"OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD OH! MY! GOD! I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA DIE! I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA DIE AGAIN AND DYING SUCKS! IT REALLY SUCKS, YOU KNOW! IT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY-
"Shut the hell up, Sayaka!"
"...Sorry…" Sayaka sheepishly apologized to Jotaro.
It was only thanks to Jotaro's quick thinking that Sayaka, Josuke, and himself were alive, right now. Mere seconds before their jets crashed into the ground, Jotaro used his Stand to stop time! Then, in those five seconds that time was frozen, Jotaro broke open his jet, broke Sayaka and Josuke out of their own, and got all three of them away from the eventual blast radius.
"But man, that was close!" Josuke exclaimed. "When those familiars found a way around Crazy Diamond's power, I was scared shitless! You really saved our asses, Jotaro-san!"
"That's why Kujo-san's the best!" Sayaka exclaimed with a smile. "...Hey," That smile wasn't present for long, "did anyone else see Homura flying through the sky(I didn't know magical girls could do that!)? And then how a bunch of familiars ripped off her limbs and sent her crashing to the ground?"
"Yeah, I saw it, too," Jotaro said. "Can you get in touch with her using your telepathy?"
"I tried, but she's not responding. Neither is anyone else…"
"「Great」..." Josuke sighed. "...You know, Jotaro-san, that Witch probably thinks we died in that explosion."
"Meaning she won't be looking over here."
"Meaning she won't expect anything out of us."
"Um… I'm lost," Sayaka interjected. "What are you guys talking about?"
"We're talking about using 「that」."
"And '「that」' is…?"
"The 「Joestar Family Secret Technique」," Jotaro stated matter-of-factly.
"...? …! …?! Se…! Secret…! 「Secret Technique」! You guys have a 「Secret Technique」?!"
"Hell yeah, we do!" Josuke exclaimed. "It's gotten our family out of trouble for over a hundred years! My dad was able to save the world because of it!"
"Using this technique always guarantees a Joestar's victory in battle," Jotaro said. "It's an unbeatable maneuver that has no equal in the world."
"Awesome~~! What is it?! What is it?! Oh! I know! Are your Stands gonna combine into one giant Stand that shoots lasers out of its biceps, or something?!"
"...No. That would be retarded."
"Oh…" Sayaka's face matched her disappointment of never being able to see 「Stazy Diatinum」 in the flesh. Or maybe it would be 「Crar Platiamond」? Come to think of it, why does a fusion have to have pieces of both their names in it, anyway? That's kind of cheesy, when you think about. So long as the fusion looks like both parties, physically, the name can be anything it wants it to-
"Are you still listening?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah! What is the 「Secret Technique」, then?"
"To put it bluntly…" Josuke trailed off. What was it, exactly? What was this mysterious 「Secret Technique」 that was making these two men act so dramatic?
"Awawawawuwawaua?!" And why did Jotaro suddenly pick her up and put her in a fireman's carry?!
"「We're getting the fuck outta here」!" At Josuke's yell, he and Jotaro were off with breakneck speed!
"Sorry about having to carry you like this, Sayaka, but we couldn't risk you messing it up and getting attacked," Jotaro said. "...Why's your face red?"
"Is it?! Is it?! I don't know! Probably nothing!" If Sayaka was saying this to anyone other than Jotaro, the obviousness of the lie would have been cared about.
I can't believe that Kujo-san's actually carrying me! I know we're in a bad spot, right now, but I can't stop myself from feeling happy! 「YEAAAAAAH」!
"Things have gone completely off the rails. We need to gather everyone up and think of a new strategy."
The Battle Polygram (5)-despair of Walpurga-
"'What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music... And people flock around the poet and say: 'Sing again soon' - that is, 'May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful.'
"This is from 「Either/Or」, the first ever work published by Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, but since you're just a normal teenager, you've probably never heard of him, or if you had, you haven't bothered giving him any attention. The way that 「we」 interpret it is like this: 'An artist is only able to create art through eternal suffering. Suffering that, of course, should be ignored as it forever amplifies, as acknowledgment would only turn people away from the art.' Ah! 「We」 responded to a metaphor with a metaphor. You must be hopelessly lost, right… 「Madoka」?"
"..." Madoka, suffice to say, didn't completely understand her situation. She was pretty sure she got eaten by Walpurgisnacht(didn't sound like the kind of thing one misremembers), but instead of being in a giant stomach of some sort, she was now sitting at a jet-black dining table in some weird room. There was a heart-shaped bed torn in two over on the side, and spread across the floor was a myriad of rotten rose petals. The most disturbing aspect of the room, though, was the walls being patterned with what looked like hundreds of 「screaming faces」.
Now the girl in front of her. Based on her height and body(both more developed than her own), she seemed a little older than Madoka, probably a high school student. White, spiky hair adorned the top of her head, and a white shirt and dark green jacket covered the girl's pale-looking skin. It was the eyes that got to Madoka, though. Gray like the London fog, Madoka could feel nothing but unease as she looked at them, like someone was going to stab her with a rusty knife when she wasn't looking.
"I… I really don't understand what you're saying…"
"Ah, then let us dumb it down for you. What 「we're」 getting at is this: doesn't this quote from Kierkegaard perfectly encapsulate the relationship between 「Incubators」 and 「magical girls」? The 「magical girls」 are the suffering artists who bring beauty to a 「despair」-filled world, and the 「Incubators」, rotten little things, ignore the suffering so long as the end result satisfies them. Is that simple enough for your brain to handle?"
"Haaa… Somehow, 「we」 just don't believe you…"
"?" This girl sure liked to make fun of her.
"Yes, the true relationship between those two parties is pretty awful, when you think about it. Incubators turn innocent girls into zombies, they kill their own comrades turned monster-Ah! spoiler! Magical girls turn into Witches!-, and then they turn into monsters, themselves. Really, really, really, terrible…"
"Now, then, another question, and it's a two-parter: 「Who are we, and where are you currently sitting in」?"
"..." This one Madoka could answer. "You're… You're 「Walpurgisnacht's Avatar」. And this place… it's inside of the Witch."
"That's right! Look at you, using your cute little brain!" 「Walpurgisnacht's Avatar」 said with a smirk and sarcastic slow clapping. "We are the Avatar of the most powerful Witch, the 「Stage-constructing Witch, Walpurgisnacht」. And right now, you are trapped inside the very center of our soul, the singular point of evil, complete with hot and cold running water."
"Now, question number two: 「What is the state of Walpurgisnacht's being?」"
"...Huh? What do you-"
"Let's talk a little about 「us」, shall we? When 「we」 were still alive… we had been diagnosed with a brain tumor at a young age. At the time it was discovered, the doctors couldn't do anything, and we would only live another year."
"Oh…" So that was what this girl wished for. She only wanted to live, and yet she still ended up becoming-
"We were the crown princess of Kingdom A."
"?" This wasn't the Avatar's voice. It was softer, more polite. Where was it coming from, though? Madoka looked around the room… and regretted it, immediately. One of the screaming faces on the wall had turned into the head of a girl with long blonde hair, and it was the one talking!
"Kingdom B launched an invasion and caused mass destruction with their superior military. Our family was killed, so it was put upon us to lead the people in the war."
"We were the bastard child of a large corporation's CEO." Another face transformed into the head of a green haired little girl. "We were taken in after mother died, but father ignored us, and our big brother beat us because we were 'wasted space.' Even after we lost our legs in an accident, we only gained a little pity, never any true love."
