#include <disclaimer.h>

Quinn, Sandi, Stacy, Tiffany, Daria, and Lawndale are copyright MTV, Viacaom or whomever it is that actually does own them right now. That isn’t me. They are used here without express permission.

Special thanks to Lawndale Stalker, Roger Moore, Robert Nowall, THM, and The Daria Hunter.


Fashionably Cluby – Chapter 1

"Long, long ago, in a mall far, far away."

The other girls stared at her for a moment. "Tiffany dear, what the hell are you talking about?" Sandi asked.


"Never mind. Just hurry it up. We're falling behind on our mall sale schedule."

Tiffany held up a shirt in each hand. "But it's so hard to decide. Light pink, or light light pink?"

"You'll look great in either, Tiffany." Stacy said.

"Why not just get both?" Quinn asked.

"Hey, that's a good idea." Tiffany replied.

It was the pre-Christmas sales season at the mall, and naturally the Fashion Club had ventured out in full force looking for fashion bargains.

"Oooooh! Oooooh!" Stacy literally bounced up and down in excitement.

"Stacy, do you have to use the bathroom again already?" Sandi asked.

Quinn, unnoticed, muttered "No, that’s you Sandi."

"No! Look! A new photo-booth!" Stacy replied.

Sandi rolled her eyes. "So?"

"Let's go check it out!"

"Later. We'll be late for the sale at Junior Five."

Stacy put her hand on Sandi’s arm. "Oh, Sandi, please! We should get pictures now! Before we mess up our hair trying on clothes!"

Sandi looked thoughtful. "That's a good point, Stacy."

Quinn added, "We could use them as before and after photos."

Sandi continued with "I guess we can spare a few minutes. But you'll have to skip the stop by the Dance Dance Revolution machine later."

"But that's where all the really cute guys are!" Stacy said as the girls headed for the booth.

"Yeah, but they never want to look at us, so what's the point?" Quinn asked.

"Exactly." Sandi added.

The four girls entered the booth. There was much giggling as they tested all the machine's settings, mostly on Stacy's money. Several sheets of photos were created, small flashes of light showing around the curtain with each. This went on for several minutes, then Sandi spoke up, "Are we ready to move on yet?"

"Hey, this is new." Tiffany said.

"Oh, what's that?" Stacy asked, trying to see over Tiffany's shoulder.

"This background." Tiffany said, pointing.

"What is it?" Quinn asked.

"Alternative World?" Stacy read.

"Alternative? Like Alternapalooza?" Sandi asked. "How cute can that be? Let's skip it."

"I don't know, some of those outfits were kinda cute." Quinn said.

"Sandi, please, let's try it! Just once!" Stacy begged. Seeing she wasn't getting anywhere, she tried a different tactic. "I'll pay for it, and besides, you make anything look cute. Just the one set, please! We've already tried all the others!"

"Well, all right. Just one, then we need to get to Junior Five."

"Thank you, thank you!"

Tiffany selected the new background and Stacy paid up. "Ready? One, two… cheese!"

There was a blinding flash of light, silhouetting all four girls against the booth's curtain.

"I'm blind!" Quinn said.

"I can't see anything!" Tiffany drawled.

"What was that?" Sandi asked.

"I've never see one do that before." Stacy said, apologetically as the four girls tried to grope their way out of the booth.

"Quinn, I know how you feel about taking Fashion Club business to your mother," Sandi said, "But in this case…"

Quinn emitted a little screamlet as she almost fell over something. Staggering to a halt, she stood up and rubbed her eyes. "Yeah, I think she'll take this one."

"My dad… he's got this really big hammer at home…" Tiffany said.

"That sounds interesting and all, Tiffany, but what about sweat?" Sandi said.

"Sweat. Ew."

"I bet Joey, Jeffy and Jamie are at home today…" Quinn said darkly.

"Guys, I'm really sorry!" Stacy said

"It's not your fault, Stacy." Quinn said.

"I think my vision's starting to come back." Sandi interrupted.

"Mine sure is." Quinn said nervously.

"Tiffany? Is that you over there?" Stacy asked.

"Guys?" Quinn asked, nervously.

"Um. Over where?" Tiffany replied.

"Guys?" Quinn asked, very nervous.

"What is it Quinn?" Sandi said.

"Where are we?" Quinn asked.

"It's called the mall. Honestly, Quinn, did you hit your head when that flash went off?"

"This doesn't look like the mall…" Quinn said.

"What do you mean, Quinn?" Stacy asked.

"Um. You'll see for yourself." Quinn said.

"You've been listening to too many of Stacy's "rattling girl" stories, Quinn." Sandi said. "They don't work on me."

Quinn laughed nervously. "I hope so." She said quietly. "I really do."

"What was that?"

"Oh, nothing…"

They stood around in silence for a moment.

"Are those trees?" Stacy asked.

"It's sooo…. green." Tiffany said.

"You guys can stop trying to pull my leg. Just because I was closest to the flash…" Sandi started. "What did I just step in?"

"Ew." Tiffany said.

"You don't wanna know." Quinn said.

"At least you'll get to shop for new shoes now, Sandi." Stacy said.

"Ugh. That explains the smell, anyway. I can't believe they allow pets… in… the… mall…" Sandi said, winding down as her vision returned and she took in their surroundings.

The four girls were standing in front of the now empty photo-booth. Instead of being placed near the mall's food court, it was now surrounded by trees and bushes. It was set just off the side of a path in a small clearing. There was something slightly strange about all the vegetation, but none of the girls knew enough about botany to have a chance at saying what it was.

"Where in the world are we?" Sandi asked.

"Wherever it is, it sure isn't the mall." Quinn said archly.

"Quinn…" Sandi started. A rustling in the bushes interrupted her. "What was that?"

"Um…" Stacy said, moving away from the bushes and, not incidentally, towards Quinn.

"What was what?" Tiffany asked, already absorbed in the image in her small pocket mirror.

A group of seven men, dressed in gaudily colored leisure suits walked into the clearing. The girls chorused an "Ew!" at the sight. The men glared at the girls, but kept moving.

Then Sandi spoke up. "Who would wear such color combinations? Tiffany, do you have the camera with you?"

"Sure." Tiffany said, putting away her mirror to dig through her purse for her small pink camera.

"Get a picture of those guys. It will go well with our next list of fashion don'ts."

After hearing this, the men stopped. One, presumably the group's leader since he was wearing the largest amount of gold jewelry, took a couple steps towards Sandi. "Are you saying you don't like this outfit?" He asked with an outrageously thick, vaguely Brooklyn accent.

"Well, duh. I mean, look at those colors. Mixing primaries during daylight? And leisure suits? Those things were out of style even when Disco was in. And those chains, it's not like you're a boat or something."

"So you is saying Disco is dead now, too?"

Sandi just rolled her eyes.

"Like, I hope so. That spinning ball thing really gave me a headache." Tiffany said.

"Tiffany…" Sandi said, "We told you they aren’t meant for doing your makeup in."

"And that hair. I know a really good shampoo for that." Quinn added.

"Right. That's it. Get 'em, boys." He said.

The girls finally realized just what kind of situation they were in. They weren't in the mall, they were in the middle of nowhere. Police assistance was incredibly unlikely. And they had just pissed off a group of very large men, each of whom wore enough heavy rings to function as brass knuckles.

The girls started to group together, but two of the guys were able to get between Quinn and the rest. Two more each went after Sandi and Tiffany. Only one approached Stacy, perhaps because she had remained quiet during the whole encounter.

"Tiffany… doesn't your mother force you to carry mace?" Sandi asked, as the two girls backed against each other.

"But it doesn't go with this purse…" Tiffany said.

As Quinn shouted for help, Stacy cowered in front of the lone leisure suited man who had approached her. "I'm really sorry!" she said, as he moved closer.

He raised his hand to grab her arm. Stacy shrieked and flung up her arms, closing her eyes. There was a beefy smack, followed by a loud thud. Stacy paused a moment, waiting to be grabbed, then opened one eye to see what was going on.

Everyone was staring at her. She realized there were now only six guys in the clearing and stood straight, opening both eyes. "Um…" she said, looking confused.

Sandi managed to overcome her surprise. "Stacy… how did you do that?"

"Do what?" Stacy asked, panicky.

"You is gonna pay for what you did to Bruce." The same man who had spoken up before gestured towards a couple of guys who immediately, but cautiously, moved towards Stacy.

"You punched that guy so hard he flew over there!" Sandi shouted.

Stacy looked to where Sandi was pointing and saw a pair of feet sticking out of a bush. "Eep!"

Spinning around, she shouted, "I didn't mean to!"

Unfortunately, for the advancing men anyway, she also flung out her hands. Having moved in close to Stacy while she was distracted, both were sent flying into the underbrush. Stacy stopped in shock. She giggled insanely for a moment, then held her fists up in front of her face and stared at them wide-eyed.

"That was really good, Stacy." Tiffany said.

"A little help here." Sandi added.

A dreamy little smile on her face, Stacy looked over at the men near Sandi and Tiffany. They backed away nervously, but not quickly enough. Stacy sprinted forward, planting one foot and shouting "Stacy kick!" as she spun around, sending a high-heeled boot into one man's stomach. He was still in the air as Stacy lunged for the leader. Shouting "Rowe ram!" she head-butted him, pounding him flat.

Looking down with the same smile, she giggled a bit and swayed on her feet. Tiffany and Sandi just stared at her.

"Um… help?" Quinn said quietly.

The last two men, seeing the way the fight was going, decided to try a different tactic. They each grabbed one of Quinn's arms. "We walk out of here and no-one gets hurt, right?" one said.

Stacy looked up, still smiling, and stared vacantly past Quinn and the two men.

"Right?" The guy repeated.

"Quinn?" Stacy said, quietly.



Quinn looked startled for a moment as Stacy took a couple steps towards the group. Quinn ducked just as Stacy launched herself in the air. As she passed over Quinn and between the two guys, Stacy shouted "Stacy hyper flying kick!"

Kicking out to each side with her feet, she managed an almost perfect split in mid-air. Both of the men got a boot to the head and went flying in opposite directions. The split also caused Stacy's skirt to fly up around her waist, leaving her flashing the clearing.

Stacy managed to get her feet back under her before she landed behind Quinn. She continued down into a crouch as she landed, trying to maintain her balance. She blushed furiously as she giggled and tried to pull her skirt back down without standing up or, as much trouble as she was having staying upright, falling over.

For a moment the only sound in the clearing was Stacy giggling. Then she stood up, still wobbling.

Sandi, speaking as if she was thinking about something else, asked "Stacy… why did you shout that stuff?"

Stacy turned around and looked at Sandi for a moment. Then she shrugged and made a wordless little "I don't know" noise, biting her lip to try and control the giggles. "It just felt right." She said, eventually.

"What just happened?" Tiffany asked.

"This is really weird, guys." Quinn noted.

"That's like saying tartan is a little out of style, Quinn." Sandi said.

Ignoring her, Quinn turned around. "Stacy?"

"Hmm?" Stacy was still swaying a bit, and although her color had faded she still looked slightly flushed.

"Thank you."

Stacy smiled widely. "Oh, Quinn!" she said happily, trying to walk to Quinn and give her a hug. She didn't make it quite all the way, tripping over nothing in particular and nearly dragging Quinn down with her as she grabbed wildly.

"Oops." She said, giggling again.

"Stacy, are you drunk?" Sandi asked.

