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[Madoka] The Disappearance of Miki Sayaka

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Aku-dono, Jun 15, 2011.

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  1. Aku-dono

    Aku-dono May or may not update; shrödinger's author

    Madoka has possessed me and made me write this.
    Extra-special thanks to the awesome Pale Wolf for his usual excellent beta skillz.
    ----------------------------------------------


    The Disappearance of Miki Sayaka


    “Are you sure, Kenji?” she asked into the wireless phone, twittering uncertainly. “I mean, it’s been nearly a week now, and—”

    I’m not going to ask a mother whose daughter has been missing for days to go back to work, Miharu,” interrupted the man on the other end of the line. “I’m not so short-handed that I can’t go without one of my top reporters for a week or two, not for something like this at least.

    “I… but…”

    Don’t make me take it out on your pay, lady. You just sit right at home, let your husband hug you real tight and hope the cops find her fast, okay?

    “I…” she made a few noiseless attempts, then sighed. “o…okay. You’re right. Thanks, Kenji.”

    No need to thank me; it’s the decent thing to do. Take care.

    “Hm.”

    Miki Miharu had always liked him. Her work for the Mitakihara shinbun wasn’t the easiest in the world; theirs was a small newspaper in a world where competition was ferocious and times were hard. Her editor in chief was a rare breed in that kind of environment; a boss who treated his employees as human beings instead of as resources. Miharu had always appreciated that in him, as did her colleagues. She did feel a bit guilty about letting the others carry her (non-negligible, she admitted with no little pride) slack, but…

    But damnit, he was right, she decided as she put the dining room phone back on its charger. She was in no state to go to work. She’d tried just yesterday, swearing to herself that she was fine, that she had nothing to worry about and that everything would be fine, but she’d ended up turning her car around without making it halfway there; what if news arrived while she was gone? What if they told her they’d found her, that she was fine—or not? What if they needed information only she had?

    She was in no state to work. There was no way she’d be able to focus on anything, not with her daughter, her little Sayaka, gone without a trace.

    She returned to the living room, where her husband had stayed the night, next to the other phone. He looked terrible, gaunt and exhausted with enormous bag under his eyes. His beard hadn’t been taken care of in several days, and it was starting to show. If anything, Sayaka’s disappearance had hit him even harder than her. She slid on the couch next to him, snuck one of her arms around his waist and softly pecked him on the cheek.

    Salty.

    “’morning,” she told him. “Anything new?”

    He shook his head. “Nothing. I... well, I ended up calling them last night, to ask... I…” his lips shivered, his eyes grew just a bit shinier. “I think they’re starting to lose hope.”

    “Like hell they are,” Miharu replied hotly. Then, more gently, “I’ll take over from here; you go get some sleep. You look really bad.”

    In any other situation, he would have replied to that with something like “Is that something to say to your husband”, or cracked a joke. Somehow, Miharu found it more depressing that he just smiled weakly, stood up and headed for the stairs and their bedroom, leaving her alone with the phone and her thoughts. Her eyes wandered to where a picture of the three of them, taken just last year, hung from the wall in a brass frame. Her husband had his arm flung across her waist, and his other arm was resting on their somewhat reluctant blue-haired daughter’s head. Having their child disappear was something she wouldn’t have wished on her worst enemy, why did it have to happen to them?

    The police was on the case, and she knew they were very competent at finding missing people. They usually did within seventy-two hours. She was, of course, aware that the odds of finding someone decreased sharply after that time, but she knew they would find her. There hadn’t been that much time since her disappearance, right? And they were already starting to lose hope?

    “We’ll see about that,” she told herself. She grabbed the phone and hit the speed dial.

    Inspector Kanbara,” was the answer after a pair of tones. Having met him before, Miharu knew the nasal voice belonged to a rotund, standoffish man. He had assured her of being an expert in finding missing people—and her own research had confirmed this claim—he had succeeded in convincing her that her little Sayaka would be found quickly and safely. However, as days passed (and his initial belief that she’d simply run away proved itself wrong), she’d discovered him to have a fair dose of cynicism. Oh, he tried to hide it of course, but reading people’s subconscious cues was part of her job, and she was very good at it.

    “This is Miki Miharu, I’m calling about my daughter...”

    Ah... Miki-san. We’re still looking for her I’m afraid.

    “Yes...” you’d better be! “is there anything you can tell me? Do you have any comments?” she asked, then scolded herself for slipping into reporter talk.

    Ah...” he paused, then coughed a bit, and continued, “Did your daughter ever mention knowing a certain Sakura Kyouko, by any chance?

    Sakura Kyouko...? “No, not really. Why?”

    Apparently your daughter knew—I mean, knows her.” Here he paused and she imagined him taking a puff of his smoke. ”She’s a known vagrant and petty thief, a delinquent and repeat runaway. So far, no drugs and no known contacts with organized crime, but with her type, that can change real fast. Interestingly, she started hanging out with your daughter less than a month before she disappeared. And just two weeks ago, she enrolled at your daughter’s school.

    “Wait,” Miharu blinked. “If she’s a vagrant, how could she enroll? Doesn’t she need a stable address?”

    ”Ah, well…” Another one of those pauses, “she has guardians, officially; social services and all. She just hasn’t been with them in several months. Like I said, she’s a runaway and a delinquent. I imagine suddenly hearing about her out of the blue like that must have been quite a surprise for her guardians…” Another pause, followed by a rumbling cough, “But I digress. We’ve been trying to find her for a statement or two, but she’s slippery and hard to find, I’m afraid.” He paused and she saw him shrug. “Goes with the rest of it, I guess. She has school today, though, so we know where she’ll be.

    “She’s hiding from you?”

    They always do; they’ve usually done something under the table at some point, and the smart ones figure it’s just safer not to be spotted than to risk getting asked awkward questions. And like I said, she’s a petty thief.” Another pause, another cigarette puff. “Don’t worry about it, lady. We’ll tell you what we find as soon as we’re done talking with her.

