita was an emoji come to life.

"Good morning Claudia," said Sita.  "Or should I say, good morning Fairy Princess Bluebell.  How are you today?"

"Sore," said Claudia, "but I feel good."

"I am glad to hear it," Sita replied.  "Please sit down.  I have something of great importance to discuss."

Confused and nervous, Claudia sat. 

"The enemies you are facing come from a realm known as the Dark Realm," said Sita, "or the Kingdom of Penumbra.  It is a fairy realm ruled by an enemy known as the Dark Adversary.  I really know little more than this; quite frankly I'm getting all of this information second-hand from a source I don't trust, so take everything with a grain of salt.  But I was warned that they would appear, and so they have.  The battle was quite difficult, and this was only a scout.  You will no doubt face more dangerous foes soon."

Claudia swallowed.  "I barely beat that thing..." she said.

  "Which brings me to this," Sita said.  She gestured and a yellow ball appeared, about the size of a baseball.  On it was written something in a script which Claudia could not read.  Claudia got the distinct impression that Sita had removed the ball from some shoulder bag and placed it on the table -- but surely the guide had no hands, let alone a shoulder from which to sling a bag?

"What's this?" she asked.

"This was given to me by that same untrustworthy source," said Sita.  "Apparently I was expected to press it into your forehead.  It would dissolve and melt into you, and thereafter you would dream of a time long past -- a time that, quite frankly, never existed.  You would dream that some of your ancesters were fairy folk that escaped from this Dark Realm, and that you are descended from them and have fairy blood."

Claudia frowned.  "Except... I don't?"

"Right now I am quite certain that you don't," Sita said.  "After you use this dream pill?  Who knows?  We are dealing with a very powerful, near-godlike being.  She is capable of rewriting your history, of that I have no doubt.

"However, that is neither here nor there.  Whether or not the dreams ultimately prove to be real -- or become real retroactively -- you would gain knowledge and powers to aid you in the battle of these enemies."

Claudia stared at the yellow ball.  "This thing will make me stronger?"

"Yes, as I said," replied Sita.

"It's not dangerous, is it?" asked Claudia.

"Not that I am aware of, no," Sita replied.

"So..." said Claudia after a moment, "just so I'm clear, you could have just used this without my knowledge, pressed it into me as I slept, and I would dream I was of fairy blood, and to me it would all seem real?  I would never know that you'd planted those dreams?"

"That is correct, yes."  The ball of fur continued to bob in the air, entirely inscrutable.

"Why didn't you just do that?" asked Claudia.

"I wanted the choice to be yours," Sita said.

"You were afraid of the consequences, it seems to me," Claudia replied.  "You didn't want the responsibility."

"I did not wish to do anything that might alter you without your consent," Sita said.  There was a slight edge to her voice.

Claudia nodded.  "Okay then," she said.  "I understand.  But if I have to fight more of these things -- tougher ones -- then I'm going to need every advantage I can get...."

Claudia's brother Dorin bounced into the room.  "Oh, hey!" he exclaimed.  "Is that some kind of cookie?"  Before anyone could stop him he'd snatched up the ball and popped it in his mouth.  He chewed and swallowed.

"Wow, it just melts away," he said.  Then he made a face.  Blech!  Tastes terrible!"


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Magical March 13: War Ready

Magical March 13

War Ready
Mark A Davis

"They want what?" asked Icarus.  "Three magical girl themes in a row?  Princess, Sailor, Warrior, and also a fourth from the 22nd, Bedroom?  What are those two up to?"

Three former angels -- Icarus, Lakshmi, and Sita -- were gathered in a hotel room in Las Vegas.   Normally they would be in animal form, especially given that a magical girl was with them, but Nikki had first met two of them in human form already.  Icarus was dressed like an aging rock star -- silk shirt open to the waist, leather jacket and leather pants.  Lakshmi had a crop top and cutoff jean shorts, as well as long pink hair.  Sita looked most like an angel, or what people might expect an angel to look like.  She wore a loose, toga-like dress of white and leather sandals.  She had long, straight black hair and pale skin.  She was at the desk, sketching in her virtual notepad.

Their current protégé  was Guitar Goddess Nikki, formerly a street musician named Nikalaamii Dephe-Yaa from the inter-dimensional city of intersect.  Now she was a fourteen-year-old girl named Nikki Delphi, who was lean and wiry and had ratted-out black hair like Joan Jett.  She wielded a magical guitar.  She sat on the bed strumming it.

"You already claimed Sci Fi from the 24th," said Lakshmi, "and Sita claimed Angel from the16th.  Which was yesterday, actually."

"We each have a favorite project we're working on," Icarus replied.  "This is different.  They're up to something...."

"I agree with Icarus," Sita said.  "It's very unlike Octava to do any more work than he has to.  Claiming three magical girls in a row is completely unlike him.  One of us should go investigate.  I nominate me."

"You?" Icarus asked.  "I thought...."

