After the meeting, Connie and Mia opted to return home ahead of everyone else. The events of the day had been stressful to say the least, and the pair were both ready to unwind, with Mia planning to play some video games, while Connie listened to some music and snuggled with her stuffed animals.
When they would finally get back to their room, Connie’s school bag would be sitting open on her bed. Not entirely out of place, maybe their mom put it there or she had just forgotten to move it. While picking it up off the bed, she would catch a glint of something inside. Taking a closer look, there was a dusty glass bottle with a golden top
and crimson smoke slowly swirling inside.“U-Umm… M-Mia…? W-What’s this?”
Connie asked with a confused frown.“No idea,”
Mia replied, moving over to take a closer look. “Almost looks like a…”
the tomboy’s voice trailed off as an idea occurred to her. “Wait a minute… Is this that djinn girl’s lamp?”“Y-You mean the o-one from the C-Christmas party?”
Connie inquired.“Yeah, Ruby,”
Mia confirmed. “She was at the meeting tonight, too, at least for a little while. Wonder how this got in your backpack, though…”“Uh, d-do you t-think we s-should open it?”
Connie asked hesitantly.“We should probably wait for Miss Kayli to get back,”
Mia advised. “Chances are, it was meant for her anyway.”
Despite not handling the object, the top shifted and twisted loose with a satisfying pop. As predicted, the smoke poured out and formed a human figure, though her lower half remained the red smoke. She was very clearly Ruby, but had matured into a young woman. The golden ring on the bottle clicked open and reached its way out of the bag, resizing and clasping gently around Connie’s wrist. ”Ah ha.”
She looked around the room for a second. ”Oh thank goodness. I was worried I might end up buried in a desert or something.”
Her attention turned to the two girls, and specifically to the object now locked around Connie’s wrist. She smiled and seemed relieved. ”Well what are the odds. Congratulations, Master Connie. You have the great privilege of being my first official Master!”
Floating down her legs would form and she would bow.“M-M-Master…?!”
Connie yelped in surprise as she struggled to process everything she was seeing and hearing. “B-B-But, w-why m-me?”
the terribly confused girl asked as she looked at the bracelet that was now hanging from her wrist. “A-And, u-um, d-does t-this mean I-I get t-three w-wishes?”
Ruby would shrug just a bit. ”I can’t really answer that first question. My magic always pointed me where to go, so I guess this is just how it works now.”
The uncertainty didn’t seem to bother her much as she moved on. ”Buuut, that does mean you have three wishes. Your standard fair as far as limitations.”
Connie swallowed. At face value, this seemed like an amazing stroke of good fortune. Depending on how powerful the wishes were, she could potentially make all sorts of things better. She could wish for Sammy and Nuncio to be brought back to life. She could wish for a nicer, less scary Patron. She could even wish for Wonderland to call off its impending attack. Yet, she also knew that, even if these things could
be wished for, how the wishes actually played out might be very different from what she’d intended, so she would have to be very careful with how she chose to proceed…“G-Gosh… U-Ummm… D-Do t-these wishes h-have any l-limitations?”
Connie asked. “L-Like, I-I know I p-probably c-can’t wish for m-more wishes, b-but, um, w-would s-something like k-keeping Wonderland f-from a-attacking P-Penrose, or b-bringing someone b-back to l-life be t-too much?”
she added. “A-And e-even if y-you c-could d-do it, w-would a w-wish like that b-backfire into s-something a-awful? O-Oh! A-And, a-also, i-if y-you, um, d-don’t really l-like being a d-djinn, w-would I b-be able to w-wish for y-your f-freedom?”
Given who she was talking to, Ruby expected there to be questions. Waiting for the nightmare girl to finish she considered each one. ”I can’t prevent Wonderland from attacking. That would be forcing their will, but you might be able to wish for something to help against them. Affecting unwilling magical girls and boys doesn’t usually work. Bringing someone back depends more on how long it's been, so probably not if it’s been longer than a day.”
Some of these she wasn’t entirely sure on herself. They used to be things she couldn’t do so she wanted to air on the side of caution. ”Unfortunately there isn’t a way to undo what’s happened to me. I had a brush with too much magic and it’s stuck.”
She frowned a bit, but it seemed more in jest than sadness. ”Don’t worry about me. I made my bed a long time ago.”“O-Oh, I s-see…”
Connie replied glumly. That really didn’t leave a lot of options… “U-Umm, i-in that c-case, can I t-think about it a bit, or i-is there a t-time limit?”
she inquired, while nervously fidgeting with her hands.
The young woman would shake her head. ”There’s no time limit. You are my Master until your three wishes are used or you wish me away. I do look forward to what you have in mind though.”
She would tap a finger to her lips and hum before leaning closer and touching the clasp around Connie’s wrist. ”Let me take care of this so it isn’t so awkward.”
The chain and bottle would retract and shrink down as the whole thing would become a golden bracelet with a sizable ruby gem inset on it. It was still too small to remove, but wasn’t uncomfortable in any way.“O-Oh! U-Uh, t-thank you…”
Connie told the djinn girl softly. “A-And I-I’m glad there’s n-no rush,”
she added, sounding considerably more relieved. “I-In that c-case, I-I g-guess I s-should t-take some t-time to t-think things o-over, m-maybe ask s-some f-friends f-for their a-advice…”
she added thoughtfully. “D-Do you h-have any ideas, M-Mia?”
