Hidden 2 mos ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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For one girl, her exploration over the forest yielded little... except, perhaps, what seemed almost like an illusory glimpse of some sort of mansion...

For another, the two confused children seemed to reluctantly agree to the idea of teaming up, though it was probably less conclusive then she liked.

For yet another, the chilling sensation of being observed suddenly vanished.

And for Hoshino Hikari, she ached all over and found quite a bit to complain about.

But regardless of all of that, even magical girls had to get home at some point, or at least find somewhere to take a rest.

And thus, the first day of the Hex Night ended. Referring to it as a single night was somewhat erroneous, as the conflict between magical girls would last as long as it was required to reach a single victor.




The Second Day

For a few moments after Hikari awakened, she felt almost as if her experience the previous night was some sort of dream. But as her mind cleared, of course, she swiftly came to understand that it wasn't the case, that every single moment of it had been real.

She really was a magical girl, and one who was now facing the prospect of participating in a battle between magical girls for the purpose of obtaining a wish.

In spite of this knowledge hanging in her mind, her daily routine began as normal. Wake up, brush her teeth, shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and get ready for her day at school.

After having breakfast and leaving her home, Hikari recalled the chatroom and opened her phone, thumbing through it. It didn't take particularly long to join, but after she had done so the petite brunette simply started quietly at the chatroom. What did you even talk about in there? Beating each other up for the Hex Night? That didn't sound very likely, at least... before she could decide on how to introduce herself, however...

"Hey, Hikari-chan!" called another girl's voice.

It was her friends, the dark-haired, average-height Yoshimura Tomoe, followed by the somewhat taller and lighter-haired Saikawa Hanako.

"Did you hear about all the weird stuff that happened last night?!" she asked, excitedly.

For a few moments, Hikari stared blankly, before coming to the realization that this was very likely in connection to the Hex Night.

But her response to Tomoe was the same as usual when it came to the girl's weird ideas.

"More ridiculous rumors, Tomoe-san?"

"They're not ridiculous!"

Hikari only tried looking at the chatroom again much later, when it was time for lunch. It was really the only opportunity she got, at that point... It seemed like trying at any other time was a bad idea for more than one reason.

@LuckyBlackCat@Anza@Raineh Daze@RolePlayerRoxas@Ammokkx@A Lowly Wretch@TheFake
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Another day had come, and as such, a young woman was tending to the shrine grounds once more. Clad in traditional miko garb, she swept at the ground with a cheerful hum, projecting the image of a shrine maiden hard at work. Not that there was any leaves to sweep away, Himeko was simply having some fun. How could she not, given all that had happened since yesterday? The unpleasantness of that purple demon's attitude aside, the young woman had met an interesting magical girl cat, had spoke with an equally intriguing girl, and had even found an impromptu roommate in little Yukimura Hanako .

Speaking of, that unfortunate girl not only had to deal with Himeko teasingly threatening to share a futon to 'help her acclimate' to her new surroundings, but since that girl was, for some reason, choosing not to go to school today, Himeko felt it necessary to ensure that girl did something productive, as payment for the kind lodgings. Hence, she was now dressed in an older maiden uniform of Himeko's she had long since outgrown, and was currently being shown how to maintain the shrine's facilities - aside from meaninglessly sweeping the broom around, Himeko had also tried convincing Hanako that the komainu statue near the offering box contained an actual divine spirit within, and blessed anyone that professed their love to it bountiful fortune and good luck forevermore.

In short, Himeko was enjoying herself a lot more than usual.

"...And that's more or less how it goes~" Himeko turned towards the much smaller girl, a playful smirk on her face as she leaned on the broom, "it's important you keep the rhythm, or it throws the shrine's spiritual energy off-balance. Easy enough to get, right~?"

@Raineh Daze
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Raineh Daze
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Hanako


It had been with great difficulty that Hanako had finally gotten to sleep that night, concerned that her offer to help had been more poorly received then she would have liked... and constantly on guard for the shrine maiden after her somewhat concerning offer. With the Hex Night occupying her attention and feeling unlikely to contribute on her lack of sleep, the short girl had opted against going to school--rationalising that she could just catch up on her sleep in the library somewhere and be ready when all the others were done with the day.