"I've already completed a costume and power combination for my Angel project," said Sita.  "I've also sketched out an initial costume idea for a Fairy concept, which you and Lakshmi and work from.  It only seems fair that you two work on finishing up that concept and locating the target girl, while I go see what Octava and Daesdamona are planning...."


Sailor Europa leveled her staff.  "Foul beast which stalks the night!  Know now the glory and power of the Europan Princess!  Sailor Europa Stellar Blast!"

White energy shot forth, spearing the shadowy insect creature and shattering it.  As bits of shadow flew apart and dissipated, Daesdamona said, "Again with the blasts?"

"Don't knock it," Octava replied, puffing on a cigar.  "It works."

The two magical girl guides -- in their animal disguises, Octava as a white rabbit and Daesdamona as a black winged bat -- watched as their newest magical girls fought a swarm of shadowy insect enemies on the front steps of their school -- Eternia Private Academy for Girls.  It was nearly midnight on a Friday.  The moon hung in a cloudless sky.

Sailor Europa -- who was junior high school girl Tiffany Whitherspoon in her mundane life and Princess Gloria of the Kingdom of Europa in dreams of an ancient past life -- wore white with a blue skirt and sailor kerchief and bow.  Sailor Callisto was her friend Aiko Yamato, and also shared dreams of a past life where she was Princess Creda of Callisto, one of Gloria's three Royal Guards and Admiral of the Europa Space Fleet.  Her skirt and kerchief/bow were green.

With them was a transgender girl named Roberta Wadsworth, who had joined their school only a few days before.  She'd been caught in the middle of their fight with the shadow creatures sent by the evil Queen Sable of Titan.  Her leg was bleeding, and  the two magical girls were trying to protect her.

Both girls blasted insect after shadow insect, but more kept coming.  Then a larger shadow appeared.  This split open, revealing a very handsome man with red hair and black, shadowy armor.

"Ha ha ha!" he laughed.  "You pathetic heroines of Terra may have defeated my brother, Prince Ebony of Enceladus, but you will not defeat me!  I am Prince Onyx of Mimas, and I am the strongest of Queen Sable's guard!  Feel my power!"

Energy shot out from his hands, driving both magical girls to their knees.  Europa and Callisto cried out in pain.

"Aaah!  Princess, I'm sorry," Sailor Callisto cried out.  "I cannot fight this...."  The girl collapsed, unconscious.

"Creda, no!" Sailor Europa exclaimed.  Tears formed in her eyes.  "Prince Onyx, I will resist you with every last ounce of my strength...."  She struggled to move, to free herself, to point her staff in his direction, but shadows swirled around her like vines, wrapping about her limbs like ropes, binding her so that she could not move.

The girl Roberta -- who still very much resembled a boy, having only declared her new gender two days ago -- stared in horror.  She spotted Octava and yelled, "You!  Bunny!  You're their guide!  I know I'm one of them -- I've dreamed of it.   Tell me how to help!"

Octava sprinted forward.  He waved the cigar.  A red wand appeared in the air.  It hovered in front of Roberta, glowing.

She grasped the wand, and instinct took over.  She didn't need to be told anything -- somehow she just knew.  "Sailor Io, Princess Valentina, Transform!" she called out, and then she was spinning about in the air as a new outfit formed around her.  It was like the others -- boots, a white bodysuit with a sailor collar, and a red skirt and red kerchief with a red bow.  Her body also changed -- becoming more obviously feminine, with wider hips and a more noticeable bust.  The wand expanded into a much larger staff.

She landed, spun the staff in her hands, and   leveled it at Prince Onyx of Mimas.  "Love conquers all!  I, Valentina of Io, warrior, guardian of Princess Gloria and General of the armies of Europa, will show you true strength and power.  Sailor Io Final Attack:  One Thousand Guns of Europa!"

A  myriad of gun barrels formed in the air overhead.  A barrage of magical artillery fire ripped through Prince Onyx and his remaining shadow insect warriors.  They were shredded, until nothing but scraps of shadow remained.  These drifted on the wind and dissipated.

Sailor Callisto sat up.  Sailor Europa stood.  "Our greatest glory," Europa said, "lies not in never failing, but in rising again every time we fall."  She turned to face Sailor Io, then ran and embraced the girl in a fierce hug.  "Oh, Valentina, it's you!  We knew you'd join us soon!  Now all we're missing is the third Royal Guard, Princess Verity of Ganymede...."


Octava and Daesdamona, now in human form, sat at a table in the dark corner of a bar.  They'd used a bit of misdirection magic to get in -- both looked under-aged to be drinking, but there was no place else open this late.

"Well, that went well," said Octava.  "That's three magical girls down, one to go, and we have a week or so to work on that one...."

"We should pick a target," said Daesdamona, "and plant the dream ball in any case.  Holding onto it makes me nervous.  I wouldn't want something to happen."

"You think I'm going to accidentally bounce it into the forehead of some retired truck driver or something?" asked Octava.  "Have some faith in my ability to be at least competent...."

