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Chapter 2: Phantom

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Author: Tsukishiro Rin Original Source: Syosetu Character Count: 7258 characters
Translator: Richie English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 3160 words
Editor(s): Richie


The reason I became a magical girl was terrifyingly simple.
To become a hero or a magical girl, one must make a contract with a unique creature like Maple, a creature people call the Fairies.
I didn’t ask why that’s the case because it was too bothersome. I only knew that that’s how it works.

By the way, I met Maple when I was an elementary student.
At that time, Maple told me that I had the power and talent for it.
And at that time, I thought Maple was merely a talking plushie and didn’t take his words seriously.
That’s why I didn’t think deeply about what Maple had told me. And that’s why I told him I wasn’t interested without considering it.

“You, if you can have a power, what kind of power would you like, Mep?”

Maple’s question had implications for my future, but at that time, I had no way of noticing that.
Instead, I was reminded that Karen liked magical girls, so I told him my wish that would make Karen happy without considering it any further.

“I, I want to be a magical girl!”

And so, a contract was formed.
I received the power of a magical girl.
In other words, my current situation was entirely my fault, the fault of my innocence and happy-go-lucky attitude.

Now that we can put the reason aside, I can say that I felt dismayed when I transformed into Black Rose.

“Ugh, now isn’t the time to be dismayed! Maple, lead the way!”
“Understood!”

I remembered why I transformed in the first place and rushed to the scene, led by Maple.
The distance to be traveled was quite long, but with my Black Rose form’s leg strength, I managed to reach it in a few dozen seconds.
Tuk tuk tuk. I ran across the rooftops to save time, and also surprised a cat that was napping while I was at it. Sorry, cat.
After proceeding like that for a few more roofs, I had a visual of the Phantom attacking pedestrians.

“Black Rose, hurry!”
“I know!”

I jumped high, accumulated kinetic force in the sole of my foot, and then released it.
With the accumulated energy, I bolted toward the Phantom from midair. I could have flown, but at this distance, just this much power was enough.
Before the Phantom noticed my arrival, I kicked it flying.

“Sei!”
“Fugee!?”

The Phantom, resembling a goat plushie, was blown away.
I watched the Phantom warily, being mindful of the passerby now behind me.

“Are you alright?”
“Y, yes, I-I-I’m a-alright.”

The female pedestrian answered, still in shock.
That’s great, it appears she hasn’t lost her emotions.

“Step back, I’m going to get rid of it immediately.”

The pedestrian’s teeth were chattering, but she managed to reply “okay.”
Meekly following my instruction, the woman stepped back. With this, I could fight without worrying about her.

“U-ukh! It hurts, Meh! Who was that, Meh! The one who kicked Meh!”

The angry Phantom had recovered.

“Hm! That appearance, a magical girl! How dare you!”
“Shut up. It’s not your place to talk. Attacking a person is an unlawful behavior. How could you.”
“Hehehe! Humans’ negative energy is delicious! I can’t get enough of it! I did nothing wrong!”
“Attacking someone can be charged with assault. It is undeniably a crime. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. You must observe the rule of the land!”
“It has nothing to do with us! We will do as we like!”

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You brainless idiot. You have no idea how far you’ve gone.
Every time I try to persuade a Phantom, each of them always has loose screws in their head.
True to their instincts, Phantoms are self-centered.

If I spent more time persuading it, it might be more open to me, but I didn’t have time for that. Not to mention, there wasn’t a quarantine facility for Phantoms.
So, the Phantom must be subjugated.
And since I was running out of time, I cut my persuasion short.

“Looks like this naughty kid must be punished.”
“I have a name! My name is— Flug-!?”

I closed the gap between us while it was trying to introduce itself and punched its face, coating my fist with black light first.

“Shut up, you’re noisy.”
“M, Meh— Not, I wasn’t done talking, meh…”
“You have no choice in the matter. Now, you can still go home, you know?”
“W-who is going home! It’s not over as long as I’m still stan—”
“No rebuttal!! Forced Repatriation!!”
“—Fubehe!?”