Stacy used Quinn to pull herself upright and stared wide-eyed at Sandi. "You know, I think am." One arm still wrapped around Quinn's shoulders for support, she turned very serious for a moment, saying "And I haven't even had anything to drink!"

Stacy turned her head to look at Quinn. They stared at each other solemnly for a moment, then Stacy burst out laughing. After a moment, Quinn started laughing too, sending both of them staggering and falling over.

Sandi just stood and stared at them, while Tiffany got absorbed in her compact mirror again. As Quinn and Stacy wound down, Sandi looked around the clearing. Spotting a familiar bag near the photo booth, she went over to look for their earlier purchase. A thorough search of the booth failed to reveal any other bags.

"Great. Not only are we stranded in this weird place and assaulted by horribly attired strange men, all our stuff has been stolen." Sandi said. "Almost all, anyway. Stacy, your bag's still here."

Stacy finally calmed down enough to get up and fetch the bag. Sandi sat down near the other two girls as Stacy started looking through her bag. Tiffany finally satisfied herself on the makeup and came to stand by the other three.

"Grass stains." Tiffany said.

"I think I've got a beach towel in here somewhere." Stacy said. "Oh, here it is."

She pulled out a large beach towel and stood up. She flicked the towel out to lay it on the ground, and something that had been wrapped in the middle popped out and almost hit Quinn in the head.

"Eep! I'm sorry, Quinn!"

"No harm done." Quinn replied.

While the other three sat down on the towel, Quinn picked up the box that had just missed her and looked in it. Sitting down by Stacy, she handed the box over. "Why on earth would you buy something like this?"

The box held a miniature replica of Tokyo Tower. "My cousin loves this place for some reason. I thought it'd make a good Christmas present."

"You haven't finished Christmas shopping yet, Stacy?" Sandi asked.

"Well… I have now. This was the last thing."

"What is it?" Tiffany asked.

"Tokyo Tower. Some place in Japan. My cousin's an exchange student there."

"Figures." Quinn muttered.

"What was that, Quinn?" Sandi asked


"I can't believe you found something like that in Lawndale." Sandi said.

"Yeah, I was surprised. It was lucky, though. I didn't know what to get her." Stacy said.

They sat quietly for a moment, just looking around.

"What should we do?" Stacy asked.

"Well, when you're lost you're supposed to stay in one place, so it's easier to find you." Quinn said.

"I don't believe that will help this time." Sandi said.

"What's that?" Tiffany said, staring off into the distance.

"What is it now?"

"I think I see some buildings. There." Tiffany pointed down the path, and now that they were looking for it, they could see the tops of tall buildings in the distance.

"Good thing we wore our walking shoes today." Quinn said.

"I hope there’s not too much dirt… these are my good sneakers." Tiffany said.

"At least we still have our purses. We'll have money to get a cab." Sandi said.

"And maybe something to eat." Stacy added.

"Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll have a good mall." Quinn said hopefully.

"Do they have malls in Japan?" Tiffany asked.

Sandi and Quinn looked at Stacy.


"Is this Japan?" Sandi asked.

"How should I know? I've never been there. But those guys didn’t sound Japanese."

"They didn’t look like Tiffany, either." Quinn said.

"Of course not. They weren’t cute at all." Tiffany said.

"Hmm. I guess we'll find out in the city. Let's go."

They stood up to leave, and Stacy folded up the towel. Just as they were getting ready to head out, the bushes started rustling again.

"Um… guys… what was that?" Stacy asked.

"What was what?" Tiffany asked.

"That." Quinn said, pointing. Tiffany looked up just in time to see a huge yellow toad jump out of the bushes and into the clearing. Quinn, Sandi and Tiffany all screamed as it jumped straight towards them. The three girls ran to the side of the clearing, while Stacy just stood there and watched the toad. "That's a really strange color, kind of like vomit."

"Stacy…" Sandi said, in a warning tone of voice.

"What?" Stacy asked. Just then they heard another voice calling from the woods.

"Cerinthe! Cerinthe! Where are you?" The voice sounded like a young girl trying very hard to sound cute, but not quite managing it.

The toad looked over its shoulder (quite an interesting maneuver, considering toad anatomy), and made a noise that sounded like it had muttered "damn" beneath its breath. Of course, toads can't talk, so that couldn't have been it.

Just as it was getting ready to take off again, it croaked in surprise. Stacy had bent over and grabbed it, eliciting "Ew!"s from the other girls.

"It's just a toad."

"Stacy, you're going to get warts."

"Oh, that's a myth" Stacy answered.

"What?" Tiffany asked.

"Not miss, myth."


"Cerinthe!" the voice called out again. The voice's owner pushed her way through the foliage and entered the clearing. Slightly younger than the Lawndale girls, she was dressed in an outfit that was obviously meant to be cute, but had probably been designed by someone totally colorblind. Her hair was an unusual shade of blue and was pulled into two enormous ponytails that rose from her head like floppy bunny ears.

"Cer… oh!" She said, obviously startled. The five girls just looked at each other for a moment, then a soft sigh-like croak from the toad attracted the girl's attention.

"Cerinthe! You found him! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" The girl ran over to Stacy and gently took her toad back. "You bad, bad boy. You know you're not supposed to go out alone." Looking back up at Stacy, she said, "I'm really sorry to have bothered you."

"Oh, um, right. It was nothing." Stacy said.

"Oh, how rude of me! I'm Mizue Mizuniwa, and this is my frie…frog Cerinthe. I've been trying to find him all morning."

"I'm Stacy. That's Sandi, Quinn and Tiffany over there." Stacy said.

The three girls finally risked the toad and walked over to join the group.

As they did, Mizue noticed the men scattered unconscious around the clearing. "The... the… the… the Leisure Suit Legions!"

Everyone else looked at her blankly. "The what?" Sandi asked.

"Them!" Mizue pointed at one of the men.

"Oh. The badly dressed guys." Quinn said.

"I heard rumors they were moving nearby, but I didn't believe them. If there's something around that can do this, maybe we better leave, it’s probably really dangerous. Did you see what happened?" Mizue asked.

"Yeah." Quinn said

"What was it?" Mizue asked.

"Stacy." Tiffany said.

"You did this?" Mizue looked impressed.

Stacy looked embarrassed. "Um... Yeah."

"All by yourself? Wow! You must be new or I would have heard about you."

Stacy looked confused, as did the rest of the group.

"Um... What?" Sandi asked.

"You're magical girls, right?"

Quinn gave a little start at that, but the other girls still looked confused.

"Well, we are quite popular, and Stacy has been in a magic show..." Sandi said confusedly.

Mizue looked even more impressed. "Wow! I'm so envious! What timeslot was it in?"

"Huh?" Stacy asked.

"What's your trasformed name? I'm Mizuniukabuawa. Not a good name, I know, but I'm no good with names, so I had to accept what they assigned me."

"What are..." Stacy started to say.

"Oh! I know! You rescued Cerinthe for me, so let's all go into town and I'll take you to this great tea shop I know where we can talk!" she paused speaking just long enough for Sandi to draw a breath, but not long enough for anyone to actually say anything, then continued, "My treat!"

Quinn, Stacy, and Tiffany all looked at Sandi. After a moment's pause she shrugged and said, "Well, I am thirsty. And maybe we'll be able to find out what happened and where we are. But I am not appearing in public with someone dressed like that." She pointed at Mizue.

"What’s wrong with this outfit? I spent ages picking this out!" Mizue asked.

"Well, for starters…"

This got Sandi, Quinn and Tiffany going. Stacy made little shushing motions, worried the new girl might react as badly as the men to fashion advice. No one, including Mizue, paid any attention to her. Stacy soon realized that Mizue was quite happy to accept the girls’ advice, and before long Stacy was making her own suggestions, gaining confidence as they were well received.

The girls eventually started to head towards town when they were reminded of the men’s presence by Stacy tripping over one.

"We forgot all about these guys." Quinn said.

"Are they… dead?" Stacy squeaked, crawling away from the guy she had just tripped over.

Mizue bent down to check. "No, he’s breathing and there’s a pulse. You must have just knocked them out."

Stacy sighed in relief, aborting her incipient hyperventilation attack.

"Maybe we should do something for them." Quinn said.

"They attacked us, remember? Let’s just leave them here." Sandi answered.

"Will they be okay?" Stacy asked.

"I’m sure they’ll be fine. There are probably helpful little forest animals to take care of them, or something." Sandi answered.

"Cute little forest animals?" Tiffany asked.

"Exactly. To cover them in leaves and bring them food and stuff." Sandi said, watching Stacy.

Stacy looked quite relieved at this news.

"Can we go now?" Sandi asked archly.

Realizing the question had been directed at her, Stacy said "Sure."

Tiffany simply followed Sandi as she headed off towards town. Quinn rolled her eyes then followed the other girls, Stacy close behind her.

Mizue stared blankly after the group for a moment, then hurried to catch up, shooting an "I’m sorry you have to put up with these crazy people" glance at Stacy as she did so.

Mizue directed them to a teahouse after only a brief detour to her apartment. She went through four outfit changes before getting an "Acceptable… barely" from Sandi.

"Thanks so much for the wardrobe help, guys." Mizue said as they entered the teahouse.

"We are the Fashion Club. It’s our duty to assist the fashion disadvantaged." Sandi said.

"Cute is our business." Tiffany added.

"I’ve been saving up to buy a Vespa," Mizue said, "But now I’m going to need a whole new wardrobe. This will really help my career!"

They were seated and given menus.

"You know, this calls for a celebration." Mizue said. "I’ll have Zuiun Sencha, please."

"And for you?" The waitress asked Stacy.

"Um… the same?" Stacy said without even opening her menu.

"Me too." Quinn said.

"Well, I suppose I’ll give it a try." Sandi said, trying to cover the fact that she simply couldn’t read the menu.

"Ceylon Silver Needles, white tip." Tiffany said in a strange voice, one not nearly as deep or as slowly paced as usual. Mizue looked rather startled at this.

"I’ll be right back with your orders." The waitress said, and left.

"I didn’t know you were such a tea connoisseur Tiffany." Sandi said.

"Connoisseur?" Tiffany asked in her normal voice.

"That’s a really good choice. Have you had it before?" Mizue asked.

"Had what?"

This confused exchange was interrupted by the return of the waitress.

"I’m sorry, but we’re out of the Ceylon white tip. Would you care for something else?" She asked.

"Huh?" Tiffany asked.

"She’ll have what we’re having." Sandi said firmly.


"Did we order already?" Tiffany asked.


"Oh. I got diet, right?"

"What do you mean, diet? It’s tea." Mizue said.

"Yes, diet. No sugar. Or milk." Tiffany said.


Mizue stared at the now quiet Tiffany.

"Is there something wrong with my makeup?" Tiffany asked, digging out her compact.

"No, but… never mind." Mizue turned to Stacy. "I want to thank you again for finding Cerinthe for me."

"Um… you’re welcome."

"Do you mind if I ask about your powers?" Mizue asked.

"Powers?" Stacy asked, her panic interrupted by the delivery of everyone’s tea. The discussion about magic was postponed as Mizue explained to everyone how to work their French presses.

"So you're not really magical girls?"

"We don't even know what those are." Sandi said.


"Do you have something to say, Quinn?" Sandi asked testily.

"Well... Magical girls are just regular girls that somehow gain magical powers." Quinn said.

"You mean I can do magic? Real magic?" Stacy asked.