    “Hm… thank you for your time. And… thank you.”

    No problem,” he replied with no little sympathy.

    Sakura Kyouko. Her daughter had been hanging around a delinquent? Why? Had she gotten herself involved in something bad? She was a good girl who liked to help; she’d joined the lacrosse team because they needed someone to replace their star player, even though she knew nothing about the sport. Had she tried to save this Kyouko somehow, and bit off more than she could chew?

    Her little Sayaka?

    That… had to be it. She could see the scenario very well; this Kyouko making some kind of bad deal for food or lodging or something, Sayaka finding out about it somehow, trying to help… or maybe… maybe this Kyouko was a scout? Someone who lured innocent girls into trouble for money or thrills?

    Armed with righteous parental rage, she… sighed and put the phone down on the charger. There was nothing she could do. These kind of things were better left to the police. Her daughter was in good hands. Kyouko would tell them what happened to Sayaka once she realized they weren’t trying to pin anything on her, and they’d find her, wherever she was, and she’d come home and be safe and she’d be able to rest and Sayaka…….!!

    She’d burst into worried sobbing without even noticing.


    Sayaka’s school was an imposing structure of neo-modern architecture, a maze of sharp angles made of glass and ultra-durable composite materials. Despite being a public middle school, it was one of the hallmarks of the town, and it was certainly interesting to look at, Miharu judged as she stood from a safe distance near the front gates, in the same way a statue of bolts and I-beams was; it caught your eye, but then you wondered why anyone had actually bothered to build the damn thing. Trying to organize classrooms in this building must have been a pain in the ass.

    A small part of her berated her for actually being there instead of staying at home. She’d set up the house phone to automatically redial to her cell phone, so she wouldn’t miss an important call. She’d left a message to her husband as well, in case he woke up and found her gone, too. She’d done everything right, except maybe tell the police she’d be there. Really, there was no point; she didn’t plan on interfering. She just wanted to see, to put a face on this Sakura Kyouko.

    The police were easy to spot. They’d thought of using a civilian car and wearing civilian clothes, but their car, parked near the front gates, was the only one in the street and had two grown men sitting in it, doing their best to pretend they weren’t looking at the school every twenty seconds. A bit like child predators, the cynic in her couldn’t help but note.
    It did take her a couple of seconds to notice the other car, a nondescript van parked around the corner in front of a lingerie shop, where a single man was eating something—a donut, a snide part of her quipped—while looking at his phone, looking for all the world like a bored husband waiting for his wife.

    There were probably others she hadn’t spotted, she belatedly realized; they’d probably seen her, too. With that in mind, she took a chance and moved in a bit closer to the front gates, settling herself in the bench on the other side of the street. She made a show of looking down the street and at her watch, to make sure anyone who’d see her would think she was just waiting for someone. She wasn’t sure how well it worked, but hey, if those cops were going to camp right in front of the gates, then she could afford to be a bit obvious about her act.

    The school made a loud chime, monotone and synthetic. Soon after, the gates opened and a flood of boys and girls erupted. The two officers at the gate made no secret of themselves, the driver stepping out of the car to look at the crowd over the roof. Several dozen students walked by without either officer making notice of them. Likewise, Miharu ignored them. Which one was Kyouko? Was she even there? Maybe she had club activities?

    Her heart took a sudden leap when the car’s passenger door opened and inspector Kanbara walked out, wearing a long, brown autumnal coat that could only have been more cliché if it had come out of a parody. The other officer walked around the car to join him, and together they walked toward the crowd, darting straight for… for…
    The sea of people parted and, revealing three girls Sayaka’s age.
    The first, on the furthest left, was a petite blonde who was impressively endowed for… well, just about any age, really—Probably foreign blood somewhere along the line… very, very generous foreign blood—who wore her hair in twin tails somehow curling into spirals. The middle one was smaller by a few centimeters of height and quite a few of chest, had long dark hair strongly offset by a red ribbon. She was just close enough to see how close this girl’s face was to classical perfection; she would become an incredible beauty in a few years.
    Whereas the two of them were smiling calmly, the third was grinning and gesticulating as they listened to her. As tall as the blonde, the third girl’s hair was long and red, tied in a ponytail that reached below her hips, and while the body language of the other two spoke of ladylike refinement, the red-head’s steps were the long, ungraceful stride of a tomboy. Her voice came loudly, if indecipherably, over the clamor of the crowd.

    She was the first to spot the police officers, and her grin disappeared instantly. Her reaction was disproportionate to the other two; both stopped walking as well, but the blonde merely blinked, while the dark-haired girl tilted her head. In comparison, the red-head looked like she was getting ready to bolt.

    Miharu guessed this was Kyouko. She was proved correct when the two policemen stopped right in front of her. From where she was, Miharu was unable to hear what they were saying, but their body language was enough. The moment the officers reached them, they became tense and guarded, with the dark-haired beauty moving so she was just barely blocking the officers and protecting the red-head. An unconscious movement, Miharu was pretty sure, but that meant she knew the girl had done bad—

    No, no, no. Assumptions are bad, she scolded herself. Stop assuming. Two grown men calling themselves cops suddenly walk up to your friend, whom you know is a vagrant, and claim to want to question her. Of course you’d be worried for her.

    If anything, as the conversation drone on, the smallest girl’s guard became greater. The blonde still appeared calm, but Miharu saw the way her eyes flickered from the agents to both of her friends. And the red-head…

    “Alright, fine,” Miharu heard. The crowd had grown a lot quieter as many of the students had stopped to gawk like curious owls, or like crows around an abandoned trash bag. The red-head gave a nonchalant shrug and stepped around her friend to stand right in front of the inspector who dwarfed her by two or three heads. This seemed to surprise everyone, even the cops. The blonde said something the red-head replied to with a shake of her head, and with a hand she waved toward the front gates. It was only after a lot of hesitation and a repeated request from Kyouko that the two finally relented and left, if slowly.