It hadn’t shown any intention of going home, so I punched it harder, with the black coating, of course.

I punched it hard enough that it flew away.
Where the Phantom was flying to, Maple had been standing by. A gate that would send the Phantom home had been opened there.

“M, meeeeeeehhhh!! I haven’t eaten any energy yet——!!”
“Sounds like great news to me.”

And so, the Phantom passed through the gate, deported back to the world of darkness.
With this, job done. Phantom elimination complete.
This was the job of Magical Girl: Magical Flower – Black Rose.
Sending the Phantom packing home is our job. Well, some made an idol career out of it, but I can’t and won’t because of my circumstances.

“Ah, umm!”
“Hm? Ah, are you alright?”

A voice called out to me while I was taking a breather after the fight ended. I turned to the voice, and it was the woman I saved from the Phantom earlier. I hadn’t noticed it previously, but she was wearing the same high school uniform as mine. Her ribbon is red, so she must be a new student1.

She featured pretty chestnut-colored hair and had a good figure. Rather than pretty, though, she leaned more toward being cute. She, all in all, could be called a pretty maiden.

“Y, yes! U, e, um, thank you very much!”

I smiled back amicably towards the girl who was expressing her gratitude while flustered.

“I’m glad that you’re okay.”
“Awawa!?”
“? What’s wrong?”
“N, no! I-it’s nothing!”

She suddenly clutched her chest and blushed, so I was worried that she was injured, but she had also vigorously bowed, so I thought she was okay.

“Lately, the Phantom appearance rate has increased, so please look out for yourself, okay?”
“Y, yesss!!”

The woman shook her head vigorously many times as if she was so moved to have been given a reminder. She must be very happy to have been saved.
As normal people don’t have any kind of protection, whenever their emotions become unbalanced, they become a hot target immediately. It’s impossible not to be afraid.
I reached out my hand to her head to calm her down.

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“E, eh?”
“It must have been scary. It’s okay now.”

I gently caressed her.

“Ha, hawawawawa!”

As I stroked her, she blushed and became even more flustered.
Hmm, so are girls of this age really embarrassed having their head caressed?
I felt like I was doing something bad, so I hurriedly pulled my hand back.

“Ah…”
“Hm? What’s wrong?”
“N, no! It’s nothing!”
“Really?”

I noticed the girl’s reluctant tone, but if it was nothing, then it must be nothing.

“Black Rose, can you really stand around right now, mep?”
“Stand around? Aah!?”

I forgot! I was heading to the school entrance ceremony!

“S, sorry! I’m in a hurry right now…”

As I told her, I only made the connection that the girl in front of me was also wearing the Kasaki High School uniform, the same high school as mine. And then, since her ribbon was red, then she was a first-year student, so…

“You, today is the school entrance ceremony, right?”
“Eh? Aah!?”

When I pointed it out, she held her head, lost as in what to do.

Hmm, I’m heading there anyway, so I might as well bring her with me. It would give me a way to be inconspicuous too. As a magical girl, I can’t let my cover be blown. Not to mention, the risk of a boy like me being doxxed would be high. And so, I have been avoiding revealing anything personal to the utmost of my ability.

However, if I can deliver her to the school as a cover, it wouldn’t be a problem to go there in this form. When I reach the school, I can go to a deserted spot and undo my transformation there. Alright, it’s a perfect plan even if I say so myself.

After the plan has been drawn, it wasn’t time to dawdle.

“Okay, in that case, I will get you to the school.”
“Eh, is that okay!? Ah, but, Black Rose, you are in a hurry yourself…”
“Nn. I’m in a hurry, but there’s still time, so it’s fine.”

I was in a hurry, but I had the same destination as her, so it also served my interest.

“B, but, I feel bad…”
“Yeah. There’s no time to be chatting, so don’t argue now.”
“E, eh!?”
“Excuse me.”