"Well, basically. Your specialty seems to be martial arts powers," said Mizue.

"Quinn, how did..." Sandi started to ask.

"So why did it make her drunk?" Quinn interrupted.

"I don't know. Many powers have some kind of limit or side effect, but I've never heard of one like that." said Mizue.

"Are we all going to get magical powers, then?" Sandi asked.

"I don't know. It depends on how she got hers. Didn't your animal companion fill you in?"

"Animal companion?" Tiffany said. "But I'm allergic to dogs."

"It doesn't have to be a dog. Don't any of you have one?"

"Um... I've got a cat." Sandi said.

"A cat? Wow! Only the highest ranked magical girls can get cats! Where is it? Can I meet it? What’s his name?"

"Well... it's at home." Sandi said.

"Isn't he supposed to be your guide? Did he send you on a quest or something? You’re making me jealous!" Mizue said.

"I think you've got the wrong idea." Quinn said.

"What do you mean?" Mizue asked.

"Fluffy’s just a cat. It's not magic or anything."

"But that doesn’t make any sense! How can you be magical girls and actually have a pet?"

"Like I said, we aren’t magical girls." Quinn said.

"Stacy is, at least." Mizue said. "Maybe not the rest of you…"

"How can you tell?" Stacy asked.

"Well, if you’ve got powers…"

"Stacy didn’t have powers before today." Sandi said.

"Well, you could check the Magical Girl Association, Mahou Shoujo Renmei, but that could take a couple days."

"It’s not like we’re going anywhere." Quinn said.

"You know, that thing with the photo booth…" Mizue mused. "It’s really weird, but not too weird."

"What do you mean?" Quinn asked.

"Well, usually when a magical girl gets her powers something strange happens. She gets a magic item, or finds out she’s a long lost princess or something. And there’s usually an attack of some sort right after, so she can save the day."

"So Stacy is a magical girl," Sandi said, much to Stacy’s evident pleasure. "And if she’s a magical girl, I must be too."

"What about me?" Tiffany asked.

"Well, you are senior to Stacy in the club, so probably. But I’m not sure about our newest member."

"I don’t care, Sandi. I just want to know how to get home." Quinn said.

"Maybe if we go back to the photo booth…" Sandi said.

"Um…" Mizue interrupted.


"Usually, when something like this happens to a magical girl, she has to perform some kind of quest. But you guys are unusual. Usually an agent would have been picked out by your animal companion so the television rights for the quest could be sold." Mizue said.

"But we don’t have one." Stacy said.

"Maybe he got lost or something," Mizue shrugged. "Some of them are pretty dumb. Still, you should some clue. A mystic prophesy?" Everyone shook their heads. "A dire fortune telling?" Everyone shook their heads again. "A visit from a strange knight?" Again. Mizue sighed. "Maybe the MaShoRe will have something."

"How do we file that request?" Sandi asked.

"Well, you could go to their office, but the lines are always huge. Let’s go back to my place, and you can file one online." Mizue said.

"This is so confusing…" Stacy said. "I don’t have to dress up like a super hero, do I? Capes are so… icky."

"If you do, I will be compelled to expel you from the Fashion Club." Sandi said.

"Oh, that’s right!" Mizue said.

"Huh?" Tiffany asked.

"We’ll need to go shopping for Stacy’s magical girl outfit!"

"Although shopping would be a good way to pass the time while we wait, as President of the Fashion Club I simply cannot allow a member to wear her underwear on the outside."

"No, magical girl costumes aren’t like that," Mizue said. "They’re really cute!"

"I’m afraid that, considering the state of your apparel when we met, that I cannot trust your fashion sense in cuteness."

"Look, I’ve got a scrapbook at home with a lot of pictures of magical girls. We can look it over and you can see for yourself."

"I’ve never been in a shop like this one," Quinn said. "I can’t wait to see what the clothing stores here are like."

"I bet no one in Lawndale’s ever had anything like we can find in… what is the name of this city, anyway?" Stacy asked.

Mizue looked startled. "Everyone calls it Mahou Tokyo."

"So we are in Japan?" Tiffany asked.

Mizue glared at her. "Never heard of it. This is Mapon."

"I thought you just said it was Mau Hau Tokyo." Tiffany said.

"Mahou… mahou!"

"You don’t need to call names…"

Mizue stared at Tiffany for a moment, then turned to Stacy. "Does she dye her hair? She’s really a blonde, right?"

"No that’s always been her hair color." Stacy said, somewhat confused.

Sandi broke in. "After much consideration, I have decided that we, the Fashion Club, shall take advantage of the unique circumstances to inspect the local fashions. Stacy, do you have the club notebook?"

"It’s in my bag, Sandi."

"Good. Then we’ll go file that request, and Mizue can take us to the local Cashman’s."

"What’s a Cashman’s?" Mizue asked.

The other girls stared at her.

"Well, that explains the clothes. What about Junior Five?"

"Never heard of it."

"Maybe shopping isn’t such a good idea after all…"

"Now Sandi, we aren’t in Lawndale any more. Maybe they’re called something else here." Quinn said.


"New shoes." Tiffany said.

"On the way here, I saw this really cute dress in a window." Stacy said. "It looked like a genuine Sabatini."

"Well, I guess it can’t hurt to look. And we’re missing the Christmas sales at home, so we may as well see if we can find some deals here."

Mizue signaled for the waitress, and all the girls pulled out credit cards. The waitress started to walk to the register, but quickly returned.

"Um… I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of any of these cards. We can’t accept them." She said, returning all but Mizue’s card.

"We’re definitely not in Lawndale." Quinn said.

"These are all gold or higher. You must be joking." Sandi said.

"I’m sorry, but we can’t take these."

"Let me see that." Sandi said, grabbing Mizue’s card.

"Will this work?" Stacy asked, offering cash.

"What kind of money is that? I’ve never seen it before."

"MahouCard?" Sandi read from the card.

"Um… it’s money…" Stacy said, slightly panicky.

"Sure, all the magical girls carry them." Mizue said.

"Is it foreign? We can’t take foreign currency. There’s a bank right around the corner, though. They should be able to change it."

Mizue sighed. "Just put it all on my card for now. It was supposed to be my treat anyway."

The waitress nodded and went to the register. The girls thanked Mizue and got ready to leave.

As the girls gathered outside the door, Mizue turned to Stacy and said, "You should have a MahouCard. All the magical girls get them."

"No one gave me one."

"Well, they are magic. Every magical girl automagically gets one, so they can draw upon their credit. Beating up some of the LSL should have given you something, and as a new girl you get a costume allowance."

"Really, I…"

"Just check your pockets. These things have a way of turning up."

Stacy checked her pockets and quickly found she had an extra credit card. "Is this it?"

"Let me see."

Stacy handed Mizue the card.

"What’s this?" Mizue asked.

The girls gathered around to look over Mizue’s shoulder. "What?" they chorused.

"This big strawberry mark. I’ve never heard of this brand."

"It’s not an American Express, is it?" Sandi asked.

"Never heard of that one, either. But this says Giant Strawberry on it."

"What should it say?" Quinn asked.

"Well…" Mizue dug in her pockets and pulled her card back out. "See, I’ve got a Tokyo Tower card. They’re the best. You can only get them after you’ve appeared in a major show." She paused before quietly adding, "Even if it was only as an extra."

"You’ve been in a major show?" Stacy asked.

Mizue smiled. "Yep! Twice. Only a one show appearance each time, though. I basically got the parts because of my hair."

"What dye do you use?" Tiffany asked.

Mizue looked indignant. "Dye? This is my natural color!"

Turning back to Stacy, which incidentally required her to turn her back on Tiffany, she said, "We’ll have to look for a shop that accepts these. They’ll be able to check your balance."

"Natural?" Tiffany asked.

Mizue ignored her, but not Sandi and Quinn, who were each examining one of her ponytails.

"Wow! I’ve never seen such great hair. You’ll have to take us to your stylist, I could use some highlights." Quinn said.

"Oh, I couldn’t afford a good stylist. I just do it myself. And the highlights are natural, too."

"Well, the Fashion Club would be willing to give you the honor of doing our hair." Sandi said.

"What about my card?" Stacy asked, feeling a little left out.

"Oh, the card! We’ll just have to find a store with a strawberry symbol in the window. Like these."

Mizue pointed at the stickers in the teahouse’s window. Tokyo Tower sat amidst a collection of bells, ribbons, and cute animals.

"That could be a problem, though," Mizue said. "I don’t remember ever seeing that one before."

They spent the rest of the afternoon looking at stores. Although it took quite a bit of effort on Mizue's part, it did stay only looking at stores rather than in them. None of Mizue’s favorite shops accepted the Giant Strawberry MahouCard, and none of the stores on the main streets did, either. They eventually gave up and accepted Mizue’s invitation to spend the night at her place.

"I don’t have enough futons, so we’ll have to use some of the blankets as a mattress."

"I have this… condition," Sandi said. "I’m afraid I’ll need to use the bed."

"Oh, yes… your condition." The other Fashion Club members echoed, although not in matching time.

"Oh, I don’t have a bed. Sorry." Mizue said.


"Well, my place is kind of small, only six mats. There’s just not room in there for a bed. Don’t worry, though, my futon’s pretty good."

"We’re sorry for troubling you like this." Stacy said.

"Oh, it’s no problem. You guys gave me such great fashion advice, I’m sure it’ll really help out my career. Oh, I almost forgot. We can file that information request when we get home."

"All this for some fashion advice?" Quinn asked.

"It’s worth it! You have no idea how much the professional fashion consultants cost, and image is really important. I always knew my lack of fashion sense was going to be a problem, but I wanted to be a magical girl anyway," Mizue paused and giggled. "And besides, I haven’t had a slumber party in forever!"

"How did you become a magical girl, Mizue?" Stacy asked.

Mizue blushed. "Remember what I said about finding magic items? That’s what happened to me. It was totally by accident."

"What do you mean?"

"I made an order over the internet, but they sent me the wrong thing and it turned me into a magical girl."

"What was it?"

"That’s not important right now," Mizue said, then muttered, "I ordered the Hello Kitty model, damn it."

"So you can only become a magical girl by accident?" Quinn asked.

"Yep. It’s not something you can just go to school for. You have to get powers first, and that’s pretty random," Mizue looked thoughtful. "Although I think not totally random. It seems to help if you have really strong feelings about it."

"Like how you really wanted to be one?" Stacy asked.

"Yeah, although it seems to work if you really don’t want to be one, too."

"How do you know all this?" Quinn asked.

Mizue giggled. "I’ve been keeping track of all the new girls, especially the ones that get big roles. I’ve been trying to copy their styles, but it just hasn’t worked."

"That was before we got here." Sandi said.

"Are there a lot of magical girls in town?" Stacy asked.

"Well, a lot live here. Mahou Tokyo is the fashionable place to live for magical girls. But all the really popular girls are off on location right now."

Mizue stopped in front of an apartment building and said, "Here we are!"

"Gee. It’s the same as last time we were here. A few hours ago." Sandi said.

Mizue smacked herself in the head and stuck her tongue out. "Dummy. I totally forgot."

Mizue unlocked the door and stepped inside saying, "I’m home!"

"We’ll be with you in a moment," Sandi said. "Club conference."

Mizue looked surprised. "Um… okay. Just come in when you’re done. I’ll get some snacks ready."

"What’s up, Sandi?" Quinn asked as soon as the door was closed.