The air shimmered, and a young woman with black hair in a toga appeared at the table.  "Sita?" Octava exclaimed in surprise.  "What are you doing here?"

Sita inclined her head.  "I've come," she said, "to find out what you two are up to."

"Just our jobs," Octava said.

"Picking four themes at once?" Sita asked.  "There's more to it than that.  The three of us were naturally suspicious...."

A waitress approached the table.  She stared in surprise at Octava and Daesdamona.  "Hey," she said, "kids aren't allowed...."

Octava waved his hand.  "We all appear about thirty," he said.

The waitress blinked.  "Yes.  Of course you do.  What can I get for you?"

"An Irish Coffee for me," said Octava.  "A beer for Daesdamona...."

"Yes, thanks," Daesdamona replied.  "Whatever local micro brew you recommend."

"Sita?" asked Octava.

The woman in the toga frowned.  "I do not drink on the job," she said icily.

"Right.  She'll have a diet sprite then," said Octava.

As the waitress left, Octava said, "Sita, maybe you should worry about your own magical girl targets.  I believe Fairy is the next one?"

"Lakshmi and Icarus have it covered," Sita said.  "They suggested I come and spy on you two."  Sita glared at the two through narrowed eyes..  "I see you have a little sailor sentai team going...."

"Yes, exactly," Octava said.  "That is why we wanted to process several magical girls at once...."

"A team remarkably like that of Sailor Moon, in fact," Sita said.

"There are... several similarities, yes," said Octava.  "Most notably the seifuku -- but after all, one theme was sailor...."

"Indeed," said Sita.  "And your girls even speak of being warriors and princesses reincarnated from a kingdom from long ago...."

"I believe that's correct," Octava said guardedly.

The waitress returned with their drinks.  Sita sipped hers, then added, "They've had dreams of their past lives, in fact."

Octava frowned.  "I would have no way to verify if that's true...."

"They speak of it," said Sita.  "Past lives... in a Kingdom of Europa?  Located on the moon which orbits Jupiter?"

Octava shrugged.  "That is the backstory that we've provided..." he said.

"There's nothing unusual about that," Daesdamona added.  "If you want Sailor Moon-style sentai, then a good back story helps out immensely...."

"The thing is," said Sita, sipping her drink again.  "If you're going to believe in a lost kingdom on a faraway moon, then there really ought to be some ruins there to suggest that said kingdom once actually existed.  Am I right?"

Octava shrugged.  "Why?  Europa is a long ways away.  Nobody's ever going to know."

"Don't be naive, Octava," said Sita.  "Earth has sent several satellites to explore the Jovian moons already, and will send more.  Beyond that, your magical girl team may wish to visit the old kingdom at some point.  With magic, such things are possible.

"With that in mind," she added, "I checked it out."

It took a moment for the meaning of her words to strike Octava.  His eyes widened.  "You went to Europa?  The moon around Jupiter?  All the way out there?"

"Oh yes," said Sita, arching her eyebrows.  "Do you know what I found?"

"I... might know, yes," said Octava.  He suddenly downed a third of his drink.

"I found exactly what ought to be there, given your backstory," Sita said.  "That is, the ruins of an ancient kingdom.  Not, mind you, ruins that had been placed there recently.  These ruins have existed on Europa for several thousand years.  Interesting, no?"

"Yeah, okay," said Octava.  "Your point?"

"My point," said Sita, leaning across the table, "is that those ruins were not placed there by you or Daesdamona.  Nor do you have the ability to direct the dreams of a mortal girl.  And when I come to check our your team, I find them fighting warriors sent by a Queen Sable of Titan, mortal enemy to the Kingdom of Europa several thousand years ago.  Where did this enemy come from, I wonder?  Because we in the Nibiru group do not create enemies for our magical girls to fight...."

Octava looked at Daesdamona, who had largely remained silent.  "We... got help from a goddess?" Octava suggested.

"A goddess... from Nibiru?" asked Sita.

"Well... no...." Octava admitted.

Sita slammed her hand down on the table, causing Octava and Daesdamona to jump at the sharp sound.  "We do not work with outside forces!" she nearly yelled.  "They almost certainly do not have our goals in mind!"  She glared at Octava and Daesdamona, and added, "You realize, of course, that I will have to report this to Ysolde and the other directors of Alpha Initiative...."

"I really wish you wouldn't..." Octava said.

There was a flash of light.  Suddenly a very beautiful woman was seated with them.  She had long white hair and pale skin, and wore a red silk dress.  Her eyes were the most notable feature, however -- there were no pupils, and they glowed with an unearthly white light.

"Good grief," said Octava.  "What does one have to do to get a private table for two in this town?"

"Sita, Dear!" the woman exclaimed.  "I knew I would have to deal with you eventually!"  She tapped the table, and a white card appeared, upon which was written, in a flowing script, Eternia the Watcher.  "My card," she added.  The card remained for about three seconds, then vanished.

"Listen here, Miss Goddess," Sita began.

"Eternia, please," said Eternia.