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After cutting her short, I cradled her—in other words, I used a bridal carry.

“E, ehhhhhh!?”
“Well then, hold on tight!”

Ignoring her bewilderment, I focused my strength on my legs and jumped ahead. “Hyaaaaaaaaaa!!” As I ignored her scream, I clad my legs in black light, which consistently generated push for me. This allowed me to fly in the sky freely. In the midst of a battle, I would also wrap my wrist in it so I could fly, but for moving around, just wrapping my legs was enough.

I flew straight to the school. At this time, I was focusing on making it in time, so I didn’t notice them. Someone was observing me, and those observing eyes were packed with malice. I failed to notice my enemy’s ill will.

As I flew, I could see the school in an instant. I slowed down but was still flying in the sky. There were no obstacles, so I could go in a straight line and land further ahead than otherwise. I slowed down and landed at the front gate. I could have landed in front of the gym instead, but since it was her first time here, I believed it would be best for her to enter the school’s gate with her own two feet. I gently put her down.

“Ah, um, thank you very much!” She said as she bowed down low in gratitude.

“Nn-nn, don’t fret about it. That aside, I will join you. Even though you arrived just in time, I still need to explain that you met a Phantom on the way.” Even if she told the school that she was late due to a Phantom attack, the school’s faculty wouldn’t be able to accept this without verification. In that case, as a magical girl with a little public reputation, I could go together with her to explain to the teachers and back up her explanation. She would make it just in time, but if she barely arrived in time for the start of the entrance ceremony, it would not look good to the teachers.

“Y, yes! Thank you very much!”
“Kay, then, let’s go.”
“Yes!”

I briskly walked with her to the gym. There was no one around, so they must have gathered in the gym. I knew the layout of the school, so I casually guided her to the gym. Reaching the gym, a teacher was waiting by the door. That’s a relief. The door hadn’t closed yet. There were only a few minutes left before the ceremony, so it wouldn’t be odd if it was closed, but they might be waiting until the very end.

“I’m sorry, I’m late!” When she spoke out, the teacher who had been looking down at her new student registry looked up.

“Aah, you’re finally her— eh, Black Rose!?” After she looked at me, the teacher raised her voice in surprise. Her voice disturbed the silence that had been enveloping the gym, a silence that’s unique to any school entrance ceremony. From inside the gym, clatter about me such as “Black Rose?,” “Eh, um, Black Rose?,” “No way, it’s the real thing!,” and so on, could be heard. Curious gazes were focused on me. I ignored those gazes, and explained the circumstances to Ayame-sensei.

“She was attacked by a Phantom and I saved her. She wouldn’t make it in time for the school entrance ceremony, so I brought her here.” It was a concise explanation.
“I, I see. Thank you very much.” Ayame-sensei politely bowed her head deeply.
“Don’t mention it, I was only carrying out my duty.”
“Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that you have protected a precious student of this school. Thank you.” Ayame-sensei didn’t take the rescue for granted. I was really impressed by her.

“In that case, I will gracefully accept your gratitude.”
“I’m thankful for that. And so, are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?”
“No. Black Rose has protected me.”
“I see, I’m glad.” Ayame-sensei patted her chest after confirming that she was unharmed, smiling tenderly.

“Then, there’s no time left, go join the others inside.”
“I understand. Black Rose, I’m really grateful! I will never forget today’s event!”
“Haha, you are blowing it out of proportion.” I involuntarily smiled at her words. I’m not looking for a reward from the saved person, but I was still happy, having received that.

“Oh right, Black Rose. I have a proposal to make to you, would you hear me out?”
“? What would it be?”
“If you would, I would like you to participate in the entrance ceremony.”
“Eh?”

I was caught off-guard by Ayame-sensei’s proposal.

“If you can attend the ceremony, I think it would make for a good memory for the students.”
“That’s a good idea! Black Rose, let’s join the ceremony!”