"We were too smart for our own good." Now a face had transformed into the head of a girl with blue hair done up in pigtails. "Our boyfriend was cheating on us, even though we never did anything wrong. We found a lot of evidence that his feeling for us were legitimate, but no proof that he wasn't cheating. We kept pressing the matter to try and get a confession, but it only made him angry and violent."
"We were…" Before Madoka's very eyes, all the screaming faces were turning into the severed heads of girls, all of them in her age group or a few years younger, all telling some sort of tragic backstory. What was this? What was with all these girls? Why was this happening here?
"...Oh my God…" Madoka's eyes widened as a dawning realization hit her.
""""Have you figured it out, Madoka?"""" The Avatar and the hundreds of heads spoke in unison.
"You… You… oh my God, you! You're not just 「one」 Witch, you're! You're… You're 「hundreds of Witches」 fused together!"
"PIZZA MOZZARELLA!" 「S.T.M.」's mighty fist tore through another familiar as Nagisa shouted out her battle cry.
"Now…! Think… Think about your life… you made mistakes in it… yeah!" Nagisa didn't see herself as being in a good spot. She had been fighting large quantities of familiars from all sides, all coming at her at once, for several minutes. Her clothes were torn up, her body was bruised and bloodied, and she was just overall exhausted.
"There goes Nagisa's legs… whoops…" She didn't even try to stop herself from falling to the ground. "This is fine, right, Nagisa? Yeah, it's fine, Nagisa. Nagisa can rest here for a little bit…" More familiars appeared before her. "Aw cra- poopy." The familiars saw that their target was in a state of exhaustion and cared not for it. All this meant was that she would be much easier to deal with. It wouldn't even take a second for her to be elimina-
"「DORARARARARARARARARARARARARA DORA」!" It was actually the familiars who were easily destroyed! Nagisa's eyes widened in amazement, for the hero standing in front of her was…
"Yo, Nagisa! You alright?" Josuke asked the little girl.
"No, not really…"
"How about now?"
"?" Suddenly, Nagisa found herself able to move very easily! "Yay!" Her first action: jumping off the ground onto Josuke's shoulders.
"Hey, hey, watch the hair, Nagisa!"
"Sorry, sorry! Oh, Kujo-san, Sayaka-nee-chan, when did you get here?" Nagisa asked, finally taking notice of the other two people in the area.
"We were here from the start, Nagisa-chan…" Sayaka said.
"Nagisa, do you know where the other girls are?" Jotaro asked.
"Uhm… sorry, no," Nagisa said. "Nagisa knows that Homura-nee-chan fell out of the sky somewhere(since when can she fly?), so she might be too hurt to respond. Nagisa lost Madoka-nee-chan at around the same time, and she hasn't been able to talk to Mami-nee-chan or Kyoko-nee-chan since that big fire started."
"'Big fire'... Kyoko and Mami-san might be in trouble!" Sayaka exclaimed. "We gotta get over to them! Now!"
50 or 60 years ago, 「that girl」 was born into the world. She was given a normal life with normal parents, normal friends, normal schooling, normal adventures, normal love, normal fights, everything completely normal.
Then she got 「cancer」. That put a damper on things. That put an end to her normal life with normal parents and all the other normal things that a person was entitled to. Soon, she would die, and there was nothing she could do about it.
But that didn't mean no one could do anything about it.
"You should form a 「contract」 with me and become a magical girl!" It sounded so simple at the time. Make a wish. Get powers. Fight monsters. She wished to be cured of her cancer, obviously, and fighting monsters, 「Witches」, never bothered her as much as it should have, for some reason. It all worked out perfectly for the girl.
Then she turned into a 「Witch」. Suddenly, things weren't perfect.
"Alright, we got her!" How long did it take for three girls to find her? She wasn't sure. How long did it take for the girls to defeat her? Probably less time. Probably.
"That was tougher than I thought, but in the end, no Witch is a match for the invincible Mika-sama!" They should have hurried and finished her off while her head was 「empty」. Now, because of their arrogance, she was allowed to think a single thought on loop.
"Right. Whatever you say, 'Invincible Mika-sama'." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」." "「I don't want to die」."
"Alright, alrigh-" "「I DON'T WANT TO DIE」." "What the hell?!"
The far wall of her barrier shattered like glass. This Witch's pale blue world was suddenly invaded by an onslaught of grassy green matter and thick forestation. In the center of it all was a giant beetle covered in branches that had a bear claw in place of its horn. This was, most certainly…
"Another 「Witch」! How did it get in here?!" Did she call the Witch here? Was it purely happenstance?
"I've never seen two Witches' barriers collide, before! Not that it matters, though, 'cause we'll just kill it, all the same!" Once again, arrogance caused their folly. They should have finished her off before it was too late. Before the new, dangerous thought entered her head.
"We wasted a lot of energy on the first one, so let's get this one done, fast." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」." "「I'm so hungry」."
"Okay, team! 「Formation Alpha-6 minor」, sta-" "「I'M SO HUNGRY」! "?!" The forgotten Witch, left by the three magical girls to bleed to death, suddenly sprung to life and jumped onto the beetle Witch. As soon as contact was made, her body started to 「melt」 onto the entirety of the beetle Witch's body, the beetle Witch thrashing about in frustration and resistance. The three girls merely stared at the scene with confusion. Another foolish mistake of foolish fools. They could have stopped it all by just fighting for a minute. It only even took a minute for the thrashing to cease… and for a new Witch to be born.
The basic structure of the beetle Witch was still there, but now aspects of her being were present. The bear claw horn had one of her gears running through the paw. Blue cloth was strung across all of the branches. Rather than stand on its legs, the Witch now hovered in midair. In addition, the body was now dyed pitch-black, had an extra set of eyes on its face, and a large mouth on the shell that was constantly letting out a stream of 「laughter」. But the biggest, and most startling, difference here was a rather simple one: 「this new Witch was stronger than the previous two, combined」.
"Wha-" As such, it took no effort for the Witch to use extendable tree branches to tear one of the girls in half straight down the middle.
"Kaya-chan!" How does it feel to die? To stop existing? Thanks to these three, she didn't get to feel that. Was that good? Was that bad? Who knew? All she knew was that she wanted them to die.
"How could you do that to Kaya-chan?! I won't forgive you!" The girl leapt at the Witch and swung her axe with a mighty swing. However, it was 「useless」. The axe barely scratched her shell, and she took that chance to slap the girl to the ground with her bear arm with enough force to make her a stain on the floor.
"No way… even Rio…" This was good. This was great! Taking life! Spilling blood!
"Uwaaaaaaa! No! Nonononononono NO! The great Mika-sama can't deal with this!" Inflicting 「despair」! She could see it. This girl's 「Soul Gem」 was becoming darker every second. Whatever her story was, she must have already been teetering on the edge of insanity before coming here. It wouldn't take much at all for her to… There it went. Her 「Soul Gem」 went completely dark.
「I'M SO HUNGRY」! Just as the girl was beginning to transform, the Witch ate her whole! In doing so, the third Witch's power was added onto her own, transforming her once more!
And that, Madoka, was how the existence of "「I」" was halted and started to become the existence of "「Us」."
