Demon Cleaners [PMMM]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by FourthWall, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Warning: The PMMM also stands for something very spoilery to the canon proper, so if you haven't finished the series, I'm gonna ruin the ending for you. Among other things.


    Disclaimer: Being Meguca is suffering. So is being Coobie, but fuck that guy.

    <><><><><>

    Act 1, Scene 1: Demon Cleaners

    There comes a time in every teenage girl’s life when she realizes that things were as bad as they can possibly get. That no matter what, no matter how, that nothing could possibly be worse than the situation they were in at that. For most girls, this comes during high school; the chalkboard jungle is a cruel and unforgiving place. At least the only thing a girl loses there is social standing and maybe some self-respect. Or friends. Most girls don’t literally give up their soul when at that moment, nor do they get a temporal mulligan as a consolation prize.

    Most girls when faced by towering, faceless masses of the negative feelings of a given town wouldn’t dive headlong into the fray armed with said soul, a bow, and a fancy pair of wings.

    Most girls weren’t Homura Akemi.

    She had made peace with that. In fact, the thought made her quite happy. Most girls weren’t on a first name basis with any god. She was. In fact, in her own way she had made the god with her own devotion. Her loyalty had transcended time and space, and the love that the girl had for the world tore the universe apart. She was the only one who truly knew that, what had come before; it was a secret between best friends that reached out to the stars. For once, she had a secret that didn’t hurt to keep, that didn’t get people killed, cause people to suffer. It felt nice.

    Shooting a Demon between the eyes with a blazing purple arrow of hope felt nicer, she thought. A lot nicer.

    Atop her perch in Mitakihara Town, home of the Shafuto Zaibatsu and only magical girl to become a godlike being in this millennium, Homura lurked. The view at night was beautiful, man-made stars on a black glass sea; the universe writ small. A small white cat-like being scampered to her side; its unfortunate extra ears flopping like the ends of a scarf.

    “Something on your mind, Homura Akemi?”

    She tilted her head back to look at the creature, paying it only the barest sliver of attention. “Saving the universe.”

    The white cat gazed her with unblinking red eyes. “What about it?”

    “That is your goal, right Incubator?”

    “Yes.” The white cat sighed. “I would prefer it if you called me Kyubey. You humans find it ‘cuter’, or so I’m told.”

    Homura gave the ghost of a smile. “And what do you care of what humans think?”

    “I have to understand how you humans think and emote in order to maximize contracts made,” he licked at his paw and rubbed his cheek. “It’s like your medical doctors researching the pathology of the mentally ill, correct?”

    “If that helps you understand things, then yes,” Homura said. “Your kind was quite bad at that beforehand.”

    “So I’ve heard,” Kyubey said, “But my understanding, however basic, is beginning to pay dividends in Grief harvesting.” He closed his eyes and swished his tail, delighted. “A better understanding means more potential tools to work with, and more tools to work with means a greater profit. It’s quite simple, to the point where I question if the Incubator you speak of in your time was an earlier model.”

    “Perhaps,” Homura said dryly, “If so, I cannot tell the difference.”

    “I don’t approve of being compared to an outmoded being, Homura Akemi,” Kyubey said, his tone pouting where his face could not. He began to sulk next to her, although she couldn’t tell since his face stayed its vacant smile. And there they sat together; drinking in the aura of the city, bathed in the purple light from Homura’s Soul Gem.

    It had become a standard routine for the two of them; scanning for demonic activity, for the scourges made by humanity’s own negativity. They gathered where grief gathered; in hospitals, areas where suicides and murders were commonplace, around those plagued by misery. As the wordless curses of mankind, they could manifest at any moment; no longer bound by the despair of a Magical Girl given in to corruption.

    On nights like this, already nearing the witching hour with no signs of life, Homura secretly yearned for the punctuality that foreknowledge brought things. She missed knowing where certain Witches spawned by heart: how Charlotte would show up in the same hospital, the exact complex where Gertrud was always born (the Itoshiki Center), the exact station Sayaka became Oktavia every time she contracted (ironically enough, Devotion Station). She didn’t even have a timeframe on Walpurgisnacht, because there was no Walpurgisnacht. She was flying blind for the first time since she had become a Magical Girl. And for the first time since then, she had allies she could depend on.

    “How’s it lookin’ on your end, Homu?” Kyoko said between minds, prowling the streets like a hungry wolf. She took a bite of taiyaki as she swept the empty sidestreets and back alleys. “I’m not sniffing out anything tasty.”

    “Nothing here,” Homura blushed slightly, “And we discussed not using that term.”

    Kyoko flashed a toothy smile to nobody in particular, pastry clamped firmly between her teeth. “Aw, come on! It’s cute without being too sweet, unlike when-” She frowned suddenly, as if tasting something bad.

    “Sayaka used to call you Homuhomu,” Mami said over the mental voicechat, radiating elegance without actually being present. She casually sipped tea at an all-night café, one that opened at her suggestion and did good business with her kind of people. “The way she would insist upon it, it was almost as if she was getting you back for something, Homura.” She smiled sadly, tracing the rim of her teacup with a finger. “But that’s the past. Nothing on my end as well, I’m afraid.”