    “I’ll see you later at the hut!” the red-head shot after her friends just as they were about to cross the gates.

    The hut? What hut? Could that have been the place Sayaka had been hanging out at until late in the evening? Did those two know Sayaka too? Were they collaborators, or targets?

    That is, assuming of course that Sakura Kyouko was responsible for Sayaka’s disappearance. Assumptions are bad.

    The two girls turned left past the gates, and for a moment Miharu hesitated. She could stay here and spy after the cops and Kyouko, or she could follow the other two and discover where and what the hut was. There was no guarantee they would go there right away. Maybe they would only meet up the next morning. Maybe the hut was a really dangerous place. Maybe it was really close and benign and she wouldn’t find anything interesting. Maybe it was a waste of time.

    The dark haired beauty’s eyes met hers, for a fraction of a second. A fraction of second too long, that is, where her eyes widened minutely. This girl recognized her. She almost stood up as her decision was spontaneously made. The police would tell her what they found from Kyouko. She wasn’t going to waste an opportunity like this. She gave them a few seconds of head start then set off after them.

    At this time of the day, the streets were mostly deserted, and although they kept to the main streets, Miharu was pretty sure she’d been spotted the moment she’d turned the first corner. Neither girl so much as turned their heads enough to see her, and neither gave a sign that they knew they were being followed, but for some reason she felt like she was being observed by someone. Or something. She nervously looked around. There was no one.

    Not even a cat.

    Stop panicking, she told herself, focusing on the pair in front. It’s just your imagination.


    She only noticed about halfway across the bridge that neither girl had spoken a single word the whole time. Were they leading her to a trap? Her instincts screamed at her to stop and turn around, that this was a horrible idea, but she pushed them down. If this could help her find Sayaka…
    It came to some relief when, once on the other side, the pair moved in to the much busier merchant section. There was a lot more people here, which made her feel a lot safer.
    Unless they’re all their colleagues.

    Damnit, shut up! She didn’t even have the slightest evidence that either of them were responsible or involved in Sayaka’s disappearance. Sure, her instincts were yelling, but they were being awfully paranoid today. She was not a conspiracy theorist.

    Her heart took a leap when the pair enter a building, a hole-in-the-wall shop like a lot of others in the district, between a disc shop and a McDonalds. Through the glass door, she saw stairs leading up, but the second floor windows were covered by blinders and had no advertisement.
    Suspicious.

    She wasn’t going to make the mistake of following them in on her own though, or to go in there while a girl who visibly knew her was in there. She made a note of where it was, then turned around and went home.


    That could have been very dangerous, Miki-san,” Inspector Kanbara scolded her over the phone, later.

    “I know, I know,” she replied. “So, when are you going to check it out?”

    Ah…” a short pause, “Well, uhm… we’ll need a search warrant before we can start, and that can take several days—

    “Several d—but Sayaka—but they saw me and know I know about it, and if they—”

    Calm down, please!” Kanbara interrupted. “We’ll keep the place under watch. If there starts to be an unusual amount of traffic there, we’ll move in right away and damn the consequences. Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing.

    “I…” Miharu made several attempts to voice something she couldn’t line up words for, then finally sighed. “Fine. Alright. What about Sakura Kyouko? Was she involved in all this?”

    Ah…” he coughed, something like a chortle. “I almost said ‘No comment’ right there.” He sounded amused. She wasn’t. “To answer your question, we’re pretty sure she knows something at least. She wasn’t exactly forthcoming, but she cooperated. In a way.

    Not forthcoming, but cooperating? “How?”

    She denied knowing what happened to your daughter. But she also denied having known her, which we know is a lie. Shizuki Hitomi wasn’t the only witness who testified seeing the two together and talking.

    “If you know she’s lying, why aren’t you grilling her?”

    She was released earlier.

    What the hell? “She’s lying to you in your face and you let her go? Why!?”

    Ah…” there was a pause, a disturbingly long one. She could imagine his frown on the other end of the line, and the line went so silent she heard when he put his cigarette down into his ashtray. “That’s… actually a very good question.

    “…and you said you know what you’re doing?! You’re looking for my daughter here!”

    It must have been one of the new boys. Probably a mistake somewhere,” a pause, “a really, really strange mistake. We’ll put out an arrest warrant for her. At least we have suspicion that she’s trying to obstruct justice.

    Miharu’s smile was a little thin. “Just give my regards to the idiot who let her out like that.”

    It won’t happen again, miss. I’ll get on that right now.


    However, when she called the next morning…

    Sakura Kyouko… yes, we know about her, but why should there be an arrest warrant for her?

    “Why—is this a joke?” Miharu erupted. “You talked to her yesterday, she lied to you and you released her by mistake—”

    I assure you, we did no such thing yesterday, ma’am,” the damn man even had the gall of sounding worried! “Perhaps you should rest a bit, Miki-san. Don’t worry, we’ll find her.

    “B—But… what…”

    Let us do our job, and please relax.

    “Relax?! But—look, I don’t know what you’re—”

    Ma’am, please. I swear to you, we have not talked to Sakura Kyouko yesterday, nor do we have any sign that she’s related to this at all.

    “…ah… huh. And I bet you don’t remember about the shop I told you about yesterday too, right?”

    Please don’t confuse dreams with reality, Miki-san. We didn’t talk, yesterday.

    “I don’t appreciate your cruel jokes, Inspector,” she sneered. “Check your goddamn phone records,” she shot dryly, pushed the “end” button as hard as she could then slammed the phone down on its charger. What kind of heartless demon would try a joke like that?!