"Are you having hearing problems in this strange land, Quinn? She said all the popular girls are out of town. Do we really want to risk our reputation by staying with an unpopular person? I mean, one that we aren’t related to?"

"Gee, Sandi…"

"But she’s really nice, Sandi," Stacy said. "Besides, we can’t find anywhere that will take our money."

"Yeah, sleeping under bushes would be bad for our complexions." Quinn said.

"Rash…" Tiffany added, shuddering.

"Tiffany, dear," Sandi said, "Unless you’re planning to use generic skin care products again, that won’t be a problem."

"What skin care products?" Quinn asked. "All we have is Stacy’s bag."

"C’mon, Sandi, please?" Stacy said. "She really seems to like us."

"Of course she does," Sandi said absently. "Well… I suppose we’ll just have to risk it for tonight." Stacy started to say something, but Sandi kept talking. "But we’ll move out as soon as possible, okay?"

Sandi opened the door. As the girls walked in she added, "At least we’ll be able get a bath tonight, after all that walking."

Mizue, setting a plate of snack on to her table, heard this. "We’ll have to go to a bath house tomorrow, if we can find some bath kits for you guys."

"A what?"

"Bath house."

"Is your bathtub broken?" Quinn asked.

"What’s a bath house?" Stacy asked.

"I don’t have a tub, Quinn. This place is too small. Apartments with full bathrooms are expensive. A lot of places in the city are like this. A bath house is just a place for people who don’t have one."

"It’s not like a gym shower, is it?" Asked Sandi.

"No. It’s just a big bathtub. Don’t you guys have them in that Lawndale place?"

"No." Stacy said.

"Bathing with other people? How… unhygienic." Sandi said.

"Ew." Tiffany said.

"Maybe it’ll be like a Jacuzzi, Sandi." Quinn said.

"We didn’t bring our bathing suits, Quinn." Sandi responded.

"Oh, you don’t…" Mizue started to say. She was interrupted by her computer, which rather loudly announced that she had new mail.

Mizue knelt in front of her computer and clicked her mouse. After a second she sighed. "If you ever get e-mail from a dead girl, don’t answer. I did, and now I get soooo much spam."

The girls looked at each other for a moment, then Stacy spoke. "That’s a really cute computer."

Mizue smiled. "Isn’t it? There are some really cute iMacs. I wanted to get the Minky Momo commemorative model, but they sold out in under an hour!"

"Um… that’s really fascinating and all, but what about the request?" Sandi asked.

"Oh, that’s right. Let’s see…"

The girls gathered around to see the screen as Mizue pulled up the MGR page.

"I was just checking my e-mail to see if anyone had mentioned you guys. I try to keep track of all the new magical girls, especially the more popular ones. I’ve got a bunch of friends online, and we all help each other with new information. It’s pretty uncommon for someone to slip past us like you did, Stacy."

"Why do you keep track of all of them?" Quinn asked.

"Well, I figured that I could learn about fashion some. It hasn’t really worked very well, though."

"So no one here has heard of us?" Stacy asked.

"Just me, so far."

Sandi looked upset. "How is that possible?"

"Yeah, how?" Tiffany echoed.

"We’re a really long way from home…" Quinn said.

"Who’s that?" Stacy asked, pointing over Mizue’s shoulder at the screen.

"She’s Magical Mixie. She was the last one added to the MaShoRe. She just completed her application last week, and she’s already got a role. I’m so jealous…"

"Is she really good?" Stacy asked.

"I don’t know, but she’s really cute, and those cat-ears are natural."

"Those are her ears?" Stacy asked, disbelievingly.

"I know!" Mizue said, misunderstanding completely. "Don’t you just want to rub them?"

"I hate to interrupt this little conversation, but does that mean we aren’t listed?" Sandi asked.

"Oh! No, this is just for the fully registered girls. I’ll have to send in a request about you guys…" She clicked her mouse a few times. "Here. They keep saying they’re going to put their full database online, but they never do."

"How long until we find out?" Quinn asked.

"Well, you’re brand new." Mizue said while typing out the request form. "That means they don’t have a lot of time to check over. It shouldn’t be more than a day or two."

"What do you need to do to register?" Stacy asked.

"And why should we bother?" Sandi added.

"Paperwork…" Tiffany drawled.

"Well, if you want a role you have to register. It’s like a really exclusive club. No one would ever use non- MaShoRe girls. And to register you need an agent, usually your animal companion or someone they know. They take care of most of it, like the publicity shots. But first you need a magical girl costume."

Quinn, looking over Mizue’s shoulder, read off the application. "Need info on brand new magical girl, Stacy Rowe, no henshin name yet, and possible magical girl group, Fashion Club."

"They’ll know something about us?" Stacy asked.

"Well, Stacy already used her powers. They’ve got specialists who are really good at detecting that, so they should know you’re here. If they do, they’ll be investigating right now, so they can contact your animal companion and get you registered."

"Will they know our powers?" Quinn asked.

"If you have any, they might. But it’s not for sure until you actually use them."

""If? Stacy does, so I’m sure the rest of us do." Sandi said.

"Well, if we can find a place that accepts Stacy’s MahouCard I can take you to one of the MaShoRe’s training facilities. We can try to figure out your powers. Or we could wait for the report."

"You said the cards just turn up, right?" Quinn asked.


"So… if we’ve got powers, shouldn’t we already have cards too?"

A quick search revealed that all four girls had Giant Strawberry cards.

"Hey… more credit." Tiffany said.

"This is not acceptable. These are worse than American Express." Sandi said. "We will have to get better ones as soon as possible."

Mizue looked stunned. "Wow! A whole new magical girl group, and they’re staying with ME! Oh! This is going to be so much fun!"

"It’s a sleepover!" Stacy said. "Too bad we don’t have the latest edition of ‘Waif’ with us."

"For a whole group to show up at once… there must be something important going on." Mizue mused.

"Important?" Tiffany asked.

"It’s got to be the LSL! You both showed up at the same time."

"You mean those unfashionable men from earlier? We’ll have nothing to do with them." Sandi said.

"Yeah. They’re really hard on the eyes." Tiffany said.

Mizue wasn’t paying attention. "But why only four? And no animal companion?"

"What’s wrong with four?" Stacy asked.

"It’s bad luck. You really should have five members…" Mizue hinted.

This line of conversation was halted by a loud beep from Quinn’s pocket. She reacted automatically, digging her cell phone out and checking her voice mail.

"Quinn…" Sandi started.

"Hold on a sec, Sandi. I’ve got a message." Quinn said.

Sandi glared at Quinn while everyone else just sat around and watched. Quinn soon let her hand fall to her side.

"That was my mom. She wanted to know where I am, and said I’m grounded if I’m not home in an hour…" Quinn said somewhat distantly.

"Quinn, you had your cell phone the whole time?" Sandi asked.

Quinn didn’t respond.


"Huh? Oh, the phone." Quinn chuckled weakly. "Yeah. I forgot about it."

"Well, don’t just stand there. Call home and have someone come get us."

"I don’t think it’ll be that easy." Quinn muttered, but she hit speed dial anyway.

After a few seconds Sandi asked, "Well?"

"There’s no dial tone."

"Then how did you get your voice mail?"

"I don’t know, Sandi! What do I look like? Some kind of phone freak?"

"You can try using my phone if you want." Mizue offered.

Sandi went to the phone and started dialing while Mizue turned back to her computer to change her request.

"Wow!" She said. "This has been the luckiest day of my life! A whole new group, and I found out first! My friends are going to be sooo jealous!"

Sandi slammed the receiver down. "Damn! None of the numbers work."

"Did you try the international code?" Quinn asked.

"Of course. I have been to Tahiti, remember?"

"Why call?" Tiffany asked. "We’re all right here."

"How else can we keep our dates in line if we can’t be there to blow them off in person?"

"Well, here goes," Mizue said, clicking with finality. "With luck, we’ll know more tomorrow. They’ll probably even know what you have to do to get home"

"An entire day of shopping… lost." Sandi said.


"But Sandi, we got to see all the cute stuff here!" Stacy said.

"We couldn’t buy any of it. Therefore it was not shopping."


Quinn yawned. Not a cute little "you’re not talking about me" date control yawn, but a big, gaping "Are you sure that’s the time?" yawn. She blushed slightly when she realized everyone was staring at her.

"Sorry. I guess I’m a bit tired after today."

"Oh, I’m sorry!" Mizue said. "I should have expected that. Let’s get the beds made up."

"In here?" Stacy asked, opening the only other door in the room.

"No, that’s the bathroom."

"Why call it that if you don’t have a bathtub?" Sandi asked.

Ignoring her, Mizue continued. "Let me just move this out of the way."

Mizue moved her table and leaned It up against the wall. She then opened a cabinet a started pulling out bedding. Under her direction the five girls eventually had everything set up.

"You mean we’ve all got to sleep together?" Sandi asked.

"Well, yeah. There’s not enough room for anything else. Besides, it’s more fun this way."

"What are we going to wear? I don’t have a nightgown." Stacy said.

"Do you have any extras?" Quinn asked Mizue.

"Sorry, no."

"Then we’ll just have to make do. It’s only for one night." Quinn said.

"Are you sure about that?" Sandi muttered.


"I didn’t say anything."

They took turns getting ready, and it didn’t take them long to get in bed. Not, however, before Tiffany took the chance to ask everyone if she looked fat. Or before Mizue thoroughly embarrassed Stacy by complimenting her on the cute hearts on her panties.

Lying in a row, with the lights off, the girls drifted off to sleep.

"Quinn? Are you awake?" Stacy whispered.

"What is it, Stacy?"

"Do you really think we’ll get home tomorrow?"

"Not tomorrow, but soon. You know Sandi’s got a big date next week."

"That’s right!" Stacy said, relieved. "She’d never miss that one. Thanks, Quinn."

"Goodnight, Stacy."

The next morning was a single loud argument. Five teenage girls obsessed with appearance tried to share one small bathroom. Sandi, Quinn and Tiffany all wanted to go first. Mizue was willing to let her guests go ahead of her, but thought Stacy should be first. Stacy couldn’t figure out who to agree with.

During the argument several happenings of the night before were brought up. Mizue’s snoring. Stacy’s tossing and turning. Tiffany’s sprawling. Sandi and Quinn repeatedly getting up to check on each other.

All in all it had been a pretty exhausting night, and only Tiffany seemed to have had a good night’s rest.

Mizue’s attempt to cook breakfast for her guests was over before it had really begun. None of the other girls shared her opinion of a good breakfast, and insisted on grapefruit halves, which at least came out to an even number of grapefruit.

By the time they actually left Mizue’s apartment it was getting close to noon.

The rest of the morning didn’t do much to improve their tempers, as they wandered from store to store trying to find one that would accept their cards.

Mizue eventually persuaded them to have lunch at a ramen stand, which turned out to be different than they had expected.

"I wonder how much this stuff costs in our money." Stacy said in between slurping her noodles. The other three girls still refused to "abandon our table manners", as Sandi put it, but Stacy was having fun. Her choice had been made easier when she realized everyone else in the restaurant was eating the same way as Mizue. Sandi was still giving Stacy dirty looks from time to time, and Stacy had actually found herself trying to irritate Sandi by eating even more noisily.

"Oh, that’s right!" Mizue said. "We should try a bank. They should at least be able to change your money."

"Why didn’t we do that yesterday?" Sandi asked.