    Homura frowned, she had been hoping for an outbreak. The last week had been quiet and she just didn’t know what to do with herself anymore. “Alright, let’s call it a night then. Meet back in the usual place.” She flexed her left hand, felt the familiar pressure of her diamond shaped Soul Gem, the proof of her existence, and punched the ground. The glass building cracked at point of impact, creating a neat spiderweb under her feet and jostling her Incubator companion. He immediately sprang into a ready stance, tail still, ears perked.

    “Did I wake you?” Homura said, smirking with her eyes.

    “There’s a miasma that just rolled in. Loosely defined, but high density, multiple points,” Kyubey said, repeating it mentally so everyone could hear. “Be on guard, these kinds of systems aren’t normal.”

    “I have visual confirmation of a cell on my end,” Mami said. A heavy cloud fell over the café; made up of black, blue, and purple roiling and clashing and mixing into an indescribable mess. It swallowed the scenery whole, showing nothing else but itself. Out of the morass arose beings of pure white; faded and worn like something not fully erased from this world. “The Demons seem to have interrupted my tea time." With a thought, a phalanx of rifled muskets appeared behind Mami, all brought to bear against the invaders. The roar of their simultaneous fire shook the building and scorched the Demons with holy light. “I shall teach them proper decorum.”

    “Sounds like Mami’s starting the party without us,” Kyoko said, gulping down the rest of her treat. Her spear coiled around her like a snake as a cell took her; the Demons surrounding her on all sides. “But I've got my own little shindig starting. You want in, Homu?”

    Great white wings propelled Homura into the air, into the miasma, above the towering Demons. She undid the ribbon from her hair, Madoka’s greatest treasure, and grasped it in her hand. It grew and twisted into a greatbow, a plume of purple flame flowering at the top.

    “Sorry, no time,” she said before firing an arrow; close enough to the hand of God set to strike a Demon down. The world went grayscale; she brushed it off as a trick of the intense light of the arrow. Something felt strange about the atmosphere, familiar somehow. She thought nothing of it until she realized she couldn’t move.

    She had frozen in time. She knew this because it was her domain, once upon a time; the side-effect of her greatest wish. One she would be denied once again.

    A small hand, soft yet firm, fell onto her shoulder, and time returned to her. She saw the silver glint of a shield, her shield; only with a heart motif instead of her diamond. Long pink hair, done in two loose braids with white ribbons billowed past her in the flow of time. She was a phantom, had to be; ephemeral and powerful, a heavenly spirit of victory. She was an angel with a Beretta, Homura’s Beretta. The girl took aim, the way that Homura had countless times, and fired; each shot placing a pink projectile in the perfect places. With a chuckle and a whispered "Sorry", time resumed; the bullets piercing each Demon and erupting into cherry blossom flames. The girl took Homura’s hand and led her down amongst the Demons as they burned away.

    It had been too long since Homura needed glasses. She was sure that the magic she used fixed her eyes. But she couldn’t believe them, she wouldn’t. She had seen Madoka Kaname fade into nothing before them, seen her wink out of this existence with them. So how could she see that same loving smile, that same selfless girl in front of her; with her shield and her gun and her skill?

    Homura fell to her knees, reached out to touch her; sure her hands were going to pass right through this illusion. “M-M-Ma…”

    “I messed up again,” the girl who couldn’t have been Madoka said, clicking the safety on her pistol. She bowed deeply to the stunned irregular, self-effacing as she ever was, and smiled. “You want to protect me and I keep protecting you.”

    Homura’s hands found Madoka’s puffy skirt, solid and fluffy and tangible. It was all she could do not to cry, as she picked herself up off the ground. She clutched the girl tightly; she was still so small. “You’re supposed to be gone.”

    Madoka poked Homura’s cheek, shocking the normally placid girl. “I am. Was. Will be,” She stuck her tongue out, worked through the logic in her head. “I’m supposed to know everything and I still don’t know how this works. Let’s just say I’m an angel.” She gently disengaged from the hug and took Homura by the hand again. “I’ll explain later, we have more important matters to attend to, right?”

    With her free hand, Homura wiped away the tears that her willpower couldn’t hold. She nodded. “Right.” Gathering her concentration, she felt out for the other girls. “Status report.”

    “I haven’t heard from Mami in a while. Been too busy getting swarmed,” Kyoko said, hacking a Demon in two with her spear’s point. They came in waves for her; her spear lashed and rattled like a demented serpent, but they kept coming. She vaulted out of the path of a laser barrage which cut a path through the monsters behind her. “When the hell did they get lasers? Did they always have lasers?”

    “They have lasers?” Madoka said. “Did any of the Witches have lasers?”

    “They’ve always had lasers,” Homura shook her head, “And I don’t want to talk about it.” She reached back into her mind, “Kyoko, where are you?”

