Chapter six of this tale, which includes the return of Seren’s sister, Phoebe. Actually, she’s pretty much the reason for the title of this chapter.
With the announcement of Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX, this year of anime has become better. The spring season has certainly kicked things off in style, but Nanoha returns in April, as does Kiniro Mosaic. Who knows what other treats will be waiting for us in the summer?
Actually, I’ll have a post up soon going over what anime from the spring season I have interest in watching, though I’ve already mentioned two here.
With the pointless chatter done, here’s chapter six.
Chapter Six: Karaoke
‘Wait, what? What’s going on?’ Seren asked.
‘I have no idea what you’re on about,’ Symphony said.
‘No, seriously, can somebody actually explain what’s happening?’ Seren requested.
‘Symphony has been a wanted criminal for fifteen years,’ Kalla explained. ‘She fled from her home after committing manslaughter. Records show that she became lost in space afterwards. Is this bringing up any memories at all, Symphony?’
‘Not at all,’ Symphony replied. ‘As far as I was concerned, it was my duty to travel to this planet in order to grant Seren her powers. Admittedly I was a little late, but things worked out in the end.’
‘Where did your conviction for that come from? Surely if you seriously consider what drove you to grant Seren her powers, you’ll be able to recall the events of that day.’
‘Hang on, wait,’ Seren said. ‘Why don’t we go inside and discuss this over a cup of tea?’
‘Ah, the typical tradition of this country. I shall accept,’ Kalla agreed.
‘Hm. Me too,’ Symphony added.
Seren made tea for all three of them, and they sat down in her front room. All three took the time to sip their own drinks before finally getting down to their discussion.
‘Symphony, you will have to accompany me to the ITF HQ. You will undergo a fair trial there. I trust this is acceptable?’
Symphony provided no answer. She was in deep thought.
‘Seren, you will also need to hand over any magical artefacts that you have sealed. You no longer have to take on the role of magical girl.’
Seren could barely contain her excitement. ‘You mean I can get rid of these powers?’
‘Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The only known way for a magical girl to lose her powers is through death.’
‘Ho-hum, such is life, I suppose.’ Seren sighed, then paused for a moment. ‘On the off-chance that I am required to use my powers again, I won’t be breaking any rules, right?’
‘The ITF is fully aware of your status as a magical girl. As long as you don’t commit any criminal acts with your powers, you should be fine.’
‘Wait, you’re saying that the ITF is watching me, despite not being in contact with you for a decade or whatever?’
‘All magical girl activity is watched over by the ITF. There are hundreds of us in this world.’
‘So they’re also aware of that magical girl Symphony and I saw earlier? The one dressed in a frilly pink dress?’
‘You and I are the only magical girls who operate in this country. Maybe one of those magical artefacts brought on hallucinations.’
‘I’m not sure… well, it hardly matters.’ Seren produced the artefacts she had sealed and eagerly handed them over to Kalla.
‘Good. Now, Symphony, it’s your turn.’
‘I still feel something isn’t quite right…’ Symphony said.
‘I have been granted permission to use force if necessary.’
‘Not in my house,’ Seren muttered.
Symphony finally reached a decision. ‘I shall go peacefully. This may be key in helping to restore my lost memory.’
‘Thank you for your cooperation.’ Kalla stood up. ‘You should use this opportunity to say goodbye. You’ll be gone for a long while.’
‘Yeah… Seren, sorry for all the trouble I caused you.’ Symphony extended her hand towards Seren.
‘A handshake? Is that what you’re going to leave me with? Symphony, I’ve already said that you’re my friend.’ Seren stood up and embraced Symphony in a hug. ‘Despite that trouble you’ve caused me, I’ve become surprisingly fond of you.’
‘I-if you s-say things like that, I won’t b-be able to hold it t-together…’ Symphony tearfully stuttered.
‘Symphony… you have to let go now.’
‘Just a little longer, please…’
‘Symphony, you’ve said farewell. We have to depart immediately,’ Kalla said sternly.
Symphony finally let go of Seren. She wiped away her tears and took a deep breath. Kalla put handcuffs on her, and the pair of them departed together. Seren watched them go, and closed the front door once they were out of sight.
Seren suddenly found herself feeling empty.
As the weeks passed, Seren was able to settle back down into her normal, everyday routine. When she wasn’t working, she was watching anime or playing video games in order to keep herself occupied.
This behaviour didn’t escape the notice of Phoebe, who had decided to pay her a visit after realising she never saw Seren outside of work. She let herself into the house, and quietly approached her sister.
‘Hey, Seren!’ Phoebe suddenly cried.
‘Agh!’ Seren shouted, dropping her controller. The words “Game Over” appeared on the television screen. ‘What?!’
‘I swear you only ever get aggressive whenever it comes to video games…’
‘Phoebe, what do you want?’
‘All right, all right! Geez… anyway, when was the last time you were out with friends?’
‘Err… a few weeks ago,’ Seren muttered.
‘As I thought… you can’t keep yourself cooped up in this place, rotting your brain on those games and cartoons of yours.’
‘First, many of these games I play help to sharpen my mind, such as coming up with strategies to ensure I don’t lose any valuable soldiers forever-‘
‘Yeah, but you just reset if that happens.’
‘Secondly, these anime series I watch are pretty engaging, and tackle some rather interesting themes. I don’t know anything like them in western media.’
‘Ah, you’re so passionate about those minor details. Why don’t you direct that passion towards the karaoke night we’re going on?’
‘I’m not going.’
