Writer’s Note: The following is a concept for a magical girl story which has been floating around in my head for quite some time. It is currently rather unpolished, with only a small portion of the plot having been outlined. I hope you enjoy it.

Not so very long ago, there lived a man who harbored an unquenchable thirst for the truth. He built a reputation on the debunking of paranormal phenomena, to the point of becoming something of a diehard skeptic. At one point, he even offered a million dollars to anyone who could demonstrate unquestionable proof of paranormal phenomena – in particular, that of extrasensory perception. Perhaps what made his notoriety so widespread was his ability to never be beaten at his own game.

At least, that’s how I think the story goes. After a while, people simply stopped caring about the whole thing, to a point where even the man’s name has been largely forgotten. Maybe the reason I still remember it is because of my own desires to accept the challenge. Such were the dreams of a naïve child.

Yet if I’ve learned anything from being an ESPer, it’s that one’s power cannot be isolated to any one variable. I often compare it to the GPS signals which beam down from space. Those can be affected by anything from the weather to the planet’s magnetic field, and psychic energy is truly not much different. The number of people in proximity, as well as the kinds of people they are, can either amplify one’s sixth-sense sensitivity or prevent it from working altogether.

The truth is that a lot of people have the talents of an ESPer; they simply fail to notice it during their daily lives. I like to believe the aforementioned skeptic was always acutely aware of this phenomenon, and that his true purpose was actually to find the one scenario in which to awaken his own potential. Such might be little more than wishful thinking on my part, though.

So what does it mean to be an ESPer, then? By the simplest of definitions, it is the ability to sense those invisible forces which connect us on an almost spiritual level. Some refer to it as the ‘Energy of Influence,’ with many of its aspects mirroring those of feng shui. I can’t say it’s an entirely accurate comparison, though it does enough to get the point across.

This energy is very special, for it has the power to invoke changes within our world. By orienting people in specific ways and at specific places, one can fundamentally alter the flow of this energy and thus alter the probability of future events. There are countless speculations as to how this all works, but as they say, it’s the results that matter most.

When it gets down to it, the role of an ESPer is to always seek the best outcomes in life – not much different than what most normal humans strive for, if you think about it.
It isn’t as if ESP is some kind of magic – there are rather obvious limitations to its potential, and to surpass those would require, well… actual magic. Perhaps it was this distinction which allowed ESPers to gain legitimacy over the ages. Magic was always a good counterclaim or antithesis because no matter what, everyone knew that magic couldn’t possibly exist, right?

I wish I could say that was the case…

Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump… The sound of my own heartbeat echoed in my ears as I rushed down the abandoned halls of the University’s science building. Outside, the sky was bathed a bright violet, with streaks of white lightning flaring outward in all directions. I ran faster, searching desperately for an unlocked classroom but to no avail. Behind me, a swarm of fiery will-o-wisps was advancing rapidly.

The building had been constructed perpendicular to its surrounding hillside, meaning it had exits on its first and third floors. The wisps were gradually herding me toward the bottom, a strong indication of those doors having already been cut off. I would be wiped out instantly the moment I reached them. I needed a plan.

The final staircase was dead ahead. As I took the steps two at a time, I began to ponder the fireproof doors which had been placed at certain sections of the building’s hallways. Because the evacuation protocols changed depending on emergency, the engineers were not able to use fixed-swinging fire doors. Instead, the doors had a sliding mechanism. In the event of a fire, a spring forced the doors into position, and then a secondary hinge allowed them to swing in either direction.

The next such placement would be at the first corner of the bottom floor hallway. I had to work quickly. The primer for the door was little more than a hook held in place by an electromagnet. Drawing a pistol from my hip, I took aim at the wall where I believed the hook to be and then fired. A concussive pulse made contact, and there was an audible whoosh of metal rails sliding the door into place.

“Here goes nothing!” Falling to my knees, I slid across the hard linoleum floor and kicked the bottom of the door with all my might. The wisps flew over my body and past the gap in the door, which closed up tight once I pulled my leg away. I fell on my back, breathing a sigh of relief.

