Magical Juggernaut Heather Crunch versus The New Blood

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As I am STRIDING down the halls of the Sixth, it must be known that today... Today is a GLORIOUS day in the land down under! I, Heather Crunch, have been tasked with illuminating the newest recruits that have been vetted by the warmaster! It may be the week's end, but for these fledgling magical girls, it is a NEW BEGINNING! And also a PIZZA PARTY, for I am feeling -particularly- MAGNANIMOUS today!

Arms swinging, back straight, head held high, blood -burning-, I am on my way to shape these new kids to be the BEST they can BE!

Ha! I LOVE my job!

"You smile any wider and your head will fall right off, Crazy Crunch."

A smug voice speaks out of thin air! Have I gone mad? Nay, it's just -that- person up to her usual shtick. Not enough to break my stride!

"And a good afternoon to you too, Madge," comes my sternly worded reply. These words are stern. Stern words to express my sternness at how difficult this apparition can be. CRUEL, MOCKING LAUGHTER gives way to the appearance of a wicked grin and red eyes (lacking the same spark as mine, of course) floating in midair, before the rest of the magical girl follows suit. In her sharply tailored vest and skirt, Madge looks every bit the watch-wearing dildo, save for the tattoos on her exposed arms. And the snake bracelet. And the cape, the cape's pretty sweet.

She's okay. A stick in the mud, but one with a good sense of humor at least.

"On the way to bother someone else with your hyperactive nosiness?" she sneers, walking ahead and matching my pace step for step. "Or maybe to cause thousands in property damage to your own Officio?" It's like a little game of snarking off, where the first one out loses. Well I'm not out yet!

"What I was -going- to do was grab some pizza and beer for the newest squad before putting them through their paces, seeing what they can do. Congratulatory gestures before breaking them in." I emphasize such congratulatory gestures with congratulatory gesticulation.

"Or breaking them apart," Madge responds dryly. "So you're putting bad ideas into the heads of the impressionable new recruits while they're drunk. Wonderful. At least getting them tattoos isn't the worst thing you can do." Which is true, considering everybody and their mother seems to have them down here to keep score. I have to make do with collecting weapons from the fallen, which you can't really show off.

But hold on, something is amiss! "Aren't you supposed to be overseas on our opportunistic orations involving the Eighth?" I inquire inquisitively.

Madge spins around and smirks, SMIRKS at me for my misstep in our conversational tango, before she issues a correction : "It's the Seventh, and that was yesterday. You need to get your schedule in order."

Grrr. "That's your schedule, Madge, not mine."

"You should know my schedule anyway. Try reading the things that are handed to you instead of passing them off to whoever's nearest at the moment."

She's putting on airs again, but I don't really have a response for that other than a resigned, "Yes, Your Majesty." Maybe the papers have her real name listed on them.

"Damn straight. ANYWAY," she goes on, "the goodwill talks went fine, despite -somebody- telling them our customary greeting is sniffing arses, and getting my title wrong." That's the quickest I've seen her go from smug to irritated in all the time I've seen her. "Damn near every Callidus from every other Officio I've met calls me an Eversor. ...I can tell you, I've never been an Eversor once in my career. I'm not dumb as shit-"

"Haha!" I exclaim, stopping in my tracks as a revelation strikes me like the fist of an angry god! "Rejoice, Madge, for your monologue has given me divine inspiration to enact a MONUMENTAL CHANGE in my person!"

"You're going to stop pretending you're a stage performer?" Nice try Madge but THERE IS NO STOPPING THE CRUNCH TRAIN WHEN IT'S CRUNCH TIME! CHOO CHOO!

Now strike a pose. Strike a different pose!

"My weapon," I bellow out loud enough for them to hear all the way back in Japan, "My glorious, passionate weapon, and now I have a name for it." Strike another different pose! And shout "The Eversword!"

Madge is flabbergasted, as expected. "Ever... Sword?"

Gotcha! "All the time! Do you ever sword?" I say with the biggest grin I can manage.

"Oh for..." The Callidus rank leader buries her face in both hands, no doubt unable to look upon the laughing face of TRIUMPH! Which is my face, MY VISAGE OF VICTORY!

Time sure flies, I thought the kitchen was a bit further off, but the smell of food and heat wafts through the double doors on my left. Either that or I'm still getting used to this place. I've only been here once before. "Well that was fun, but I have to stick to -my- schedule doing -my- scheduled things at a time -I- scheduled." I head in backwards, waving goodbye to the flustered Madge. "Ciao for now!" And turn back to complete darkness.

Why is it pitch black in here? And why does it smell like paint? I squint in the darkness, which even my burning spirit fails to dispel, and grope the wall behind me for a light switch. It goes on with a "click" and I'm confronted by paint cans and cleaning solvents in a small, cramped space. Huh?

"Why, Crunch," comes Madge's voice from outside, who I imagine has a very ugly look on her face right now, "How come you ran into that broom closet? You're already in your ridiculous costume."