Unfortunately...

Well, here she was being the world's most useless shrine maiden. There was something about a divine spirit in a box that needed to be appeased, and sweeping in the right pattern else the shrine's energy would be off... and with the very real existence of magic, what if all this was true, too?

"R-Right!" the white-haired girl said, trying to remember it all. Appease the komainu... sweep the broom in the right rhythm...

Himeko was being treated to the sight of someone trying to sweep a statue's nostrils with a broom.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Anza
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“Uuuuuuuuuuuugggghhhh…”

Tokiko blinked. There was sun streaming through her curtains… how long had she been asleep?

She didn’t remember much from after the training session last night. No, wait… Hikari had complained, and then they’d gone their separate ways. Why couldn’t she be more grateful… Tokiko rolled over and buried her face in her pillow. Whatever. It’s not like I care.

There was… school and stuff going on. Probably. But it didn’t really matter, she didn’t feel like doing anything at all right now, except maybe falling back asleep. Maybe I can just doze off all day and wake up in time for Hex Night…

So she curled up in a comfortable position, and prepared to fall back to sleep.



… Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite so comfortable as she’d first thought. Sighing, she rolled over again, and closed her eyes.





God damn it.

Try as she might, she couldn’t get everything that had happened last night. The excitement, the danger, the thrill of meeting a girl who she sort-of maybe-got-along-with-when-they-weren’t-arguing… She had no choice then. With a loud groan, she sat up and reached for her phone.

*** User MEGA_GENIUS has entered the chat ***

[MEGA_GENIUS]: sup dorks
[MEGA_GENIUS]: anyone get KOd last night or what


While she waited for replies to pop up, she sent out a private message as well.

***Private Message TO User:[Destroyer]
FROM User:[MEGA_GENIUS]***

Hey
You’re Sonya, right?
Did you get ‘em?


@TheFake
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Really, it was just downright adorable, the way little Hanako seemed to believe her blatant lies. The poor girl was trying so hard to follow the instructions given, and was now tickling at a statue's nose. With a delighted smile, the bespectacled miko reached into her haori, extracting her phone and taking a picture of the cute sight, before returning it to an internal pocket.

"Good job, Hanako-chan~" Himeko called out brightly, "your technique's flawless! Only issue is, you're massively disrespecting the gods right now! In fact... oh wow, they're kinda furious!" Himeko didn't even bother pretending to feel out the 'energy' of the shrine, simply leaning on her broom and smirking, "this is terrible, we must appease them!"

Himeko straightened her back, and pointed the end of her broom to the smaller girl, "you'll have to buy a ton of sweets immediately! Offer them to the komainu statue and beg forgiveness, and only then will their rage be quelled!"

Is this what it was like to have a little sister? Really, if this girl fell for every little tall tale, the shrine maiden was sure she'd end up adopting Hanako.

@Raineh Daze
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by A Lowly Wretch
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Who watches the watcher indeed.

_
The next morning Sophia awoke in her own bed, having returned to her room for the night. When it came morning she was back at her task, busily searching the web on her phone for a new site of some promise for her to visit. She held no interest for the landmarks, the tourist traps and what-not. Her sights were set on finding a new place where she could surveil the city in relative peace.

A good few hours of searching passed but soon she had found it. A place that was relatively secure. There was an abandoned warehouse some distance away. Using the street-view function she ascertained that from most appearances the building was unoccupied. It was remote, dark inside and from all appearances empty. An ideal location to hide.

Slowly rolling out she bid her mother good day, her father currently out at another meeting for the time. After that she took the elevator down to the ground floor and rolled out the lobby into the city itself.

_
There she was. After several hours of travel she finally arrived at the old warehouse. It was even more dilapidated than it appeared in pictures. The travel was long by wheelchair but the buses there had no space nor means of access for handicapped folks like herself. That wasn't to say she couldn't stand but leaving her wheelchair behind was a big no.

After making her way past the old fence gate she found the path to the front door was uneven with debris and litter. Old stones, unkempt ground and lost pieces of miscellanea scattered about from the days of old all stood in her path, little obstacles to be overcome. Her path was unsteady and fraught with uncertainty but she pressed forth, determined to see her way through into the dark which laid ahead.