"We forgot about it, and then the banks were closed."

"I don’t think that forgetting such things is very hospitable of you."

"Now, Sandi, we forgot too. Besides, we don’t have much cash, we still couldn’t have gone shopping."

"Gee, Quinn, I didn’t think you’d be the kind to let a little money problem stand in the way of some good shopping. Surely these people have heard of layaway."

Tiffany interrupted. "I dropped my chopsticks…"

"Again?" Sandi asked, signaling the waitress for another pair. "Why are you the only one having trouble with them? That Mandarin restaurant in Lawndale is nearly as good as Chez Pierre. Don’t you ever go there?"

"Not really…" Tiffany said.

"Maybe we should just get her a spoon, Sandi." Stacy suggested hesitantly.

"Especially if we want to leave before dinner." Mizue added, before pointedly drinking her broth.

"No, I’m done." Tiffany said.

"But you’ve barely eaten half!" Mizue said.

"I’m watching my weight."

"Why? Are you trying to become a hot air balloon? You’re the skinniest person I’ve ever seen!"


Stacy leaned over to Mizue and whispered, "Tiffany has this… thing about looking fat."

Mizue rolled her eyes then asked Tiffany, "If you aren’t going to eat that, can I have it?"

After finishing lunch, they headed to the bank only to find that no one there recognized their money. They didn’t take the Giant Strawberry card, either.

"It is an unusual brand," the teller said. "Very new. They haven’t made many contacts yet. I’m pretty sure they’ve got a couple in town. You can probably find out more on their web site."

"Web site?"

"Yes. The URL is on the back of the card. See?"

"Oh! Thank you. We’ll try that."

"We could have tried that last night and saved all this walking." Sandi said.

"If anyone had bothered to look at their card, you mean. Remember, mine works fine."

"Um… guys…" Stacy said, pointing behind herself.

"Tiffany! Your makeup is fine." Quinn said, exasperated.

Tiffany had stopped in front of another window to check her reflection.

"But it’s not mine, remember? So I’m checking it."

Mizue sighed. This was another argument that had been repeating all day. "There’s nothing wrong with that brand. All the top magical girls use it. Now let’s get going."


"Tiffany, dear, for the last time, you can’t buy new shoes until we find a store that will accept our credit cards."

"A strawberry."


"There’s a strawberry in the window." Tiffany said, pointing.

The other girls gathered round.

"Wow. There is." Quinn said.

"Hey, I don’t remember seeing this shop here before." Mizue said.

"Maybe they’re new."

"Maybe. But they’re so close to my place, I can’t believe I missed this."

"Hmm. Their window display seems to be of acceptable quality. Shall we investigate?" Sandi asked.

This, of course, was a rhetorical question. After two days of shopping with nothing to show for it, they weren’t about to pass up this chance.

The inside of the store wasn’t quite what they had expected. Brightly lit and full of clothes, but not at all similar to Junior 5.

Quinn was just wondering aloud about the stage in one corner when Mizue interrupted her. The walls were lined with pictures of magical girls. Mizue had noticed a couple of her favorites and was pointing them out to the others.

"What in the world is she wearing?" Sandi asked.

"That’s her magical girl costume." Mizue said.

"Wow, that skirt is short." Stacy said. "You’d have to have really, really good legs for that."

"It’s pretty cute." Quinn said.

"Yeah, cute."

"Much better than superhero costumes."

"Granted. However, I hope we can find something more suitable to our position as the Fashion Club."

"Can I help you, dearies?"

The five girls turned around and saw a skinny older woman in glasses coming out of the back of the store.

"These four need magical girl costumes." Mizue said. "They’re new."

"Feel free to look around. If you find something you like I can do alterations. We can do original designs, too, but it’ll take a couple weeks."


The girls started to look around, but then Mizue did her little hit herself on the head routine. "I can’t believe I almost forgot about this. You haven’t seen my costume yet! Maybe you can help me out with it," she said.

"Sure. You’ll have to show it to us when we get back. I can’t wait to see it!" Stacy said.

"Oh, you don’t have to wait."

"What do you mean?"

"Let me show you." Mizue turned to the shopkeeper. "Ma’am, may I use your stage?"

"Go right ahead, child."

"What are we doing?" Tiffany asked.

"I’ll show you my transformation sequence, and then you can see my costume." Mizue said.


"Of course! I’ve been working on it. It’s pretty hard to change clothes like this, but you can’t get a good role if you can’t do it."

"Change clothes?" Stacy asked, slightly panicked.

Before anyone could do anything to calm Stacy down, Mizue started her transformation. She pulled a small pink wand from somewhere about her and loudly said "Mizuniukabuawa Metamorphosis!"

Mizue began to glow slightly, as if a spotlight was shining on her. She held hands, along with the wand, in front of her face for a moment. She paused, then lowered them to reveal that her makeup had changed and she was now wearing a diadem. As she lowered her hands, long ribbons unfurled from them, accompanied by a cloud of bubbles from her wand.

The four other girls were pretty much stunned by this, and Stacy nearly fainted when Mizue posed just long enough to wink at her.

Mizue began to twirl, sending the ribbons and bubbles swirling around her and obscuring her form somewhat. Not, however, enough to prevent anyone from noticing that her clothing was gone. A leotard quickly appeared in place, and the rest of the costume built over it, complete with long gloves and accessories. Finally, as the ribbons and bubbles began to disappear, Mizue bent over backwards, placing her hands on the floor. She did a slow handstand, one leg a time, showing off her newly placed thigh boots. She went all the way over, back onto her feet, and into a pose.

Mizue held the pose for a moment, but the girls were too surprised to offer comments, and Stacy was blushing furiously.

"Well? What do you think?" Mizue asked.

When no one said anything, she came down from the stage and continued. "I worked really hard on that. It took forever to get that routine down so that the ribbons kept everything covered."

One of the girls finally spoke up.

"That is her natural hair color…" Tiffany said.

Mizue looked startled. "What? Is she having another blonde moment?"

"She’s saying you need to practice it more." Sandi said.

Mizue looked at Stacy questioningly, but Stacy just blushed harder and avoided eye contact.

Quinn spoke up. "You flashed the whole room."

Now it was Mizue’s turn to blush. "Um… I’m sorry… I’ll practice more! It’s just really hard to tell at home, I only have the one mirror, and it isn’t full length!"


"Maybe it would help if I had a chant during the transformation." Mizue continued, trying to change the subject. "You know, to keep time. But I’m no good with words. Could you guys help me make one?"

"The one you’d want to talk to is my sister… I mean, cousin." Quinn said dryly.

The group finally drifted out to start shopping, but not before Sandi managed to convince Stacy that none of them were going to even consider trying a transformation sequence. Mizue agreed, saying that it took a long time to get it right, and that she’d been practicing for months.

The girls didn’t spend much time on most of the room. The first rack they check was passed by when Sandi pulled one outfit off the rack.

"If this is a joke, someone needs their sense of humor examined." Sandi said.

"Um… where's the rest of it?" Stacy asked nervously.

"Are we going swimming?" Tiffany asked.

The second rack started better, with Quinn excitedly saying "How cute! A fuku!"

The other three stared at her.

"A what?" Sandi asked.

Quinn looked nervous. "Um. This. Isn’t it cute?"

"How did you know what it’s called?" Stacy asked.

"Oh, I saw it on the label… or something…" Quinn muttered. "Tiffany, don’t you think this color would be really slenderizing?"

"Hey… you’re right." Tiffany said, taking the dress.

Sandi, however, was not about to be diverted. "Have you been reading weird books with your even weirder cousin, Quinn?"

Quinn sighed. "No, Sandi. I saw it on TV."

"Well, if you say so. I’m sure I should trust the Vice President that much."

"Really, Sandi, I did! Remember that poster I got of the girl with the spiky blue hair?"

"Of course. We had an emergency meeting concerning whether our members should be watching cartoons."

"But they’re really cute cartoons! That poster was even for a magical girl show. She wore a fuku. That’s how I know."

Sandi just responded with a hmm. Quinn gave up and left to shop on her own, Stacy trailing behind her.

"Stacy, I think this one might look acceptable on you." Sandi said.

"Um… let me see, Sandi." Stacy said, changing course.

Quinn drifted near to the register and started looking through the racks. The storekeeper lookup and ask asked, "Is that your natural hair color, dear?"

Quinn looked irritated. "Of course!" as an aside to herself, she muttered "What is it with that question?"

"Well, let me know if you find something you like. We have patterns for everything on the racks, so I can make you one out of Nomex in a few days."

Quinn didn’t even pause before saying "No thanks."

The seamstress cackled, then said, "Oh, it’s one of those stories. Have fun with the tentacles…" she paused for a moment before adding wistfully, "I always did."

Quinn looked at her oddly for a moment, then quickly drifted back to the other girls.

"I’m not sure we should shop here, Sandi." Quinn said.

"Something wrong, Quinn?" Sandi asked sharply.

"That lady just offered to make a costume out of Nomex. I don’t know what that is, but I’ve never heard of it being used in a designer dress."

"Our options are rather limited at this point. Still, I hope you at least refused."

"Of course!"

Mizue interrupted them. Still wearing her costume, she excitedly handed each of them a box. "Look! Sailor Moon bath kits! These are really hard to find! They’ve got the pendant-shaped soap and everything!"

Sandi was less than thrilled and quickly returned to shopping. Quinn, on the other hand, was actually interested enough to abandon her complaint.

The shopping took up the rest of the afternoon. The store luckily had a small selection of non-clothing items, all of them magical-girl themed, so the girls were able to pick up most of what they needed. This was marred by a bit of a fight between Tiffany and Mizue by the makeup rack. The girls were also able to get a little cash, although this started another fight when they found out that Stacy had more credit than the others.

"I told you, remember?" Mizue said. "You get credit for doing things, and Stacy beat up a bunch of the LSL. Of course she’s got more credit."

"Well, perhaps if the rest of us knew what our powers were…" Sandi started.

"Look, we can go to a training ground tonight. There’s this one nearby where the instructor usually stays late. Besides, you’ve all got pretty big costume allowances. I’ve never seen them so high for new girls."

"Well, at least that makes sense. We are the Fashion Club, after all. We have very high clothing standards."

They finally drifted out of the shop, heading back towards Mizue’s apartment to drop off their purchases. In the end, each girl had been able to find a costume that was pretty much an altered version of their normal clothing.

Mizue’s costume hadn’t changed much in design, but the new color scheme was a big improvement. It now emphasized her best asset, her hair. Even Sandi had admitted that the new challenge of color coordinating with blue hair was interesting.

They had a quick, light dinner at Mizue’s, then took the bus out to the training grounds. The instructor was just about to leave when they showed up. He wouldn’t stay, but did say they could stay as late as they wanted.

"Maybe we should just come back tomorrow, when the instructor’s around." Mizue suggested.

"But we came all the way out here! I really want to see what everyone can do." Stacy said.

"Idiot…" Mizue said loudly, hitting herself on the head.

Even Tiffany looked surprised.

"W… what?" Stacy asked.

"Oh, not you! Me! I should have checked my e-mail while we were home. The Institute might have responded already."


"How do you figure out what your powers are, anyway?" Quinn asked.

"Well, yours are obvious. I’m not sure about these two. We’ll just have to try things until something works. Unless you want to see a specialist at the Institute, but that’s expensive."

"Wait… what do you mean mine are obvious?" Quinn asked.

"Well, you’ve got red hair." Mizue said.