For her part, the tomboy had been listening to the conversation with a mixture of fascination and concern. After all, the last thing she wanted was for this “gift” to somehow leave her beloved best friend feeling even more
miserable.“I don’t know, little sis,”
Mia replied with a frown as she scratched the back of her neck. “I mean, I guess wishin’ for all of our friends and everyone else in the city to be kept safe from Wonderland might be a start,”
she offered. “Or is somethin’ like that too much to ask for?”
Rubbing her chin, Ruby would consider the prospect. ”I think it might be. Protecting everyone from an entire kingdom is a big ask. Though, someone wished for something similar in the past. They were able to protect the public from magical attacks, but not magical girls. That protection stopped when the one that wished for it left Penrose.”
Those events felt like an eternity ago. Actually, that was a thing there had been talking about during the meeting wasn’t it? That took a lot out of her then, but as a full Djinn she wasn’t entirely sure of her limits. “S-So, um, c-could we m-maybe try that?”
Connie asked hesitantly. “I-I really d-don’t want to s-see anyone else g-get h-hurt… O-Or k-killed,”
she added softly.”You'll have to put it into a wish of some kind.”
She would instruct. “O-Okay,”
Connie nodded, taking a deep breath. “U-Um, s-so, I-I wish for e-everyone in P-Penrose to be p-protected from b-being h-harmed or k-killed by Wonderland.”
Calling upon her magic, the Djinn felt out the wish. It was a tall order and as she reached out the line of magic broke out into more and more threads until she could no longer keep track of them all. Snapping back into the moment she would shake her head. ”I’m sorry Master. That wish encompass too many for my power to reach. Wonderland is a strange and powerful place.”
She seemed disappointed that she wasn’t able to achieve what was asked of her. “O-Oh… I s-see…”
Connie replied with a sullen frown. “T-Thank you for trying, though…”
She thought for a moment as she considered what other possible wishes she might ask for. “U-Um… I-I guess I’ll n-need to a-ask my f-friends to s-see if t-there’s a-anything a w-wish might be a-able to h-help them w-with…”
she noted. “B-But, b-before that, i-is there a-anything y-you’d like me t-to wish f-for on y-your behalf?”
she asked the Djinn with a hopeful smile.
She really shouldn’t be surprised that one of the girls that Kayli adopted was the giving sort. With as many wishes as she’d given out over the years, you would think that it would be easy to come up with one herself. She could, but it made her a lot more happy when it was from someone else. Put on the spot though she was finding it hard to find anything that would work. As a magical girl she was more a proxy and that made it easier to skirt the line. As a Djinn though, she almost couldn’t grant her own wishes. A couple times she opened her mouth to say something, but then stopped and had to rethink it as it just wouldn’t hash out in her head. ”I would like to seeee…”
She struggled until she stopped trying to be as charitable. ”you… not be… less confident.”
As odd as it sounded, it was the best way she could articulate it. Making Connie the focus was strangely easier than for anyone else. She was her Master currently so that likely was the cause.“Y-You… W-Want me to b-be more c-confident…?”
Connie asked, sounding more than a little puzzled. “I-Is t-that something y-you could h-help me w-with?”
Seeing that Connie picked up on what she was implying, Ruby nodded. ”If that is something you wish.”
She would give a nervous smile. ”Sorry if that sounded a little rude, Master. I’m not quite myself.”“T-That’s o-okay!”
Connie was quick to reassure the Djinn girl, holding her trembling hands up in a placating gesture. “I-If you’re not f-feeling all right, i-is there s-something I can h-help you w-with?”
she asked, her visage and voice filled with concern.”It’s the nature of a Djinn. I am here to serve you. Master, not the other way around.”
She would say calmly while holding her hands up as if to say she couldn’t help it.“B-But, i-isn’t answering o-one of m-my questions s-still s-serving me?”
Connie asked, tilting her head in slight confusion. “E-Even if t-that question was w-what y-you would w-wish for i-if you could m-make a w-wish of your o-own?””In a sense. I can answer questions, but even if I wanted something I probably couldn’t do it because I would know it’s not really your wish.”
It was clear that Connie was intent on giving something back before anything else. It was a little more than frustrating to Ruby as she was fighting her instincts. Something came to her after a bit. ”Master, I don't think you understand. I’m not like you or Mia. I can't just do whatever I want.”
Ruby would point to the bracelet. ”That is my prison. Granted, an extremely comfortable one, but still a prison. It limits me. So as long as it is bound to you I have to do as you wish, not as you say.”
She put her hands together in front of her as she spoke in a slightly firmer tone.“I-I see…”
Connie murmured, her eyes downcast. “A-And I’m s-sorry for m-making things s-so d-difficult…”
she added with a sniffle as she tried to fight back tears. “I-It’s just that, w-when I s-see people s-suffering, I w-want to do a-all I c-can to h-help them. A-As for h-helping me to b-become more c-confident, that’s s-something I’d like, too,”
she explained with a small smile. “I-It’s just… w-well, I k-kind of w-wanted to b-build that c-confidence on my own… B-But, um, t-there is o-one t-thing you c-could maybe h-help me w-with…”
the timid girl noted, while continuing to fidget with her hands. “I-I’d really l-like to s-stop b-being a-afraid of m-m-masks… Y-You s-see, I-I’ve been w-wanting to t-take a p-picture of M-Mia and I in our m-magical girl f-forms to go w-with this one h-here,”
she continued, gesturing to a framed photo of the pair making a heart with their hands. “B-But, s-since I w-wear a m-m-mask w-when I t-transform, I-I’d n-never be a-able to l-look at it… S-So, um, i-if you c-could do that, t-then I would r-really appreciate it!”
she finished with a hopeful smile.