"After that, we continued the established pattern. We kill magical girls, we eat Witches, we assimilate Witches into the being known as 'Us.' The killing was simply a means of entertainment, but the eating and assimilation was designed to make us stronger and stronger… for more killing! Every Witch assimilated into 'Us' added another layer of strength onto us until, one day, we became too strong to be confined in something silly like a barrier. We wonder how many people we killed on that day. A few hundred? Thousand? Was it, maybe, a million? Oh, wouldn't that be nice! Regardless, we made a real mess of things on that day, Germany barely being able to remain a country after we were done. It was because of that that magical girls all started to call us by the name you all use today: 「Walpurgisnacht」."
"After that, after that! We kept doing it over and over again. We destroy areas where a lot of people live, killing everything there, hide in our own 「personal dimension」 to regain our strength, then do the same thing all over again a few years later. It was always the best when a lot of magical girls would get together to defeat us, only for us to mercilessly crush them! Ah, the way their faces contorted in agony from their own powerlessness is just so… so… ahahahahahahahahaha!"
"...!" This was nuts. Completely, utterly nuts. Madoka couldn't just sit there and take all of this from this lunatic. She felt bad that the girl was tricked by Kyubey, but there wasn't any sort of innocence left in who she was talking to!
"...But then… it stopped being fun."
"It really was fun in the beginning, killing people and eating Witches and bringing more beings into 'Us'. It kept us alive, kept us strong… but then it started to 「hurt」. ...Now you ask 'What started to hurt?'"
"...What started to hurt-"
"「LIFE」. We thought it was a good thing to keep taking more and more Witches into 'Us', but then the voices… the despair… it all became too heavy, too much! Every second that we're alive, the people within 'Us' are always screaming their agonies into our ears! 'I want to go home!' this, 'I'm so scared!' that, 'Where are my parents?!' these, 'Someone save me!' those! It's maddening to hear that all of that crying at once, to feel all of that suffering at once!"
"At first, we could deal with it all, but then it became too much! We don't even feel hungry, anymore, because of how much pain everyone's suffering puts us through, but we can't stop ourselves from eating and growing larger! If we didn't kill, then magical girls wouldn't fall into despair through failing to kill us, but we… we couldn't get ourselves to stop it! We just keep eating and eating, but everything just makes it worse!"
"Every second is just more and more pain; you don't know what it's like! Why must we live in agony when death is the only other solution?! Why must we avoid starvation if being full would cause pain?! Why do you all get to have pizza why we only get the crusts?! Why, Madoka Kanameeeeeeeeeee?!"
"...That's too cruel."
"... …?" The Witch Avatar suddenly stood from her chair.
"I… I can't really condone your violent actions, but no one should be punished for wanting to live, externally or internally!"
"... …" The Witch Avatar walked around the left side of the table.
"It's… not entirely your fault… so you shouldn't have to suffer like this…"
"... …" The Witch Avatar now stood directly behind Madoka.
"M-My friends… My friends have lots of… lots of powers, so… so maybe-"
"Who said you could fucking talk, you piece of shit?" The Witch Avatar grabbed the back of Madoka's head and, with tremendous strength, slammed her face so hard against the table that it broke apart, sending her crashing to the ground!
"! …!" Madoka couldn't summon words to express her shock.
"「Pity」? Are you really trying to 「pity」 us, you little bitch?!" This was accentuated by a swift kick to Madoka's stomach.
"Little bitch!" The faces on the wall were just adding on as the Avatar kept kicking Madoka.
"What gives you the right to show us 「pity」?! You, who merrily runs to school with toast in her mouth and chats amongst her friends before class?! You, who vacations with her family at beachside resorts and binges on seafood for a week?! You, who knows not a single ounce of suffering?! What goddamn right do you have to deal out 「pity」?!" The Witch Avatar put so much strength into that last kick that Madoka was sent flying into the wall.
"Ah…" Madoka had no idea what to make of this. This girl, she kept going back and forth between begging for sympathy and acting like a complete monster. It was maddening! "I just want to-"
"Shut up! You don't get to patronize us! Not when you have a part in this, Madoka!"
"We should have been dead many times over now, but it's because of you that we still live! You and that stalker you call your friend!"
"'Stalker'? You mean Homura-chan? What do Homura-chan and I have to… do… with…" The words died out before Madoka could finish talking.
"Oh, have you finally figured it out, Madoka? No, that dopey look on your face… it says that you've known for a while. 「That girl's obsession」, 「that girl's protectiveness」, all for your sake, all to keep you in a 「quiet life」, one she knows you'd be robbed of…" Without Madoka even realizing it, the Witch Avatar had gotten right in her face, "「because she travels back in time to try and save you」."
"The real Witch here is you!"
"Our deaths are on your hands!"
"You don't deserve to be happy!"
"Everything is your fault!"
So this is how it happened. This is how the magical girl died. Being roasted alive while hallucinations of her father berate her for trying to do a good deed. Most would think that Kyoko deserve better, though.
"「It's not my fault」... 「It's not my fault」... 「It's not my fault」..." Kyoko repeated over and over again as she sat on the ground in a fetal position.
Move, Kyoko, move! Kyoko shouted in her head. I'm supposed to be stronger than this, right? The badass spear-wielding magical girl who doesn't give two shits about anything but herself… that's supposed to be my character, right?! So why the hell am I letting myself act like a baby?! I should just get up and charge right through that fire and get back out there!
...But I can't. I know this is stupid, but I… I can't get myself to do anything different! My mind knows what to do, but my heart and body won't listen. So now I'm just gonna die here without ever seeing Madoka's naive little smile again, or fighting with Sayaka one more time, or being there on those rare moments where Homura actually smiles… or anything and everything to do with Mami… I really wanted to see you again, Mami…
"「Tiro Finale」!" A gunshot, no, a bazooka sounded through the air as the fire in front of Kyoko seemed to randomly disperse.
"...Really, now?" It wasn't random, though, as Kyoko saw that there was, indeed, someone responsible for it. The very person she was hoping that a miracle would send to her: 「Mami Tomoe」!
"Hey… Kyoko…" She wasn't much to look at at the moment, though. Mami's trademark spiralling twin drills had come undone. Her clothes were torn in various places and her face and legs were covered in dirt and blood. Her right arm was dyed a dark crimson with multiple pieces of glass jutting out of it, the intense pain supported even more by the highly visible shaking of her musket. It didn't seem like her left arm was in any pain, though, but that was mainly because it was gone.
"So, Kyoko, you know what I learned, just now? Buildings are really heavy, and when they hit you… it hurts a lot. Please try to not get hit by any buildings…"
"I honestly don't think that needs to be said, but Mami!"
"It's Mami Tomoe."
"So she was also a 「magical girl」, a 「Witch」!"
"It was probably her who turned Kyoko onto the path of darkness and made her reject her humanity!" In reality, the fire was just fire. To Kyoko, all the images of her father had changed the target of their attention to Mami.
"You shouldn't be here! Dad, no, it's not Dad, but… but Dad won't just let you try and save me!"
"What's… What's your point, Kyoko? Do you think I'll just… just do nothing…" Mami started walking forward, her steps small slow.
"Do not interfere more than you have!" All the visions of Kyoko's father started grabbing at Mami, hitting her, trying to pull her down (in reality, the fire was covering her body and severely burning her).
"I can't… abandon you, Kyoko-ngh!-... What kind of leader…" Mami's legs gave out, sending her crashing into the pavement, "...abandons… her teammates…"
"Know your place, demon!"
"What… What kind of fr-fr… friend…" Using her one arm, Mami began to drag herself towards Kyoko as best as she could, "what kind of friend abandons her friends?!"
"Silence, harlot!" Kyoko saw one image of her father kick Mami in the face which, in reality, was more of the fire burning her.