"Who or whatever you are, you are not an agent of Nibiru," Sita said.  "You are not registered in their data bases, nor have you ever donated time or material goods to our cause...."

Eternia leaned forward.  "My, you sound very certain of these things," she said, "for someone who only recently left the Angelic Council and has been with the Nibiru group less than a year.  Would it surprise you to know, Dear Sita, that when Nibiru was founded, I was present?  Surely you don't think a credible alternative to Heaven's Angelic Council and Hell's Dark Magical Girl Division was established without the aid of some very powerful godlike beings such as myself?"

Sita leaned forward as well, locking eyes with the goddess.  "Are you telling me that you work with Nibiru?  By your actions I can tell that you are less concerned with doing good in the world, and more interested in seeing a good story unfold...."

Octava and Daesdamona exchanged glances.  Neither was about to interrupt.

Eternia laughed.  "Bravo, Miss Sita!  You are remarkably observant and not afraid to call a spade a spade.  What I told you is true -- I helped found Nibiru -- but what you expect is also true, I never joined the organization.  However, I have worked with Nibiru agents many times in the past.  You need not be too suspicious of me, for my ultimate goal is to see your magical girls triumph over great odds and powerful adversaries."

"Adversaries which you put there in the first place!" Sita exclaimed.

"While it's true I provided some direction for our friend Queen Sable of Titan," said Eternia, "I did not create her.  She would have become a problem for some hero or magical girl at some point in the future -- I merely bent reality so that she was guaranteed to encounter a specific group of magical girls who were prepared to oppose her.  If you think about it correctly, I am helping you achieve your goals...."

"I do not see it that way!" Sita snarled.

Eternia sighed.  "Listen, Sita.  You and your companions Lakshmi and Icarus are working on your next magical girl, with the theme of fairy, yes?  Let's suppose," said Eternia, "that there is a fantasy realm so close to earth that it is like a shadow of our world."  She smiled and spread her hands.  "Well, we don't have to imagine this, of course," she said.  "Alternate realms are everywhere one looks.  But this particular place is known as the Kingdom of Penumbra, aka the Dark Realm.

"Several centuries ago an evil lord conquered Penumbra.  Only a few souls managed to escape through a gateway that led to our world.  These were members of the faerie folk -- fairies, mermaids, unicorns and the like; magical creatures which are only legend here.  They were, of course, forced to blend in with humanity in order to survive.  Thus their descendants appear human, but still carry magical fairy blood.

"Now let's imagine that the Dark Adversary who rules this Kingdom of Penumbra has finally discovered the path by which these refugees fled to earth...."

"I will imagine no such things!" Sita exclaimed.  "I will enter into no agreement or arrangement with you!"

Eternia laughed.  "Oh, but Dear Sita, you don't have to imagine it.  It is real, and it is happening even as we speak, whether you like it or not.  The Dark Adversary will send his minions to conquer this world.  The only question is will your magical girls be able to stop them?  The gifts I offer can help in that regard."

She placed three balls on the table -- a pink one labeled fairy, a violet ball labeled mermaid, and a pure white ball labeled unicorn.

"Air, Sea, and Land," said Eternia.  "Fairies fly, Mermaids swim, and Unicorns gallop over land.  If you use these, then each magical girl will gain knowledge and special abilities based on their associations, which will absolutely aid them against enemies from the Kingdom of Penumbra.  If you fail to use them, your girls may well fight the minions of the Dark Kingdom still, but without these gifts I offer.  The choice is yours."

And then Eternia was gone.

For a long moment Sita sat in silence, staring at the three colored balls.  Finally she glared at Octava.  "This," she growled, "is your fault!"

"Me?" Octava replied.  "I didn't do anything!  I was completely silent!"

Sita glared for another moment.  She snatched up the balls and slid them into a shoulder bag.  Then she signaled the waitress.

"Bring me a vodka," she said.  "On the rocks.  In fact, bring me the entire bottle...."


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Magical March 12: Girl's Academy

Magical March 12
Girl's Academy
Mark A Davis

Moonlight filtered through white drapes and fell softly on a blue carpet.  The bedroom was silent and dark, a young girl of thirteen sleeping peacefully beneath a comforter.  There came a brief flash of light, and suddenly two strangers stood in her room.

One was a young boy, perhaps 14 years old, with long blonde hair.  He dressed in loose robes of white and turquoise, like one might see on a Chinese sage.  The other was an older girl with dark skin and curly black hair, dressed for stealth in black leggings, black boots, and a skintight black shirt with long sleeves.

The boy produced a blue ball.  Upon it the name Gloria was written.  The girl took it and placed it on the sleeping girl's forehead.  The ball dissolved and sank beneath the girl's skin, vanishing.

Moments later, the two strangers also vanished only to appear in the street outside the house.  They began walking.

"So much for Princess Gloria of Europa," said Octava, the boy.  "If Eternia is to be trusted, then she will dream of a past life as the Princess of a kingdom on the Jovian moon."

"I don't trust that woman," Daesdamona said.  "Her goals are not necessarily our goals."