Stepping over and reaching out, Ruby would pat Connie on the shoulder. ”Hey, it’s alright, Master. This whole thing with the bottle and rules, it’s new to me too. It’s not any of your fault.”
She would put a finger under Connie’s chin and tilt her head up so she could look at her directly. ”If you want the mask off, then you’re going to have to start with ‘I wish…’ Okay?”“O-Oh, um, I-I didn’t w-want to r-remove it,”
Connie corrected. “J-Just my f-fear of it. S-So, um, i-if that w-works, then, I-I wish I c-could s-stop being a-afraid of m-m-masks,”
she told the Djinn girl with as much determination as she could muster.
Blinking for a second, Ruby wondered if her mistake in intent was Connie’s roundabout way of explaining things, or her reaching for greater, more consequential wishes. The line of thought abruptly stopped when she heard the word “wish.” A simple ask. It was a start she supposed. ”As you wish, Master Connie.”
Snapping her fingers, nothing obvious or remarkable would happen. ”Your request has been granted.”
Waving her hand over her face she produced a frowning jester’s mask. The fear that Connie would expect never rose as if the mask wasn't even there.“O-Oh gosh!”
Connie gasped in happy surprise, while clasping her hands together. “I-It really worked! W-We can f-finally take that picture, now, Mia!”
she added, turning to her friend with an excited smile.“Sure can, little sis,”
the tomboy confirmed with a grin of her own. “In fact, we could do it right now if ya want,”
she added.“Y-Yes, let’s!”
Connie agreed with an enthusiastic nod. “U-Um, w-would you m-mind taking the picture?”
she asked Ruby, while offering the Djinn girl her phone.
The mask would disappear. ”Sure.”
Taking the phone, she would give them time to get ready before taking a few pictures. She would then hand it back for them to review. “O-Oh wow!”
the now transformed Connie gushed as she looked at one of the pictures. “I-It looks g-great!”“It does indeed, little sister,”
Gaia confirmed with a serene smile.“T-Thank you so much!”
Connie added, looking back up at Ruby, before rushing over to give the Djinn girl a big hug.
Ruby returned the hug, though maybe not as enthusiastically. It wasn't like she had a choice to not grant the wish. ”You're welcome, Master Connie.” “S-So, um, s-since it’ll p-probably be a l-little while b-before I f-figure out w-what my other two w-wishes will be, I, uh, g-guess you c-can go back in y-your bottle n-now,”
Connie told her. “B-But, o-only if you w-want to!”
she hastened to add. Clearly it was quite difficult for such a kindhearted and timid girl to give others orders.
Ruby would nod. ”That might be for the best. It really isn’t that bad in there, so it’s not like I hate it. If you need me then all you have to do is rub the gem.“
Ruby would turn into a wisp of red smoke and would seep into the ruby on the bracelet.
The next morning, Kayli had not come back from wherever she’d gone. The girls would take the bus to school. Morning passed into afternoon and when they returned from school there was still no sign of her and no response from her phone. Eventually, as the sun was beginning to lower its way toward the horizon, a magical girl in all blue would arrive and enter the house. Before either Connie or Mia could check to see who it was, Kayli would appear next to her. The two would look at one another for a second. ”This isn’t the same as with Jenna.”
Shaking her head in agreement, Kayli would speak up. ”Definitely not. Girls, I’m home!”
The two would make their way to the living room. “W-Welcome home!”
Connie would call out as she hurried down the stairs with Mia close behind. “W-We were s-starting to get w-worried…”“Yeah,”
Mia added. “And who’s this?”
she inquired, turning to look her guardian’s companion over more carefully.
Kayli would give them both a hug. ”Sorry for worrying you. If I'd known it was going to take as long as it did I would have warned you.
Directing their attention to the girl. ”This is Janet. You may remember her as a knight with her twin sister Jenna. This is a little more like how she looked when first becoming a magical girl.
Janet would wave lightly to the two girls. ”Hello. Nice to see you again.” ”The reason I was away was to find the Nexus. Well, I found it and it is alive in a sense. It's difficult to describe but after passing it's tests and speaking with one of the Grand Magistrates I accepted the responsibility of becoming the Guardian of the Nexus. That is where Janet comes in. I am technically her untransformed form, so I get to stay here with you, while she is the Guardian half meant to protect Penrose and the Nexus.”
She would hold up a finger to clarify. ”There will be times that I will have to rejoin Janet. She is not as strong whenever we are apart. But keep in mind that we share most of the same consciousness, so anything you tell her I will know as well.”