"Die where you lay, Mami Tomoe!" Other visions of the man soon joined in.
"Do you see now, Witch?! This is what happens when you try and play God with your dark magic, Kyoko!"
"Friends and family alike suffer through your misdeeds!"
"And seeing their destruction, living while they die, that is your 「curse」, Kyoko! Live with it for the rest of your… life… you…"
"I SAID STOP IT!" To Mami's surprise, to the illusions' surprise, and even to Kyoko's surprise, Kyoko had sprung off the ground and used her spear to cut the flames in half!
"Wretched girl! What are you-"
"Shut up!" Kyoko stabbed the vision square in the face. Other ones started to circle around her, but she kept breaking them apart. "Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up! Everyone just shut up!"
"Kyo… ko?" Mami muttered with a staggering breath. "What… are you-"
"You shut up, too!" Cutting her off, Kyoko grabbed Mami by the head and hoisted her onto her back, Mami latching onto her shoulder on reflex. Before Mami could say another word, Kyoko started running from the scene, slicing and stabbing at everything in her path. "Always having my back, always lending me a hand, always saving my ass when I screw up! Don't you know how annoying it is to have someone as great as you putting herself in danger for a screw-up like me, every day?! I don't want that, at all!"
"And you! All of you!" Kyoko shouted as she swiped through more images of her father. "I'm sorry for what I did. Even if it wasn't all my fault, I still had a part in it, and I can't just ignore that. But I can't change the past! I can't take back what we both did! But what I can do is move on from it! Stop letting it hold me back!"
"How dare you try and defy me!"
"After all you have done, you have the audacity to shout such blasphemies?!"
"You will burn in Hell for all of-"
"And stop taking this crap from my own mind!" Extending her spear as far as she could, Kyoko swiped at an incredible length of the fire, completely clearing her path! Kyoko then lept away from the perimeter of the flames, turned back around towards it and swiped the air in-between them, extinguishing the flames in an instant.
"Kyoko… I can't believe it…" Mami said as the flames started to die out. "You so boldly faced your fears and anxieties like they were nothing!"
"Huh?" The adrenaline Kyoko felt faded away in an instant, immediately being replaced with a sense of glee. "Yeah. Hell yeah, I did! I kicked my psyche's ass, is what I did! AHahahahaha! ...But, um…" Glee instantly changed to bashfulness. "I was only able to do that because I couldn't stand seeing you like that. You're still the strong one between us, Mami…"
"I don't know about that; when I tried to help you, I just fell flat on my face. I guess I did my real job as a 「leader」 by pushing you to do your best. It was pretty great, I might add."
"Ah, well, a magical girl's gotta do what a magical girl's gotta do, right?"
"Right. Let's both keep doing our best, Kyoko!"
"Yeah…" A few seconds passed filled with silence on both parties. "Well, Mami, if I'm being honest, that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and it is barely sitting with me." Kyoko stopped to lay Mami on the ground. "So just sit here, relax, maybe find your arm, and I'm gonna go off over there to 「vomit」, okay?"
"Good. See you in a bit." Kyoko turned away from Mami and ran off behind some rubble with the exact speed you'd imagine one to have when doing something like getting ready to vomit.
You really aren't a kid anymore, are you, Kyoko? Even if you don't agree with it, yet, you've become a person who doesn't need to be looked out for. As a friend, teacher, and… other things, I'm so proud of you.
"Ah! Mami-nee-chan! She's over there!"
"? …!" A smile forced its way to Mami's face as she saw four familiar people enter her field of vision. "Nagisa-chan! Miki-san! Kujo-san! Higashikata-san!"
"Whoa! What happened to you, Mami-san?!" Sayaka shouted.
"Lots of things that I really don't want to talk about. Um, Higashikata-san…"
"On it." Josuke quickly summoned 「Crazy Diamond」 and, with a single 「DORA!」, had Mami's body back to normal. "By the way, where's Kyoko?"
"Kyoko? Not too far from us. Don't worry, she's fine."
"*BLEARGHHHRH*!" The sound of Kyoko's vomiting said otherwise. "Oh My Haruhi, when did I eat corn?!"
"「Yare yare daze」..." Jotaro said, tilting his hat over his eyes. "Anyway, Mami, we need to talk to you and Kyoko about-! Look out!"
It didn't take Madoka that long to figure out that Homura was a 「time traveler」. As soon as she figured out that Homura(and, by extension, Jotaro Kujo) could stop time, the idea that her friend could also 「turn back time」 was always in the back of her mind, though Madoka never gave it serious thought. It was always just something that seemed like it'd be cool if it were true, like 「Samurai Jack」 getting uncancelled. That's all it ever was.
Then Homura said that the two of them had met before. Madoka became certain that Homura definitely possessed the ability to 「turn back time」. Homura having that power explained why she was so protective of her and was always so adamant about her not becoming a 「magical girl」. And those dreams Madoka had been having with her and Homura… they weren't just dreams! For some reason, Madoka was having 「visions」 of things she did with Homura in previous timelines!
All the pieces were coming together in Madoka's head. Homura Akemi used to be a shy, innocent girl who found a first and best friend in the magical girl known as Madoka Kaname. That Madoka died fighting against Walpurgisnacht, and in a desperate attempt to save her, Homura became a 「magical girl」 with the power to 「turn back time」. She must have tried and failed to save her so much that she ended up becoming the cynical, distant girl that Madoka, much to her own surprise, became friends with.
"Do you feel sad, Madoka Kaname? Does the knowledge that your precious Homura has been sacrificing so much for your sake bring a tear to your eye?" The Witch Avatar asked, her voice oozing with false sentimentality. "I bet it does, doesn't it? Ugh. Gag me with a spoon with all that crap, please!"
"Why shouldn't I feel sad?!" Madoka shouted. "Homura-chan could have just lived a normal life if she wanted to, but instead, she's been devoting herself to trying to save me! I think… I think an old me might have asked her to do that, but I wouldn't have if I knew she would be putting herself through so much pain!"
"Oh, shut up." The Witch Avatar proceeded to kick Madoka in the stomach.
"Shut up!" The faces on the walls shared the Avatar's sentiments.
"What, you think Homura's some sort of tragic hero for all of this? Hah! It's because of her that you and your little friends are even in this mess!"
"What… What are you-"
"You know!" Walpurgisnacht's Avatar sure liked interrupting Madoka. "Kyubey wasn't overselling your abilities whenever he spoke of your potential as a magical girl. You truly would have been the most powerful magical girl in decades. So powerful, in fact, that you were able to defeat us all by yourself."
"We had waited so long for that day, the day where we could finally die and be freed from our torment! We welcomed death's sweet embrace with open arms, glad to finally be separated from this wretched thing called life!
"Except that didn't happen. We were supposed to be dead, but as soon as we regained our senses, we were back inside of our private dimension. 'How could this be?' we asked ourselves. 'We were killed by Madoka Kaname, so why are still breathing?' None of it made sense, so we kept pondering it for days on end.
"Then our 「hunger」 returned to us. Feeding takes precedence over all other things, so we left to fill ourselves on souls and destruction. And what do we see upon re-entering your world? A Mitakihara that hadn't been ravaged by us! And who was there to face us? Madoka Kaname, Mami Tomoe… and 「Homura Akemi」! When we saw Homura, we thought, 'Is it her? Is she the reason we're still alive?' There was no real way to confirm it, though…
"Until it happened 「again」! We were killed by you, but then we found ourselves to still be living, and a month later, Homura Akemi, who shouldn't be a magical girl, was there to fight us! 'It has to be her!' we shouted! 'She's the reason we still live!' It's all because of that girl that we can't die!"