That’s when my earpiece began to ring. I let out a second sigh and pressed the call button. “Navigator here.”

“Lana! Where the hell are you right now!?”

Figures she’d chastise me for being late. “I’m heading to 212. Give me ten minutes.”
“You get eight and a half; now hop to it, missy!” With that, the line went dead. A third sigh, and I pulled myself from the ground. Well, time to go back up.

An added benefit of trigging the lower fire door is that it sent a control signal throughout the building. The upper fire doors had also been engaged, meaning the wisps could no longer enter from above. For the time being, I was safe. I walked slowly through the second floor hallway until I reached the door to 212. It was a computer lab, meaning it relied on a card slot instead of a lock-and-key. I placed my student ID in the slot, causing the light to turn green. Bingo.

The room was empty with not a wisp in sight, though I slid a chair in front of the door to be safe. Pulling a tablet from my bag, I began to enter a series of data points. “If we spline this and filter this… got it!” I immediately hit redial on the earpiece. “Rhi, I’ve found the core! It’s at point C7H!”

“Copy that, navigator! Get above ground so you can watch the fireworks!”

Easier said than done, Rhi… Alright, how to go about this…? Tightly gripping the pistol in my right hand, I used my right to grip the top of the chair blocking the door. Deep breaths, Lana… Here we go! In seconds, the chair was flung to the floor and the door wide open.

“HERE WE GO!” I took off at a breakneck pace, rounding the corners from hallway to hallway, briskly climbing the stairs to the third floor. There was a fire door at the end of this hall. The moment I pushed through it, the wisps would be on the offensive again. After coming this far, I wasn’t about to let them get the better of me.

“Take this!” I rammed the door with my shoulder, raising my pistol and opening fire. The wisps sensed the concussive energy of the weapon and began to scatter, marking a path for me to slip right on by. I used all of my energy, rushing toward those glass doors which marked the entrance to the outside. Just two more hallways… then one…

The world outside was rather barren. The wisps dared not follow as I headed in the direction of the student union building, for standing atop its second floor balcony was a woman. Her silhouette glowed with an aura of multicolored light, and as she leapt off the balcony, this energy seemed to carry her effortlessly through the air. She was the dazzling magician girl Rhiannon, a woman of perfect beauty and grace. Her talents transcended anything that an ESPer like me could ever hope to achieve.

I watched as she materialized a longbow from this shimmering rainbow of light, matching it with a quiver of arrows. Her movements were fluid as she took aim skyward and released volley after volley. The arrows painted trails of golden light which clashed against the storm of electricity above, until the sky was crosshatched into an assortment of random purple shapes.

Moments later, the arrows would meet their destination. Hovering more than one hundred feet off the ground, barely visible to the naked eye, was a very special wisp. This orb of pale orange light was the original, the ‘Patient Zero’ of these blue wisp hordes. As the first arrow made contact, I could hear the blue wisps beginning to screech in pain, their movements becoming far more aggressive and erratic.

The second arrow would make contact, and then the third. By the fourth, many of the wisps had begun to explode like fireworks, sending blue light in all directions. Rhiannon made sure to be thorough, sending forth another, and then another still. I counted at least ten shots before the Zero Wisp erupted into a massive fireball, its energy radiating harmlessly in all directions. The lightning in the sky began to subside. The world dimmed and returned to a state of perfect equilibrium.

I closed my eyes. “Abstraction Gate, release!” A surge of heat surrounded me as I felt my astral projection pulled backward toward my physical body. When I next opened them, I was in the campus infirmary, lying on a patient bed.

“Welcome back to the land of the living.” The woman sitting in the chair next to me had black hair flowing down to her hips and a moon-shaped ring through her left earlobe. She wore a rather professional pinstripe blazer over her white blouse, a red necktie at its heart. A matching grey skirt draped across her thighs, silky nylons covering her legs down to her blood-red pumps. She wore no makeup, though her skin was nearly porcelain white, giving her facial features a naturally sharp contrast.