That was probably a lot to drop on them, so Kayli explained it calmly to hopefully keep things from being overwhelming. “G-Gosh…”
Connie whispered, her mind still trying to make sense of everything Kayli had told them. “U-Um, o-okay,”
she added a moment later, before turning to face Janet. “I-it’s um, v-very nice to m-meet you,”
she told the other young woman with a kind smile.“Same here,”
Mia added. “I’m not gonna even try to make sense of all this ‘Nexus’ stuff, but I trust you both to keep it safe. Oh, and if ya ever need any help, Connie and I would be only too happy to lend a hand, right little sis?”“R-Right!”
Connie agreed with an emphatic nod. “S-So p-please don’t h-hesitate to ask!”
she added, clasping her trembling hands together.”I will be needing both of your help. I may be the guardian, but if we want to put an end to this constant fight for power then we have to do it together. We will need the others as well. With enough of us we can seal the Nexus. We will also need the Queen of Hearts to be in the right place, so there is some planning to do.
She would explain. “G-Gosh… T-That s-sounds r-really c-complicated…”
Connie noted with a frown. “B-But Mia and I will d-do our b-best!”
she added, clenching her fists with determination.“Damn straight, little sis!”
Mia added with a grin, while putting an arm around her friend’s shoulder.
While this development was a little late as the meeting that had just ended the other day, Janet was sure they could get in contact with enough people to accomplish the goal. Kayli and Janet would both notice the object around Connie’s wrist, able to clearly see the magic infused in it.”Connie, what is that you’re wearing?”
While the magic seemed familiar, she wasn’t completely sure it was the same as what she suspected.“O-Oh! U-Um, t-this is f-from R-Ruby, the D-Djinn girl,”
Connie explained, holding up the bracelet and pointing to it with a trembling finger. “S-She s-stopped by a-after w-we got b-back from the m-meeting and t-told me I w-was her n-new m-master.””New master?”
She would ask out loud. ”Can I speak with her?”“O-Oh, uh, I-I guess so…”
Connie replied, sliding her shaking fingers across the bracelet. “U-Um, R-Ruby? C-Could you p-please come o-out?”
The red smoke would swirl out of the gem and form Ruby. ”Yes, Master Connie?”
She would turn her head and spot Kayli and Janet. ”Oh! You made it did you? Congratulations.”
Kayli would put her hands on her hips. ”What’s this about Connie being your master?””Well, by granting your wish I had a brush with the Nexus. Unlike you I didn’t have protection from its power. It could have killed me, but instead it did what Ilum always threatened me with and turned me into a Djinn.”
She held up her arms to show the shackles. ”Bindings and all. Then I found myself here with Connie and she became my Master. At least until she finishes her three wishes, and then I’m not quite sure what comes next.”
Well, that all checked out. She would look over to Connie. ”Well, it looks like it’s you’re lucky day. Have you made any wishes yet?”
She would ask out of curiosity. “I-I have,”
the timid girl confirmed with a nod. “I-I wished that I w-wasn’t afraid of m-masks anymore.””Mmm, a good choice.”
She would step over and give Connie a hug.“T-Thanks,”
Connie replied with an appreciative smile as she returned the embrace. “N-Now I w-won’t have to w-worry about accidentally l-looking at my reflection w-while I’m t-transformed,”
she explained. “P-Plus, Mia and I were f-finally able to have a p-picture taken of us in our m-magical girl forms!”
she added happily. “W-Would you like to s-see it?””I would love to see it.”
Retrieving her phone, Connie showed Kayli and Janet the picture Ruby had taken of her and Mia.
Kayli and Janet would have a similar reaction as they both leaned closer and smiled practically in unison. It gave credence to the idea that they were linked in some way. ”Thats a lovely photo. I'm so glad that you're able to do these things now.”
Kayli would look over to Ruby. ”Thank you for helping my daughter.” ”Just doing my job for Master Connie.” “I-I’m h-having some t-trouble deciding w-what my other two w-wishes should be,”
Connie confessed. “S-So, um, d-do you k-know of a-anyone who has a p-problem that a w-wish might h-help with?”
she asked Kayli and Janet.
Crossing her arms for a moment, Kayli would consider the question. ”Angel of Hope has some friends that needed some kind of help. I don't know all of the details, but I was going to find out soon.” “W-Well, I’d l-love to h-help them i-if I can,”
Connie replied. “S-So, um, c-could I come along w-when you m-meet with her?””Of course. Though you will be going with Janet since she is the one able to properly use our magic.”
She would point out.“O-Oh, um, o-okay,”
Connie acknowledged. “A-And c-could Mia come, t-too?”
she inquired, pretty sure she knew the answer, but wanting to make sure, just in case.”I don’t see why not.”“S-So, uh, w-when were you t-thinking of m-meeting with them?”
Connie asked.”I’m still working that out. I didn’t expect to be gone for a whole day. There are important things that I need to take care of first.”
Updating Alicia being the first thing on her list.“O-Oh, I s-see…”
Connie replied. “W-Well, um, p-please let us k-know when y-you d-decide,”
she added, clasping her shaking hands together. Not only was she eager to help others in need, but she wasn’t sure exactly how long she was allowed to hang onto Ruby’s lamp for without using another wish.
