“So, anyone know what this is about?” Jessica asked.
“I have an idea… but we’ll have to see,” Cody replied.
“I think it’s pretty damn obvious, actually,” Sarah added.
“Oh yeah? Then spill.”
“Nope!” The damn blonde grinned. “You’ll just have to wait.”
Jessica scoffed while tossing her hair. “I’ll ferret out your secrets, magical girl! You can’t hide anything from me!”
As the two ribbed each other, they made it to the house and rang the bell. The door soon opened to reveal a cheerful Nicole.
“Heya. Already here, huh?” Jessica wiggled her eyebrows. “I wonder just what you've been up to here together.”
Nicole smiled, completely immune to Jessica’s teasing. “I just arrived a few minutes ago. Max and both her moms are all here. Come on in.”
Jessica pouted but followed regardless along with everyone else. Max as well as their moms were already waiting in the living room for them.
“Hey there, my most loyal of minions,” Jessica greeted with a grin and she settled down on the couch right next to Max. The others similarly settled down on chairs placed around the room. “So what groundbreaking revelations do you have for us today?”
Nicole gave her a subtle glare over Max's shoulder.
“Jess, stop trying to steal the show,” Sarah admonished with an eye roll.
Noticing the looks the others were giving her, she raised her hands in surrender. “Sorry, sorry. Force of habit. Stealing the spotlight is what I do, you know?”
That prompted another eye roll from Sarah, but nobody else said anything anymore. Everyone turned their attention to the person who had called this gathering together. They were currently fidgeting under their eyes.
“I, umm…” Max began, uncertain. “I have… I have an announcement to make.”
For once, Jessica actually shut up and listened, curious about what Max was going to say. She, along with everyone else in the room, looked at the newest magical girl in anticipation. It took a moment of hesitation until Max finally spoke.
“I am… I am a girl,” they… she said with steel and certainty in her eyes, daring anyone to contradict her.
A few oohs and aahs resounded from the listeners. Some – Nicole and the moms – even clapped. Jessica, on the other hand…
“Riiight… And…?” Everyone looked at her with a flat stare. “I mean, it was starting to get a little strange with you calling yourself a boy while being a magical girl at all. I was just waiting for you to stop claiming otherwise.”
Erika couldn't help but facepalm before murmuring “We all were… but that's not the point…”
“And!” Max continued, undeterred by the reaction. “And I’ve been thinking about changing my name.” A pause. “To… uh, to something more feminine.”
“Huh? Alright. I thought Max was also a female name though?” Jessica murmured.
“I want a different name,” Max – or rather, the girl who was yet to name herself – stated with conviction. “Max is… a relic of the past. And I’m supposed to be a new person now.”
“Ah, okay…” It was some kind of symbolism. Jessica didn’t really understand how Max felt, but she could understand symbolism. After all, Tepes was also just a name, but it represented a change as well. It meant something different from just Jessica.
“Have you decided on a name already?” Jessica glanced at Nicole, who was spending a suspicious amount of time with her minion lately. “Maybe Rose? Or Lily?”
The newest magical girl shook her head. “No… Well, I thought about these too, but no.”
“Violet? Daisy? Some other flower? Heck, your predecessor was Iris. It would be pretty fitting.”
“It would, but… no. I don’t think I want a flower name.” She gave a wry smile and glanced in Nicole’s direction. “I think it’s a bit of a stereotype for trans girls to be named after flowers.”
Jessica shrugged. “Eh, I mean, my sister named herself after a fruit. You could do that as well.”
“Oh yeah, you mentioned your sister was trans too, wasn’t she?” Sarah piped up.
“Huh? Really?” Not-Max-anymore looked up, her eyes wide and sparkling.
“Yeah.” Jessica scowled. “But she’s a total bitch. Don’t you dare be like her! You hear me?”
“Ah, so she’s an older version of you, gotcha,” the damn blonde said with a grin.
That only prompted a growl from Jessica. “No way! She’s the source of all evil! She even called me the other day to laugh at me and inform me that she had been the previous Pretty Flame!”
That seemed to shock everyone. “Huh?! Seriously?!”
“Yeah! And she never told me until now! Like what the heck?!”
“Oh yeah… My predecessor did have the same last name as you… I thought that was just a coincidence, though…” Erika muttered before raising her voice. “But anyway. We’re getting off track.”
“Right, sorry.” The sister of the source of all evil once again raised her hands in surrender. “No stealing the spotlight. Gotcha.”
“So… Do you have a name in mind?” Sarah asked as everyone refocused their attention back to the new girl.
She did her best not to wilt under the expectant stares.
“Well… I thought about it a lot. Something that I liked. Something that fit. Like I said, I didn’t want a flower name since it feels kind of cliche… So…” She paused for a moment. “My name is… Devola.”
A round of applause erupted as everyone smiled at the newly named Devola. Nicole even patted her head to which Devola blushed and lowered her head even as a beaming smile appeared on her face.
“Nice! So… What does it mean?”
“The name. Since you picked it, it means something, right?”
“Well… Not really? I mean, maybe? I don’t know.”
“Huh… I mean, you picked it because you didn’t want the flower name stereotype, right?”
“Alright,” Jessica said with a nod. “So Devola means a trans woman who didn't want a flower name cause trying to beat the stereotype.”
Cody snorted. “I don’t think that’s how it works.”
“It doesn’t need to mean anything,” Sarah said with an eye roll before directing a smile at Devola. “Nice to meet you, Devola. Here’s to many more demon general ass-kickings together.” She held out her fist with a grin.
“I’m still here, you know?” the resident demon general reminded her.
Both Erika and Nicole immediately met Nicole's fist with their own, and it only took a few seconds of hesitation before Devola did the same.
“To demon general ass-kickings,” Nicole agreed with an uncharacteristic smirk. Since when was she cheeky like that?
“Err… To demon general ass-kickings,” Erika reluctantly joined in, shooting Jessica an apologetic smile.
“To demon general ass-kickings!” the last member said, finally gaining some confidence.
The presumably soon-to-be-ass-kicked general scoffed.