Octava was a former angel, while Daesdamona was a former demon.  The two worked for the Niburu Group -- a collection of exiled angels and demons, gods and demigods who wished to promote good in the mortal realms, specifically through the support of magical girls.  They walked through an affluent neighborhood in Denver, CO, chosen for its proximity to a certain private academy.

"We shouldn't have entered into an arrangement with her," Daesdamona said.  "Our plans may dovetail with hers right now, but I suspect she's more interested in a good story than in promoting good itself.  She likes magical girls, but we don't know her motives or necessarily approve of her methods."

"What's done is done," said Octava.  "I wouldn't worry about it.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  If we're going to do sailor uniforms...."

"I told you," said Daesdamona, "a sailor theme need not refer to an anime seifuku...."

"But everything lines up," Octava said.  "As part of our bargain we're awakening four magical girls anyway -- a princess and her three royal guards -- so why not kill four birds with one stone and make each of them match one of our themes?  The very next two themes are sailor and warrior, so those both fit if we go the sailor senshi route."

Daesdamona sighed.  "You reserved those themes with the others, right?  What about the fourth theme?"

Octava made a face.  "I went with bedroom...."

"Bedroom?" Daesdamona exclaimed.  "How does that fit?"

"Well, they're dreaming of their past lives, right?" said Octava.  "Anyway none of the other options really worked -- fairy, mermaid, unicorn, Disney, fairy tale, circus, animal...."

"What about angel?" asked Daesdamona.  "An angelic magical girl guardian to the princess...."

"Sita absolutely insisted on keeping that one for herself," said Octava.

"Anyway, I don't know why the blonde gets to be the princess," Daesdamona, muttered.  "What was her name again?"

"Tiffany Whitherspoon," Octava replied.

"Tiffany!  A blonde princess named Tiffany!" Daesdamona exclaimed in disgust.

"For your information," Octava replied, "Tiffany is short for Tiphanea, a name with a long history going back to ancient times.  Plus she happens to attend a private all-girls school with sailor-style uniforms...."

"That's another thing," said Daesdamona.  "Eternia Private Academy for Girls?  You can not convince me that name is a coincidence!"

Octava sighed.  He stopped before another house.  "I'm sure it isn't," he said.  "But what are you gonna do?  An all-powerful being wants this magical girl team to exist.  She'd do it with or without us.  It's better if we're there to guide things, isn't it?

"Anyway, we're at the next girl's house."  A holographic screen appeared before him.  "Let's see... Aiko Yamato, Japanese American girl."  He produced three colored balls -- one yellow, with the name Verity, a red ball with the name Valentina, and a green one with the name Creda.  He held them out to his companion.  "You choose."

"Does it matter?" asked Daesdamona.

"You're the one who's mad that I made the blonde girl the princess," said Octava.

Daesdamona rolled her eyes.  "Creda then," she said.

"Princess Creda of Callisto it is!" Octava replied.  The other two balls vanished.  "We still need to design the costumes and powers, but we've got a few days," he said.  "Give them time to realized their dreams coincide and are probably true dreams.  Except of course that they aren't."

The two appeared in the bedroom of the second girl.  Daesdamona leaned over the bed and placed the ball on the sleeping girl's forehead, where it melted and vanished.  Then the two appeared again on the street outside.

"You know," Daesdamona said, "I just had a thought.  We're apparently supposed to pick candidates from this all-girl academy, right?  But didn't she also suggest one of the candidates be a boy?  So how is that going to work?"

Octava frowned.  "I hadn't considered that," he said.  "Maybe they don't all have to attend the same school?  Or maybe Eternia will change her mind about one being a boy?"


Morris Wadsworth stared at the photo of an old but regal woman.

"My grandfather," he said, "was not the sort to sleep around."

"Nevertheless," replied their visitor, a serene businesswoman who introduced herself as Miss Elanor Eternia, president of a local private academy, "Miss Jasmine Wadsworth was the half-sister to your father, and therefore your great aunt.  She never married, had no children of her own, and was quite wealthy...."

Morris was a dark-skinned man in a business suit, who always had a serious expression.  His wife, seated next to him, had fair skin and brown hair.  He studied the contract for several minutes.  He glanced up.

"Four hundred and ninety million?" he asked.  "Is that correct?"

"That is a rough estimate," Miss Eternia replied.  "But yes, Miss Wadsworth was one of our school's most illustrious graduates.  She was a very shrewd businesswoman."

Morris read further.  "So," he said, "her entire fortune can be ours, on one condition...."

"Exactly," replied Miss Eternia.  "Your child must attend the Eternia Private Academy for Girls, from 7th grade until she -- or he -- graduates high school.  Only then will the inheritance be granted."

"You want my son," said Morris, "to attend a school for girls...."

"Yes, I realize you have a son rather than a daughter," Miss Eternia said, "but the wording of the will does not specify gender.  She smiled and gestured to the bagged girl's Eternia Private Academy uniform hanging from a hook -- a long-sleeved shirt with a sailor-style collar, an aquamarine skirt, socks, black Mary Janes, and a bow.  Appropriate underwear was included.  "I took the liberty of having a uniform made to fit Robert's measurements...."