    “I can’t freaking tell, it’s too dark and this part of town is too ritz. Aw, screw it, I'll just smash my way out.” she growled and dodged a smashing blow; seizing the opportunity, she ran up the Demon’s arm, spear aimed right for its masked brow. She drove the point home with wicked glee; surveyed the area atop the monster’s thrashing body. There were more coming, droves of the things like a flock to the shepherd. Or lambs to the slaughter. Kyoko pulled her spear out with a wet hiss and snapped it to a ready position; every muscle fit to burst.

    “Geez, how embarrassing.” A blue comet lit up the night, carving a path of destruction in its wake. Demons fell in droves, their bodies cut like they went through a food processor from hell. “I thought you were good at this?”

    The comet stopped in front of Kyoko for the briefest of moments; a glint of steel, a flash of a white cape, and a mop of blue hair was all she saw. “I’m gonna show you how it’s done. Don’t get in my way.” With that, the comet took flight again, a whirling dervish of destruction. Blows rained down upon her, but she paid them no mind; the ones that didn’t miss served to drive her forward, make her laugh.

    Kyoko could only gape in awe as the girl worked; faster and smoother than she had ever seen before. It couldn’t have been possible, but she always held out hope; there was only one Magical Girl she knew who was stupid enough to shrug off being dead. She laughed a wild and feral thing. “You bitch,” She kicked off her Demon as spears burst from the ground; meant to impede and impale stragglers. “Sayaka you wonderful bitch don’t you dare take my prey!” The two girls, once friends, once rivals, made merry murder of the remaining Demons; working in tandem as they competed against each other.

    “Phew, that was fun,” Sayaka said, stretching. The nicks, scratches, and gouges she suffered healed in an instant; patched up by sheet music. She wagged a finger at Kyoko, who had produced another taiyaki from Madoka knows where. “Killed more than you, too.”

    “Bah, that doesn’t count,” Kyoko slugged her on the shoulder, “You got all beat up while I don’t have a scratch on me.” A saber slid cleanly through a lightpole beside Kyoko, burying itself to the hilt. Before she sensed the attack, a thin cut blossomed on her cheek.

    Sayaka pointed it out with a heavily wounded arm, Kyoko watched it regenerate. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, there’s a scratch right there.” she teased, inspecting her now unblemished skin. “I won.”

    “Still couldn’t take me in a fight,” Kyoko pouted, pursing her lips together.

    Sayaka’s face went slack; an evil grin split it from ear to ear. “You wanna bet?” she said, radiating playful killing intent. Kyoko matched it with her own; cleanly biting the head off of her fish-shaped treat.

    Proving that sometimes the universe has an outdated sense of humor, Mami took this time to make herself known. “Some assistance would be most helpful,” she said, as another round of rounds knocked back the ever advancing horde. “Not that I really need it, but I want everyone to feel included.”

    A few Demons had squeezed their way into the café, the front window made for an excellent choke point. They had to scrunch down to get in or grope about with their hands; when they did, Mami simply shot them. If there were too many for her to deal with by hand, she sent a volley of shots from her backup rifles behind her; since there was no other entrance and the Demons weren’t too bright, they lined themselves up so she had a perfect enfilade. Black cubes of Grief littered the ground and gunpowder hung heavier in the air than the miasma.

    “Creamy Angel Café, right?” Kyoko snickered at Mami’s smug calm, “We’ll be right over.”

    A smaller Demon grasped for Mami’s feet; she kicked a rifle into it, and then blew it away as the rifle ricocheted into her hand. She raised an eyebrow. “Homura’s with you?”

    “Nah,” She grinned at Sayaka, who shrugged in response; both of them were already racing each other to the Creamy Angel, “An old friend.”

    “An old friend,” Homura said, “This wouldn’t have anything to do with you, perhaps? Madoka feigned innocence; whistling and all. Her angelic face couldn’t hide the blatant hiding of the truth she was pulling. “Stop that,” Homura said flatly, “It makes you seem like an Incubator.”

    “That’s too cruel!” Madoka said, waving her best friend off.

    “Have you forgotten I’m still here, Homura Akemi?” Kyubey said. He made his grand re-entrance by plopping unceremoniously onto her face; ruining whatever cool demeanor she tried to affect towards the new irregular. He rolled and cavorted on Homura’s face, just to mess up her hair, before hopping to Madoka. “I see Homura Akemi is attracting more irregulars. Have we met?”

    Madoka played with the cat creature, drawing a purr from the emotionless alien. She was amazed at the affection that Kyubey showed; she knew she was powerful, but the contract had already been made. Maybe he just had a thing for pink hair?

    “He’s very well-behaved; what did you do, Homura?” Madoka said, letting Homura carry her. They skipped forward several meters in a blink; Homura’s powerful wings backed up by Madoka’s time power. Kyubey held on for dear life.

    Madoka felt warm and exciting in Homura’s arms, like magic running through her fingertips. Exactly like magic running through her fingertips, actually. Maybe Hitomi was right about that ‘forbidden love’ thing. She quickly cleared her mind of such thoughts. “I taught him how to feign humanity,” she said, keeping her composure.