    An ugly picture drew itself in her mind. First, the police catch Sakura Kyouko and release her after she lied to them in their face. Then, after assuring her that they’d catch her again, they suddenly start pretending to have never talked to her.
    She pulled out a sheet of paper and a pen (old fashioned maybe, but she liked it) and started brainstorming. They were… protecting her? Why? Corruption in the police? Fear? Fear from Kyouko? Unlikely, but of whoever was backing her, that was very possible. So who could it be? Yakuza? Something bigger?
    She shook her head. That way led conspiracy theories. She wrote it down anyway.
    Still, Kanbara was quite an actor. She was pretty good herself, but she wasn’t sure she’d be able to pull off the old ‘We didn’t talk yesterday’ lie to a worried mother with as much sincerity as he had. He had seemed genuinely worried about her, almost like he thought he wasn’t lying… but that was ridiculous. He didn’t seem the type to forget who he’d spent several hours waiting for yesterday.
    Come to think about it, he’d seemed fairly bemused yesterday, after she’d pointed out he’d released Kyouko for no reason…
    She looked down at the sheet of paper and found she’d written “Memory wipe/mind control?”. She very nearly scratched it off. Ridiculous. That kind of technology only existed in bad spy movies or sci-fi. What was she going to think up next: aliens?
    She shook her head. None of this made any sense. She was missing data, that one piece which would help her connect everything. She had a pretty good idea where that piece was hiding, as well… but she’d expected the police to make that visit. Now, she would be going in on her own. If she talked to Kenji about this, he would tell her not to, maybe even call the police. There was no way he would believe her; he’d simply think she was being hysterical.

    Well, maybe she was. But damnit, she had a reason to be.

    She grabbed her PDA and hit the email icon. One of her acquaintances, a black hat hacker with a very strong love for freedom of press and of information, had put up a mail server for cases like this, to give her contacts. It simply relayed the mails it received to the address written in the first line of the message, making the source completely anonymous and safe. She didn’t delude herself into thinking he wasn’t making use of all the messages he kept in that server, but in the name of kicking the neo-nobility in the teeth, as he would word it, he kept it open and available for her; in the several years since they’d made their agreement, Miharu had never had cause for complaints.

    She entered that server’s address in the To: field. The server had another very nice feature she intended to make use of: it could delay the sending of the message to its final destination. She wasn’t sure what she’d find in there. If it was a false alert, she didn’t want to worry Kenji. But if it wasn’t and something happened to her, she wanted him to at least have a clue of what she’d been doing.

    She wrote the message, lining out the issues she’d had with the police, the mysterious Sakura Kyouko, and gave the address to The Hut. Then she timed it for two days from now, hit ‘send’ and shut down her PDA. Out of habit, she put the piece of paper she’d brainstormed on in her desk drawer.
    She took her coat on the way out.


    With everything that had been going on lately, it was with a strange sense of relief that she found The Hut, still where it had been the previous day. Not that she’d really expected it to disappear, but the thought had crossed her mind that she’d dreamed everything after all. That wood and glass door proved that no, she wasn’t insane, and that no, she wasn’t just that lost in grief.

    She gave a look around. The marketplace was just as it had been yesterday. A UPS truck sat in front of the music store, two workers taking turns taking boxes out and into the building. The same scene was repeated here and there as shops did their best to recover from the morning rush and prepared for the afternoon. There was no one near the hut’s door. Maybe it was closed? The blinders were still down on the second floor windows, it was impossible to tell if there was someone inside…
    The door opened, and someone walked out, a black-haired high-school girl wearing a purple vest. She looked left, right, then quickly walked away. As she did, Miharu noticed the way she grasped her vest pocket, like there was something very important and precious in it. A drug deal, maybe?
    If that was the case, then having someone snooping in would not be appreciated. In fact, if there was anything like she expected there to be, just going in would be putting in her in a really, really dangerous situation.

    But if anyone there had something to do with the disappearance of her daughter, she needed to know. Steeling herself, she approached the door.


    The second floor of the building housing the disk shop was somewhat spacious by those standards, three times deep as it was wide, some kind of bar dimly lit by the sunlight streaming between the closed blinders and small, cheap electric lamps. The floor was plain wood and had probably known better days years ago. Tables and chairs littered the place with little regard for order, a few of them dirty, one or two even had dirty glasses sitting on them. The air stunk of ciga—
    Actually, it didn’t. It was surprisingly airy, and there was a strangely sweet scent in the air… bubblegum?
    In the far corner of the room, as far from the windows a possible, was a small group of young girls, three of them, who looked up and stared at her blankly when she walked in. Their stares stuck her hard; one of them had the kind of shine she would expect from a girl that old, but the other two looked old, like they’d lived through a lot more than they should have. Or a lot of what they shouldn’t have.
    The only other occupant of the room was a slightly older girl who was maybe an adult, sitting behind the bar with a Smartphone glowing softly in front of her. From the color and shape she could see, Miharu assumed she was reading the news. The sound of a dishwasher droned on behind her.

    “If you’re looking for alcohol, we don’t sell any,” the barwoman cut in roughly, not looking up from her screen. One of her hands played with her dark shoulder-length hair, drawing it in a curl around a finger. From the way the rest of it seemed to curl likewise with little order or reason, it seemed to be a habit of hers.

    What could she reply? That she was a reporter? Should she ask for more details about what was going on? What was less likely to get her kicked out—or worse?

    “I’m waiting for someone, actually,” Miharu kind-of lied.

    “Hm,” the barwoman noised, finally looking and taking her measure. Apparently seeing nothing of interest, she went back to her phone. “Sure, whatever you want. Just don’t bother anyone. Water’s free by the way.”

    And so began the next four hours for Miki Miharu. She settled herself at a corner table near the front windows; if worse came to worse she could try throwing a chair through it. The small group of girls left soon afterward, leaving her alone with the barwoman for several long moments. The younger woman wasn’t inclined to talk, apparently, and Miharu didn’t feel it would be very safe for her to do so. Instead, she pulled out her own PDA and pretended to read the news, though she surreptitiously noted down the comings and goings of the shop.