"But Homura-chan didn't mean for any of this! If you let me go and stop fighting, we can all help you rest in peace, then you can-"
"Hah?! Why the hell should we be the ones who die?! We have the right to live, the right to kill, so why should that be taken away from us?!"
"!" There she went, again. Saying things that completely contradicted something else.
"We deserve the right to kill… no, the right to be killed… and the right to die? To live…? Regardless, it's all Homura's fault!"
"「Homura-chan did nothing wrong」!" Madoka rebuttled. Her partner in the discussion responded by kicking her in the stomach, again.
"Don't defend her! She's nothing more than a creepy stalker!"
"Did you know that she's tried to save you 「almost 100」 times, now, Madoka?"
"One… 「100」?" Madoka repeated.
"That's right. Just about that. She's been repeating the same month over and over again nearly 「100」 times, and since there are twelve months in a year, that means your friend has been stalking you for… 「about eight years」!"
"!" Madoka's expression could barely convey her level of shock.
"Isn't that creepy? 22-year-old women shouldn't be spending their time chasing after junior high school girls, Madoka. They should be finishing college, working as secretaries, getting married to rich husbands, and other things, probably. We don't really know what adults like to do, but it shouldn't be stalking young girls, such as yourself."
"Stop what?!" The Witch Avatar threw another kick at Madoka, but much to her surprise, Madoka caught her foot and set her off balance enough to make her fall over onto the floor. To Madoka's surprise, the faces on the wall 「laughed」 at this.
"Stop talking about Homura-chan like that!" Madoka shouted, standing up to accentuate her point. "It's not like I would have believed her if she told me everything from the beginning, and even if I did, I know for certain that that wouldn't have stopped me from trying to become a 「magical girl」! Homura-chan, she… she was probably wishing with all her might that she could just be a normal girl around everyone, but couldn't bring herself to do it when she thought that everyone was going to die. She probably didn't even have any friends before she met me, so she became desperate to save the first person who wanted to be around her, closing off her emotions as best as she could so she could focus solely on saving me.
"I don't think that's creepy, at all. All I think now is that I want to give her a hug the next time I see her! I don't care if she's 22, 45, or even 100, I still like Homura-chan for being the cool Homura-chan that she is!"
"...Ha… Haha… Hahahaha… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! In that case! we'll do you a kindness and let you watch her 「fall apart」!" The Witch Avatar snapped her fingers, and in response, several faces flew off the wall towards Madoka!
"「Connect」!" Madoka's Stand appeared next to her in an instant, putting 「Plus」 and 「Minus」 marks on the faces to make them all crash into each other. Not a single one was able to touch Madoka!
"Ah, there it is, again. That weird 「magic that isn't magic」 you and those other people like to throw around. Against our might, though, such things are absolutely…" Three more faces shot out at Madoka. Connect threw out her hands to use her ability, but the faces all changed direction at the last second.
"positively…" The faces all struck Connect in the back, sending a wave of pain through Madoka's entire body!
"without a doubt…" More faces joined in, biting at Madoka's limbs and stomach and pinning her to the ground!
"..." Madoka just glared at her opponent in response. She could send Connect back out to fight, but her Stand barely had any combat strength. She could try making the faces fuse to the Avatar, but since they were both her, her energy wouldn't be drained, at all. As such, Madoka's (slightly)ferocious glare was all she could manage to do.
"Ooh, scary! Like a little puppy dog trying to act tough! Still not giving up on Homura-chan?"
"Of course not! As long as I can breathe, I won't just sit back and let you kill her!"
"Hm? Now when did we say we were going to kill her?"
"...Huh?" Madoka's gaze softened in confusion.
"Did you think… oh, no no no no no! We would never kill Homura! If we did that, then she could never 「fall apart」! Ahhh, we should explain what we mean by that, then. Care to listen?"
"「GOOD」!" The smile the Avatar wore was unbearably creepy. "When we say that Homura Akemi will 「fall apart」, we don't mean that we'll kill her, no, of course not. We're simply going to fill her with 「despair」. And the best way to do that is to make it impossible for her to save you."
"But it's not impossible! Even if… Even if we all died here, Homura-chan can just go back in time and try again! And now that she (kind of)likes people other than me, we can all be an even better team than we are, now!"
"...Could you repeat that first part, please?"
"Even if we all died here, Homura-chan can just go back in time and try again!"
"It seems that you still don't see what we're getting at. Mind repeating yourself, stupid girl?"
"I said! Even if we all died here, Homura-chan can just… go back… in time… Oh no… No… You… You wouldn't!"
"We would. We would most definitely prevent her from going back in time! Look here!" Pointing to a wall, all of the faces on it dispersed to reveal what looked like a giant television screen. The projected image showed what appeared to be a triplegic Homura lying face-first in bloody rubble, the entire scene making Madoka's heart sink.
"Did you know that Homura has to actually put a hand on her 「sand timer」 to activate her time magic? Hard to do that with only one arm, don't you think? Now, what we're going to do here is send our familiars to capture her and lock her away in our pocket dimension. Our familiars will continually cut off her right arm, preventing her from turning back time. And if her 「Soul Gem」 starts to cloud…" The Witch Avatar snapped her fingers at one of the faces. Almost immediately, the face shriveled up like a prune, its eyes melted like butter, and something fell out of its mouth and hit the ground with a light thud. When Madoka turned to look at it, she was surprised to find herself looking at a 「Grief Seed」.
"As you can see, it's quite easy for us to sacrifice parts of ourself and turn them into 「Grief Seeds」 in order to keep Homura alive for 「one month」."
"'Why does Homura only turn back time today?' is probably something you've asked yourself, before. Surely it's not only on this day that her plans go wrong, so why not go back on earlier days? And why does she always go back to the beginning of the month that this all started in? Well! We think it's because 「Homura can only go back in time one month, and only after a month has passed」.
"This is where our plan fully comes together. We will prevent her arm from regrowing, prevent her 「Soul Gem」 from turning black, we will do both of these things until an entire month has passed… and then leave her alone."
"! But if you do that, then…!"
"Yes. She'll only be able to go back in time to 「this day」! The day where all of her allies fell to our might and her precious Madoka was devoured before her very eyes! It will be at that moment! At that moment! That her efforts will become undeniably worthless! Her soul will be filled with 「despair」 right on the spot, and once that happens, we will devour her and bring her into the being that is 'Us'! She will be one with us for all eternity! Killing as we kill! Eating as we eat! Suffering as we suffer! A fate like that still sounds too good for her, but it'll do! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
In XXX City of XXX Prefecture, a family of three(father, mother, daughter) lived in a large house and lived a happy life. The father was the president of one of Japan's largest law firms, the mother heir to a massive fortune, and the daughter, as a result, had everything she could ever need. Whenever she came home from school, there was never a time when she wished to be somewhere else. Just like today.
"It's Homura! Everyone, say hello to Homura!"
"Hello, everyone." 「Homura Akemi」 greeted the people before her with a polite bow. Her father, 「Kaji Akemi」, smiled with a fatherly smile. Her mother, 「Hanabi Akemi」, hugged her the way a mother hugs her children. As for who else constituted "everyone"? They were her parents' 「friends」.