    “That doesn’t seem like you,” Madoka giggled, “Didn’t you say you were no longer human?”

    Homura turned her head away. “Mami said I should learn to do the same. The Incubator-“

    “Kyubey!” Incubator and godling said in unison.

    “…Kyubey decided to follow suit. She wouldn’t work with me otherwise. It couldn’t be helped.”

    “Still give up easily when I’m not involved, huh?” Teasing Homura was something, in her infinite vision, Madoka never got to see. It brought out the side of Homura long thought dead, with the added bonus of watching her struggle to stay cool. She kicked herself at all points in reality for not thinking of it earlier.

    “L-let’s just find Mami,” Homura said gruffly, to giggles from Madoka. A massive beam of golden light turned the night sky noontide bright, burning away the mass of Demons crowding her position.

    Madoka pointed to the smoldering rubble left in the blast’s wake. “There she is.” The two girls touched down lightly; Homura’s wings dissipated into purple streaks of light. She let her passenger off first, showing the utmost gentleman nature despite not having gentlemanly bits.

    “She lost her head again…” Homura gritted her teeth; this was going to take some explaining in the morning. Mami surveyed her coolly over her teacup, the contents still warm. She waved at the two girls regally, her rifles still primed and smoking behind her.

    “So nice of you to join me, Homura,” Mami said, as if to a late houseguest. Her gaze passed over Madoka. “If you promise to feed and take care of it properly, I’ll let you keep her. I won’t let you pass her over to me like the other stray you found.”

    “Oi! I didn’t want to live with you anyway,” Kyoko said, making her way through the shattered front window.

    “You broke into my house,” Mami said in between sips of tea.

    “I had to lay low for a while, some rent-a-cop saw my face,” Kyoko said, frowning. “I-It’s not like I wanted to, or anything.” A chill ran down her spine as a wave of pure malice filled the room.

    “What was that just now?” Sayaka said, expression dead, burning with righteous fury. Kyoko squeaked. Mami dropped her teacup, it shattered on the floor. Homura ran through her checklist on fighting Oktavia. Madoka just sighed. “Tsundere? Was that tsundere?”

    The tension in the room deflated, replaced with a general sentiment of

    “What?” The girls said in unison.

    Mami and Kyoko weren’t sure what to boggle about more: Kyoko was stuck on what Sayaka said, Mami was registering that she was looking at a girl she saw die a few weeks ago. Both of them were cowed by the massive pressure the rookie put out. The new girl giving Homura knowing glances was odder still; neither of them had seen or heard of her before, but they acted like they had known each other all their lives. It was all very mysterious; speculation ran rampant between the two, blocked from Homura, of course.

    They had shot down “vengeful spirits” and had settled on “time travelers” by the time Kyoko gathered herself enough to speak. “The hell does that even mean?”

    “I think the more important question is ‘who are you’, or perhaps, ‘what are you’?” Kyubey said, just now catching his bearings. Homura flew like a madwoman, and the time jumps didn’t help matters. “You two are both Irregular, unlike Homura Akemi, who is merely strange.” Homura repressed the urge to punt him through the wall.

    Sayaka grabbed Madoka and forced her close, sword thrust into the sky with one hand and Madoka held tight with the other. Madoka squirmed in her grasp, unable to fully draw her Beretta from out of her shield’s personal space. She gave up and sagged close, playing the damsel in distress within Sayaka’s hero pose, her face bright red.

    Loud enough for the whole block to hear and with a voice that should summon Kanji Sayaka shouted “We are the Demon Cleaners, MIKI and KANAME!”
    RadiantPhoenix and CV12Hornet like this.
  2. Dealer Shut Up you Freak!

    A new fic! You know what that means.

    *Ahem*

    "Taking all bets! Taking all bets!"
  3. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    I'll take that bet, 'cause the house always wins.

    Hey.

    Hey.

    That's only Evafics. And Phantasmal Colosseum, but I'm going back to that once Carnival Phantasm gets fully subbed.

    And I finished FotP; it was just weird and unsatifying. :V
  4. Dealer Shut Up you Freak!

    That's 3-1 for non-completion. 4-1 if we count the ND MST. Odds aren't lookin too good, if your recent past is any indication. I'm just starting the bets up early enough to matter.

    10-1 says you don't even hit Fools' 5 chappies.
  5. biigoh Fluffy Paws indeed

    What is this... I don't even.

    XD
  6. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Man, I have terrible timing. When I post Evafic, there's usually an outcropping of badfic in my wake. Now I post Medukafic, and there are far better ones to waste your time on.

    Being mediocre is suffering. :V
  7. Jonen C F.M.D.G.

    Okay, yah. This is amusing and I want to see more.
  8. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Again, Evafics. I'm 50-50 with non Evafics (Zeroes and Sevens was a one-shot)

    But I see what you're trying to do and I'm just enough of an asshole to write something just to prove someone Wrong on the Internet so it's working. :V Thanks, I think.
  9. Dealer Shut Up you Freak!