    Within an hour, she had a pretty good and completely puzzling picture of this place’s client base. They were all young girls, not one above the age of fifteen. They came alone or in small groups, usually to discuss with the barwoman, sometimes stayed a bit to enjoy a few soft drinks. It was only after the fourth time that she noticed something strange; none of the girls had pulled out a chip card. In fact, the bar didn’t even have a reader. And yet, they were clearly paying their drinks…
    She also noticed, in a corner of her mind, that the dishwasher hadn’t stopped yet.
    She eyed one of the “staying” girls as subtly as she could. She was a little thing, between eleven and thirteen if she could hazard a guess, with pink hair and a round face. She had put something in the middle of the table, some kind of girly bauble, in a circle of black cubes, and was staring at it intently as she distractedly sipped her soda through a straw. As if sensing she was being observed, the girl immediately grabbed the bauble and hid it, doing the same with the cubes with her other hand.

    “Thanks, I’ll bring the glass back later,” she told the barwoman, who made a noncommittal sound in response, then grabbed her drink and quickly left.

    “Y’know, if you’re gonna chase off my customers while you’re waiting, we’re gonna have a problem here,” she told Miharu around the straw in her mouth.

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t know she’d take it badly,” Miharu replied honestly, with no little bewilderment. “I…”

    The doors opened, and a gaggle of girls in school uniforms walked in, talking loudly. Seeing a chance to disappear, Miharu did just that, settling back in her seat and observing the new arrivals. There were four of them, the older pair looking like they were in their mid teens, the youngest being a tiny slip of a girl in a green dress who couldn’t be older than eight.

    “Oh, it’s been a while,” the barwoman noted, somewhat disinterestedly. “So what’ll it be?”

    “Withdrawal,” one of the older girls replied, and the barwoman immediately started digging something behind her counter, a small bag the size of her fist. “How many do we have?”

    “Thirty,” replied the shopkeeper after checking something behind the bar. “You don’t have any in cleaning—well, obviously since it’s been a while.” She raised an eyebrow.

    “I thought we had more than that?” the other older girl asked.

    A shrug, “You did, but it went inactive since you haven’t come here in months,” was the reply. “I have needs, too.”

    “Tsh, racketeer,” noted the first.

    Another shrug, this one accompanied by a grin. “Well, anything could happen, you know. If you don’t want your safety line, you can always go and start hunting every day.”

    Miharu blinked. What on earth were they talking about? Safety line? Needs? It kind-of sounded like drug usage, but there was something odd. Hunting?

    “So, why did you come back anyway? I figured you girls didn’t need to come here anymore. You have your own territory, don’t you?”

    “Yes, and it’s quite a while from here, but…”

    Younger-looking than the pair who had shared the discussion amongst each other, but still with a few years over the little one was a girl who had the longest hair Miharu had ever seen, reaching all the way to her knees. That girl grinned excitedly and patted the youngest one with a hand. “Yuma-chan just started!”

    Oh please let it not be drugs. Please. To think a girl this young might… urgh!

    “Until she can pull her own weight, we’ll be coming here pretty often,” noted one of the older girls, before shaking her head. “So far she’s pretty useless. I wonder what Kyuubei was thinking, recruiting someone that young.”

    There it was.

    She had a name, now. Kyuubei. And… pulling her weight? Territory? Recruiting? A girl that y…

    No.

    Oh hell no.

    Oh… god… no.

    She felt bile rise up her throat, but did her best not to let it show on her face. Drugging someone and forcing them into prostitution was a classic for the simple reason that it worked; desperate addicts will do anything for their fix. However, to do this to children… and how many?! What kind of absolute monster was this Kyuubei?!

    “Yuma-chan isn’t useless! She just needs to learn, that’s all!” the long-haired teen opined.

    “This coming from miss reckless,” deadpanned one of the older girls. “I guess you two make quite a pair that way.”

    Miharu couldn’t help the way her face twisted in disgust at this. She had to be mistaken. There was no way something this big had slipped under the police’s radar.

    We didn’t talk, yesterday.

    …or maybe it hadn’t. The thought revolted her. Perhaps Kanbara simply didn’t know what he was helping cover up? That had to be it.

    It seemed that once school was out, this place reached a peak of activity, as once again the door opened to let someone inside, which was more than it had in the last several hours. The new arrival was a slim, short-haired girl who looked to be in the middle of her teenage years, a strange girl who wore mismatched long socks, fingerless gloves and a stuffed animal hanging from her belt.

    “Well, well. Look who’s here,” the newcomer declared loudly, grinning in a way Miharu definitely didn’t like. “The two bumblebees and their cheerleader. And—huh?” she blinked at the little girl, then guffawed. “What, the cheerleader wasn’t tiny enough, you had to go get a shrimp too?”

    “Hey!” the long-haired one snapped. “Yuma-chan isn’t a shrimp!”

    “O-oi, Kazumi—”

    Ignoring her (and her older friend’s warning), the new girl went and grabbed the little girl by the collar, effortlessly lifting her one-handed so she hung, terrified, at eye-level with her. The three older girls and the barwoman tensed visibly, and Miharu nearly missed the glance the barwoman shot her way.

    “Tsh,” she scoffed. “You’re right, cheerleader. I’ve been insulting shrimps. That thing won’t last two weeks. Not worth the cubes to keep alive.” Then she made that ugly grin again, “maybe I should do you girls a favor and—”

    “None of that in here, Kirika,” the barwoman cut in. Once again, Miharu saw her glance her way, for barely a moment. “You know the rules.”

    ‘Kirika’ snorted. “Pfeh, like I’m scared.” Then, noticing the barwoman’s glance, she turned to look at the corner where Miharu had been more-or-less successfully hiding. “Oh? And who’s that, another member of the old and busted club like you?”