She was currently engrossed in charting down my vitals. “Blood pressure is currently one hundred fourteen over seventy-one, and pulse is averaging seventy-five. Oxygen is at ninety-nine percent. Can you tell me your name and date of birth?”

Scowling, I begin to remove the instruments from my arm and hand. “It’s Lana Orion, and June twentieth is my birthday. Is all of this really necessary, Madam President?”

“Your involvement makes you the responsibility of the associated student body, thus your well-being is something we in the ASB take very seriously.” Rebekah Farley studied nuclear medicine and was now in her final year of graduate school. She held the distinction of being one of the rare few to serve as student body president for more than one year. She too was an ESPer, one with the power to adjust her perception of time. A talent like that must have come in handy for her, considering her field.

I sat up and lowered my legs over the edge of the bed. “Enough about me; how’s our Patient Zero?”

“The student in question shall be kept under observation until later this evening, though there aren’t any lasting injuries, thankfully. That just leaves Rhiannon.”

“Right…” I hesitated, anxiously biting my thumb. “She probably returned using ma- …her own means again.” It was no secret that Rebekah absolutely distrusted Rhiannon and hated the existence of magic. She simply couldn’t wrap her mind around the ways in which magic operated, thus it challenged her worldview.

“You eat dinner with her, right?” asked Rebekah.

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“We’ll be holding an emergency meeting following this latest attack. I want you to pass the information along to her.”

“Yes, understood.” Grabbing my belongings, I bid her farewell and stepped out. The autumn air was warm and crisp, a gentle breeze accompanying me through the avenues of the student housing district. Crowds meandered to and fro, some returning from afternoon classes and others prepping for their evening ones. Nobody seemed to pay me any mind as I crossed the parking lot toward the main campus. Rhiannon was still nowhere to be found.

Shrugging it off, I walked through the doors of the student union, the sound of pop music playing through the ceiling-mounted speakers. To the left were a coffee shop, a theater room, and the campus bookstore. To the right was an open lounge, complete with billiard tables and flat screen televisions. Behind this was a small hallway leading to some offices and the campus radio room.

Following the stairs to the second floor, one was greeted by a small food court and two dining halls. The main hall seated the regular guests while the second dining hall was reserved for special events. Past the food court was a lobby with four conference rooms, and also connected to the main dining hall was a small outdoor gallery, the one which Rhi had thrown herself from not thirty minutes ago in the Abstraction Sphere.

I was about to enter the food court when a pair of hands placed themselves around my chest. “My, my; are these getting bigger?”

“Chris’sake! You’re like a dirty old man, Rhi!” Rhiannon stood before me with a toothy grin plastered across her face. Today, she was dressed in a pink leotard with silver tights, a white jacket draped over her shoulders. Such a unique getup would come off as strange to most people, though considering I had known the woman since my first year of high school, a part of me had gradually acclimated to this, as well as to her other bizarre eccentricities.

And for the record, yours are still bigger than mine… “Rebekah wasn’t happy with the fact you ran off again. You know she wants to examine you.”

“Yeah; I don’t deal well with all that medical poking and prodding. Besides, isn’t it enough that I saved the day? Why split hairs over how it was done?”

I sighed for what must have been the fourth time today. “She’s calling for a special session. If you go, do you promise to be on your best behavior?”

“You make me sound like some kind of criminal, Lana dear!”

“Last time, she looked like she wanted to punch you in the face.”

“Well, maybe she needs counseling.”

“Rhiannon, be serious!” If there was one thing I could fault her for, the magician girl Rhiannon had never experienced a fall from grace. Circumstances always seemed to break in her favor, and it made me wonder if she ever truly felt fear.

“If it makes you feel better, I promise to only speak up when it pertains to the facts. Everything else will be left to you and to them. Okay?”

“Very well,” I answered. “Now, let’s get some dinner. Session starts in one hour.”

“Roger that!”

TO BE CONTINUED…

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