It was a little difficult navigating her wheelchair up the step that lead into the door. Giving the old rusty knob a twist she had to exert a firm effort in order to pry loose a door which had not seen use in quite some time. Inside the doorway the sunlight which backed her peaked a bit inside, illuminating the decayed interior which gave way to long deep shadows at the sides and corners away from where old broken windows stood. Through the narrow passage she negotiated her chair inside. Over old wood, loose stone and stray metal she went along until eventually she found the spot she sought. It was not in plain view of any of the windows or entrances, it was not a spot that one would come upon if they were simply traversing through room to room and best of all it was positively bathed in darkness.

Descending into the darkness she rolled her way into it. In inky black obscurity she shifted into her magical girl form. With her powers now active she merged her visage with the shadow, becoming unseen as light under this dismal relic of a structure was positively sparse. The ravens formed out from the darkness, the many manifestations fluttering out through all the various holes out into the world at large.

So began another day of surveillance for her.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Ammokkx
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Ammokkx Schwanz Kaputt

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Was the choice you made the right one?

To trust a stranger so readily, in this time of trial...

To obtain your wish, will you do anything?

Betray the trust you so readily extend?

Is this Hex Night what you desire?


~~Nico~~

Nico rose from her slumber, eyes flickering open to witness the gently shifting rays of light swaying against the roof of her room. She pushed herself up, leaning against her bed's support. She looked around her room, still as messy as it always was. The girl's muscles were slightly sore from what happened yesterday. Even if she'd come home exhausted, and even if her parents were upset for it, she didn't get a moment to skimp out on studying. Not that any of it stuck with her, not with the weight of the situation on her shoulders still. The Hex Night...

"...I'm weak, huh?" she muttered to herself after thinking back to the purple-haired girl she witnessed. Her power was intense; despite not witnessing it, Nico could feel it surpassing her by a thousand fold. Even if Nari helped her out, could she win against an opponent like that? Not only that, but was it even right to rely on Nari? It's good to have made a friend, but eventually they'd have to fight too. Just like her dream said. Could she fight another magical girl like that? Nico looked to her window. It was a little tilted, making her curtains sway in the light breeze. A shadow moved from behind it. Bird noises came from the opening. Life didn't ponder things like she did... and sitting still wasn't going to change anything.
Nico smiled politely to everyone passing her by. It was fun to see how there was always somebody new on the same road. This time, a couple only a year or two older than her. They were awfully relaxed and nonchalant about everything. The duo ignored their surroundings almost entirely, after all. Nico could keep staring at the two of them and neither would notice, not even as she naturally got closer as she continued on her way. The two of them were engrossed with each-other's eyes. A few giggles from the woman after some teasing by the man. A snuggle as she passed by. Nico averted her gaze, tilting it down to hide the soft smile that formed at the sight. She wasn't particularly desperate or anything. Seeing two people like that just made her feel warm. It was nice to see people being happy with each-other. Some just don't have a need for shades.

"I wonder if there's someone who likes me that way...?"

Nico's thoughts were interrupted by a soft meow coming from just behind her. She stopped and looked down to her right, seeing the oh-so-familiar burmilla strutting confidently up to her feet. It muzzled against her leg, making the girl let out a sigh. "Really... you show up at the worst times, you know?" she complained, but her face told a different story. Nico crouched down to scratch the kitty behind its ears, being met with a purr of delight. Before she knew it, the cat suddenly jumped into her arms, causing Nico to nearly stumble backwards. "A-ah!" she grunted, trying to gain a hold of her footing. She complained that "you should really be more careful," when it came to talking to the cat, but couldn't find it in her heart to just put it down again. So, while awkwardly holding her bag alongside the chubby creature, Nico tried her best to carry it for a while. Her one hand was free enough to pet its head still, so the little troublemaker didn't complain too much.

