Margaret is on her way to work at the CDC, walking instead of flying today so she can drink her coffee without spilling it, when she sees the cryptid. She's a truly far-out one, no limbs to speak of, just a long snaky body with a mirror for a face. Margaret smiles at her and goes to walk on by, but the cryptid slithers right at her all of a sudden and--hits?--Margaret with the giant mirror. Except she doesn't experience getting whacked with a sheet of glass.
"If--what is beauty, for the magic--is in me, why is it the same for all magical girls? If it's in my world, why is it the same here? If it's in all worlds, why no magical girls here? Maybe I brought it here in some way. Nobody knows how it started in my world, a few hundred years ago, it could have come from somewhere else."
"All the magical girls look the same?"
"Not the same the same--if you copy someone directly that does worse than for the person who did it first. But the same--general thing? People's own opinions don't matter, what other people are doing doesn't matter, there are people who have jobs helping magical girls with their clothes and some are definitely better than others."
"The rules are, hm, skirts are better than pants, lots of little things help, doing the same thing in lots of places helps, like how I have lots of these--" she points at her various opals. "Bright colors that match helps, I know more things but not the words."
"Huh. That's... weird. Nobody knows why this is?"
"No. People say, maybe this maybe that, nobody knows for real. Did I tell you about 'swarms'?"
"They came up briefly."
"Okay. Swarms started appearing not a lot of time before magical girls did. They start as little black things, this big," hand gesture, "and get bigger, and if nothing stops them they come together into monsters bigger than a person, and keep getting bigger, and want to destroy things. Ones that start in the ocean or where nobody sees them can get really big, maybe house size, we call them 'Kaiju'. Magical girls fight them, if they have useful fighting magic. That's another way getting magic changes your head, is it makes you want to fight swarms."
"The less human you look, the more you change--I'm less human than lots of people. You can tell if you ask a big group before and after, or if you're good at thinking about your thoughts."
"Hm. Why'd you change this much?"
"All the changes were things I wanted to be. And I like looking like this, it's--nice."
"Not people thinking I'm a Pokémon, but usually, yes. This shape and having wings and scales feels . . . correct. Different magical girls feel different about it. Some want to stay close to human, some want to be a single specific way, some are happy any way they look."
"Huh. I wonder if most people would be like that if they could."
"Some people stay all human even though then they don't have magic!" Margaret knows it takes all sorts, but she finds those people pretty strange.
"Okay, that's a little strange. I guess if they were really scared of their minds changing."
Shrug. "Yeah. I did my scales in ten seconds after I got starscape. I already knew I wanted it if I got a chance."
"Is it hard to do?"
"What, making changes? Sometimes. You need to know what the change will look like, so changes on your inside parts are hard. They say healing an arm or something is easy, because you can say, "make it like the other one", but I haven't been hurt bad, so don't know."
"You say things to the magic?"
"No, sorry, language. You think about what you want to look like. If you know what you want but not how it will look, that's hard."
"Why is it about what things look like? I don't know. I don't know if anyone knows. Maybe something to do with how being this one kind of pretty is important?"
"Weird. Do people study that?"
"Yes, but they haven't found anything that really makes it make sense."