You've gone too far, Madge! I burst out of the closet in a fighting pose and roar, "It's a fanTAStic costume you... You... Okay, you got me. That one was pretty good." I don't normally like Callidus tricks, but in retrospect it does make me laugh. "Gosh, I don't know WHAT came over me. I must have gotten LOST or something."

"Yeah, you want to go down the right hall for the kitchen," she says, jerking her thumb in that direction.

"Very well, then." Before I go, I remove my hat and do my best curtsey before my most worthy opponent. "Farewell, Your Majesty."

"Catch ya later, Crazy Crunch," she salutes, heading in the opposite direction.

As Madge indicated, the kitchen waits down the aforementioned hall. As I set my amazing hat back where it belongs, I know my destination by the scent of melted cheese wafting through the double doors. Then, kicking open the entrance dramatically, I scan the stainless steel stovetops and find NOTHING approaching what I asked for. Instead, cleverly hidden in plain sight near the entrance is ONE pizza-sized container, ONE ten gallon-ish keg of the good stuff, and ONE sealed container of what I am sure is death adder venom for extra kick. I'm... Not sure where the cooks went BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER because I have to make it to the other side of the building in five minutes or less!

Which means hefting the keg in one hand, holding the box in the other, and carrying the poison in my mouth. Then breaking into a FULL RUN down the corridors. Streaking past the utility closet. Past the gym. Past the sauna. Past the weapon rooms. Past the Spider Room - no time to check in on Slam. Weaving around the people who are just TOO DAMN SLOW, and vaulting over obstructions! There would have been some close calls had I not had the foresight to bind the box with sticky tape. I will NOT drop my payload, and I will NOT be late!

There it is up ahead! The lounge designated as the meeting place is a just a few steps away, but the clock is ticking down. Time may not be on my side, BUT HEATHER CRUNCH CAN TAKE ANY ENEMY! At the last second, I dramatically dive through the doorway, tape weaving around everything to keep it from falling, and... MADE IT! I have conquered time itself to teach the new blood all about magical girling!

Putting the precious payload down on the ground, and spitting out the canister, I swiftly survey the serene surroundings to spot my students. The lounge is mostly empty, save for enough cushions to stack to the moon - I should start on that when I have more free time. And sitting in the middle of the room, eyes concealed beneath a hood, is a figure cloaked in black from head to toe that fails to fully hide its... Horns? Small bat-like wings flap on her back, so she might be part bat. Her arms are covered in bandages, sloppily so. And she's gripping a wicked looking scythe as though letting go would cause her to plummet to her death. She hasn't said a thing all this time, staring intensely at the ground.

"Salutations!" I greet exuberantly before I launch my queries, "I was told that there would be at least four of you. Is everyone else late?"

The robe turns to look at me, face too dark to make out. It's not even that dark in here. "No," it replies, gruff, grim, and resolute. "There's only me. Ever since that day, it's always been just me. My only companions are pain, and the hatred that sustains me on the dark path I walk : to avenge my parents."


"Enough with your charade!" I demand, "I can hear your co-conspirators sniggering back there!" They probably thought they concealed themselves well, but my finely honed senses picked up them doing their best to muffle their laughter. NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO FOOL HEATHER CRUNCH!

The robed girl sighs and pulls back her hood, revealing the horns to be a set of ears. "I told you this was a bloody stupid idea," she growls, her tone of voice completely different from before. Robe girl relaxes her posture as she throws off the cowl to reveal a far more typical uniform, including a jacket. Which means those aren't real ears. It's just an ear-shaped hood. Ha, I was right again!

"It woulda worked if you coulda kept your mouth shut!" scolds another voice from about twenty feet to my left, behind a big pile of pillows. The outwitted novices assemble before me in a line before standing at attention. I count three cats, and one bat trying to look like a cat. Which is... Close enough. SOMEBODY owes me a hundred dollars for that bet! Which means I am one hundred dollars closer to financing my dream!

But now's not the time for that. Now is the time to be -professional-.

I clear my throat loudly before I begin pacing in front of the newly assembled group. "As magical girls," I explain, voice booming, hands clasped tightly behind my back, "it is our task, our sworn duty, to hunt down those who have fallen to corruption! But to do so, you must be ready, ready for anything, at any time, from anywhere! You must be keen, strong, and cunning! Keen enough to find villainy wherever it lurks! Strong enough to smite such evils! And cunning enough to outwit otherwise overwhelming odds and emerge on top!"

I go on like this for a few more minutes, saying whatever comes to mind. About our mission. About how hard we must train every day. About our loyalties. About working together. By the end, they're looking at me in complete awe. It is a good feeling.

Time to finish this. I spin around to face them again, getting up in their faces as I bellow out, "Is that clear?"

Four arms go up in a salute. "Aye aye, Cap'n!" they reply in unison.