    Always happy to help! [IMG]
  10. Crazael Madness Incarnate

    Ok, I'm adding this to my readlist. It's too much fun not to.
  11. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Disclaimer: Sometimes I don't even understand how these things happen.

    <><><><><>

    Act 1, Scene 2: Breathe and Stop

    Kyoko scrunched her face up trying to understand. She knew Sayaka could come up with some stupid names, but this one took the cake. “Demon…”

    Mami raised an eyebrow. “…Cleaners?”

    Sayaka grinned. “Yeah. We clean Demons from this world. Thus, Demon Cleaners. Pretty cool, huh?”

    “Why don’t you use your full names,” Homura said, “We know you’re Sayaka Miki, and the name Madoka Kaname doesn’t mean anything except to me.”

    Her compatriots turned to the unassuming pink-haired girl, and then to Homura. Was this really the object of her obsession, they both thought. Sure, she was kind of cute, in a plain way, and seemed nice enough, but all of Homura’s stories revolved around this one girl. There was only one logical explanation, they thought, trading looks. Kyoko surreptitiously stuck out a pinky and Mami stifled a giggle.

    “That’s mean of you, Homura,” Madoka twiddled her fingers together, still embarrassed to be the center of attention. She had assumed existing at all points in time would make her more confident, but that didn’t seem to be the case. “It’s complicated. You remember my wish, right Homura?”

    She nodded gravely. “In exchange for your existence, you wished to defeat all Witches, past, present, and future with your own hands.”

    Kyubey leapt onto Homura’s shoulder, drawing an annoyed grunt from the time traveler. “A wish like that should be impossible, but if you were able to do so, it explains your massive power. It’s as if your very existence is treason against time and space.”

    “Isn’t it awesome?” Sayaka said, hugging Madoka tight, “My best friend’s a god! Capital G even!”

    “Stop it Sayaka,” Madoka said, trying futilely to escape the blue-haired bruiser’s grasp, “You know I don’t like it when someone calls me that.”

    Mami steepled her fingers and gazed intently at Madoka. “A god, you say? You must have had ample time to choose a wish, if you had the determination to perform such a thing.” She smirked. “I’m rather jealous.”

    “Sorry,” Madoka said, bowing. She may have been a god, but Mami was still her senior. Proper respect was owed. “Waah, we’re getting off-topic,” she said, flustered, face reddening again. “Look. I’m here right now, but Madoka Kaname, the Madoka Kaname is everywhere. She’s…I’m like the concept of hope, the stuff that powers the Puella Magi system, what makes a Magical Girl a Magical Girl. I’m magic, basically.”

    “Are you high?” Kyoko said, getting in Madoka's face. Nothing she said made sense; the whole situation smelled wrong. Kyoko had a good sense of who worked where; she was a stray that gotten into and out of a lot of territories. She had never heard of a Madoka, except in the stories Homura told, which she assumed were bullshit. What she had heard of, however, were shapeshifter Magical Girls; those who gave up their identity for a wish, and were able to assume another. Couple that with some mindwhammy powers like she had, locked away with the memories that still gave her nightmares, and it would be easy to compromise any girl.

    "I can vouch for the story," Homura said. She saw the rain of arrows, the crushing of their greatest adversaries, the universe being reborn in light play in the theater of her mind. She relaxed, head slightly bowed in reverence. "She is Madoka, and she is a god."

    Kyoko stepped back, dumbstruck. She thought she knew how the system worked, and this girl definitely wasn't a part of it. The Magical Girl world was a dog-eat-dog affair; the only ones who could understand them were other Magical Girls, and most didn’t even bother. They fought for the ideals they gave themselves up for; sometimes to the death. It was about proving that you were the strongest, the toughest, the apex; able to feast upon the despair of Demons and the weaker Magical Girls for the good of yourself and those around you. A hard system deserved a hard god, one of vengeance and fury and steel; not some cotton-candy haired sugarpuff.

    “Hey Homu, you're just playing along, right? You don't really believe this crap.” She was the rational one, so it was only natural that she would cut in and shatter this poor thing’s illusions. Kyoko half-suspected it was her favorite pastime. It was weird seeing her soft like this. Homura cut her down with a withering stare, her head still bowed.

    “I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m telling the truth,” Madoka said, apologetic. Her hands were up, her palms were out.

    “Where have I heard that one before?” Kyoko spat on the ground in front of her, “Look, I don’t know you from Adam and you come here, make Homu act all weird and claim you’re God.”

    “A god,” Madoka squeaked.

    “Whatever. All I know is that Magical Girls who claim they’re gods tend to be nothing more than rabid dogs,” She bared her fangs, her Soul Gem burned red. “And rabid dogs get put down.” She took up her spear and found a sword at her sternum, ready to pierce the heart of her Gem.

    “Sounds good to me,” Sayaka said in a low voice, her thousand-yard stare going straight through the redhead. “You touch KANAME, I break you.”