    The barwoman frowned. “Kirika, I’m warning you now. You—”

    “Or maybe she’s not?” Kirika wondered aloud, slowly walking toward Miharu. The reporter only noticed she’d stood up when her back hit the blinders on the window. She didn’t know what it was, but she knew there was something wrong about that girl. She didn’t want to be anywhere near her. Sadly, her voice seemed to have abandoned her, and within moments the strange, crazy and scary girl had reached her. She went deep into Miharu’s personal space, staring into her eyes from mere inches, that terrifying grin reappearing on her face.

    Then her hand flashed out, and Miharu couldn’t breathe. The girl’s cold, unyielding fingers had circled around her neck. An incredible force lifted her straight off her feet, and it took her several moments of struggling futilely to realize it was this impossibly strong girl’s grip.

    “She’s a normal!” Kirika exclaimed, turning to look at the barwoman. “And here I thought inviting normals in here wasn’t allowed?”

    What the hell was she… oh god, she needed to breathe…

    “I didn’t invite her—now let her go, she’s gonna die. And that’s against the rules too.”

    Breathe Breathe Breathe Breathe Breathe

    She struggled and tried to punch at the arm holding her. She might as well have tried to hurt a steel rod.

    “Pfeh. Not like you can do anything about it, grandma,” Kirika shot at the barwoman. “Maybe I’ll just save whoever brought her here the trouble of explaining herself—”

    That will not be necessary.

    And suddenly, she was released, and immediately fell into a wet, painful coughing fit. She collapsed to the floor, her legs unable to hold her weight, and winced at the suddenly enormous pain coming from her neck. She was going to have incriminating bruises for weeks, she was pretty sure.

    She looked up at the insane girl and found her staring in shock at the window, shock-still, her hand still outstretched with its fingers curled like claws.

    There was the barrel of a gun pressing against the back of her head. The one holding the gun was the dark haired girl from yesterday, Kyouko’s friend.

    “I invited her here,” the girl said. Lied.

    “Feh,” made Kirika. “Must be nice to be able to break your own rules, right Akemi?”

    The girl, ‘Akemi’, gave no answer, except a (perhaps sardonic) nod.

    “That rule is there to avoid undue attention—in both directions. She already knows, however, and is too old to be a candidate.”

    “A candidate?” Miharu couldn’t help but repeat. A thousand interjections mixed together in her brain, and as a result she had nothing more to say before Kirika burst into laughter.

    “Already knows? Sounds to me like she doesn’t know jack shit,” the short-haired menace replied mockingly, turning around (in disregard for the gun now pointed at her face). Her tongue flashed out and caressed the weapon’s black metal, that sick grin making yet another appearance. “You’re full of shit, saint Akemi, patron of the failures and protector of those who can’t survive without this trash bin.”

    “If you’re only here to start trouble then get out, Kure,” the barwoman put in.

    Kirika ignored her completely. “Say, about that, I heard you guys lost your own charity case? What a pity, isn’t it?”

    Akemi frowned.

    “No one would miss you,” she noted, matter-of-factly.

    Kirika’s face twisted into the ugliest, scariest snarl Miharu had ever seen in her life. Her hands twitched, as if they desperately wanted to grow claws nature had never given her, and an ugly, long sound came out of her throat. She looked and sounded more like a rabid animal than a human, some ravenous beast barely held in leash by a paper-thin concept of humanity. For a moment, Miharu grew certain that this psycho would do something that would make the younger girl pull the trigger and kill her.

    Then she grinned, savagely.

    “I’ll rip you apart.”

    Homura was not impressed. “You’ve already tried. And failed.”

    “I was only playing around. Next time, I’ll cut you and your little girl scouts into ribbons. Then I’ll decorate a tree with them.”

    “Get out,” Homura said. “Don’t come back. We won’t hesitate next time we see you where you shouldn’t be.”

    “I go wherever I want, Akemi.” Then, at the barwoman, “I’ve already got what I wanted, anyway. Screw this place.”

    And then she bit the gun, shot Miharu a withering glance, and left like she owned the place.

    “Akemi, I’ll have to ask you to take her out of here,” the barwoman said the moment the door closed, motioning at Miharu, who was just getting up with a hand rubbing at her sore throat. “Even if you made them, you aren’t exempt from the rules and I’d hate to tell you you can’t come back, too.”

    The long-haired beauty nodded silently. She raised her shirt’s hem to reveal a belt tied around her midsection. There was a holster attached to that belt, in which she slid her gun. Once the shirt was back in place, she’d still be able to see it plainl—

    Or... not. There was nothing, not even a bump. The shirt seemed like it was touching her shape as it was supposed to. How?

    “I apologize,” Akemi said, bowing to the barwoman. Then, she turned her cool gaze to Miharu and ordered, “come.”

    “W—but—”

    She reached forward and grabbed Miharu’s hand.

    Come,” she insisted.

    Miharu allowed herself to be dragged out of the crazy, dangerous and immoral bar. Some part of her wondered why she wasn’t panicking. She should be. She was being dragged out of a criminal bar by a girl, middle school or not, who carried a firearm and responded to death threats from impossibly strong psychos with cold indifference—and even returned them. This girl, this friend of Sakura Kyouko, who knew her and recognized her and had covered for her and saved her life(?). Perhaps that was why she wasn’t afraid? If she had wanted her dead, then all she would have had to do was to let the psycho choke her for a bit longer.

    She nearly missed a step at that thought. How close had she come from death? She belatedly realized one of her hands had never released her aching throat.

    “We need to hurry. Kure Kirika might still be nearby,” Akemi noted.

    Miharu shuddered. “Who… what was she?”

    Akemi didn’t reply right away. She led Miharu outside, still holding her by the hand, crossed the street and turned at the bridge’s road before finally answering, “Someone from a world you should not enter. The brutal side of it, at least.”