Quinn waited for the rest of the explanation, then realized nothing more would be forthcoming.

"So what?"

Mizue looked startled again. "Red haired magical girls always have fire powers. Everyone knows that."

"Well, we don’t. What can she do?"

"Probably throw fire bolts and so on. We can go to the range and try it if you want."

‘The Range’ was simply a large fenced in area out back. It had obviously seen heavy use, and the ground was pitted, scorched and melted from all the magical assaults. This also explained why the training grounds weren’t allowed inside city limits.

Mizue led Quinn up to a small undamaged area that had been roped off. She made the other girls wait behind a thick concrete wall, complete with viewing slit.

"Um… so, what now?"

"Well, normally you’d transform. You might need an item on your costume to cast the spell, you see. But you guys didn’t have any costumes, and Stacy didn’t need one to use her powers. I guess just… try and make things burn."

"Well, okay…" Quinn said, shrugging and turning towards the field. She pointed her hands at one of the straw targets.

"Wait!" Mizue shouted.


"Um… new powers can be really dangerous, especially ones like fire. They’re hard to control. Let me get behind the barrier before you start!"

Quinn muttered darkly to herself for the few moments that it took Mizue to take cover.

"Ready!" Mizue shouted.

The four girls watched with interest as Quinn attempted to summon fire. For the first couple minutes. Then they started to get bored by the lack of results, even if Quinn was coming up with a few interesting curse words. Before long, Mizue was the only one left watching Quinn, the others wandering back inside to find something else to do.

Quinn’s frustration was building quickly. It wasn’t helped at all by the cheerful little comments Mizue keep shouting, from cries of "Do your best!" to updates on what the other girls were doing.

After about ten minutes, Quinn shouted, "I give up!"

Mizue said, "Don’t give up now, you’ve almost got it! I’m sure I felt something last time."

Quinn sighed, and was about to try again, when Sandi came back out on to the range, dripping wet. She asked Mizue, "Where did this thing come from?"

"This thing?"

"This!" Sandi held up a long blade of steel. It looked like a US Calvary saber shorn of all ornamentation.

"Where’d you get that?" Mizue asked.

"That’s what I’m asking you."

"What happened?"

"Well, the soda machine gave me a regular cola, even though I wanted a diet cola, and suddenly I was holding this."

"You got it from the cola machine?" Mizue asked, puzzled.

"No! When it gave me the wrong kind of cola, I wanted to hit it. When I did, I was holding this. That’s why I’m covered in cola."

Mizue squealed. "Cool! You can materialize things!"

Quinn, who had been listening, threw up her hands in disgust, shouting "I quit!"

The result of this was more spectacular than she had expected. Mizue and Sandi turned to stare at the jets of fire that had erupted from Quinn’s palms. They flew upward, exploding overhead and illuminating the whole area.

Mizue and Sandi stared at Quinn, who was busy beating out smoldering areas on her clothes. Stacy and Tiffany ran outside just in time to hear Quinn worrying about her outfit.

"What was that?" Tiffany asked.

"Quinn, are you okay?" Sandi asked.

"I’m fine, but look at my shirt!"

Sandi contemplated her blade for a moment, then threw it downrange.

"At least we know where we can shop now." Sandi said.

Sandi’s blade hit the ground, throwing up a cloud of dirt as it exploded, leaving a new crater on the field.

"What was that?" Mizue asked.

"Um… I threw the sword."

"Cool! I didn’t know they could do that!"

Stacy was excited. "I can do martial arts, Sandi has blades, and Quinn shoots fire! Neat! Tiffany, what can you do?"

"I don’t know."

"Well, Quinn does fire, so we probably don’t need to try that… I really don’t know. Maybe she should just stand here and try things." Mizue suggested.

"Like what?" Tiffany asked.

"Um… summon lighting, control the wind… stuff like that. Something’s bound to work sooner or later."

A half-hour later Tiffany was still trying, showing unusual perseverance. Sandi, Stacy and Quinn had become bored long since and were engaged in evaluating their new makeup supplies. Mizue was attempting to help Tiffany, but was getting more and more irritated with her.

"Enough with the makeup already!" Mizue shouted after Tiffany pulled out her compact for the sixth time. "We aren’t here to watch you put on makeup!"

"But I don’t mind…"

"That’s not the point!" Mizue shouted. She stopped and took a deep breath. "Look, we’re not getting anywhere. It’s getting late. Let’s just come back tomorrow. Quinn should work on her control, anyway."

"Yes, Quinn’s always had a little control problem." Sandi said, vaguely.

"You should too, Sandi." Mizue added, sparking a grin on Quinn’s face.

As they walked out, Mizue continued. "I can’t believe nothing is working. Maybe she’s just an extra, not a magical girl."

"Tiffany has been a member of the Fashion Club for a very long time. If the rest of us are magical girls, she is too." Sandi insisted.

"Well, maybe the Institute has something to tell us by now."

The girls wandered in to Mizue’s place. "I’ve got an idea." Mizue said. "Let me check my e-mail, then we can go to the bathhouse."

"That still sounds unhygienic." Sandi said.

"I don’t think we’ve got much choice, Sandi." Quinn said. "Besides, you really need to get that cola off. You’re attracting ants."

"It sounds kind of fun. Like a hot tub." Stacy said.

"No swimsuits…" Tiffany said.

"So think of it as a really fun hot tub." Mizue suggested, as she logged in.

"Mizue…" Sandi said.

"Sandi, what’s the problem?" Quinn asked. "We’ve gone swimsuit shopping together. Nothing can get much more intimate than that."

"I suppose you do have a point, Quinn."

Mizue’s computer spoke up. "User Mizue has new e-mail."

"Let’s see who this is from…" Mizue said. "Lucky! They’ve already got something!"

The girls crouched around to see. Shortly Mizue said, "Well, they say Tiffany should have some sort of power. We’ll have to keep trying tomorrow."

"Does it say how we got our powers?" Stacy asked.

"Or how we get home?" Quinn added.

"It says the powers are from ‘reso-potentiality deltas’," Mizue said, slowly sounding out the words.

"Deltas? Are we going to join a sorority?" Tiffany asked.

Ignoring her, Mizue continued, "As for getting home, you have to complete a quest. Cool!"

"What are those reso-delta thingies?" Stacy asked.

"A quest?" Quinn asked.

"I don’t know, Stacy. But I was right about the LSL. You guys have to beat them. Isn’t it great?"

"Great? What’s so great about it?" Sandi asked.

"You’re brand new and you’ve already got a show! It’s amazing! They even sent some cameramen to film our training earlier!"

"I don’t remember seeing any cameramen." Sandi said.

"They use only the best ninjas for cameramen."

"I didn’t see any ninjas, either."

"Of course not. That’s how you can tell they’re ninjas."

Quinn interrupted. "What do these guys have to do with us getting home?"

"The LSL? Well, they only one who can send you back is Versache, and the LSL has taken him hostage."

"Why us?"

"Well, I told you all the really popular magical girls are out on location. If they called some back they’d be breaking their contracts. They’d have to pay big penalties. Besides, you guys are the Fashion Club. Guys in leisure suits are pretty much your territory anyway."

"So, what exactly do we need to do?" Sandi asked.

"Rescue Versace."

"You mean… fight all those big men?" Stacy asked.

"You say that like you think it’ll be hard, Stacy. With our powers…" Sandi said.

"Fighting… Ew! Sweat."

"Tiffany brings up a very good point." Sandi said.

"It’s not like she’ll need to worry about sweating." Mizue said. "Anyway, we don’t have to fight them. We could sneak in and rescue him. We’ll just need to come up with a plan."

"Excuse me? We?"

"You mean I can’t come?" Mizue said, crestfallen.

"Oh, please Sandi!" Stacy begged.

"She can’t even dress herself yet. There’s no need to risk our popularity by including her on this."

"But four is such an unlucky number! It’ll hurt your ratings. Besides, you guys don’t know the area at all! Cerinthe and I know the whole area. I’m always chasing him around the woods. Right, Cerinthe?"

"Kero, Kero." Cerinthe said.

"Look, I already told you to cut that out. These are all magical girls!"

"Some of us believe in upholding standards." Cerinthe muttered.

"That rule is so old fashioned. Everyone knows about talking animal companions these days."

"Um… could we talk about all this later? I’d really like to take a bath." Quinn said.

"Oh, of course. Everyone, grab your kits and make sure you’ve got enough change."

"There’s no need to discuss it later. She isn’t coming with us."

"But Sandi…" Stacy started. Mizue interrupted her by putting her hand on Stacy’s shoulder and shaking her head.

The walk to the bathhouse was accomplished in silence. The girls were a bit surprised when they entered, not having expected what was essentially a locker room, despite Mizue’s earlier explanations. They followed Mizue’s instructions and, although embarrassed at first, they quickly recovered and started to whisper among themselves, comparing the other women’s figures as they washed.

"Hey Stacy, I’ll wash your back if you wash mine." Mizue said.

"Um… okay."

While Stacy and Mizue were occupied, the other three made their way to the main bath. Sandi and Tiffany were discussion what they should do about hiking boots they drifted around, trying to get comfortable. They soon found a nice spot, and didn’t notice that Quinn kept moving.

Mizue and Stacy came out and tried to get in near Quinn. "Ow! That’s really hot!" Mizue said.

"Gee Quinn, how can you stand it over there?" Stacy said as she and Mizue ended up by Sandi and Tiffany.

"Feels just right to me."

"Perhaps Quinn’s just getting thick skin." Sandi said.

"I think her skin looks great. All of you have great skin." Mizue said.

"Yours is pretty good too, Mizue." Stacy said.

"Now, Sandi, you know I’ve always had a high tolerance for pain in the sake of beauty. Whenever I get my hair done they run the dryer on the highest setting."

"I could… give you some tips, if you want." Stacy said hesitantly.

"Really? That’d be great!"

"That’s wonderful, Quinn, but be careful not to overdo it. We don’t want you to shrivel up over there."

Quinn’s only response was to duck her head under the water and hold her breath for a few seconds.

The rest of the bath passed uneventfully, at least until they were getting dressed to leave.

"I wonder how they’ll be able to cut this footage in." Mizue said.

"Footage?" Tiffany asked.

"What do you mean?" Stacy asked.

"Well, the bath or hot springs episode usually is early, but not this early. Not before everything else. I guess this one could be put in anywhere, though." Mizue said, pulling on her shirt.

"You mean they taped our bath?" Sandi said.

"Of course. They’ll be taping round the clock until the quest is over, so they don’t miss anything." Mizue was pulling her shirt on, so she didn’t notice the other girls’ reaction to this as she continued. "Most of it doesn’t get broadcast, of course. Still, the cameramen are ninjas. So sometimes, you know, the girls forget about them. You can get some really good bloopers tapes if you know the right people. I’ll show you some of my collection when we get back to my place."

Mizue finally turned around. The other girls were standing staring at her, frozen in the act of dressing.

"What?" Mizue asked.

"Oh my god… oh my god…" Stacy started hyperventilating.

"We’re going to be on TV naked?" Quinn shouted. Everyone in the room turned to stare, although luckily it was nearly empty this close to closing time.

Mizue looked a little panicky. "Shh! Not so loud! Normal girls aren’t supposed to know about this sort of thing!" she whispered. After a pause, she added, "They do, of course, but you can still get a really big fine if someone finds out you said something."