There were over fifty of them, all of whom Homura had known since kindergarten. Some were from Kaji's firm, some were old classmates of Hanabi's, and the rest were people her parents had met at various places. Even though they were all working adults, they all somehow managed to meet up with each other three days a week, yet this was the first time it wasn't happening at night.
"Homura, Homura, my lovely Homura, you're probably wondering what everyone's doing here, aren't you?" Her father asked, jovially.
"Now that you mention it… Why is everyone here?"
"They're all here for the 「Transcendence」, honey!" Her mother said with a smile.
"It means we're all going to say 「goodbye」 to the limitations of the world and become much more than we ever could be by going along with the crowd!"
"...Okay." Homura still didn't get it, but it seemed best to play along.
"May I have your attention!" Kaji shouted, turning everyone away from whatever they were doing. "As you all know, today is the greatest of all days!" Kaji paused for the crowd's applause. "Many years ago, my wife and I followed 「a great man」 who imparted onto us the wisdom which we have shared with you, and ever since, our lives have been nothing rich fulfilment every day!"
"We have all followed the teachings every day, and today is when that hard work pays off!" Hanabi chimed in. "Now, with all the preparations set, we can say 「goodbye」 to the world and 「transcend」 into the next stage of life! One of 「absolute completion」, of 「absolute bonds」, of 「absolute love」!" The crowd was in another uproar.
"..." Homura still had no idea what was going on. Whenever these people were here, they talked about weird stuff that Homura never understood, at all. It always seemed better to just nod and play along.
"Here honey, drink up," Kaji said, handing Homura a plastic cup before going off to talk with his wife.
"?" Now that Homura was paying attention, she everyone was drinking from the same kind of cups. If it was okay for her to drink, then it wasn't alcohol.
"Ugh… gross…" It sure didn't smell better, though. Whatever it was that everyone was drinking, Homura didn't want any part of it.
I need to do my homework, anyway. With that thought in mind, Homura set down the cup on a table next to the door and turned to the stairs.
"You forgot to take your 「drink」, Homura." Only to be stopped by her parents.
"That's fine. I'll just drink it, later."
"Your mother and I would prefer it if you drank it, now," Kaji said.
"I'm not really thirsty. Besides, it smells really bad. I don't want to drink something that's smelly, so-"
"!" It was pretty rare for Homura's father to be yelling with a tone other than excitement. Whenever he did, though, it was always serious, like when she failed a test, or when the Giants were losing.
"A-Alright, I'll drink it." Even if it makes me gag all the way, through. Reluctantly, Homura walked over to the table to pick up the cup. Unfortunately, her lack of attachment to the whole ordeal made her not pay attention to what she was doing, and she bumped into the corner of the table, causing the cup to fall off and spill on the floor.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do that! I really didn't! Even though I didn't want to drink it, I wasn't going to just spill on the floor, like that! Should I get a sponge, or something?"
"Lick it up."
"There aren't anymore 「drinks」 to go around, so you have to lick it up off the floor," Hanabi said with a calm, yet unsettling, expression.
"Listen to your mother, Homura!" Kaji shouted.
"No! You can't make me lick something off the floor like a dog! If it's so important that I 「drink」 this stuff, just go to the store and buy some more!"
"...So it's come to this, then."
"? …!" Homura really had no idea what was going on. Even less so when her father suddenly threw her to the ground by the puddle of liquid.
"Now just drink it, Homura!"
"Don't you want to make mommy and daddy happy?" Hanabi asked. "We can't be happy if you don't say 「goodbye」 to everything, together! You have to drink it, now!"
"No!" None of this made sense. Homura's parents were always nice to her. They hardly yelled at her, and they certainly were never violent. Where was all of this coming from?
"Now!" Why were they acting like this?
"No!" What was the reason for it all?"
"Huh?" Why was 「blood」 suddenly dripping out of her parents' mouths? "Mom?! D-Dad?! What's wrong?! Are you alright?!"
"...Well! Guess we're saying 「goodbye」 to everything without you!" The fact that Kaji smiled as blood poured out of his mouth was utterly unsettling.
"「Goodbye」..." The implications of the word finally hit Homura as her father lifelessly fell on top of her, her mother right in front of her, and all of their guests from wherever they were standing.
Suicide Cult Succeeds in their Mission!
Written by Nanashi-san on XX/XX/2007
An underground suicide cult committed a mass suicide last Saturday in XXX city of XXX prefecture. Police had been investigating the cult for years, but they were unable to find anything conclusive before it was too late.
According to the XXX City Police Chief, K-shi, the ringleaders, Kaji A.-shi and Hanabi A.-shi, were surviving members of a famous American cult from the 1960s.
"Even in Japan, that cult led by that madman 「Kenzou」 is well-recognized," K-shi said. "He amassed a following of over 30,000 people, including many Hollywood celebrities. When the FBI planned to shut the cult down, 「Kenzou」 attempted a mass suicide with him and the other 34 heads of the cult. Surprisingly, 「Kenzou」 survived the mass suicide and is currently incarcerated at the 「Green Dolphin Street Prison」 in Florida with a 280-year sentence."
Though this man, 「Kenzou」, has been gone from the world for almost half a century, his influence still persisted. Kaji A.-shi and Hanabi A.-shi, according to journals found in their bedroom during the investigation of their home, interpreted the survival of their leader as meaning that he tried to kill himself and his followers too early. Committing to this line of thought, Kaji A.-shi and Hanabi A.-shi moved back to Japan and secretly started their own form of the cult, spending years recruiting men and women with great political power and social status. They deigned last Saturday as the correct day for the mass suicide, which they referred to as "「Transcendence」", and distributed 「drinks」 laced with a powerful, fast-acting poison to everyone in their home, at the time.
"I always knew my sister and that man were nuts, and this proves it!" said the sister of Hanabi A.-shi. "And mother and father berated me for wanting her disowned. Ha! Thanks to that, now we have to live with this embarrassing stain on our family for who knows how long!"
If there is any bright spot to this, it is that the daughter of the ringleaders managed to avoid being poisoned (for security reasons, her name will not be mentioned). Though 「Kenzou」's darkness still poisons the world, at least this girl managed to get through it.
Homura didn't get through it, though. None of her family on either side wanted to take her in, all of them calling Homura "a reminder of such pathetic disgraces". Thanks to a lawsuit, Homura was able to inherit the money her parents left her in their will, plus her grandparents had to pay child support, but she was essentially disowned and left homeless.
Homura moved away from her home a month after the lawsuit and was enrolled in a private Catholic school. She tried her best to forget about everything and start over, and it worked, at first. She made new friends, had good memories with children her age, and barely even thought about what happened… at first.
Then 「word about her got out」. No one knew who found out, how they did, or why they would spread it around, but it didn't take long until everyone knew that she was the daughter of the "crazy suicide cultists" Kaji A.-shi and Hanabi A.-shi. When that happened, Homura's 「quiet life」 immediately came to an end.
"Hey, Akemi, how's it feel to be the daughter of murderers? Tell me, tell me!"
"We can't hang out with Akemi, anymore. She's gonna make us kill ourselves!"
I would never-
"My big brother was in that group, asshole! How are you going to make this up to me?! Huh?!"
I'm sorry, but-
"Do we even know that it was a mass suicide? What if Akemi actually killed them all, herself?"
What? Why would I-
"Her parents were super rich and came from even super richer families!"
"So she killed her parents for their money, killed everyone else to get rid of the witnesses, and forced the rest of her family to give her even more money?!"
Stop spreading lies! I didn't do-
"What a heartless bitch!"