By the time Nico arrived at school, the cat had already gone again. Any troubles or worries she might've had were always lifted whenever she saw it. Maybe it showed up because she was worried about something. Cats are pretty smart, after all. Not that the kitty was particularly hard to read, either. The little mischief maker was always vying for attention. All in all, though, she could enter the school in high spirits and felt refreshed during the lessons. One of said lessons talked about international folklore and asked the class to share one they knew. Several ones passed by. Some were more mordern, like the monster of Loch Ness, while ancient ones talked about King Arthur and the like. One of them was about a witch that could transform into a cat. She could only do it nine times before being stuck as one, though, which was the origin of a cat's nine lives. The Cat Sith. It stood out to Nico because, well... it was a little awkward to hear about a magical cat lady when she was, in fact, a magical cat lady.

(I wonder if she was a magical girl, too...?)
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Raineh Daze
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If Hanako wasn't so habitually pale already, it would have been easier to see how pale she'd gotten. The gods were furious at her? But she'd been trying to do her best so much... and if they were against her in the hex night then she was doomed; the little girls would come back and defeat her so soundly that her arms would probably fall off or something...

But... but... she couldn't go buy any sweets! She barely had any money as it was, and she couldn't use that on something as trivial as sweets. "B-B-But I don't... I c-can't..."

@RolePlayerRoxas
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by TheFake
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Somehow, though some inhuman force of will Sonya managed to drag herself out of bed and go to school. The fight itself had lasted until they had both mutually decided to leave. The end result was that she was exhausted but managed to stay awake through her morning classes.

She hadn’t thought to check her phone until lunch time.

***Private Message TO User:[MEGA_GENIUS]
FROM User:[Destroyer]***

Caught up to them but neither of us had an edge over the other. They girl with the club was tougher than I expected a coward like that to be. Watch your back.

@Anza

Maybe she should check into the infirmary… or better yet, just go home. But she didn’t want to miss any classes and she knew that to sleeping through lunch was a terrible idea. Half dazed, she wandered up to the roof, certain that a few minutes after she finished eating couldn’t possibly hurt.

Sitting in the shade, she checked her phone again and saw a new user name asnd opened a private message with them.

Hoshino? This is Sonya. Hope you made it home alright. I’m on the roof if you wanted to chat in person.

@VitaVitaAR
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Ah, it was the other magical girl who had run off to chase the oni one and the girl with the needle spear? After a few moments, Hikari decided it didn't make any sense not to talk to her. Didn't she need to have some sort of chat with any magical girls, to learn more about all this? That was the smart thing to do. Only an idiot wouldn't! Glancing down at her phone, she noticed someone named 'Magi-Mari!' cheerfully responding that she'd already taken someone out the previous night... so some magical girls had already lost? It was a fight to get a wish, after all, so maybe some people were really rushing ahead to try and defeat as many opponents as they possibly could as early as they could.

Picking up her bento, the small brunette girl hurried out of the room and up the stairs, soon enough making her way to the roof.

When she arrived...

"Hello?

@TheFake
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Wow, this was too precious. No matter how silly Himeko made her claims, Hanako was eating it up. Putting her adorable size aside, surely a girl her age should be less naive? If gods really did exist, they definitely had better things to do than smite a cute girl for sweeping the grounds of the shrine slightly wrong. Maybe she was the type to believe in magic, too? Now that would be amusing.

But alas, too much teasing may just turn this girl into some sort of recluse, and she already seemed to have trouble being super sociable as-is. Plus, it would be cruel to confine the poor girl to the shrine all day. Might as well let her take a break.
"Relax, I'll lend you some money. We can buy some snacks together!" Himeko offered, setting the broom against the pavilion, "I'll even beg them to take it easy on you, since you're new. And cute."

And since Himeko had no intention of letting her change out of the maiden outfit, it would be easy to claim Hanako was staying off school for Important Shrine Reasons! She took the smaller girl's hand in her own, cheerily marching her down the steps towards town. It was hard to bother worrying about the Hex Night when she was so occupied with teasing Hanako.
Hidden 24 days ago 9 days ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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RETCON ENGAGED
Hidden 24 days ago Post by Raineh Daze
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Dead. She was going to be dead of embarrassment. If anyone she knew saw her like this, being dragged along in a shrine maiden outfit... there was no way that she was going to be able to show her face in the town again if she didn't drop collapse on the spot. Hanako would have to retreat to a distant cave outside of any town and live the life of a complete recluse.