It would be a day or so before Janet was free to meet up with the Angel of Hope and her compatriots. After being led by the Angel to the back room of A Taste of Heaven Tea Shop, The Keeper, along with Connie and Gaia would find a motley assortment of magical girls seated around a table. Among the more notable were a blue-skinned young woman with four arms, an incredibly sickly-looking girl in some form of containment field, and a girl wearing a raincoat, who was being drenched by the storm cloud hovering over her head.“Warmest greetings once again, Miss Angel,” a small fairy
announced as she fluttered up to the new arrivals. “Might these be the friends you mentioned?”“Yes,”
the Angel confirmed with a radiant smile. “These are the kind and selfless souls who have agreed to alleviate the tragic burdens of all gathered here,”
she added, gesturing to her companions.And thank fuck for that…“H-Hello, I-I’m C-Connie,”
the masked maiden introduced herself with a small wave. “I-It’s v-very nice to m-meet you. T-This is m-my b-best friend,”
she added gesturing to the verdant maiden beside her.“Gaia, Daughter of Mother Earth,”
the botanical beauty greeted with a demure curtsy. “A pleasure to make your acquaintances.””It’s nice to meet you all.” “Thank you all so very much for coming,”
the fairy told them with a curtsy. “I am Healing Fairy Isis, the humble organizer of this support group. Going clockwise around the table, we have Kali, Selene, Alice, her friend Margret, Akari, and her friend Miyuki. I take it the Angel has told you about our members’ various problems?”
she inquired.”To a degree. I should be able to get a much better idea now that I’m here in the flesh.”
Using her Third Eye, Janet would take the opportunity to check on each one of the girls. Mainly, she was looking for the debilitating aspects of their magic.
With Kali’s she could tell right away she could assist without much fuss. Her magic had been tailored just for such a thing; Akari’s situation she could perhaps deal with, Oddball specs were harder to read directly so it would probably be best to ask a few questions; Alice’s gave have her a familiar feeling, being that Janet could see aspects of all other specs shifting in and out. It was almost like a less refined version of her own magic. It could perhaps be tamed; Selene was one that she might have to do some thinking for. That didn’t mean there were no options at their disposal.
Having taken stock of everyone, Janet would smile and hold her arms out. ”My, I see the kinds of trouble you have had to deal with. I’m sorry you’ve all had to go though this. I have good news though. I believe we should be able to help each of you in some way.”
She wanted to be sure to utilize the right fix for each, so she would spend a little time and allow each of them to explain their ailments in more detail. With that done Janet would begin by turning to Kali. ”If you consent, I can remove the corrupting magic that has turned you into a monster girl. You will become a normal magical girl without the need feed off life force or deal with the other negative mutations.”
She would hold out a hand. ”If that is something you would like then please take my hand.”“O-Oh, wow…”
Kali gasped as she slowly held out her hand. “I-I would love that!”
she added, tears of joy filling her eyes.
Taking hold of the hand, a soft glow would build and pass from Janet to Kali. Purifying magic swirled around the two. Firstly, the gnawing hunger that had been gripping the girl faded away. She could think clearly again. Inch by inch, she began to shrink down from her towering height to a more typical size for an overdeveloped magical girl. The additional arms retracted and shrank away while her blue skin changed to a more natural dark tone. Janet steadied the girl as everything had changed. ”You have been purified. You are now free from the corrupting magics.” “I-I don’t believe it…”
Kali whispered in awe as she looked over her changed body. “I-I’m normal again!”
she cried with joy as she embraced Janet. “Thank you so much!””You're welcome.”
She returned the hug.“H-Holy crap…”
Alice whispered.“OMG! That’s so amazing!”
Margret cheered.“I-I’m (cough!) S-So… happy… for y-you,”
Akari told Kali with a tired smile.“Same here!”
Miyuki added, giving the purified girl a thumbs up.“Oh, how wonderful!”
the Angel declared, clasping her hands together as her eyes filled with joyful tears.“Uh, can I go next?”
Selene asked.”Of course. Yours I see a few options. There are some out there that can absorb your excess magic, we would need to find such an individual and I would be more than happy to assist in that; You could use a Red coin that can alter your magic; Or Connie here could ask a friend of ours to assist you with your magic.”
Since this one had a few different options she wanted to present them so that Selene could decide. “Well, I’d like to get this shitty situation resolved sooner, rather than later, and I’ve never even heard of a Red coin before,”
Selene explained. “So, uh, who’s this friend of yours?”
she asked Connie.“O-Oh! U-Um, h-her n-name is R-Ruby,”
the timid girl replied, slightly startled at becoming the center of attention. “S-She’s a d-djinn, a-and can g-grant w-wishes.”“No shit?”
Selene asked, her eyes going wide. “That sounds awesome!”“Yes, most extraordinary indeed!”
the Angel concurred.Holy fuck… That djinn girl bullshit is real, too?!“O-Okay,”
Connie said with a nod. “I-I’ll s-summon her t-then.”
Sliding her shaking fingers over her bracelet, the masked maiden called, “R-Ruby? C-Can you c-come out p-please?”
Smoke would pour out from the ring and form into Ruby. She would glance around at the gathering and the space they were in. She wasn't really a fan of being in such a public place, but she didn't really have a say in the matter. ”Master Connie. How may I serve you?”
She would bow to Connie. “U-Um, w-well, t-this is S-Selene,”
the masked maiden began, gesturing to the raincoat-wearing young woman. “S-She c-can’t c-control her m-magic, s-so u-um, I-I was w-wondering, w-would you b-be able to h-help with t-that?”