Sandi was trying, unsuccessfully, to calm Stacy down. Tiffany finally decided to help, although she couldn’t think of anything better to do than repeat what Sandi was saying. Strangely enough, this actually helped. It didn’t take long before Stacy had not only calmed down, but nearly fell asleep.

Quinn and Mizue continued their whispered argument as they finished dressing.

"Look, it’s a standard part of the contract. The fans always like a good bath episode."

"I didn’t sign anything!"

"You really don’t have an animal companion?"


"Shh! Not so loud! Look, I’ll have Cerinthe ask around. Maybe it just got lost or something. If nothing else, Cerinthe can handle the negotiations. He’s really good."

"It’s bad enough being naked in front of a room full of strangers, even if we are the cutest people here. It’s worse than the gym at school. We couldn’t ever go to school again if that was on TV!"

"Well, I’m sure we can get something worked out." Mizue said. "We can visit an onsen or the beach or something."

"The beach… swimsuits? Like, modeling?" Quinn asked.

"That would be acceptable." Sandi said, butting in.

"Okay." Mizue said cheerfully. "Just remember to let your companion know before the negotiations. Hey… what’s wrong with Stacy?"

"Sleepy…" Stacy muttered. She was leaning against Tiffany and certainly did look it. Either that or drunk out of her mind.

"A nice hot bath after a long day can do that. I’m pretty tired, too. We can sleep once we get back to my place."

The girls left, with Mizue taking over as Stacy’s support. Tiffany hung back a bit, pulling Sandi with her.

"Weren’t we going to get a hotel?"

Sandi yawned. "We’ll have to do it tomorrow. I’m too tired to look for one right now."


The next morning saw the girls back at the training grounds, although not as early as they had planned. This time it wasn’t because of mirror fights. Mizue had decided to hold a rock-paper-scissors contest to determine the order, which worked better than just arguing about it.

This time Sandi and Stacy slept in. Even Quinn’s loud comment about swapping places in the bathroom order with Sandi hadn’t woken them. The other girls had nearly decided to leave them behind before they finally woke up.

By lunch Sandi was able to create her blades at will, and was experimenting with shapes to make them fly better. Her aim still needed a lot of work. Quinn was at a similar point, although it took her more effort to make a fire bolt. However, her aim was better. The two of them were spending the time trying to outdo each other on the firing range.

Stacy’s power was pretty much effortless for her to use. She could destroy a normal punching bag in a single hit, and even the heavily reinforced special bags looked worse for wear after a few kicks.

Her problem was the side effects. Between her low body mass and almost complete inexperience with alcohol she became falling down drunk very quickly. One of her wilder swings had missed the bag completely and left Stacy stuck up to the armpit in the wall. Even with the frequent breaks the other girls forced her to take, she ended up spending as much time giggling and staggering as not.

Mizue mostly got stuck working with Tiffany, trying to discover her power. They had absolutely no luck, so when the girls gathered for lunch Mizue suggested that Tiffany see one of the Institute specialists.

"Gee, Mizue. What are your powers?"

"Oh, that’s right. I haven’t shown them to you yet. Do you want to see?"

"Yes, please!"

"You guys mostly have attack powers so far," Mizue said. "Mine are mostly protection powers. Like this."

Turning away from the girls, Mizue held her arms out in front of her, palms facing away.

"Mizuniukabuawa Shield!" She shouted.

A surface, transparent but rainbowed like a soap bubble, formed in front of Mizue’s hands. It spread rapidly, forming a dome over all the girls.

"That’s pretty!" Stacy said. She reached out a finger and touched the surface, sending a ripple through the dome.

"What does it do?" Sandi asked.

"It’s a barrier. It protects whatever is inside it from things." Mizue lowered her arms, letting the dome disappear, then continued, "It’s pretty strong, too. But if I use it for long I get really hungry."

"Is that all?"

"Well, no. I can also do this… Mizuniukabuawa Mirror!"

Mizue repeated her earlier performance, only this time she stopped the surface from growing beyond a small circle, about two feet in diameter. Then she turned her hands so the palms faced her, and made a pulling motion. The surface inverted with a pop, now concave instead of convex.

Mizue held it for a moment, then dropped her arms again, dispelling the field. "That one can reflect attacks. Or I can use the first one like this… Mizuniukabuawa Shield!"

Again she the stopped the surface when it was about two feet in diameter. This time she stepped forward and pressed her left arm against it. When she stepped back, it stayed on her arm.

"This way doesn’t cover as much," Mizue said, "but I can keep it up for hours."

"Hmm… may I try?" Sandi asked, holding up a blade.

"Sure!" Mizue said. She turned and scampered out into the range. A few meters away she stopped and turned around. Growing her shield out another foot, she called "Ready!"

Sandi threw her blade, and Mizue actually had to step into its path. The blade hit the shield, causing the usual smoky explosion. When the smoke cleared Mizue was smiling at them through her shield.

"See?" She said, rejoining them and letting her shield disappear.

"You don’t have any attack powers at all?" Quinn asked.

"I do, but it’s not very good. Watch." Mizue turned around to face the range again. Holding her hands out, she shouted "Mizuniukabuawa Missile!"

A bubble formed in front of her palms. It looked a lot like the surface of her shield, but this was tinted a dark red. Mizue concentrated and the bubble slowly drifted down range. After a minute or so, Mizue made a down motion with her hands. The bubble followed the command and descended into the field, where it exploded with a loud pop.

A huge cloud of red smoke appeared, causing excited murmurs from the other girls. However, when the smoke cleared it was clear that almost no actual damage had been done.

"Well, that wasn’t very impressive."

"I did say… but I had this great idea about using my shield as a battle aura! I haven’t quite worked out the details yet, but I’m sure it’ll work eventually."

None of the girls knew what a battle aura was, but hunger beat out curiosity in a very one-sided battle.

While eating lunch they discussed Tiffany’s power.

"So how much do these specialists cost?" Sandi asked.

"Quite a lot. Tiffany probably has enough for one consultation, but that might not be enough. We don’t have any idea about her power, so she’d probably need to see a generalist and then a specialist."

"I guess that’s out of the question, then." Quinn said.

"Even if we all helped out?" Stacy asked.

"That could do it, but you guys haven’t even started your quest yet. What if you need to, oh, buy some rail passes or something?"

"We’ll keep that option in reserve. For now we can keep on trying on our own." Sandi said.

"That’s easy for you to say," Mizue complained, "You haven’t been working with her. I keep getting so irritated with her… and then, when she tries to explain, I nearly fall asleep. It’s really weird."

"Guys… I’m right here." Tiffany said.

"That’s strange. Last night I didn’t get tired until I talked to Tiffany." Sandi said.


"Hey, Stacy! You were falling asleep too. Didn’t you talk to Tiffany right before?"


"That’s right, Quinn!"


"Maybe her power is to make people sleep." Mizue suggested.


"Could that be a power?"


"Sure. It’s not that common in humans, but a lot of animal companions can do it. Tiffany’s seems to be pretty strong, though."

"Did you say something, Tiffany?" Sandi asked.

"Never mind."

"We’ll need to test this power." Sandi said.

"I don’t want to fall asleep now!" Stacy said.

"There’s usually some otaku hanging out around the training grounds. They’d be happy to get a chance to talk to a magical girl, even if it meant going into a coma afterwards."

"She’ll have to practice there, then."

"Otaku?" Tiffany asked.

"You know. Fanboys. Geeks."

"Geeks? Ew."

"Then your sacrifice will be for a good cause." Sandi said.

"Maybe Stacy should be her bodyguard. At least until Tiffany gets control of her powers." Mizue suggested.

"Bodyguard?" Stacy and Tiffany asked at the same time, although the stereo effect was rather spoiled when Tiffany took twice as long to say it.

"Sure. Your power is the least likely to damage the building if you have to fight. Besides, none of them would risk complaining about it. They’d be too embarrassed about getting beaten up by a girl, even if she is a magical girl."

Stacy still looked doubtful, but didn’t say anything. No one was able to come up with a better plan, so they headed back.

There was quite a crowd outside the training center when they got back. Overheard comments from the otaku crowd suggested that one of the top girls was going to be there that afternoon.

"But she’s filming in Ohina right now!" Mizue said. "She wouldn’t be here. Some people will believe anything."

"What if she does show up?"

"Well, she’s a real prima donna, so we’d probably all get kicked out. Don’t worry, though, she won’t be here."

Without giving them time for a response, she turned to the crowd and started shouting. "Everyone! Excuse me! Can I have your attention?"

Excited murmurs rose from the otaku crowd as they spotted the five magical girls.

"I know you’re all waiting for someone else, but while you wait would you help us out?" Pulling Tiffany forward, Mizue announced "She’s new, and she can make people fall asleep. Anyone willing to play guinea pig so she can practice?"

This caused a stir in the crowd. Reactions ranged from "And sleep through Usagi’s visit?" to "Call me victim!" A large chunk of the crowd moved towards the girls.

"There. That was easy. Do your best!" Mizue said, before leading Quinn and Sandi inside.

"Um…" Stacy said as she and Tiffany were encircled.

"Where did you find that horrible shirt?" Tiffany asked one.

The crowd responded by pressing closer. Cries of "Me first!" and "I’ll sleep with you any time!" rang out.

"Hey, stop that." Tiffany said to one guy who was trying to get a picture up her skirt.

"Um…" Stacy said nervously. "Could you guys step back a bit?"

"Who are you?"

"What can you do?"

"I’m sort of her bodyguard, and…" Stacy choked out.

"You can guard my body!" someone shouted.

"Stacy! Help!" Tiffany said.

Stacy tentatively reached out and punched the nearest guy. He was quite lucky she had been so hesitant about it, since it let him get away without any broken bones. That’s not to say that Stacy’s attack didn’t make an impression, however. He did fly back several feet, taking a number of others with him.

A respectful distance was quickly formed around the two girls.

"Um… Um… I’m sorry!" Stacy said.

"Stacy… don’t apologize." Tiffany said, fixing her makeup.

"Sorry, Tiffany."


They were interrupted by a polite cough from the crowd, which had been growing thicker since Stacy’s demonstration.

"What?" Tiffany asked.

"Well… you see… we’d like to apologize for their behavior." He pointed at the mound of guys trying to disentangle themselves. "We’d still like to be your guinea pigs."

Stacy sighed in relief.

"Okay." Tiffany said, then turned to Stacy. "What now?"

"Um… I guess you just try talking to them?"

"What about?"

Someone in the crowd called out "What are your three sizes?" but was hushed quickly by the others. Someone else whispered "… and she barely touched him! Don’t piss them off!"

"Well, I guess you could give them fashion tips." Stacy said. "You know, community service."

"Fashion." Tiffany said, looking around. "And grooming," she added.

Tiffany started giving advice, and in a few minutes the entire crowd was asleep. Even Stacy, who had covered her ears, was struggling to stay awake.

"Hey… I’m not finished." Tiffany said.

"I think that’s enough, Tiffany. It works fine," Stacy said, trying to stifle a yawn. "Let’s go see what the others are doing."


Tiffany took a slight detour, however. Grabbing a bottle of liquid soap from a janitor’s cart, she went back out to the sleeping otaku and poured it over them.

"What was that for?" Stacy asked as they went back in.

"They need a bath."

Much to Stacy’s surprise, it started raining almost as soon as they got indoors. Quinn and Sandi quickly joined them, and eventually so did Mizue, who had used her shield as an umbrella.