Morris continued to stare at her.  "Dear," his wife finally said, laying a hand on his arm,  "it is half a billion dollars...."

Morris Wadsworth stood.  "Robert!" he yelled.  "Get in here!"

A few moments later a young boy entered the room.  He was about thirteen, with olive skin and tightly-curled hair that brushed his shoulders.

"Yeah, dad?" he asked.  He glanced at Miss Eternia, clearly confused.

"This," said Morris, gesturing to their guest, "is Miss Elanor Eternia, president of the Eternia Private Academy for Girls.  This," he added, handing the uniform to his son, "is your new uniform.  I want you to go upstairs and put it on, then come down and show us how it looks."

"But..." he son began.

"And no buts!" the father yelled.

"But, dad," the boy said, "a skirt?  Last week you said over my dead body...."


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Magical March 11: A Royal Pain

Magical March 11
A Royal Pain
Mark A Davis

"Royal?" said Octava.  "What the Hades is that supposed to mean?  A royal magical girl?  Am I only to consider actual princesses?  Because there ain't many of those left in the world, and most of them wouldn't be interested in the whole magical girl shtick.  Does it mean I dress her in royal blue?  Do I design a cheerleader for the Kansas City Royals?"

Octava and Daesdamona, two former angels who worked as magical girl guides for a realm known as Nibiru, sat in a cafe in Venice, Italy.  It was a warm spring day and the streets and canals were bustling with tourists.  The sound of conversations echoed down the street and blended with the lapping of water against brick.

Octava sipped his Vittoria coffee and nibbled on a baklava croissant.  He stared at a virtual computer pad, assessing their next assignment.  He resembled a young boy, maybe fourteen, with long blonde hair.  Today he wore shorts and an A.C. Milan shirt.  His companion had dark skin, black hair, and wore a bohemian gypsy dress.

"Don't be dense," Daesdamona retorted.  "Obviously these are instructions for artists to draw a magical girl in a royalty setting -- think Princess Serenity, the royal alter-ego of Sailor Moon."

"Right, I get that," said Octava.  "But how are we supposed to make that work?  In the context of her own story, Sailor Moon really is the reincarnation of a princess from an ancient moon kingdom...."

"During the Silver Millennium..." added Daesdamona.

"Yeah, whatever," said Octava, waving a hand.  "The point is I can't just wave my hands and say: you, you're the reincarnated princess of La La Land, or whatever magical ancient kingdom I want to make up, because that ancient kingdom doesn't exist and she isn't the reincarnation of any past princess.  We can transform girls into magical girls and give them special powers, but making them a real princess of a real kingdom?  Even a reincarnated princess of a long-ago kingdom?  No can do.  I mean, editing history to give them an elaborate back story -- not even the big guy in the sky, the big G.O.D., does that.  Am I right?"

There was a flash of light.  Suddenly a very beautiful woman was seated with them.  She had long white hair and pale skin, and wore a red silk dress.  Her eyes were the most notable feature, however -- there were no pupils, and they glowed with an unearthly white light.

"No," she said.  "He doesn't.  But I do."

"Um..." Octava began, sitting back.

"Have no fear, Dear Octavia," the woman said.  "I know who you and Daesdamona are.  I am a fan.  A big fan.  But you may not know who I am.  My card."  She tapped the table and a white card appeared, with the words "Eternia the Watcher" written in a flowing script.  The card was only visible for a few moments, then vanished.

"I am a goddess," she said.  "Small g, mind you, but a goddess nonetheless.  I take an interest in the affairs of earthly mortals -- heroic mortals in particular.  I am not the only one who does so.  I have a special preference for magical girls, so I take a particular interest in the affairs of Nibiru.  I've been pleased and fascinated with your recent work -- so many new magical girls to follow!  Although the execution has been a bit ragged, if you don't mind my saying so...."

Octava frowned.  "We're working under a tight schedule," he said.  "I'm sure that once the month's up, we'll have a chance to go back and make sure every girl's situated properly...."

"Yes," said Eternia.  "I'm counting on it.  But right now you want a royal magical girl -- one who is the reincarnated princess of a bygone realm.  I do recommend you go that route -- trying to establish a girl as a princess of a current realm is far more difficult...."

"Yes, but we can't..." Octava began.

"Oh, I know, Octava my friend," she said.   "Establishing a bygone kingdom that has not existed for a thousand years -- well, it's really not within the scope of what you people can do, is it?"  She smiled and added, "That's where I come in."

"Listen, Eternia, or whoever you are," said Daesdamona.  "We really don't have a lot of time to waste...."

"Indeed," Eternia said.  "A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words."  She snapped her fingers, and the three of them were somewhere else.