Glancing over to Selene, Ruby’s eyes would drift upward to the cloud. After a moment, she would turn back to Connie. ”Yes Master, I believe something could be done about that.”
She would refrain from any suggestions. “O-Okay,”
Connie nodded. “T-Then, I w-wish for S-Selene to b-be able to c-control her m-magic.””As you wish.”
The young woman would face Selene and reach a hand out. She first would take hold of the cloud and pull it away, bringing it in close and whispering something to it. Her other hand would be placed on Selene's head. Selene herself would feel a shift in her magic. Her aptitude to sense and direct her magic increased as she gained access to Mana Channel. Releasing the cloud, it dissolved and swirled around the water girl. As if possessing a slight control of the weather, the external expression of Selene's magic became linked to her mood. If she was sad or depressed then the raincloud would return, windy if anxious, sunshine when happy, stormy if angry, and so on. It might not be exactly what she wanted, but the girl wasn't doomed to live in perpetual rain.
Retracting her hands, Ruby would bow to Connie. ”Your wish has been granted.” “D-Do you f-feel any b-better?”
Connie asked Selene.“Y-Yeah…Thanks,”
the storm maiden replied to both Connie and Ruby. “My magic’s still insanely strong, but I feel like I’ve got more control over it now, so I guess that’s better than nothing.”“It looks like you now have access to Mana Channeling,”
Miyuki noted, an energy visor appearing over her eyes as she ran a diagnostic scan on Selene. “It’ll let you transfer some of your mana into a secondary vessel so that it isn’t so overwhelming,”
the technopath explained. “Normally, that’s another person, but I think I should be able to create a device that can serve as a container. That way, you hopefully won’t have to deal with your magic bothering you while you’re not transformed.”“Wow… Uh, thanks, Miyuki,”
Selene told the gadgeteer, clearly taken aback by all the recent revelations.“No problem!”
Miyuki replied with a cheerful smile. “I love making new gear, especially if it helps my friends! And speaking of friends,”
she added, her tone becoming substantially more sober. “Could you help Akari next?”“P-Please… L-Let Alice g-go… (cough!) n-next…”
Miyuki began, before noticing the pleading look in her sickly friend’s tired eyes. “Okay…”
she relented with a resigned sigh. “I guess you’re up next, Alice.”
Looking between the remaining two girls, Janet would reassure them. ”I should be able to help the both of you.”
Stepping forward, she would wave a hand over Alice. Being connected to the Nexus, she could feel a similar link between it and the girl. ”Please hold still. This might be a little intense.”
Giving Alice a moment, Janet would then place a hand on the girl’s head. Alice’s magic would shift and redirect to the Nexus through Janet herself. The magical surge hit like a truck, but it was obvious that the Guardian was acting as a buffer to protect Alice from being overwhelmed. While her magic didn’t change, the range of the Oddball magic compressed and narrowed. The highs dropped and the lows rose as the girl’s connection with the Nexus’ power stabilized.
As the magic turmoil began to settle, Janet would remove her hand and Alice’s magic would reconnect to its normal flow. Her magic was still random, but it would no longer be entirely useless or uncontrollably powerful. Internally the girl could feel that with the right practice or training she might even be able to influence the manner in which the magic manifested.
Taking a deep breath and getting herself in order again, Janet would clasp her hands together. ”You’re magic has been realigned with the Nexus. Your spells should now be more moderate when you use your magic.” “T-Thank you,”
Alice said after taking a moment to regain her bearings. “I-I’m not sure what the Nexus is, but I’ll take whatever help I can get. M-Maybe now my magic can actually be useful.”“OMG! I’m so happy for you!”
Margret squealed, rushing over to give Alice a hug, followed by Janet. “Thank you sooo much for helping my BFF!”
she told the Keeper with a cheerful giggle.”You are very welcome.”
She would return the hug. Once released she would turn to Akari. ”And of course last, but certainly not least, let’s get you out of this chamber so you can be with your friends.”
Magic building up around her, the surrounding air became cleansed.
Before anyone could object, she stepped over to the hatch, would crank the latch, and pull the door open. The deathly air that escaped hit Janet’s aura and became instantly clean. Forming a ball of magic in her hands, it drifted up and flew toward Akari. The girl was enveloped in light as the healing and purification magic took away each illness one by one. After about half a minute the glow began to die down and Akari stood with a clean bill of health as she did when first becoming a magical girl.“A-Akari… You’re cured!”
Miyuki cheered as she deactivated the containment field and embraced her friend. “Oh, I can’t thank you enough!”
she told Janet. “And you, too, Angel!”“Simply seeing this selfless champion healed of her afflictions is all the thanks this humble servant has need of,”
the Angel replied, clasping her hands over her chest. Fuck… Wish I had that kinda cheat code level power…“You have my thanks as well,”
Akari added with a demure bow. “I must confess, it does feel wonderful to be able to breathe freely again, and now I shall also be able to cure even more suffering people of their ailments.”“Um, do you think it would be possible to infuse some of your healing power into a medical device?”
Miyuki asked Janet, holding up one such ultratech apparatus. “That way, I’ll be able to heal Akari myself if she starts to absorb too many illnesses again.”
