Author's Note: These are, as the summary states, mostly just sketches of the characters. This one's a one-shot, although I may expand on it later. I just want to get used to the characters before possibly getting into a longer work.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything of PMMM, especially not Tomoe Mami. The spider witch, on the other hand, is original...I think?
So...now that that's taken care of...on to the story?
There was nothing quite like taking a deep breath and knowing that at any moment you could die.
The blonde stood outside of the witch's fractured barrier, watching the spider webbing of cracks along the brick wall in front of her, a wall that she knew would look just as it always did as soon as the witch was gone. Dead, gone, whichever happened first. And Mami was never sure which would happen first.
She took a deep breath, her golden yellow soul gem flashing brightly in front of her like a bomb about to go off. Some girls lived for the thrill, for life-threatening risks. They learned skateboarding tricks that if done just the wrong way would end up with their back broken, or they rode fast motorcycles through the streets without a helmet to feel the wind in their hair, or they jumped off of planes where if they didn't pull the strings at just the right time they'd splatter into a thousand pieces. On the one hand, thrill-seeking, in those controlled circumstances, might be fun. On the other, Mami was never really in a controlled circumstance. Or, if she was, it was never in her favor.
The crack widened in front of her soul gem, just enough for her to step inside, her school uniform shoes tapping lightly against the pavement. She hadn't transformed quite yet, noting the new structure of the barrier, the lack of familiars. If she was careful enough, perhaps she could reach the grief seed before the witch was completely born. Careful or lucky. She wasn't sure which.
Perhaps that should be Mami's character note – uncertainty. She was unsure how long she would live, unsure if she was experienced or lucky, unsure if she'd made the right decision to live this long, unsure if it was worth this aching loneliness. If anything, it was the loneliness that shadowed her soul gem, not the magic use. After a year of fighting witches – and most of that after studying war, strategy, tactics – she'd stopped using much magic, only just barely enough to kill the witches, protect herself, and get out. There was a certain rhythm to it, even with the different types of witches. Shoot, dodge, shoot again. Maybe she'd get a nick on the arm and would have to heal that with magic, but…even that was becoming a rarity. She was good at her job.
So why was she still so scared?
Mami walked through the witch's labyrinth, taking note of the webs looming in each corner and on each wall, steadily growing larger as the witch's breath became more potent. A skeletal familiar crept out of one web as she got further in, beady white eyes following her every move. It didn't attack yet, just…watched. Perhaps the witch could see through those eyes, too.
Although there were books on war and human battles, there was nothing detailing the processes of witches, nothing to explain their different systems or types, nothing to suggest exactly how a familiar could grow to become a witch of its own, or how they were not completely destroyed when the witch itself was. She'd assumed that those left in the witch's vicinity when she killed it vanished as well, but those that were out and about luring unwary passersby in – those were the ones she would have to hunt down later. That's why it was better to nip witches in the bud early, before they evolved much more than awakened from their grief seed. Less likelihood of familiars being out, less likelihood she'd have to fight them again, less likelihood of patching up loose threads.
Mami hated loose threads. They could too easily cost her the life she'd wished so hard to hold onto. And if she was going to have this life, she wanted to make it the best she possibly could – even if she was alone.
The grief seed was up ahead; Mami could feel its dark pulse deep in her soul. Just a few more steps. She probably wouldn't even have to change completely, just pull out a musket and shoot the thing. Too much magic would wake the witch, wake the witch and she'd have a real battle on her hands. She didn't want that. She wanted the process to be simple, easy, efficient. Not life-threatening in the least.
When she stepped into the deepest part of the barrier, the scenery changed subtly. The ground was simply a thick web, each silken thread laced so closely together that unless she looked closely – and she had to, as a magical girl, or risk losing her life – she wouldn't have even noticed the individual strands. It looked like white pavement. Best not to touch it, she thought, using one of her yellow ribbons to lift her carefully from the ground. It was magic use, but not so much as to provoke the witch. She walked along the ribbon until she reached the newborn witch, a large skeletal spider with piercing black eyes, its body protecting hundreds of eggs. It didn't move, and that frightened her. She summoned one of her muskets and placed it against the spider's head. Still nothing. Mami glanced at the spider then at the eggs beneath. She sighed. Better safe than sorry.
Mami stepped back, conjuring thousands of rifles, each pointed at an egg, before setting them off. One bullet, two, three through each egg. Perhaps some would count it as overkill, but for Mami…overkill would keep her alive. The children dropped, and the large mother spider with fifteen bullets in its overstuffed head still hadn't moved. Black liquor leaked from each egg as they disappeared, a grief seed lying in the middle of them. The barrier began to vanish. Mami grabbed the seed before pocketing it. Quick and simple. She took another deep breath.
Now to the next one.