"I always knew Akemi was hiding something!"
"She's nothing but a money-loving 「murderer」!"
"THAT'S NOT TRUE!"
It was after this when Homura had her first 「heart attack」 and developed 「heart problems」.
"...Why was I dreaming about crap like that?" were the first words out of Homura's mouth as she regained consciousness. "Oh, right, because I failed…" Homura failed in this iteration of "today" far worse than she did in any other. She gathered a wide assortment of allies, and then what? She failed. She spent weeks using all of her knowledge to set up a foolproof strategy, and then what? She failed. She found a way to completely prevent Madoka from becoming a magical girl, and then what? She fucking failed.
"Kyubey was right. I let all the good things that happened to me make me cocky and overconfident. I let my guard down, and look what happened! Everyone's dead! Sayaka, Mami, Kyoko, Nagisa… Jotaro-san, Higashikata-san… my parents… Madoka…
"Why?! Why does this keep happening?! Why can't I be close to anyone without having to watch them die?!"
"!" As if adding insult to injury, Homura soon found herself surrounded by Walpurgisnacht's 「familiars」.
"..." Right now, Homura was at her lowest. She only had one arm, it also being her sole limb, so she couldn't grab a weapon or use her time magic. It would take a few minutes for even one limb to regenerate, and there was no way she would be allowed enough time for it. All of her allies… her 「friends」 were dead, and as soon as she was offed here, it would all be over.
"...Forget that." The offing didn't have to be now, though.
"I… I won't accept that." Just a moment ago, Homura had given up, lost all hope in a miracle. She hadn't regained any of that hope, but despite it all, she found herself still wanting to fight.
"I won't accept any of this…!" In a desperate attempt to flee, Homura started dragging herself through the dirt with her single arm, her stumps leaving a blood trail as wide as her as she went. "You're the Stage-constructing Witch, right? That means you like making up 「stories」, right? I can hear you laughing at all of this… at this 「divine comedy」 you've written…"
"But I'm not laughing! No one is! You're the only one who thinks this is funny! And when the genre you're writing in doesn't work, you have to switch gears, you idiot!"
"I don't want to read a story like this! I won't do it! I… I… I want a story where I can be with people I care about! With people who care about me! With people who won't die in front of me and expect me to do the same! That's the story I want! So stop laughing!"
"AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" What nonsense! What a farce! was probably what the Witch was thinking. Even with Homura's best effort to escape, she was far too slow. The familiars were still circling around her. She was still nothing but a doll for them to do whatever they wished with.
"I think that's enough, don't you?"
"?" Who was this? Who was talking? ...Why were they falling?
"...What?" Homura couldn't believe the sight before her. The familiars, before they could attack her, all suddenly fell to the ground. Not only that, but something strange had happened to their bodies: their skin(?) had been peeled away from their flesh(?), revealing insides that looked like 「pages of a book」!
"You're welcome, you know."
"! ...What the hell? Why… Why is someone like you here?"
"Okay, I'm all done throwing up, now! Feel super sore, but I think I lost a couple kilos, so that's- what the hell is this?!" The scene playing out before Kyoko's eyes was one that was completely unexpected. For starters, Mami had, evidently, been joined by Sayaka and the others, sans Madoka and Homura. Not only that, but everyone was suddenly in the middle of a huge fight! In addition to the regular familiars that they had been fighting all day, new ones had shown their faces, resembling seals, poodles, elephants, and all sorts of other 「circus animals」 of various colors. The surreality of the scene did nothing to mask the seriousness of it all.
"I go to the bathroom for one minute, and this happens?!" Kyoko shouted, extending her spear to skewer a blue seal biting down on Sayaka's leg.
"Nice to see you, too," Sayaka deadpanned. Kyoko decided to save her witty comeback for later and instead opted to kick a poodle in the face.
"It's good that you're back, Kyoko, we're really in a bind," Mami said, blasting several faceless girls.
"I can see that, all these animals popping up out of nowhere, and stuff."
"This isn't the worst of it, Kyoko! While we've been fighting, a group of familiars managed to get past us and are on their way to the rec center!"
"What?! Shouldn't we be going after them?!"
"We're not doing that from lack of trying!" Josuke shouted as his Stand formed a shield of rubble against a swipe of a green bear's claws. "There's too many of these guys for us to get away!"
"Why doesn't Kujo-san just freeze time to get past them?!" Kyoko asked as she stabbed a pair of tiny black and white giraffes.
"No good," Jotaro said whilst casually ripping off a yellow elephant's trunk. "I've stopped time too many times with barely any breaks today. If I tried to do it now, I'd collapse."
"Is it too late for Nagisa's plan?" Nagisa asked while bringing a purple tiger cub into her 「Flatland」.
"「YES」!" Sayaka shouted. "Kyoko, I'm gonna try to break through! Cover me!" Sayaka charged forward towards the direction of the rec center, faceless girls and poodles immediately blocking her path and charging at her. "「Conturbatio」!"
"Take this!" Making use of her abilities, Conturbatio altered the sense of 「perception」 in one of the poodles, causing it to accidentally tackle the other one into a broken street. As for the faceless girls…
"On your left, assholes!" Kyoko extended her spear, wrapped it around them, and squeezed until they popped like balloons!
"I owe you one, Kyoko!" Sayaka shouted at her helper. "Everyone! Follow me through this gap and we can all break free to the rec center!" Knowing it would be foolish to stop for even a second, Sayaka kept running forward past the rubble, the street lights, the 「colorful bicycle」, and the fallen buildings, never looking back, never letting up, her mind focused solely on-
"Miki-san, look out!"
"Hu-?!" Out of nowhere, Sayaka found her right side being struck with a force strong enough to send her flying! When Sayaka looked to see what it was, her eyes widened as she saw-
The 「colorful bike」! Of course! 「Bikes」 are used in circuses, too! These new familiars were never just animals! And now, I'm in a hell of a jam! In direct alignment to Sayaka's trajectory was a blue rhinoceros, ready to skewer Sayaka with its mighty horns! Down below on the ground was a red lion, looking to pounce on her! Sayaka could easily deflect the assault of either one, but as soon as she did, the one she ignored would simply attack her! Sayaka was caught in a 「pincer movement」, and everyone else was too busy to help her!
"NOT TODAY, BEEYATCH."
"?!" The blue rhinoceros had tucked its head in, ready to attack Sayaka as soon as she got in range. However! Before it could strike, it suddenly 「fell over」, as if a powerful 「force」 was pushing it to the ground!
"What was that?!" Sayaka was confused, but she didn't let that stop her from striking down the red lion with her Stand, falling onto the ground as she did.
"Wait a minute… that 「voice」! That 「effect」!" Josuke suddenly shouted. "Jotaro-san!"
"Yeah, it has to be 「him」, but is it really…" Jotaro trailed off.
"Who are you talking about, Kujo-san?!" Sayaka shouted. "What's going-look out! More of those faceless girls are behind you!"
"!" Silently thanking Sayaka for the warning, Jotaro summoned his Stand to attack the familiars.
"?!" But before he could! The familiars suddenly 「flew back」 away from Jotaro! They tried to attack again, but then they suddenly 「flew back」 again! And again! And again! And again until finally! The familiars were torn apart by a large 「hand」!
"What the hell?!" Kyoko exclaimed.
"Who's that?" Nagisa asked.
"And that man next to him?" Mami asked.
"...Hahahaha! You son of a bitch!"
"...I still feel bad for you," Madoka calmly said.