Ice crystals drifted across a frozen, barren landscape.  The sky was black and filled with stars.  Worn and broken pillars stabbed the sky, hinting at magnificent buildings that had once stood here.  Unlike earth, these ruins were not overgrown with weeds -- nothing living was visible.  Yet the ruins had crumbled with time, worn down by fierce winds, ice, and intense cold.  A harsh wind whistled past their ears, and they no doubt would have quickly frozen -- as well as died of asphyxiation -- if not in the company of a goddess.

"What the...?" Octava said.  He still held his coffee cup, halfway to his lips, but the coffee was now a block of ice.  He tipped the cup over and watched the coffee slowly drift down.

"Where is this?" asked Daesdamona.

"This," said Eternia, "is Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter and in fact the ninth largest object in the Solar System.  As you can see, I have retroactively placed ruins here -- the remains of an ancient civilization known as the Ganymidian Kingdom."

Octava frowned.  "By retroactively, you mean...."

"The ruins," said the woman, "are five thousand years old.  No one has actually been here in five thousand years, so there is nothing to stop me from establishing such a kingdom.  Obviously I couldn't do this on earth's moon -- a Moon Kingdom on the Terran satellite would stick out as something that clearly had not been there previously.  But this far out in space?  Anything goes.  There is zero chance of causing a time anomaly.  So far the closest mankind has come to exploring Ganymede has been the Galileo spacecraft, which made multiple flybys between 1996 and 2000 and sent back spectral images.  The European Space Agency plans to launch a Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer -- code named JUICE, isn't that clever? -- in about four years, which will eventually enter Ganymede's orbit.  Perhaps then mankind will finally discover these ruins.

"So now, as you see, you have your ancient kingdom.  You need only find a likely reincarnated princess and implant some dreams of a glorious past within her head.  Or if that is also something which you Nibiru folks simply will not do, then I will do it."

Octava and Daesdamona glanced at each other.

"Can we trust her?" asked Octava.  "Because honestly, doing a reincarnated princess would be fun...."

"As it happens, I've heard of Eternia the Watcher," said Daesdamona.  "She really is a nutca... that is, very fond of magical girls."  She glanced at the woman in red.  "I think we can trust her, at least on this particular subject...."

  Eternia clapped her hands together.  "Oh, this is going to be so much fun!  I'm not always that good with names but I thought a Princess Gloria of Ganymede would make a great leader of a small team.  She could have three guardians -- named for and representing such concepts such as Love, Truth, and Honor.  Perhaps Princess Valentina, Princess Verity, and Princess Creda...."

"Just so long as we're not naming anyone after Honor Harrington," muttered Octava darkly.

Eternia raised an eyebrow.  "Honor who?"

"Never mind," the boy said.  "Princess Creda sounds fine to me, as do the other two."

"Great!" Eternia exclaimed.  "Then I'll leave the rest to you two."  She waved her hand and four colored balls appeared, each with a name on it -- Gloria, Valentina, Verity, and Creda.  "Just place one of these each with the four girls that you choose, and they will begin to dream of their past lives.  The rest will take care of itself -- with the aid of one of your magical girl guides, of course!  Oh, and don't worry about the enemy, or the love interest -- I'll be making arrangements on that front as well!"

"Wait a moment," said Octava.  "What do you mean you'll arrange an enemy....?"

"Don't worry your little head about it, Octava Dear!" Eternia replied.  "It'll be all taken care of!  Now I did have one request -- I'd like it very much if one of our ancient princess guardians is reincarnated as a boy -- that's always a fun twist, and when I send him embarrassing dreams of his past life with the man he loved it's so entertaining!  Oh, and I know what you're going to say -- what if he likes men?  But trust me, at that age it doesn't matter!"

Octava said, "Getting back to this idea of you creating an enemy...."

His voice trailed off, as the three of them -- Octava, Daesdamona, and Eternia -- suddenly realized they were not alone.  Multiple blobby blue creatures hovered in the air around them.

One emitted a weird, groaning sound.  Eternia snapped her fingers, and the sound was transformed into speech:

"Which one of you," the creature said, "Is responsible for placing this trash on our world?"  It waved an appendage in the general direction of the ruins.

Octava and Daesdamona exchanged a glance.  They both stared at Eternia.

Eternia sighed. "I'm sorry, Dear," she said.  "It's my mistake.  I had not realized that this moon was inhabited... obviously I should have done more research...."

She snapped her fingers, and the landscape changed.  Eternia and the two magical girl advisers were once again alone.  Here were the same ruins, but on a surface that was redder and contained more ice than the previous.

"This," said Eternia, "is the surface of Europa, fourth largest of Jupiter's moons.  These ruins have existed here for five thousand years...."


Magical March 10: Guitar Hero

Magical March 10
Guitar Hero
Mark A Davis

Lakshmi and Icarus were seated in a dirty booth in a dark, dingy bar.  The former angels and current magical girl guides were in human form -- Icarus dressed as he often was like a young rock star in black leather pants and boots, mirror shades, and a black silk shirt open to the navel, while Lakshmi, was hardly less conspicuous with long pink hair and jeans studded with flashy silver stars and a white crop top.