    “Sayaka, be a dear and put the sword down,” Mami said, her rifles trained on the standoff, “I’d hate to have to kill you so soon after learning you’re alive.” She held a rifle loosely in one hand, its barrel aimed for Sayaka’s stomach; the soul-housing body jewelry made for an easy bull’s-eye. “Kyoko,” she said, sweet yet hard, “Sit, girl.”

    “Don’t fuck with me, Mami,” Kyoko snarled, “Not in the mood.” A shot whizzed past her head and neatly blew a hole in the side of the café.

    “Oh, I wasn’t,” Mami said, her smile fading, “That was an order. Sit. Down.”

    Kyoko’s spear writhed around her, the point bobbing at Mami’s head like a charmed cobra. A golden ball in the shape of an apple fell from the other end; ready to be swung into whomever’s head needed smashing. She heard the drawing of a bowstring and felt an intense heat on the back of her neck. Kyoko barked a laugh. “So you’re sticking up for your hugpillow? Fine. My hands are already bloody, what’s a fresh coat matter?”

    “I do not align myself with idiots who pick meaningless fights,” Homura said, arrow notched and ready, “If you continue down this path, I will not consider you an ally.”

    Madoka bit her lip, tried her hardest not to cry. She promised herself she would never cry again after taking on her fellow Magical Girls’ despair; she had to be strong for the girls who couldn’t anymore. It justified her non-existence. She didn’t rewrite reality, watch her friends die, or fix the horrors of the system for this. She never wanted something like this to happen and she wasn’t going to let it happen. The fear and sadness, the powerlessness she had as a normal girl had fallen away; the determination that allowed her to shake the heavens took its place.

    Gears clicked and whirred to life. The hourglass in her shield shifted, and time froze. Madoka surveyed the scene before her, the moment before conflict captured better than any camera could.

    “Seriously,” she sighed, “They’re like cats and dogs.” She lowered Sayaka’s sword from Kyoko’s chest, being very careful not to touch either girl directly. If she did, they’d move with her, which might be problematic. She then took the spear’s head, and turned Kyoko around like a toybox dancer with it, putting her and Homura within kissing distance. She giggled at her handiwork, and then took Mami’s rifle out of her hand. Looking around for observers that weren’t there, she went into a little dance with the rifle, mimicking moves she had seen Mami perform in another time and place.

    “Tiro Finale!” she shouted, tossing the rifle in the air with a spin. It came down butt-first on her head; she squealed and clutched at the point of impact. Madoka thanked her lucky stars that nobody frozen could see what happen in her personal time stream; her mind drifted towards potential uses of this power, of Homura’s love, admiration, lack of certain morals...

    Shaking her aching head to clear out the impure thoughts held within, she scrambled for the rifle on the ground, put it in Mami’s lap and returned to her original spot. The gears ran again, and time resumed.

    Kyoko bent forward: in her mind, it was to take Sayaka’s strike from a certain kill to a flesh wound, then trap her arm and ensnare her. If Homura shot, it’d go high and possibly wing the new girl. Mami wouldn’t have the guts to kill the both of them this close; she preferred to give human opponents a sporting chance and hated seeing the fear and despair that came before a Magical Girl was defeated by her hand. Mowing down hostages wasn’t her style. Her spear could harry Homura; she didn’t have enough clearance to take to the air before she got skewered. It was grim, but necessary; you did what you had to do for survival’s sake.

    What actually happened was Kyoko bent forward, lost her footing trying to parse the change in her orientation, and fell into the empty arms of Homura; almost kissing the other girl full on the lips. She had more than a few changes in her orientation to parse, she thought. Or would’ve, if she could form a coherent one. Homura reflexively clutched onto her as she fell back; they collapsed on top of each other in a way that would only cause misunderstandings for all involved.

    Both Homura and Kyoko were incandescent with shock and embarrassment. They both realized that the only this could get any worse is if someone recorded it. Which Madoka was, from under her shield. Not that anybody would suspect her of doing so, of course. Dying would be a release at this point; having Madokami deliver them from teenage awkwardness would be a blessing.

    “Please be gentle,” Homura whispered, wilting demurely under Kyoko. It was all so sudden; Madoka was right there, obviously holding back tears. They were tears of laughter, but she didn’t know that.

    Kyoko just stammered and stuttered, reminded of the more alternative parts of the dogma her dearly departed dad tried to spread. She skittered away from Homura until she bumped into Madoka, used her to climb to a vertical base. “We’ll settle this later,” she said, the murder on her mind diluted by her cracking voice and quivering upper lip. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back; if the old system ran on schadenfreude instead of despair, Mami, Sayaka, and Madoka would have become Witches on the spot.

    Laughter might not be the best medicine, but it went a long way in keeping superpowered teenage girls from killing each other.

    Sayaka laughed until she was gasping for breath, the laughed some more. Nothing hurt anymore if she didn’t want it to, but her sides were killing her with mirth. “Oh god, it is tsundere!” She couldn’t take it anymore and fell to the floor; unable to laugh fully, brought to wheezing and chuckling.

    Madoka wiped away a tear; this would have to be an exception. “What have we learned? The next time you feel like fighting someone, just breathe and stop.”