"...Excuse us?" The Witch Avatar asked, not looking to be in a listening mood.
"I don't like you, I don't agree with what you're saying, and I don't feel that everything that's happened to you excuses your actions… but I still feel bad for you."
"Is that right?"
"...Don't fuck with us!" The Witch Avatar got down on her knees and started punching Madoka in the face. "What right do you have to pity us when this is your fault?! When you know nothing of our pain?! Huh?!"
"It's not about having rights! You don't need anything like that to feel bad for someone, you idiot!"
"! ...「Idiot」?" Someone like Madoka calling anyone an idiot was so surprising that the Avatar stopped her assault.
"Things went bad for you in life, and that gives you the right to be a monster now?! You're nothing but a child throwing a fit over not getting any dessert!"
"...Yeah, so what? So what if we are? Thrown into a life far worse than we imagined, then bound to a curse none should have to live through… haven't we earned the right to be angry?!"
"Yes, but it never had to be towards people who didn't do anything! If you want to be angry at anyone, be angry at 「Kyubey」!"
"Kyubey, he… he promises girls that he'll make their dreams come true, but that's just an excuse for him to do whatever he wants. Taking advantage of our insecurities to make us fight, withholding information on the grounds of 'you never asked', acting like humans are the same as him!
"I can't argue against what he's doing. Kyubey really is trying to save the universe with what he does, so it's hard for me to say he's evil. But still! The ends hardly justify the means here! Even if it's for the greater good, why should so many people have to suffer for it?!"
"So we're in agreement, then! We both think that Kyubey is a terrible creature! What else is new?! What can a scrawny little girl like you hope to do about it, huh?!"
"Give them 「hope」."
"I can't do anything about the girls in the past who fell to 「despair」; I'm not a 「God」, or anything. But I can still be there for the girls of today! I can be there to tell them that they don't have to be suffering alone! Even if it's just a few, I want as many of these girls as possible to live their lives the best that they can!"
"...Ah, we get it…" The Witch Avatar's face contorted into an honest frown. Tears started to streak her face and drip down onto Madoka's as she looked over her. "You're a fucking 「hypocrite」."
"「Hypocrite」~!" At once, the faces biting down on Madoka greatly increased their grips, drawing blood as they did!
"We have no reason to listen to 「hypocrites」, like you!" The Witch Avatar went back to punching Madoka in the face. "You don't understand us, yet you want to help us?! You don't live in our world, yet you want to befriend us?! Get off your high horse! Stop trying to make yourself look better by turning us all into your little charity case! We don't care about what you think! We're going to keep killing, keep eating, keep growing, even if it kills us! Okay?! Madoka Ka! Ka… Ka… Na… NaNa…"
What's going on? Our head… why does our head hurt? This doesn't… make sense! The Witch Avatar stopped her assault on Madoka and put her hands to her head in an attempt to figure it out.
"?! Ah… Ah… Ahhhhhhhh!" She immediately withdrew her hands when she discovered that her head was covered in 「her own blood」!
What is this?! What is this?! So much blood! So much pain! Why?! Why?! Whywhywhywhywhywhywhy WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US?!
"Maybe you're right…"
"?" Madoka's voice managed to regain her attention(not so much the faces, though).
"I've been through a lot this past month, but even with that, I'll never understand what it's like to suffer as a magical girl. But… But that's not a bad thing! People help each other without knowing everything about them, all the time! So even if I don't know everything about magical girls, that doesn't mean I can't help them!"
"Y-Y-Y-You! Still prattling on about… What?"
How, exactly, did 「Oktavia von Seckendorff」 get so injured before Jotaro defeated her? Madoka and Misako's strategy wasn't hurting her to that degree, so what happened? No one had an answer, and with how happy everyone was for Sayaka's revival, no one thought about it, that much.
Jotaro had an idea, though. He had seen it many times in the past. He saw it in 「Morioh」, he heard about it in 「Italy」, and he even experienced it in 「Egypt」.
It was all just a 「hypothesis」, though. Jotaro thought that Walpurgisnacht took precedence, so he would say something, afterwards. But based on what he saw and what he heard from Misako, this is the conclusion Jotaro came to:
"What is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissss?!" 「Madoka's Stand had evolved」!
What the hell are we looking at?! This isn't what her ability looks like! Indeed, Madoka's Stand had changed! Connect's once naked form was now draped in a white sheet (save for her right breast), the left half of her head was missing a large chunk of its flesh, square indents gracing the perimeter of the area, and squares floating around the space! It was a completely different being!
"And the first one I'm helping is you, Walpurgisnacht!"
"MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" The new Stand's body shone bright as it screeched. The Witch Avatar, still shocked at what was happening, just stood there. Because of this, she was unable to dodge the 「beam of light」 that shot out of the Stand's body!
"GYAAAAAAH!" What was this scene supposed to be?! Was it, perhaps, the Witch's 「karma」?!
"Man, am I sure glad to see you guys!" Josuke exclaimed.
"Would have been here sooner if you actually told us to come help, Josuke!" One of the men said. "Why go to the trouble of telling us you were gonna fight some big-ass monster if you didn't want us to come?!"
"It was just a warning to keep you out of harm. We didn't want to bother you with our business, but I guess that was a worse idea than we thought." Sayaka gasped. Even Jotaro was smiling!
"Well, we're here now, so just tell us what to do," the other man said.
The two men who saved them were completely unfamiliar to the girls. One of them was a tall, bespectacled man with a buzzcut wearing a tweed jacket with "「BILLION」" stitched into the lapel, the other was a massive man (just from eyeballing him, he looked taller than Jotaro!) with spiky blue hair wearing green sweats.
What mainly caught the girls' attention, though, were the fact that they both had 「Stands」! Next to the man in tweed was a blue and white humanoid Stand as large as him with a dollar and yen sign at its collar. The blue-haired man's Stand, though, was much smaller than him, and had a primarily white body adorned with green studs and a white loincloth bearing the number 「3」.
"Yeah! Let's get this started! 「Koichi」! 「Okuyasu」!"
To be continued
Age: 14(physically), 22(technically)
Birthday: A monday
Occupation: Junior high school student/magical girl
Country of origin: Japan
Astrological sign: One of them
Family: Kaji Akemi [Father (deceased)], Hanabi Akemi [Mother (deceased)]
Blood type: Red
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Purple
Medical history: Suffers from a rare heart disease since the age of ten. Recently went through an experimental surgery to decrease the lethality of it.
Hobbies: Guns and playing the guitar
Height: 157cm. (Still growing?)
Three Sizes: Who cares
Sexual preference: Madoka
Favorite movie: The Matrix
Favorite color: Pink
Favorite band/artist: Guns N' Roses
Favorite album: Use Your Illusion II
Favorite athlete: N/A
Favorite book: The Killing Joke
Favorite TV show: N/A
Favorite food: Pumpkins
Dislikes: Kyubey, Kenzou, death, and the past
Personality: Homura initially comes off as cold and stoic, but this is(slightly) a coverup for her actually being highly emotional and sensitive. The reason she wears that mask is because she feels that acting like she doesn't care about anyone will make it easier to deal with them leaving. In the past, Homura's facade was only broken at moments of extreme stress, but lately, she's become more expressive and willing to connect to people, emotionally.
In addition, Homura seems to have gotten a tad cocky because of how lucky she's been, as of late. No one would blame her for it, but she needs to get a handle on herself to not screw up when it counts.
Preferred romantic partner: Madoka
Magic: Time, hammer space, and flight