    “A world I should not enter…” Miharu repeated, frowning. “Why would someone as young as you know anything about things like that?”

    Again, Akemi didn’t reply straight away, giving Miharu time to think about what she’d said. This girl was warning her away from the hideous things going on in that bar. Was it for her own good? Was she trying to protect her?

    “Must be nice to be able to break your own rules, right Akemi?”
    your own rules

    Miharu suddenly stopped, and nearly got her arm wrenched out of its socket from the sheer strength Akemi suddenly found herself applying to it. Her hand was freed almost immediately, and she cradled it in pain while the dark-haired girl turned to look her way.

    “Akemi… Kyuubei?” Miharu asked. She wasn’t sure what she’d do if the little girl answered affirmatively.

    Previously impassive, the girl’s lips twitched with a small smile.

    “I don’t know where you got that idea from, but you’re mistaken. I am Akemi Homura.”

    Ok. So she wasn’t the monstrous child-pimp. She was, however, someone who had enough pull to make the rules at one of their drug distribution points.

    “You sound like someone who knows a lot,” Miharu commented.

    Homura tilted her head slightly. “You sound like someone who wants to know a lot.”

    “I am,” she nodded.

    “Sometimes, it is better not to know.”

    Miharu shook her head. “I don’t think so.” Some part of her wanted to ask who Kyuubei was, then, but she had more pressing questions to ask. “Do you know a girl named Miki Sayaka?”

    Immediately, Homura nodded. “Your daughter.”

    Miharu nodded. This girl had recognized her, it wasn’t surprising she would know that much. “She hasn’t been home in several days, now, and I know you are one of Sakura Kyouko’s friends, like her… do you know where she is?”

    “I…” Homura frowned, hesitated, then gave a glance around. “It is still unsafe. We should go.”

    And she turned and walked. Miharu took a few moments to realized that yes, the little girl had just done that, and set off after her with an indignant “hey!”

    Homura didn’t even slow down. Miharu caught up in moments.

    “Please tell me, I need to know. I…” She frowned, got ahead of the girl and knelt down so they were at eye level. Then, with all the mothering she could, she told Homura, “look, I know people. They can help you girls… is that why you’re not telling me?” Naïve perhaps, but part of her simply refused to believe a child would sell her own classmates like that. “You’re afraid of Kyuubei, aren’t you? Those people can protect you. They’re not the police. They aren’t going to—”

    “You misunderstand,” Akemi cut in. Her eyes were staring at the pavement, with a light frown. Miharu tried to meet them, but the girl quickly looked away. “I am not afraid of Kyuubei.”

    Liar.

    Or maybe she wasn’t?

    “Then why won’t you look into my eyes?”

    She hesitated, then sighed and looked up, directly at Miharu’s face.

    “Miki Sayaka will not return.”

    Miharu blinked. For several moments, she stared in disbelief at the young girl. Then, deciding she must have misheard, she laughed—it sounded strange to her ears. “What did you say? I—”

    “Miki Sayaka will not return. She is gone.”

    Miharu’s arms flashed. Before she knew it, she was holding the girl’s uniform—Sayaka’s uniform—with both hands.

    Don’t fuck with me, girl.

    Homura held her furious gaze easily.

    “Miki Sayaka entered this world to help her friend,” she explained. “It was a foolish decision, one she was warned away from… but it was also a brave, selfless act.”

    “Sakura Kyouko?” Miharu guessed.

    Homura shook her head. “Kamijou Kyousuke.”

    “What?” Miharu blinked. She, of course, knew about Kamijou Kyousuke. He was the son of two internationally famous musicians and a very talented violinist himself, a classmate of Sayaka’s who had suffered a terrible car accident that had left him all but bedridden just a year ago. She remembered Sayaka telling her he had suddenly recovered and had returned to school, but… “What does he have to do with—”

    Homura sighed. “For there to be hope, there must be despair. Karma is always in balance… she was given a wish and warned of the consequences. She knew what she was getting into. And she still used her wish and sacrificed her future for the recovery of Kamijou Kyousuke.”

    Miharu blinked. What on earth was she talking about? Wish? Karma? Consequences?

    “She… what? I don’t… understand…” She was missing something, a key piece of information, something that would let her figure out what this crazy girl was talking about…

    Homura stared into her eyes for several long moments, then sighed forlornly. “No, I guess you do not. Kyuubei, do it.”

    Miharu tensed up. Kyuubei? What? Where—

    Her eyes fell on… something, which was suddenly standing near Akemi’s feet. It wasn’t a cat. Or if it was, it was the strangest cat she’d ever seen. It was covered in white fur except for a pink circle on its back, had a big fluffy tail, stood on four pawed feet. Its ears were pointy and its eyes were like two red buttons over its Cheshire cat smile. Only, it looked almost like it had a second pair of ears sticking out of the first, those ones hanging loosely almost all the way to the ground, and there were little golden rings floating around them—

    The creature’s eyes flashed and



    Well, I’m glad you’re feeling better. Can’t have one of my best reporters falling sick for too long, it’d be awful for business.

    “I love you too, Kenji,” Miki Miharu, reporter for the Mitakihara Daily, retorted drily, smiling into her phone’s receiver. “So, when do you want me back?”

    As soon as possible… if you could make it today, it’d be great. We’ve got a few yummy trails waiting for you, and I’ve noticed Mikoto-chan fishing around—

    “Remind her who’s the reporter and who’s the editorialist for me, ‘kay?”

    Did that already.” Miharu snickered. “Oh, and since we’re talking about reporting, do you have any clues about who sent that prank mail yesterday? Did your… uh… your assistant say anything?

    Miharu shook her head. “No, he said that it looked like it was sent from my computer, but I know I didn’t, and my husband hates computers. He’s thinking either someone spoofed my IP, or I’ve got a worm or some malware on there. He wants to check it out… well, y’know. I don’t actually keep important data on it, don’t worry.”