"W-We're not related..." she mumbled, looking at the red-haired girl carefully. Well, it wasn't that surprising if the local shrine maiden knew someone, but wasn't it a bit odd if they hadn't shared names before?

As much as she wanted to tug her hand free, she didn't want to be seen being unable to overpower someone just a little older.
1x Laugh Laugh
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Sonya stirred from where she was slumped against the low wall that circled the rooftop. She gave an apathetic wave in greeting before lifting herself more upright.

"Oh, hi Hikari. I wasn't sure if you made it home last night, first nights can be rough. I guess that Mad Scientist kept you safe enough though. Have you heard from anyone else?"

She yawned and stretched.

"That demon girl is going to be trouble, we kept each other busy until early this morning. I wasn't sure I would even be able to make in into class today."

@VitaVitaAR
Hidden 9 days ago 9 days ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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"... So... she was that strong?" Hikari asked, shifting awkwardly as she did. She didn't really know how this stuff worked, but the oni girl had seemed pretty strong, even if she'd ended up running off. It wasn't like that didn't make sense, given she was using an oni as her power source. Though, was that her Concept or her Archetype? The small brunette wasn't certain. It sounded like it was something that could be either, based on what Tokiko had said about them.

In any case, the rest of the conversation went smoothly. As did the rest of the school day, as expected nothing much particularly happened while she was in class. The Hex Night was meant to be a secret, after all, so there was no way a magical girl could ever start a fight in broad daylight without facing the consequences.

Soon enough, it was over.

It was still quite light out when Hikari left school, perhaps a little faster then usual. As soon as she had finished her duties as class rep, she was gone as quickly as she was able.

She still didn't know her archetype. The fireworks made her think her concept was either Festivals... or Fireworks, with the former seeming more likely, but her archetype... was there a hammer related to that? Besides, she had to train more too, didn't she?

At the very least, Hikari knew she had to stop someone like that Kagami from being able to claim whatever wish she wanted.




The people who appeared next, now that school was out, were likely the last people that Hanako wanted to see at the moment. The honey-colored side-ponytail and the long black hair would be immediately familiar to her, given she had seen them just the previous night. This time, however, both of the little girls were clad in school uniforms, given that class had just let out.

"If you eat too much sweets, won't you get too soft?!" Hina could be heard crying out, as if she had absolutely no ability to control her own volume.

There were a few moments of silence on Chise's part.

"... No," she said, finally. It was the kind of tone that indicated that Chise had absolutely no conviction in her answer and did not, in fact, want to get 'too soft', but the allure of sweets was far too tempting. It seemed they had been going to the same shop as Hanako and Himeko, as well... it was only a moment before both of the girls noticed.

"Oh, Chise-chan, it's the girl from the shrine!" cried Hina, immediately turning to face Hanako. Chise turned, as well.

"... She's a miko-san too?" she asked, cocking her head slightly. But more notably, both of them had their eyes on Himeko as they approached...

"My name is Fujikawa Chise," Chise introduced herself.

"And I'm Hina! Minami Hina!" declared Hina, "We were doing... um... what was it again..."

"It's a school project," Chise reminded her, with a small sigh.

"A SCHOOL PROJECT ABOUT SHRINES!"

@TheFake@Raineh Daze@RolePlayerRoxas@Ammokkx@A Lowly Wretch@Anza
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With Hanako's hand firmly clasped in her own, the (real) shrine maiden cheerfully led her towards a lovely little shop that sold some high-quality treats. The poor girl was probably reeling with embarrassment, but that was fine. It enhanced Hanako's already-considerable cuteness to truly divine heights! They drew some attention as they walked, with Himeko saying a few words of greeting to more recognisable faces, moving on before they could enquire too far about why Himeko was travelling with a small girl dressed like a shrine maiden as well.

Her attention was drawn by a loud, young voice nearby, and couldn't help but snicker at the exchange. Two young girls, not long finished with school from the looks of them, seemed to be having some sort of discussion about their diet. She was surprised when both those girls saw Hanako and herself and approached, evidently recognising her small companion.