Seated across from them was a young woman with long black hair, wearing a form-fitted outfit of silver and black.  Beside her was a woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing jeans, a red shirt, and a brown leather bomber jacket.

"This woman," said Icarus, "is named F8Wasp.  That's spelled with a number 8, but pronounced Fate Wasp."

"Yes," said Lakshmi, " I am familiar with who she is.  I do follow earth heroes; it's part of my job.  She built the excellent Annie Two A.I. for Grandpa Anarchy, and the equally impressive Virtual Marilyn A.I. for the Archons of Excellence...."

"Indeed!" Icarus exclaimed.  "And this is her companion and partner, Amelia Anne Bloodraven."

Cigarette smoke drifted through the room like fog on an old battlefield.  The bar was long and made of solid oak.  A tall woman with long blonde braids and an eye patch stood behind it.  The bar stools were worn and weathered, with splitting seats, and the upholstery of the booth seats was in similar shape.  Against the far wall was a giant circle of carved metal -- a dimensional gateway with strange symbols at different locations around the outer perimeter, like some alien clock with no hands.  The center was a liquid blue surface, like a wishing well on its side.

There were few others in the bar.  A Minotaur sat in one corner nursing and oversized beer, while a disheveled woman with matted dreadlocks sat on the floor near the door strumming a guitar.

"Good day to you, Miss Bloodraven, Miss F8Wasp," said Lakshmi.  "And yes, we're at a bar called Happy Jacks, run by the friend of Grandpa Anarchy, John Haggard, in the inter-dimensional city of Intersect.  I get all that.  The question is:  why are we here?"

"Because," said Icarus.  "I want to build a robot, so I went to the best A.I. specialist in the world."

"You want to build... a robot?" asked Lakshmi.

"Exactly that," said Icarus.  "A robotic magical girl.  More properly called a gynoid...."

"Don't try to lecture me on language, Dear," said Lakshmi.  "The Statue of Liberty is technically a gynoid, since the term refers to anything that resembles the female human form."

"Yes, but the term was coined by science fiction author Gwyneth Jones specifically to refer to a female robot," said Icarus, "and that's how it's usually understood.  While the term android tends to be used as a generic, non-gender-specific term, in point of fact the Greek prefix andr means man as in a male human...."

"Then you must be aware of the problems associated with the sexualization of gynoids," said Lakshmi.  "They're often a product of man's lust, completely divorced from the concept of women as women.  If you search gynoid on Reddit...."

"Oh for Heaven's Sake, Lakshmi!" Icarus exclaimed.  "I'm creating a robotic magical girl.  Let's not overthink this."

F8Wasp and Miss Bloodraven watched the exchange with bemusement.  F8Wasp held up a hand.  "Um... sorry to interrupt, but I don't do robots," she said.  "Just A.I.'s...."

"Right," said Icarus.  "I was going to have you do the A.I., and I was going to build the robot...."

"Icarus, you know nothing about robotics," said Lakshmi.  "Even if you did, it would take months...."

"I was going to use magic..." Icarus began.

"You were just going to wave your hand and conjure a robotic girl via magic?" Lakshmi asked.  "Really?"

F8Wasp raised her hand again.  "Um... I don't think that would...."

"We're supposed to be working on a musical magical girl, Icarus!" Lakshmi exclaimed.

"Exactly!" Icarus said.  "A musical robotic magical girl.  You know, like Key the Metal Idol...."

"I have no idea who that is," Lakshmi replied.  A holographic computer screen appeared before her.  "She's not in the data base...."

"It's an anime thing," said Icarus.  "Although I'd have thought you were up on anime, being a magical girl guide.  Anyway, that's not important.  She can sing, we can have her play a guitar...."

"Look," said Lakshmi, "if you want a robotic magical girl, then we have a sci fi theme coming up.  But that's not until the 24th...."

F8Wasp raised her hand again.  "I can have a girl robot built," she said.  "I have connections, people who are good at robotics.  As for price... you're angels, right?  You do magic.  I'm sure there are any number of things you could do for me.  We can work out the details later.  But it's going to take a little time, so... the 24th sounds like a reasonable deadline...."

"You can build a robot in less than two weeks?" asked Lakshmi.

"There  are ways to do it, yes," F8Wasp replied.  "You know the old adage:  cheap, fast, good, pick two.  If you want good work done fast, it won't come cheap...."

Icarus sighed.  "I was hoping to get this wrapped up today...."

"No chance," said F8Wasp.  "I am not working on a robot conjured by magic, either."

"Well... okay then," said Icarus.  "But that means we'll need a new plan for a musical magical girl... and we're on a tight schedule...."

"Oh, good grief," said Lakshmi.  "Just find some girl who likes music and transform her into a music-based magical girl.  It's what we're trained to do.  It's not that hard."

"Excuse me."  The guitarist by the door held up her hand.  "Two questions," she said.  "Can I look like a teenage Joan Jett, and do I get a guitar that shoots lasers?"