Janet would look down at the device. ”Perhaps, but not at this time. I must be ready for the upcoming conflict in Penrose, so I only have so much to use freely. If Akari seeks out a healer regularly then they should be able to keep her healthy without needing a significant intervention.”
Though she would willingly assist again, she didn't want Akari having to rely on just her to stay well. “Oh, I see,”
Miyuki replied. “Well, if regular healing magic will work on her now, then I should be able to ensure she remains in good health,”
the technomancer added with a confident grin.
Janet would take a step back and lean over to Angel slightly. She would whisper and respond to the inner monologue. ”It doesn't come without its responsibilities.”
She would smile gently. “Oh, yes indeed,”
the Angel replied, sounding only slightly startled. “This humble servant would imagine so. After all, those blessed with great powers must always strive to use them for the good of others and with the utmost of care.”H-Holy shit… C-Can she hear thoughts, too?!”Not something I do regularly, but I sensed a conflict in your emotions. I presume Angel of Hope takes the reigns whenever you transform?”
It seemed like Janet hadn't been ease dropping much until that point. The mental message had a friendly, understanding tone to it. Uh, heh, y-yeah…
“the Angel’s” mental voice conceded awkwardly. That fucking fuzzball forces me to act all stupid whenever I transform…
the mental voice grumbled. It fucking sucks…
Seemed the two were both present and aware at the same time. She would address them both then. ”I see. Is this something you can control? Maybe there could be something of a compromise.” If I could control it, do you think I’d still be acting like this?!
the mental voice shot back. It’s like some kinda fuckin’ compulsion…
Well then. Suppose this wasn't the most unusual circumstance to find a magical girl in. Patrons and magic always seemed to have varying impacts on an individual whether intended or accidental. After a bit of probing it seemed like this was something that Angel's patron put in place. Given the disparity between the two, Janet wouldn't be surprised if a humble champion was the goal and the one ultimately chosen didn't fit the mold. ”You might already suspect this, but from what I can tell fostering some humility and restraint might allow you to bridge that gap and have more control when transformed.” You mean just fuckin’ accept it?! How the hell is that supposed to help?! Can’t you do something with your cheat code magic? Y’know, something that actually works?”Accept it? No. I’m not the biggest fan of Patrons forcing things on their charges. But I have dealt with my share of mental conflicts. I’d rather give you the best shot of keeping control since it’s likely that some time after I’m not around that your patron will try and put things back the way they want things and you’ll be right back here again. You don’t have to be a bleeding heart, just tone down the sass when the job calls for it and be yourself any other time.”
She did her best to reason with Angela. Perhaps she should put her in contact with people she could properly vent to. She wouldn’t be the only one dropped into a position they didn’t ask to be in.I already have to act like some self-effacing shit head while I’m transformed, so why the hell would I want to try being that way twenty-four fuckin’ seven?! No thanks! And if you’re so worried about my dumbass patron, then can’t ya just get me a new one? That seems like something that OP as fuck djinn girl could do, even if you can’t.
Janet would glance around in the room of happy faces. Things were up, and she didn’t want to sour the mood by bringing Angela out here and now. ”Very well. Once things are done here then I will free you from your mental bonds. We’ll see if there’s anything else we need to do after that.”Great, then let’s get this over with…“Oh my heavens! Seeing you freed from your various afflictions fills this humble servant with such abundant gladness, good champions!”
the Angel declared with a dazzling smile, even as tears of joy glistened in her eyes.“On behalf of the Inconvenient Magical Abilities Support Group, I wish to convey my deepest thanks,”
Isis said as she fluttered up to the Angel and gave a respectful curtsy. “Both to you, and to your generous companions. I only wish there was some way I could repay the great kindness you’ve shown us.”“Simply knowing that this humble servant was able to help in making this miracle possible is a more than sufficient reward,”
the Angel replied with a demure curtsy of her own.If things work out, the Keeper will be handling that part… Oh, and the most heavenly bliss that kind Master Chiichuu shall award me with for accomplishing this noble task should not be discounted either! As much as I hate to admit it…“Y-Yes,”
Connie spoke up. “I-I’m j-just glad R-Ruby and I w-were able to h-help,”
she added, her mask forming a happy smile as she clasped her trembling hands together.“You did a wonderful job today, little sister,”
Gaia told her timid friend with a warm smile as she placed a hand on her shoulder. “I am so very proud of you.”
Giving Connie a hug, Janet would encourage the girl as well. ”Yes, great job Connie. You always have such a big heart.”
Though Janet was the one speaking, the words clearly were coming from Kayli.
Janet would turn back to the others and put her hands together. Giving a humble bow she would address them. ”I'm glad that we were able to help you all. I hope to be a resource to your group in the future.”
Saying their final farewells to the support group’s various members, Janet, Connie, Gaia, and the Angel began to make their way back home. “Many blessings be upon you all, most generous champions,”
the Angel bid the others when the time came to part ways. “It would be this humble servant’s great pleasure and honor to be permitted to again assist such noble paragons in the service of those in need at some point in the hopefully not too distant future,”
she added with a kind smile.And more importantly, fix that fur ball’s fuckin’ brainwashing…”I hope to have the opportunity again as well. Now let's take care of your issue.”