...Russ, what have you told them? I feel myself breaking into a grin. No! Keep a straight face! Don't lose out to the urge to laugh! Do not break! Suppress it! SUPPRESS IT NOW!

...HELL YES! Even my own emotions are no match for Heather Crunch!

"Enough formalities! Now we get to the fun stuff!" I return to the cargo I hauled in earlier, sliding the box across the floor. Bat opens up the box to reveal a most fitting treat : a deep dish, stuffed crust pizza, topped with bits of bacon and crushed glass. And some Carlton Dry plus death adder venom to wash it down. Perfect for making them tough on the –inside- as well as on the –outside-, as I explain to them. They are apprehensive at first, moreso after seeing me spear the food with my trusty golden chopsticks to eat it, but after seeing my greatness indulge itself without dropping dead, they too found it to their liking.

There's some jolly carousing done between all of us - I let them get some shots in on me and rated their hits as "acceptable" – and every last scrap, every last drop, all of it is soon CONSUMED by our ravenous hunger! It is then I get to the -true- reason that they are here.

"Now, does everybody have their kits?"

Four heads nod along in response. The kits in question, likely kept in their inventories, hold many tools necessary to a magical girl’s continued survival. A spare grief seed, a first aid kit, and a portable barbecue pit. Because hunger is always watching, waiting, ready to STRIKE while your guard is down! NEVER let the hunger win! Beat it with food until it relents!

"Your task then is to go out and hunt down something for the kitchens to use,” I explain, pacing in front of them. “Something that you must subdue with your own hands! And then make it back before midnight.”

“Then why’d you go and get us all pissed?” queries Cat #2, DARING to question my generosity.

“Remember, you WON’T always be in peak physical and mental condition in battle. But you MUST persevere, is that clear?"

Four hands stand back and salute. “Aye aye, Cap’n!”

“EXCELLENT! Of course, this is -completely optional-, so if you’re SCAREDY CATS, you don’t have to follow me outside!”

I turn away from the group and march back down the halls, toward one of the rear entrances. I kick that open and expose myself to the sun and the elements, trekking for an entire mile before I stop and turn around. All four of the new recruits followed me here. I can SEE the fire in their eyes as they seek to prove themselves!

Bless their hearts.

I circle around them, bellowing out preparations for what is to follow. "What comes next requires that you suck in your guts and grit your teeth.”

My instructions being followed to the letter, I will my weapon, my Eversword, into my hands. Winding my arms back, I howl my next command:


Before any questions could be asked, before anybody could turn their heads, but after adequate bracing could be made, the broad part of my Eversword CRASHES into their unprotected backs. I hear my name repeated several times by their bones as all four hopefuls are sent screaming skyward!

“DIIIIIIISSSSMISSED!” I call after them as they become a twinkle on the horizon. I’ve got a fair amount of time before they get back – I’m sure they’ll get back, I believe in them – that I need to kill. Slinging my Eversword over my back and wiping the blood from my coat, I decide to jog the rest of the way back – I’ve been neglecting the fitness of my legs. And that is a –weakness- that could be exploited by an enemy. I’ll have to double, if not triple, my required running for the day, starting right now.


And so I do my runs. Fifteen miles becomes twenty. Soon the sun has set from the sky, and the stars are coming out. It’s time for my nightly ritual– counting out the stars in the sky, and then telling them to their star-faces that I BURN MORE INTENSELY THAN THEM, HAHA!

I hope those recruits made it back. They've still got a few minutes to go, but time marches on RELENTLESSLY in its efforts to trample their dreams.

Before I do any of that, I have to check on Slam. Surely after overcoming such a trial, her latent abilities will have come to-


THAT would be my phone. I fetch the handy device from my pocket and put it up to my ear. "Hello?"

"...Hey, Cap'n." That's Berry's voice.

"I was JUST heading in to meet with-"

"Yeah, about that?" Grrr, she cut me off. "Gonna need ya to come up to the roof. Right now."

"What happened?"

Berry sighs loudly and ominously replies, "Yer gonna wanna see this for yerself," before the call ends. Whatever it is, it sounds serious and demands I make it there post-haste!

Breaking into a full run, I reach the officio building and kick open the doors once more. The halls are mostly empty at this hour, which means nothing can stop me. Up the flights of stairs, leaping up two at a time. Then three. Four. Faster, faster faster!

At the apex of my ascent, I throw the door to the roof open, and am greeted by a most grisly spectacle. The planter boxes have been upturned. Furniture has been hurled about. And everything is covered in rose petals and dirt.

I cup my hands around my mouth and holler, "Hey Berry! What is the meaning of this?"

No answer. There's no way she didn't hear me! I walk out a few steps and make to try again, before realizing I've stepped in something sticky. Looking down, I find some kind of white film clinging to my boot. No, not film, a web. And now that I look closer, there's webbing EVERYWHERE.

Echoing across the rooftop, a low voice threatens me. "Eversor Rank Leader Heather Crunch," it hisses, "we need to have a little chat."