    Mami giggled behind her hands, “A little play is good, after all.” She unsummoned her rifles and got up from the table; dusting loose gunpowder and Demon bits from her outfit. “But I think we’ve had enough fun for tonight. Let’s reconvene after school.”

    Homura and Kyoko muttered assent, just wanting to go home and forget this ever happened. They gathered the cubes of Grief scattered on the ground, passing them around evenly amongst the group. Tendrils of black hissed out of the girls’ Soul Gems like malevolent smoke and were absorbed into the fragments of misery. As the taint left them, each girl felt lighter, happier, and ready to take on any challenge. It was a prize truly worthy of their struggle.

    “Has anyone seen Kyubey?” Sayaka asked, stifling a chortle as she held a handful of Grief to her heart. There was no transfer of her taint because she didn’t have any.

    “I was wondering when someone would notice I had left,” Kyubey said, materializing in the smashed windowframe. “I was out collecting the Grief that the other girls had forgotten to collect.” He rubbed against his own tail, proud. “No thanks will be necessary.”

    “Good, ‘cause I wasn’t going to give you any,” Kyoko said, still in a sour mood.

    Kyubey stared at her; even though his face didn’t move, she could tell he was smirking. “Are you upset, Kyoko Sakura?” A spear rose up from the ground and impaled him; the accumulated shards of Grief fell from his pierced belly like a morbid piñata. She gathered the scattered shards as if nothing was wrong.

    “What?" Kyoko said, "Don’t tell me you all haven’t wanted to do it.”

    “It’s actually pretty cathartic,” Homura said, “He should be getting a replacement in three…two…one.”

    Another Kyubey padded its way into the café. Madoka dropped her unspent shards for it, he ate them with relish. “That’s an interesting way for a unit to die.” He climbed up the spear's shaft and pulled his former body off, it made a sound like a teddy bear being ripped open. He carried the remains onto Mami’s table, the only one that wasn’t wrecked in some way. “We should leave before the police come," he said, as he ate his former self, "You all have made quite the disturbance." He finished his gruesome, yet efficient meal, then licked his paws clean. "Where are the irregulars going to stay?”

    “Kyoko is a derelict and Homura is a terrible host, so that just leaves me,” Mami said as if it were an incontrovertible fact. “Madoka and Sayaka can stay at my apartment until we sort things out.”

    “Yes!” Sayaka jumped for joy. “Crippling loneliness pays off again!”

    Mami’s smile wavered and her face darkened ever so slightly. “Crippling…loneliness?”

    “Eheheh, let’s just go.” Madoka slipped beside Mami, reassured her with sweet nothings. She loved Sayaka, but had come to realize she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. A lack of common sense or tact was part and parcel of being a hero of justice, Madoka supposed.

    After a quick group reinforcement to fix the broken window and clean up the wrecked seating area, the girls left the café. It could have easily ended in disaster; in another time, under different circumstances, at least one of these girls would have died in the ensuing fight. The fact that it didn’t play out like that confirmed something for Madoka; no matter how small, she had fundamentally changed the fate of a Magical Girl for the better. The girl who had no talents and nothing special about her had made the world a better place on the most basic level. She noticed that other girls were chatting with each other as if the fight had never happened and smiled.

    This was going to be fun.
    RadiantPhoenix, CV12Hornet and Garlak like this.
  12. FaceMeltor CARRY HARDER

    Very nice. On my subscription list.

    You could try to make Madoka and Sayaka explain some more. İt is kinda confusing as it is right now.
  13. I think that was the point. Fourth needed to define Madoka as a character here, so what better than under fire? Besides, they will get together after school to polish details
  14. Jiven Hmmm, black tea~~ My lifeblood.

    You know what ? I was ready to make a raging post about deus ex machina, circumvent coincidences, disgusting tea and bad cake, but I decided to drop it.
    Instead, I will subscribe to this thread.
  15. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Jiven: Well alright.

    Face: This is Meduka Meguca; nobody explains nothing unless they're Coobie or trying to get into someone's pants. :V. But yeah, being confused is kind of the point; I am actually paying attention to canon so this Sayaka and Madoka are Not As You Know Them.
  16. shanejayell Rebel without a Pause

    looks good so far.
  17. Prince Paul II. Pink lion

    Will Sayaka and Madoka contact their families and other friends (okay, Madoka does not have any other friends in this world)?
    It would be nice if they would tell Hitomi why Sayaka disappeared.

    And this is why they deserve some of the suffering.
  18. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Quick note: as far as anyone not named Homura is concerned, Madoka Kaname is an unperson. This doesn't mean certain people wouldn't remember her if sufficiently prodded, but she can't just go up to her folks and say "Hey mom, I became god. Now I'm back," and things are just hunky-dory. Sayaka's cool, though; she's still considered missing instead of nonexistent.

    And Hitomi knows what happened to Sayaka. Madoka too, although she doesn't realize it. Green Mugi will be kind of a big deal this Act, actually.

