75 – We’re back, baby!
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Jessica strolled through the streets, a contemplative frown etched on her face.

They had managed to more or less eliminate the worst case scenario from their fifth weapon transfer plan. But in doing so, they’d also lowered the chances of true success. Now, if they went through with it, chances were that they would just be transferring the magical coma to someone else.

But again, nothing was truly certain. Something unexpected might happen, and they might set off another apocalypse regardless of how many tests and math they had done.

There was a piece missing. Something important. Something that had caused the magical coma in the first place.

And Jessica’s instinct told her that the answer was combining demonic magic with the magical girl powers. She had nothing to base this theory off of but the fact that last time she had combined the two, they had created a much more stable and powerful structure. That had to mean something, right?

Well, she had the perfect opportunity to test it right now. The current magical girls couldn’t learn of this just in case it made them lose the attunement, but the former ones were free game. Sure, the residual magic they still had wasn’t much, but they still had the knowledge and experience of using it if supplied with it.

Jessica walked up to her porch, fished out her keys and unlocked the door. The moment she opened the door, Olivia’s grinning face was waiting for her.

“Welcome home, li’l sis! Would you like dinner? A bath? Or perhaps…”

“Oh, shut up!” she yelled at the sister-shaped troll. “I didn’t know it was you, dammit! And if you just told me in the first place, I wouldn’t have flirted with you! It’s all your fault anyway!”

Naturally, the damn woman just broke into cackles as Jessica slammed the door behind her and got out of her shoes. She still had to wait a good minute with her arms crossed while Olivia finished her cackling fit.

“So? Are they here, then?” the little sister then asked.

“Haha… yeah, they're here. C’mon. We’ve been waiting for you.”

The two went inside and headed for the living room. Three more people were already waiting for them when they arrived, sitting on the sofa. Jessica recognized one of them.

“Heya, Iris,” she greeted before turning to the other two. “And…”

“Hey, I’m Sophia,” the blond woman with sunken blue eyes greeted back.

“Hello, I’m Zenith. You probably know me as Nicole’s cousin,” the girl with curly brown hair who looked somewhat similar to Nicole said as she munched on a chocolate bar.

“Hi again, Jessica,” Iris finished. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, haven’t seen you since… since you passed the torch on,” Jessica confirmed as she and her sister grabbed chairs parked at the table and sat down on them, facing the others.

Jessica took a breath.

“I suppose I should introduce myself too. I’m Jessica, this bitch’s sister, and also the demon general Tepes, the enchantress.” She summoned her spear and twirled it around in one hand before putting it away again.

Zenith blinked in surprise while Sophia froze, her eyes going wide. Iris merely nodded, already knowing her secret identity.

“Just for the record, Tepes is a fictional character. It’s an act. I’m not actually planning on destroying the world… In fact, I’m trying to save it.”

“Oh… I didn’t think you were Olivia’s sister…” Zenith murmured to herself.

“Right… okay…” Sophia said, still looking a bit uncomfortable.

So… ” Jessica continued with a sigh. “To cut to the chase. A certain bitch of a sister told me that y'all want to abandon normality and go back to the world of demons and magical girls again.”

“Ugh… No, not really,” Zenith replied with disgust painting her expression. “I’m only here to eat chocolate and find out how much things have gone to shit since we retired.” Iris elbowed her. “But I suppose I can also play along. The team wouldn’t be complete without me. I bet they would be hopeless without their magic expert.”

“I… think I ought to make things right,” Sophia admitted, looking into her lap as she rubbed her hands nervously. “Back then, I just made a big mess and then ran away… That’s not right. I want to fix my mistakes, at least.”

“And I haven’t been retired for as long as everyone else, so I still feel some responsibility,” Iris finished. “Not sure how much we can accomplish, but we have to at least try.”

Jessica nodded before turning to her sister.

Said sister gave her a mischievous grin. “Hey, I was going to stay out of the way, but there’s no way I can keep doing that when my cute little sister is neck deep in this shit, right?”

Said cute little sister rolled her eyes before standing up. “Alright then. So all of you want to get involved again.” She began pacing. “Unfortunately, the magical girl weapons are all one of a kind, so you can’t be magical girls again.”

“Yeah…” Iris said, her expression falling. “Olivia said you might have a solution though?”

“Not… quite.” Jessica took a deep breath before sighing. “Here’s the thing. Apparently, combining demonic magic and the magical girl powers paradoxically results in a much more stable and more powerful magic.” She glanced at Iris. “In fact, I used it to seal up Iris on a whim and then had problems getting her out again.”

Iris nodded, pursing her lips.

“You four, even though you don’t have the attunement anymore, still have some residual magic in you. And that is enough to mix it. In fact, this horrible woman already tried it –” Jessica pointed at Olivia with her thumb.

“Love ya too~”

“-- and it worked. Even though it’s been years since she was a magical girl. I went through the trouble to make her a sword, so she better be grateful.” She shot an unimpressed glare at Olivia.

The older sister in question grinned even wider as she reached out into the air, making it ripple with black mist as a black sword materialized and landed into her grip.

“Of course, my cute li’l sister! It’s the most beautiful gift anyone has ever given to me!” She struck a pose. “I shall call it… the Ash Blade! Like an evil counterpart to the Cinder Blade!”

Jessica forced herself to ignore her sister’s antics and went back to explaining.

“Now, Olivia has no demon in her and she isn’t attuned to a magical girl weapon either, but she can still use magic thanks to the sword I made for her.” She sat down on the chair and rested her arms on its backrest. “It’s sort of a bastardized version of the magical girl weapons that I’ve been toying with. It’s nowhere near as powerful, but isn’t limited by the number of weapons that can exist at the same time.”

“Oh…” Iris breathed out as she stared at the sword. “That’s… the same as Devola’s, isn’t it?”

“It’s similar but different,” Jessica admitted. “You’re gonna have to attune yourself to them just like with magical girl weapons if you wanna use magic again. And on that note –” She stood up again before reaching out and pulling out another item from her pocket dimension. An ominous-looking onyx-colored shield. “-- I also managed to make this.”

Iris’ eyes went wide. “Is that…”

“Since I knew you the best, I decided to make the shield first. Cody’s still working on a bow and preparing to make a staff,” Jessica confirmed before stepping closer and holding the shield out to Iris.

“Oh…” Iris carefully took the shield as if it was the most precious thing in the world.

“You can feel it, right? And you still know how to work magic?”

Iris nodded to Jessica’s prompt, closed her eyes, and focused. A few moments later, everyone in the room could feel the connection forming.

Iris slowly stood up, held out the shield, and it vanished in a poof of magic. A wry smile appeared on her face. “Just like the Ice Aegis.”

“Oooh,” Zenith said, her eyes still transfixed on the place where the shield had been.

“So it’s possible… We can… We can use magic again like this…?” Sophia whispered.

“Hell yeah! We’re back, baby!” Olivia cheered.

Jessica snorted at the reactions. “Not quite. You’re not the magical girls anymore. You’re something better.” She stood in front of the four, a wry grin appearing on her face. “Welcome to General Tepes’ secret black ops team.”