She would stop and turn to Angel of Hope. Reaching up she would place two finger against the magical girl’s forehead. The compulsion that had a hold of Angela would begin to fade as her true personality was able to surface. “H-Holy fuck…”
the “Angel” breathed, her eyes going wide. “I can curse!”
she added with a giddy laugh. “I can say whatever the hell I wanna say! This is fuckin’ awesome!”
For their part, Connie and Gaia both gave voice to a startled gasp at their companion’s massively altered demeanor.“Mother’s Mantel…”
Gaia murmured.“U-Ummm… M-M-Miss A-Angel….?”
a very confused Connie asked hesitantly. “A-Are y-y-you… o-okay…?”“I’m more than okay,”
the angelic maiden replied with a grin. “I’m fuckin’ fantastic! My moronic patron forced me to act like some stupid ‘goody-two-shoes’ whenever I transformed,”
she explained when she saw the look of utter bewilderment that was still being displayed by Connie’s mask. “But now I can be my real self in both forms! Still… You’re right about that stupid fuzzball tryin’ to change things back to how they were,”
she added, glancing at Janet for a moment, before turning her attention back to Connie. “But you still have at least one more wish left with that djinn chick, right?!”
she asked eagerly. “That means you can wish to get me a new patron!”“W-W-Well, um, I-I g-guess I-I c-can t-try…”
the masked maiden conceded, running her shaking fingers over her bracelet’s glowing jewel.
Ruby would once again appear before the group and turn her attention to Connie. ”You called for me, Master Connie?”“Y-Yes,”
Connie confirmed with a nod. “I-I’d like to g-give M-Miss A-Angel a n-new p-patron, a-and I was w-wondering if t-that was s-something y-you think you m-might be a-able to d-do.”
she explained, while nervously fidgeting with her hands.
Ruby would look at Angel for a second. ”Perhaps. If that is also something she wants.” “You bet your ass it is,”
the Angel confirmed with an adamant nod.”Then you must make your wish, Master.”
She would look back to Connie. “O-Okay, s-so, u-um, I w-wish for M-Miss Angel to h-have a b-better p-patron, o-one who r-respects her a-and allows h-her to b-be herself,”
Connie stated. Although she was still deeply confused by the whole situation (and especially the Angel’s new, far less angelic, personality), she was also firmly opposed to anyone controlling the behavior of others without their consent. Thus, she wanted to do everything she could to help the Angel out with her current problem.”As you wish, Master.”
Turning over to Angel she would lean a bit closer. The request was fine on its own, but she knew nothing of Angela and her personality. ”What is it you desire?”
She would ask for further detail. She had something in mind, but it might not fit the mold in this case.“Well, I guess I just want a patron that’ll give me more freedom, and won’t force me to act like some wimpy ‘paragon of justice’ or any other fucked up thing they have in mind,”
the Angel replied. “Basically, what I’m saying is, I want to still be able to act like myself while I’m transformed, without any weird restrictions or compulsions.”
After a moment of silence she would nod to herself. There was a parallel that she picked up on about Angel and her personality. Standing back up to her full height, Ruby would put her hands on her hips. ”I accept your terms.”
Holding a hand out, the bracelet around Connie’s wrist would unlatch and fly to Ruby, returning to its bottle form. Uncorking the top, she pinched something at the opening and pulled out a document. ”It wasn't long ago that I dealt with such compulsions from my own patron. I did not escape the consequences put upon me, which is why you see me as you do now. However, I believe I can provide what it is you seek.”
Reaching out, she would present and allow Angela to read the contract.
The doc stipulated that Ruby would become her new patron for the purposes of maintaining her as a magical girl. As a Patron, there would be requests to complete tasks without any compulsive components to force Angela into doing them. Angel of Hope will be given Closure to avoid retribution from her former patron and be reborn as a new magical girl based on her true self rather than anything Ruby might prefer. “Wow… This is great,”
the Angel said as she read over the contract. Indeed, it looked as though the djinn girl had really covered all the bases. “Thanks,”
she added, turning to look up at Ruby once she’d finally finished reading.
Ruby would produce a pen and sign her name down at the bottom of the contract and then pass it back for Angela to sign. With the deal sealed, smoke bellowed out from the bottle and merged with Ruby as she turned to Connie. ”Your wish has been granted.”
She would disappear into a cloud of smoke and retreat back into the bottle. A trail of smoke would split off and wrap around Angela, lifting her off the ground and rapidly pulling her in after her new patron. In the blink of an eye the bottle would vanish leaving the trio to go on their way. Reality rewrote itself so that after helping her friends, Angel of Hope had gone off on a new adventure.“I must say, that was a most unexpected turn of events,”
a visibly shocked Gaia remarked.“Y-Yeah…”
a similarly bewildered Connie agreed with a nod. “S-So, um, I g-guess we c-can go h-home now, r-right , M-Miss Janet?””Yes, it's been an eventful day. I think getting in a little time to relax would be good.”
She would step over and give Connie a warm hug. ”You did a good job today. I'm very proud of you.” “T-Thanks…”
Connie replied in a soft voice as the cheeks of her mask began to turn red. “Y-You and R-Ruby were r-really amazing, t-too,”
she added with a smile. “I-It m-makes me r-really happy to k-know that w-we were able to h-help so many p-people today.”
The knowledge didn’t fully wipe away the feelings of pain and worthlessness brought about by her failure to save Sammy and Nuncio, of course, but at least it was a start.