"...Friends from class?" the maiden teasingly asked Hanako with a smirk, then leaned down slightly to speak with the two girls, "...school project, huh? I take it you want to ask me a few questions, then?"
She doubted a few questions would take too much time. Worst-case scenario, they could walk back to the shrine together. Not that Himeko minded sticking around to help the girls with whatever they needed her for, but the longer they stayed out in public, the more likely it seemed Hanako would implode from embarrassment. Himeko had made careful and precise calculations about the exposure her new roommate could endure, after all!

@VitaVitaAR@Raineh Daze
Hidden 8 days ago Post by Raineh Daze
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"Eh, um, no..." Hanako mumbled... trying to answer both the question about being a miko--regardless of the outfit, it wasn't like she really was one!--and whether she knew those two... though that was something of a lie, wasn't it? She'd had to deal with being interrogated by the pair of children just the day before, where they had somehow worked out that she was a magical girl...

Oh no, what if they told Himeko and she didn't like magical girls? The gods would curse her even more than for the statue slip up!

Nevertheless, in case she needed to run from divine punishment... or a surprise attack from the two magical girls... Hanako endeavoured to tug her hand free.
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"That's exactly it," Chise responded, with a small nod. The brightly-smiling Hina nodded as well.

"... Wait wait, you do go to our school!?" Hina asked, suddenly, rounding on Hanako as she did. It seemed as if Himeko's mild teasing had managed to convince her that Hanako had been disingenuous about her age the previous night. Not that it took a lot of effort to convince her of such a thing, and at least Chise seemed more dubious about the matter, instead giving her friend a bit of a look before focusing on the task at hand.

Chise had planned ahead considerably more, for that matter. If Himeko was a magical girl... hadn't Hanako offered an alliance? In that case, couldn't she be expected to either stay back, or perhaps join in, if they ended up fighting Himeko? The miko was an older girl, and probably knew her powers pretty well(if she was a magical girl) which made her pretty dangerous. Of course, that relied on her getting her powers earlier in life and not recently, but... well... there was a lot of moving parts, okay? The point was Chise had a plan, and it was a plan she felt pretty confident in!

But they first had to determine if Himeko was a magical girl in the first place, and either get somewhere secluded or stall until it got darker out.

The black-haired little girl glanced wistfully at the sweets shop. ... Maybe getting somewhere more secluded could wait.

"First..." she paused for a moment, then got a piece of paper out of her backpack. On it, in quite neat scripture, was a set of questions. She had to make it convincing, after all!

"... What was it like growing up as a miko?"

@RolePlayerRoxas@Raineh Daze
Hidden 6 days ago Post by LuckyBlackCat
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❅❄ Fuyuko Yamazaki ❄❅


@VitaVitaAR

During Fuyuko's fruitless investigation that night, more brutal clashes went on closer to her home - not all of them the kind the yuki-onna imagined.

A growl sounded through the street, followed by a thud. "Uuugh..." The red-clad magical girl staggered upright, gripping the pole of her battleaxe for support. Hefting it, she charged, only for the canine girl and her wolf companion to fling her aside once more. The Woodcutter's Axe clattered to the ground. "I... I don't understand..." The losing fighter tried to rise, slumping, hood falling around her shoulders. "We're friends, aren't we? And you said you're not even taking part!"

An unusually solemn look met hers. "I'm sorry. Believe me, I wish things could be different. But some wishes are more important."

The red-cloaked warrior gave a breathless laugh. "Believe you? Why should I? My, my, what big lies you tell. All the better to cheat your way through the Hex Night with, huh? And if you're really not taking part, then who is? Who are you literally throwing everything and everyone else to the wolves for?"

Silence. Then an answer that wasn't an answer. "Just, please, stay out of it. Or I'll have no choice but to keep you out." While the okuri-okami watched for monsters, the wolf-eared girl kept her eyes trained on her opponent. "It's not just shades I've got to be on guard for. Not any more."

Her heart clenched as her fellow magical girl, on the verge of tears, retrieved her axe and stumbled away. Leaning down, Noriko placed her hand on Kiyoshi's head. "Did we do the right thing?" she whispered.

Kiyoshi nuzzled her fingers before responding. "No. We did the necessary thing."