‘You’re acting as if I presented you a choice. Besides, isn’t karaoke popular in your Japanese cartoons as well?’
‘I told you, it’s a-‘
‘Well, whatever. Put some decent clothes on, we’re going out. Don’t give me that look, it’ll be fun!’
‘Phoebe, for a start, I can’t sing. There’s no point in me going, since I won’t get up in front of everyone.’
‘There’s no harm in being social, Seren. Ah, why don’t you bring your girlfriend along, as well?’
Seren paused for a while. ‘She had to… go somewhere…’
‘Oh, really? Damn, I reckon she would’ve been up for it. You must really miss her, huh?’
‘I’m not going to karaoke, and that’s final.’
Later that evening, Seren found herself sitting in a pub together with Phoebe and several of her friends. Phoebe and her friends were engaged in conversation, whilst Seren just listened in. They were talking about men they fancied, fashion and other things that Seren could not bring herself to be interested in.
‘Come on, Seren, join in,’ Phoebe insisted. ‘You never know, you might gain a new friend or two by actually talking to them.’
‘Seren, you must have someone you like, right?’ One of Phoebe’s friends asked.
‘N-no, not really…’ Seren replied, her voice barely audible over the general chatter of the pub.
Phoebe’s friend sighed, and shot a glance that said “well I tried” before returning to talking with the others.
‘What you need to do is get up there and sing your lungs out,’ Phoebe insisted.
‘I don’t want to,’ Seren objected.
‘C’mon, it’s easy! Ah, it’s my turn. Just watch and be inspired, all right?’ With that, Phoebe took the stage and grabbed the microphone. The song she had chosen to sing had come on. Seren didn’t recognise it, as she wasn’t well versed in pop music. All she knew was that she really did not like the song.
After she had sung and received a round of applause, Phoebe returned to the table. She sat down beside Seren. ‘Well, how was that?’
‘All right,’ Seren replied.
‘Aw, come on, give your big sister a little more credit! I sung my heart out. What do you think, girls?’
A cheer rose from their table.
‘How about if we sing as a group?’ Phoebe suggested. She didn’t even wait for Seren’s answer, instead putting in her request.
‘What we singing?’ one of Phoebe’s friends asked once she returned.
‘Oh, you’ll see. It’s a quintessential karaoke song. Just listen out for our group being called – we’re the “Magical Girls”.’
Seren had chosen that very moment to take a sip of her glass of lemonade, and she almost performed a spit take. She barely managed to contain it, instead choking.
‘I knew you’d be eager to do it in the end!’ Phoebe said cheerfully.
Seren was too busy trying to recover from inhaling the lemonade to offer any form of objection.
When the group was called, Seren remained rooted firmly in her seat. Phoebe did try to beckon her up onto stage, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the song started and Phoebe instantly focused on singing.
As the “Magical Girls” performed, an inebriated man sidled up right next to Seren. He absolutely reeked of alcohol, had a fairly portly build and long, black greasy hair. The smell of smoke also clung to his clothes, a pair of jeans with holes in them and a vest.
‘All right, lass? Get your coat, you’ve pulled,’ the man said, leaning towards Seren.
‘N-no thanks,’ Seren said, backing away from him as far as she could whilst sat down.
‘Don’t be that way, babe.’ The man grabbed Seren’s arm with a surprisingly tight grip. ‘No woman can resist my charms. Come with me, and you’ll see what you’re missing.’
‘I said no,’ Seren repeated, trying to shake her arm free of his grip.
‘Here, take this,’ Phoebe said, handing the microphone over to her friend when she saw Seren’s situation. ‘Get your hand off my sister, scumbag!’
‘She said she’s fine with it!’ the drunken man insisted.
‘No she’s not. Get away from her right now.’
‘Oh, piss off!’ the drunken man shoved Phoebe. She stumbled back a couple of steps, but managed to remain on her feet.
‘Don’t hurt Phoebe!’ Seren cried, finally managing able to break free from the man’s grip. She punched the man in his large gut. He was sent flying across the pub, his flight unceremoniously stopped by the wall. He slid down it and slumped into a pile.
The entire pub had fallen silent, with all eyes on Seren. Before anyone could register what had just happened, Seren fled as quickly as she could.
Seren ran all the way back home, where she locked herself in. It was not until she was inside that she was aware of how exhausted she had become. She just threw herself onto the settee in her front room and took a few moments to catch her breath.
Wearily, Seren checked her phone. As she had suspected, there were several missed calls from Phoebe on it. It suddenly started to ring again, scaring Seren half to death. Since she knew how persistent Phoebe could be, Seren decided it would just be best to answer it.
‘Seren, that was incredible!’ Phoebe cried.
‘Killing someone is incredible? What the hell?!’
‘You didn’t kill him, Seren. Sure, he’s unconscious and probably badly hurt, but everyone saw that he was being a di-‘
‘Is that all you phoned me for?’
‘I just wanted to make sure you hadn’t done anything rash.’
‘Why would I do that?’
‘Well, you clearly possess some kind of super strength. I thought you’d abuse that power in some way.’
‘You don’t think highly of me, do you?’
‘Oh, it was just a joke. Come on, lighten up. I am curious about how you became so strong, though.’
‘That’s something I can’t tell you about…’
‘Not yet, anyway. I’m sure you’ll share everything with me soon, sis.’
‘Whatever. Well, I’m at home now. I’m going to get some sleep for now.’ Seren hung up and then went up to her bedroom. She threw herself onto her bed and was asleep almost instantly.