The rest of the week soon disappeared, so Meg invited her best friend around on the Saturday afternoon to talk things over some more now she had properly met Emilia. For once, Yasuko had forgone beer and instead brought a special relaxation drink she was partial to.
Yasuko settled down in her preferred position at the table and proceeded to demolish a doughnut from a box she had brought along. “So you ran into her again?”
“I did! Right outside the shop, too. Seems she has a bit of a sweet tooth, going by how she was drooling.” Meg laughed, taking a doughnut from the box. It has occasionally been speculated that doughnuts are in fact a magical girl’s source of power, and this was a theory Meg was more than happy to put to the test.
“Doffweooru?” Yasuko said. That hadn’t come out quite as intended, so she spent a moment forcing the rest of her doughnut down and tried again. “Don’t we all?”
“Eh, I prefer savoury stuff.”
“You’re clearly addicted to curry bread.”
“I suspect curry bread will be the death of me, yes,” Meg said solemnly.
Yasuko chuckled and changed subject. “Anyway, let’s hear it, I want to know about this cute girl you’ve met.”
Relaying everything she could remember, Meg finished by placing the red jewel on the glass table top, where it proceeded to sparkle, little points of red light dancing around the walls.
Yasuko took the gem and held it up to a critical eye. “This isn’t an ordinary gemstone. I’m not aware of any natural stone that has a miniature volcano inside…”
“Emilia said Blue’s gems are special in some way. Not sure how, though.”
“And she had a fairy with her? Like… seriously? A proper, honest-to-goodness fairy?”
Between nibbles of her doughnut, Meg nodded and attempted to speak. “Yeff…” She blushed and put a hand up to her mouth.
“I used to dream of being a magical girl when I was little.” Yasuko handed the gem back.
Taking the shiny rock, Meg placed it in a pocket for safe keeping. “I think most young girls do, don’t they?”
“Couple of my friends were more into beat-em-ups and action shows. But most of the girls in my class tended to be into magic and fairies and unicorns and rainbows and… you get the idea.”
“Sounds like you were different?”
Yasuko shrugged. “I was somewhere in the middle? I love cute things, you know that better than anyone, and cute girls especially. But I also love action and explosions. Magical girl shows suited me because they often have both things in one neat little package.”
“Is Pretty Pure still airing?” Meg asked, blushing. Watching these shows at ten years’ old was fine, but she felt having a continued interest in them at twenty while attending university wasn’t something she should be admitting.
“Yep, still going strong. Well… mostly strong. Guess it’s impossible to maintain a permanent record over more than ten years. Times change. Tastes, too.”
“Wow, I remember when the first ever season aired, hard to believe it’s still going.”
“It has plenty of competition now, especially from idol shows.” Yasuko idly toyed with a doughnut as she spoke. “Back to this girl…”
“Yeah… reckon I could meet her one day soon?”
“I’m not sure I trust the purity of your intentions, Yacchan…”
A blushing Yasuko was about as rare as a virgin in a brothel, but Meg had just managed it. Yasuko let out a light sigh and grinned. “Yeah, all right, you’ve got me there. But I’d like to meet her, I’m interested in more than just… you know, the usual.”
“Uh-huh.” Meg sounded sceptical, but agreed she would introduce her to Emilia at the first opportunity. “Oh, speaking of which, I was going to go and visit today, sorry. Um… how about I take you along the next time? I don’t want to scare her off too soon.”
“Scare her… Meg… you wound me, I’m not that bad.” This resulted in Meg staring. Intently for several seconds until Yasuko finally broke. “Oh all right, maybe I am, but I can behave when I need to!”
“I’ll tell her about you first. At least I can prepare her a little, right?”
“Feels like I’m being got at in some way,” Yasuko muttered. She left, heading down the metal staircase beside the shop, shoulders slumped in defeat.
Meg giggled at her friend’s antics and headed back inside to get ready.
Later that same afternoon, Emilia received an unexpected visitor. Opening the mansion’s front door to see a grinning Meg, she invited her inside and Lifa immediately prepared tea. Blue was currently nowhere to be seen.
Sitting in the same place as before, Emilia appeared pensive. “I wonder why you weren’t affected?”
Meg made herself comfy on the other sofa, stopping with a cup of tea halfway to her lips. “By what?”
“Normally when elementals show up they make people black out, but you were okay. I wondered why.”
“That is strange! Why was everyone else in the area knocked out but me?”
“You’re not hiding anything, right?” Emilia said with narrowed eyes.
Meg blushed. “Of course not! Why, are you?”
Now it was Emilia’s turn to blush. “No way! I’m just trying to figure out why you seem different.”
A vague shrug indicated Meg had no idea either. “Well, if I think of something I’ll tell you.” She drank a little more tea. “Actually, I couldn’t get a signal either. I wonder if that was something to do with the… the elemental thingy?”
Emilia’s face screwed up. “Signal? What’s that?”
“Like a phone signal?” Meg pulled her phone out and held it up.
“O-Oh, one of those things. I’ve got no idea, sorry.”
Lifa chimed in here. “Thunderstorms can affect electronics, I believe? Perhaps elementals have a similar effect? They are, after all, much the same thing.”
“Seems like there’s a lot we don’t know yet,” Meg muttered, finishing her current cup and handing it off to Lifa for a refill.
“We’ve kind of been moving around a lot, trying to keep up with where the damn things appear,” Emilia said, letting out a light sigh.
Handing a freshly filled cup to Meg, Lifa nodded. “Yes, but at the present time they appear to be localised here in Kamogawa. Most curious.”
“First I’ve seen or heard of them!” Meg said. “Though any damage that one caused seemed to heal itself once Emilia had kicked its backside. Maybe no one’s noticed them yet because of that?”
Sauntering through from the kitchen, Blue appeared and leaned against the doorframe. In his hand he held a piece of cardboard, seemingly from a cereal packet. He took an occasional bite with every sign of enjoyment.
Lifa pointed a tiny finger at their God. “Blue’s powers are much diminished currently, but he is generally capable of undoing the damage caused by the beasties.”
The light of understanding dawned on Meg’s face. “Oh… so it’s like those shows I watched as a kid? Everything reverted to normal the moment the monster of the week was defeated, but it was never really explained how. Well… not beyond ‘because magic’ anyway.”
“Alas, I cannot comment on the shows of which you speak,” Lifa said, bowing her head for a moment, “but yes, the healing process is handled by Blue. It is also quite draining, so finding and stopping these naughty nuisances is our top priority for now.”
Meg’s expression morphed into one of determination. “I know I can’t really do much to help, but if there’s anything you need, just ask.”
“Thank you, we appreciate the sentiment,” Lifa said. “You still have the gem Blue graciously gifted you, Meg?”
“Yep, right here in my pocket!”
“Wonderful. Keep it with you at all times. It is a protective charm as much as a gift of friendship.” Lifa sipped her tea with a strangely satisfied smile on her lips.
“I will, thanks!”
An hour ticked past as they spoke, discussing the city, Meg’s interests, and any other random topics that presented themselves. Before long, the sun dipped down towards the horizon, flooding the room in warm orange.
Meg clambered off the comfy sofa and managed to stand on the second try. The cushions were so soft and springy it felt like she might be swallowed whole. “Guess I should head home, then.”
“I’ll come along, if you don’t mind?” Emilia said.
Meg almost melted with delight. “I’d like that.” Thanking Lifa for the tea and Blue for the hospitality, she left with her newfound friend.