    Homura and Kyubey are uncomfortably similar sometimes, if you think about it. :V
  19. Prince Paul II. Pink lion

    Her brother seems to remember her.

    Please post the next Act as soon as possible. I want to know why Hitomi knows it.
    Did she make a contract with QB?

    Yes, it's regrettable that Homura adopted some of QB's features and methods.
  20. FourthWall Local Girl Homus Everything

    Prince Paul: Takkun was talking about an anime character. :V

    So, I was working on the next Act when I remembered I'm lazy a problem with my Evafics was that nobody understood the underlying systems and I didn't worldbuild enough. So as a benefit to the viewers and a way to keep myself honest, I'll be doing little Science Lessons. Here's the first.

    <><>/人◕‿‿◕人\<><>

    The How and Why of Demon Cleaners Act 1: The Post-Madokami System

    According to Homura Akemi, the previous Magical Girl system was one designed to capitalize on suffering; in exchange for a single wish, a girl was tasked to fight Witches until she died, or became one herself. She was given a Soul Gem, the tangible expression of a human's soul, to perform magic with. Once overwhelmed completely by despair and grief, the Soul Gem would shatter and become a Grief Seed, thus completing the transformation to a Witch.

    I hypothesize that the phase transition of a human soul to a Soul Gem, and the ultimate destruction of the Soul Gem, either from becoming a Grief Seed or death created energy from nothing. It would seem that allowing the girls to become Witches would be best, because the resulting Grief Seed could be used to keep more Magical Girls running, then devoured and recycled into energy that obeyed the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    From the sounds of things, this system was woefully inefficient, but the returns had to have been immense. It's an interesting system, and would completely change how we do business. Most of it would lead to unnecessary antipathy, however; humans get testy about turning into mind-bending horrors, even if it is payment owed for services rendered. I don't understand it at all, but since I don't have to deal with it, the irrationality is charming.

    The current system, I am told is more benign, but no less dangerous. A girl's soul is still given form as a Soul Gem, but instead of relying on the inevitable corruption of hope into despair, energy is derived from both. The wish is made with hope as its catalyst; the desire to change one's lot in life creates similar energy transition states to that of a Magical Girl becoming a Witch, given the way Homura Akemi describes it. The results aren't as intense, but since feelings of hope creates more magic energy, which we Incubators store in the Magical Girl's meat body, we get more energy in the long run.

    Demon Cleaners MIKI and KANAME are irregular, as their bodies seem to be overloaded with magic energy; more than any human on record. I do not remember contracting with KANAME, or anyone sharing her name. I also have data showing that MIKI has changed in a way to make her unrecognizable as Sayaka Miki, but without further analysis, a proper hypothesis cannot be made.

    Any excess despair a Magical Girl has is siphoned off through shards of Grief, which are dropped by Demons. We then eat those shards and convert them to pure energy. Unfortunately, we don't get a 100 percent conversion rate, but Grief is matter being made from something completely intangible, much like the Soul Gem being made from the Soul. This allows us to violate the First Law of Thermodynamics twice by creating energy from nothing, and reap the rewards.

    If and when a Magical Girl gives in to despair, they merely vanish; the magic keeping their bodies running dissipates. Demon Cleaner KANAME says that she, or the girl she is supposed to be, Madoka Kaname absolves the girls of their despair and spirits their souls to a place outside of time. Since this cannot be empirically proven, I am skeptical.

    Demons do not come from spent Magical Girls, but of the baseline evils of humanity. As such, these are much more plentiful than Witches and methods to clean a Magical Girl's Soul Gem are abundant. Since a dearth of methods to clean Grief does not condemn a Magical Girl to become a threat as well, teaming up is more viable; each area is controlled by bands of Magical Girls. This does lead to an increase in Magical Girl versus Magical Girl clashes for territory and more petty, human reasons.

    Regardless of human actions or emotions, the system as a whole works for all involved. The Magical Girls serve to bring hope to humanity by eliminating its evil; we bring hope to the universe by retarding, and ultimately denying the heat death of the universe.

    The drive to become a Magical Girl is so great in certain sectors that the concept has entered the public consciousness; Japan in particular has a robust popular canon based on our efforts. There is a genre specifically named as such, but their Sentai and Tokusatsu shows are based off of the exploits of Magical Girls, modified through certain sociocultural mores. Far be it for us to say that the phenomenon has only come to pass in the past 60 years; a large part of their youkai-related superstitions are based in whole or in part on outbreaks of Demons and rogue Magical Girls.
    CV12Hornet and RadiantPhoenix like this.
  21. shanejayell Rebel without a Pause

    Huh, interesting.
  22. Doomsought Sliver Overlord

    Indeed, carry on.
  23. Crazael Madness Incarnate

    [X] Would you like to know more?
    RadiantPhoenix likes this.
  24. Jiven Hmmm, black tea~~ My lifeblood.

    I approve.
  25. FaceMeltor CARRY HARDER

    İ am not really certain these answers are the ones İ've asked for, but it's your story. Nice info, though somewhat predictable. Waiting for more.

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