"That storm really moved in quick." Mizue said. "Still, we do need to make plans for the quest."

"We?" Sandi said.

"Please! It’d really be a boost for my career. Besides, I know the area really well. Cerinthe is always running around out there, and I think I’ve been everywhere within forty miles of here chasing after him."

"But it would be like going on a date with someone less popular." Tiffany said.

"I’m not unpopular!" Mizue protested. "I’m just not… really popular."

Stacy stifled a yawn, then said, "Please, Sandi! Her clothes are much better now. I’m sure she’ll be plenty popular when school starts again."

"Anything can happen, I guess." Sandi said.

"Look, I’m the most popular magical girl left in the city. If you won’t take me, you’ll have to go yourselves."

"Maybe we should talk about this later. We don’t even know where those LSL guys are." Quinn said.

"Quinn’s suggestion has merit. I will delay the decision until we can have a club meeting."

"I’m sure Cerinthe will know by tonight," Mizue said. "If he doesn’t get lost on the way home, anyway. Oh, I hope he’s okay."

"He’s a frog. What could happen?" Quinn muttered.

Stacy had fallen asleep leaning against Tiffany. Tiffany pushed Stacy off her and stood up. Stacy fell over sideways across the seats, never waking up.

"Tiffany, where are you going?"


"Hey, the rain’s stopping already." Mizue said.

"Let’s go back outside. Throwing fireballs is kinda fun." Quinn said.

Sandi wasn’t far behind. The two of them seemed determined to destroy the rest of the range. Mizue stayed behind long enough to cover Stacy with a blanket, then went back to trying to make a battle aura.

Tiffany eventually emerged from the bathroom. Watching the other girls got boring really quickly, so she ended up joining Stacy on the bench for a nap. That didn’t last long either, though, and Tiffany wound up spending most of the afternoon in front of a mirror.

Consequently, no one saw or heard her when she said, in the same voice she had used to order tea, "The cookie of gloom and the despised minions will be waiting for the fashionable four plus one in the sea of green."

The rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully. After a quick dinner they were planning to go back to Mizue’s, but as they were going there Tiffany spotted Cerinthe.

Mizue picked him up, asking, "Did you get anything, Cerinthe?"

"Kero, Kero," was the only response.

"Fine. Be that way."

Mizue lead the girls into a nearby alley. "Well?" She asked.

"We shouldn’t talk about it here." Cerinthe whispered.

Mizue sighed. "Well, we were going home anyway."

The girls were barely through the door when they gathered around excitedly.

"Did you find their animal companion?" Mizue asked.

"Unfortunately, I was unable to do so. The information I gathered leads me to believe that they were not assigned one."

"That’s impossible! Magical girls always have them!"

"Nevertheless." Cerinthe said. "It is possible they were summoned here by someone with a companion already. However, I would have expected such a person to make herself known to us by now. It is also possible that this is a simple mistake. Perhaps they aren’t meant to be here at all."

"Then why did the MaShoRei say they were on a quest?"

"It is entirely possible that Versache is the only who can fix the error. However, it is also possible that the paperwork assigning these young ladies a companion was misplaced. It has been known to happen from time to time as, alas, even the best of us are less than perfect."

"We don’t really need a pet anyway. Were you able to find Versache?" Sandi asked.

"A pet indeed. How dreadfully rude. I am not a pet, I am an Animal Companion. I provide an essential…"

"Fine," Sandi interrupted. "Whatever you say. Did you find him?"

"If by ‘him’ you mean the gentleman Versache, then I am sorry to say that I did not." Cerinthe ignored the sounds of disappointment and continued. "However, I was able to find some very interesting news about his captors, collectively and crudely known as the Leisure Suit Legion."

"You found them?" Stacy asked.

"Their general area and direction of movement. However, that is not the information to which I was referring."

"Where are they?" Quinn asked.

"In the foothills west of town. They seem to heading for Mount Ryuji. Now, If I could just be allowed to finish what I was trying to say…"

Cerinthe paused, waiting for the girls to nod. "Good. As I was saying, I was able to find some very interesting information about our opponents. The League of Faceless Minions was as parsimonious with their member’s information as ever, but several of their clients are… less discrete. It would seem that, as they put it, the LSL have been between positions for rather a long time now. As minions go, they are on the effective, disciplined side. However, there are very few evil overlords prepared to put up with a constant disco running in their demesne. They all think that it is quite possible that the LSL were simply bored, and decided to do something to show off. Kidnapping someone and running off without making ransom demands seems appropriate for their level of mentation."

"So they just kidnapped him for no reason?" Mizue asked.

"So it would appear. However, this is all speculation. Firm facts are very hard to find in this case."

"How far away are they?" Quinn asked.

"They do have a head start of several days. However, I have been informed that they insist on taking a rather large dance floor with them. The set up times alone mean we should have no difficulty catching up."

"A dance floor? How do they move a floor?" Stacy asked.

"I understand it is composed of many lighted panels, and each member carries a few."

"That’s… weird." Quinn said.

"I guess they really like to disco." Stacy said, sounding rather worried.

"See, you guys? I can be a big help. I’ve been to that mountain lots of times. I know the area really well. And Cerinthe is great! The two of us could make things a lot easier for you."

"The Fashion Club must consider its popularity."

"Sandi, give up. She can be a big help, and besides. We’re in a different world now. No one back home is ever going to find out."

Sandi opened her mouth to say something, but Quinn kept talking. "And the sooner we get back home the better. Who knows what’s been happening in the social scene with all of us gone."

"You make several good points, Quinn, but nevertheless, we will know."

"Oh my god!" Stacy said. "Isn’t tomorrow the day before Christmas Eve? Sandi, what about your date with Brad?"

"All our Christmas date plans will be ruined if we don’t get home soon." Quinn added.

"Hmm. Brad didn’t get the new car he said he would, so he is skippable. But I… I mean, we, simply can’t miss the New Year’s celebrations."

"You mean, I can come?" Mizue asked.

"Our popularity is at more risk from delay than from you, so I guess so."

Stacy and Mizue squealed in happiness, turned to each other and hugged, all while hopping up and down.

Cerinthe coughed. "Now that that has been decided, it would be a good idea to plan for tomorrow. If you are in such a rush, we should probably try to get an early start. That being the case, I believe you still have time to get your camping gear tonight."

"Camping gear?"

"It will take us several days to get to the mountain. We may, perhaps, meet the Leisure Suit Legions before then, but we can’t be sure of that. Plan ahead."

The proposed shopping expedition was quickly undertaken. Mizue was able to show her usefulness, being the only one with any idea of how to shop for camping food.

The girls returned to Mizue’s. While the others where getting ready for bed, Quinn dug out her cell phone.

"What are you doing, Quinn?" Stacy asked.

"Checking for voicemail."

"Is it working now?"

"Same as before. I get messages, but can’t make calls."

"How’s the battery? You can use my recharger if you need." Mizue said.

"It doesn’t fit. I already tried. I’m just leaving it off most of the day."

Quinn moved out onto Mizue’s small balcony as the messages started playing. The ones from earlier had been joined by another string of increasingly frantic messages from her parents. Somewhat to her surprise, there was also one from Daria.

"When I told you to get lost, I didn’t mean it literally." Daria said dryly. There was a brief pause, then Daria continued, "Come home soon, Quinn. Or I’ll turn your room into a study."

Quinn listened to this last message several times. She was surprised she missed her sister. It had only been a couple days, after all.

Quinn went back inside. Sandi and Tiffany were in bed, but Stacy and Mizue were in the corner looking over one of Mizue’s photo albums with a flashlight. This required a lot of giggling from both of them.

"What are you two doing?" Quinn asked.

"Trying to get some sleep." Sandi said.

"Not you. Them."

"Huh? Oh, just looking over some photos I have. Stacy can’t sleep because of that nap earlier, and I don’t need much sleep."


Quinn joined Sandi and Tiffany. Soon the silence was broken only by the giggles and whispered comments of Stacy and Mizue.


Next time, on FBCB

"You’re going to eat all that?" Stacy asked.

"Sure! I usually eat more than one. See that sign over there?"

The other girls turned to look, seeing a sign with Mizue’s picture on it near the kitchen. "I’m the record holder. I ate three of these in one sitting. If you beat the record, they’re free. And if you tie the record, they’re half-price. Isn’t it great?"

"Fattening…" Tiffany said.

"Oh, it’s all right. I never seem to gain weight, no matter what I eat. In fact, if I don’t eat enough, I just don’t have enough energy."

Tiffany didn’t take that news very well, and angrily stabbed her spoon into her grapefruit. This caused a jet of grapefruit juice to jet across the table and hit Mizue squarely in the face.

"What was that all about?" Stacy asked as Mizue sat down next to her.

"People here are pretty used to magical girls, but riding a bus with one, let alone five, can really mess up your schedule."

"Why’s that?"

"Not sure. A lot of magical girls just seem to have really bad luck with busses. Or maybe a moving bus is like bait to monsters. Maybe it’s the costumes, though. Monsters don’t seem to attack busses without magical girls on them."

"Monsters?" Stacy asked, panicked.

Cerinthe hopped into the path in front of the girls. "Would you mind keeping your voices down? Not that anything in this forest doesn’t know where we are by now."

There was a sudden, sullen silence, much to Stacy’s relief.

"Wind…" Tiffany said in complaint.

Cerinthe glared at her. "Was that meant for me? Or are you describing the noise in your head?"

"What?" Tiffany asked. "I need stronger hairspray."

Cerinthe rolled his eyes. Coming from a toad, this was a truly impressive gesture of exasperation. "Shall we all try to be a little quieter as we go?"

"It’s a bit too late for that," said a man’s voice.

The girls started as a group of men in leisure suits appeared before them.



Omake Theater

The Mysteries of the Cretaceous era Sandizaurus

The scene opens on a room lined with full bookshelves. Behind a desk sits Stacy, wearing a suit and glasses. She bows towards the camera and announces, "Good evening. I’m Professor Rowe, and I’m here to tell you about a recently discovered life form. We’ve classified it as a member of the Beautius Femalius family. Observe."

The camera pulls out to show a projection screen beside Stacy’s desk. On the screen is a familiar image; that of Sandi standing at ease. Stacy resumes, "Fashiondraconus Sandizaurus. According to Lawndale scientists, she was born from an accident during Mary Kay Cosmetics testing. Beware her fearsome weapons, such as the Sandi-tongue."

The image on the projector changes, now showing Sandi’s face up close, next to an elevated railroad. Her face is taller than the train. An extremely long tongue extended from her mouth, wrapped around the train. "This has the power to flay 500 elephants with one retort. Next, the Sandi-eyes."

The image changes again, this time showing Sandi, towering over the buildings, glaring at a billboard, which has caught fire. "Each eye can glare through a ten-foot slab of concrete."

The image changes yet again, this time showing Sandi wearing a midriff top. The image is focused on her bellybutton. "The Sandi-stomach creates a bitter bile that melts any unfashionable substance."

The next image is a close-up of Sandi’s ear. "The Sandi-ear can hear a faux-pau at a thousand yards."

The camera focuses back on Stacy behind the desk. "So you see, Sandizaurus must be the most dangerous monster of the century, especially when her lips go like this and she goes all lizard faced."

A door opens, and Sandi walks in. "Stacy! What are you doing in here? I heard all that, you know."

"Eep!" Stacy wastes no time running from the room through the other door, Sandi in pursuit.


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