She, who had heard her request, agreed with sparkling eyes.

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“Of course, we would pay you a performance fee. Even so, as it was my own whim, the payment would come from my pocket, so it wouldn’t be too much.”
“N, no need! I don’t need a performance fee!”

It would be outrageous to take a fee over this! I didn’t take this form and do my job for this. Accept this once, and it would be harder to refuse the next time such an offer comes.

“Ah, but, Black Rose, didn’t you have a matter to attend to…”
“Ah, is that so?”
“Y, yes, well…”

The matter was to attend the entrance ceremony as a guardian, but I would never say that. My family’s environment is splendidly unique. If I let that slip, it would take seconds for my real identity to get out there.

“If that’s the case, I can’t hold you here…”
“Boohoohoo, Black Rose…”

Why were these two looking sorrowful?
I rarely market my face, so I shouldn’t have any reputation, yet, these two were making these sad faces. Against such faces, I’m starting to feel bad.
…I can’t let them stay like this.

“I understand. I will participate.”
“Eh, you sure!?”
“Yes. I have something to do, but it isn’t that urgent.”

I was only participating with a different appearance. It wouldn’t change the fact that I have come to Karen’s school entrance ceremony. Moreover, I can’t participate midway, that was what was written in the letter of invitation to the guardian. I wouldn’t make it in time if I have to find a place with no one to undo my transformation.

Moreover, Karen wouldn’t mind whether I was there or not anyway…

Ever since she got into middle school, she started to be distant towards me. While I was pleased that she’s now independent, I also felt a little sad.

“So then, I will prepare a visitor seat for you, please wait there.”
“Thank you, Black Rose!”
“Don’t mention it. I’m here, so might as well.”
“Your seat is already prepared, so get over there. It’s about to start.”
“I understand! Black Rose, watch over us!”
“Yes. I will watch you guys.”

She waved her hand my way as she walked over to her seat, and I returned it with a small wave.

“So then, let’s get going.”
“Yes.”

We walked into the gym, and I was guided to the visitor seats.

The moment I entered the gym, the stir in the gym grew even bigger. Inside the gym, where people wear uniforms or a suit, putting up airs of formality, I was the only one wearing a Gothic Lolita dress and exposing a lot of skin.

Yes, it has become really merry. Outrageously merry. The atmosphere was not appropriate for the occasion anymore.

As I made my way to the visitor seats, the odd feelings grew even bigger. While I was wondering if I was too rash after all, the new students were glancing my way. I shrunk a little under the growing curious glances of the boys and girls.

When I found the girl from earlier in the sea of students, she gave me a small wave at chest level. Pleased with such a gesture, I unwittingly let my expression loosen up and waved back.

Immediately after, the commotion grew much, much bigger. I could hear voices such as “She waved at me!,” “Idiot, no way she was waving at you! It’s me,” “Right back at you! It must be me,” “Amazing, Black Rose smiled and waved at me,” “Onee-sama, you’re wonderful…,” “Aa, I want to sleep on her lap and be greeted with that smile,” “I would rather be stepped on,” and so on. I heard some odd reactions, but I was glad that I received a warm reception from everyone.

Hmm, I wonder if this is because it’s my home area? I seem to be really well-known.
…if that’s so, I wonder if Karen would be happy to see me too?
Karen used to like magical girls. I don’t know if she still likes them, but I would be happy if she is happy.

As I thought about that, I looked for Karen amongst the student body. I immediately found her thereafter.
Karen was seated two seats behind the girl from earlier, in the same column.
I’m glad that Karen arrived at the school safely, but Karen looked a little strange.
She kept looking back, her cute face clouded over.

The moment I was trying to look closer to find out, the opening ceremony announcer walked in.
After that, I focused on the ceremony.
I was curious about Karen’s complexion, but I also needed to give this role my all.



 

Footnotes:

  1. In Japan, the color of the girl’s ribbon can indicate their grade. I don’t know about the boys though.
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