Noriko stared down the street, her home in the distance, the shades at bay for now. A lump welled in her throat. Fuyuko may be tougher than she gave herself credit for, but the less competition, the better. The friend they'd made yesterday, though - Sophia - If it came to that, could she drive away someone who gave off the same aura of desperation her sister did?

"The necessary thing... That's all we can do," she sighed. It was, even if Fuyuko ended up hating her for it.

...


Fuyuko dragged herself through the school day, more exhausted than ever. Nearly an entire night of searching, and next to no result, save a dreamlike image of a mansion. Throughout classes, she mulled over the folk tales she knew about mysterious woodland houses, but her concentration kept slipping.

She couldn't forget how worse for wear her dad had looked asleep on the couch that morning. How out of it Noriko had seemed, for all her usual peppy encouragement. And she was sure she'd heard her mom crying, as she did more often these days. Trailing behind the other students as they left the school, she gripped her phone. The Hex Night truly was her family's only hope.

Scrolling through the chatroom text, she gaped at the latest message.

[CrimsonCloak]: Well, looks like I've gotta bow out after all, thanks to a certain someone who apparently had nothing to do with the Hex Night butting in. So much for just being a watcher. Now I'm not gonna get in edgeways. Ttyl everyone, and remember you really can't be too careful.

A watcher? Fuyuko's thoughts returned to that stare from behind a detailed mask. Her free hand raised to her mouth. Was the observer stirring up even more trouble than Shining Fist had thought? Were magical girls being threatened? Harmed? Lowering her arm, she tapped at the keys.

[snowfairy]: Oh god, are you ok? And this watcher, did they wear a rabbit mask and a suit, by any chance? If they did, this is something I'm helping to look into... Not much has come to light so far, but I'll keep trying

She waited a few minutes in case the dropout combatant was still online, but there was no reply. Fuyuko couldn't blame her for being in a huff, but resumed typing, this time to everyone else in the chat room.

[snowfairy]: Has anyone else had issues with a strange rabbit-masked person? If so, do you know who they might be, or anything about them?

Her mind raced. She had to warn Noriko, and get back to Shining Fist, before anything else happened...

Thud.

Fuyuko went sprawling, her phone flying from her hands. "Ahhh! S-Sorry!" She brought herself to one sore knee, staring up red-faced at the small brunette she'd crashed into. "Are you alright? I-I'm so sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going..."

Her gaze drifted to the ground. What she saw brought a fresh jolt of panic. Her phone was undamaged, but the screen still clearly displayed the magical girl chat room - more specifically, its Hex Night channel. Her arm shot out, scooping up the device, but the student had most likely caught a glimpse.

Of course, there was a good chance she wasn't a magical girl, Fuyuko reminded herself. If she wasn't, the site probably just looked like a chat room for some anime fandom. If she was, though... What then?
Hidden 6 days ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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VitaVitaAR King of Knights

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"Uwah!"

Why was this happening again!?

Two days in a row! Two days in a row she'd been on her way home from school, mind on important subjects, and she'd been crashed into suddenly and knocked onto her butt! How was that fair!? How was that right?! Gritting her teeth in anger, Hikari's head snapped up.

"Why don't you wa-"

And in an instant, her anger was suddenly dissipated by something else entirely.

That was the very same chatroom she'd been looking at before. The same channel. Everything. Even if the other girl had snatched it up in an instant, it had been exposed long enough for her to identify it. For a few moments, the small brunette was silent, eyes slowly drifting from the spot the phone had landed on to the girl.

This was the moment to file this knowledge away. Yes indeed, not to say a single thing about it, act as if she didn't see a thing. ... but was that right? They were magical girls after all! She was new, and it was the Hex Night where people were fighting each other and all that, but that didn't mean she had to be secretive... but was it stupid not to be? It might have been, she had to think this thro-

"You're a magical girl too!?"

The words had escaped her mouth even as her mind raced.

"..."

Some part of her had been taken by her excitement at being part of this world of magical girls. And it had slipped out in that instant. Damn it, being put into this situation...! All because someone wasn't watching where they were going again!

The the few moments since she'd asked her question, however...

[Lucky-chan]: You saw them too?

[Tetsu no Kokoro]: I saw them out my window... creepy...

[Koakuma]: What a freak! Peeping on girls like that!

@LuckyBlackCat
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