    Whew. Had me scared for a bit.” Miharu giggled. “Yeah, yeah. So I guess we won’t know just who this ‘Sayaka’ is, will we?

    “Probably a fake,” Miharu replied with a shrug. Absentmindedly, her eyes found a picture on the wall, an off-center image of her and her husband. “The only Sayaka I know was the daughter of a neighbor I had back in Izumo, and she moved overseas before I moved here. Like I said, that mail was probably a bad prank.”

    Scared the hell out of me when I got it though.

    “Aw, didn’t know you cared that much,” Miharu teased. “Anyway, I’m gonna pick up my coat, and I’ll be right there.”

    Great. I’m glad you’re ok.

    “Of course I am,” replied Miki Miharu, smiling. “Why wouldn’t I be?”



    Sitting on a building roof with her back on a chimney, Akemi Homura watched, unseen, as the mother of her departed… acquaintance left her house, humming happily as she got in her car. She saw the woman’s husband wave goodbye at her through the living room window, sipping a cup of coffee, saw her answer likewise and blow a kiss through the glass before she gunned the engine.

    And that’s that,” a voice spoke to her, and she barely registered Kyuubei hopping up to perch itself on the chimney with cat-like grace. “We erased all the records we could find of Miki Sayaka. Even her parents don’t know she existed. How did you know she would react like this, though? More of your foreknowledge?

    Homura shook her head. “In previous timelines, Miki Sayaka’s death always came close enough to the end that Miki Miharu never had time to start digging. The possibility of bringing back her body also existed, which curtailed further exploration on her part.”

    Then how?

    “Because they are very much alike,” she replied, losing interest in the departing car. She leaned back further against the chimney and stared up at the fluffy white clouds in the blue sky. “Miki Miharu did not hesitate to throw herself in what she considered to be extreme danger for her daughter. Likewise, Miki Sayaka was a person brave enough to sacrifice everything for a friend; first Kamijou Kyousuke, then ourselves. Her deaths were normally due to this trait; that foolhardy courage.”

    It was a strategically sound decision,” Kyuubei noted, rubbing its paw against its own cheek in a move Homura knew was especially designed to use humanity’s genetically crafted weakness against cute things to lower their guard. “To sacrifice herself in order to protect her more experienced and powerful teammates and prevent a costlier loss. We were a bit surprised a human would realize this and actually go through with it.

    Homura made an amused sound. “That thought probably never crossed her mind. She just knew her friends were in trouble, and that was it. Relative power and the greater picture never came into it.”

    …that makes her actions a bit less admirable,” Kyuubei noted.

    Homura shook her head. “That makes it more admirable.”

    It gave no reply to this. Probably, Homura thought, it was reflecting on how humans were so strange and it couldn’t understand them.

    Then,” it finally spoke, “Your decision to have us prepare to erase Miki Sayaka from existence was an educated guess?

    Homura nodded.

    Then why contact her? Why let her dig in deeper?

    “I did not want to do it. I felt that making it so even her own parents did not remember her would insult her memory, her courage…” Homura fell silent for a moment, then sighed. “In the end, she was suffering too much. Miki Sayaka herself would have preferred to disappear rather than hurt her parents this way. In a way, this is honoring that selfless courage of hers.”

    Miki Sayaka turned out to be a costly venture for us, though,” Kyuubei noted. Its paw was now wandering across its real and fake ears, cleaning them. “The cost of making her into a magical girl, then to manipulate the minds of the police, her parents and her parents’ co-workers, associates and family, and everyone related to them, as well as to clear up the electronic records, compared to how little she gave us in what time she had…” it made a sigh, “In the end, it was a net loss. This is why we normally do not go after magical girls with families unless their potential is enormous. We considered Miki Sayaka mostly because we believed she would be an asset to your team. We were right, in a way; her sacrifice protected you three… but in the end, it wasn’t worth it.” It smiled. “Something to consider for later times.

    Homura frowned and fell silent. For several beats, they remained quiet, buffered by the wind, until Kyuubei finally spoke.

    What about Kure Kirika? She swore to hunt you and your team down, and she isn’t the type to back down.

    “It is no matter. We already knew she was a menace. Any of us can take her.” Then, she raised an eyebrow and glanced at the animal. “What is that about? Aren’t you lot supposed to be neutral?”

    We are,” it replied. “It is thanks to you and the café you had us establish that lower-level magical girls become profitable faster and survive more by cleaning and re-use of misery cubes; a significant decrease in energy cost, for a minor loss in gain. An idea like that had never occurred to us. We merely think it would be a shame if an opportunity like you was destroyed by another magical girl.

    “If you don’t like it, you could have told us not to fight amongst each other.”

    We did at first, but then strong magical girls ended up dying to Demons to protect weaker ones.” It replied. “A bit like Miki Sayaka, in reverse. You would call it admirable, I think.

    “A wasted investment, then?” Homura was sardonic.

    Kyuubei either didn’t notice, or didn’t care. “Creating a magical girl entails a loss of energy at first. Darwinian culling allows stronger teams of magical girls to control larger areas for longer periods, so in the end we end up having to create fewer of you, even if you end up fighting one another. At your level, you girls normally have a well-established hunting ground the others try to avoid.” It scratched the side of its ears in calculated adorableness. “You magical girls also spend your strength against one another, darkening your gems and forcing you to clean them further; that is also a big plus for us, as well, so long as fatalities are rare enough to make it worth it. In that sense, Kure Kirika is another… doubtful venture.

    Homura sighed. “Kyuubei, sometimes, it’s very easy to remember your kind has no feelings.”

    Thank you,” it replied. Homura sighed, not quite sure what she’d been expecting. She gave one final glance at the house of her now deceased and forgotten comrade, then stood and patted her clothes until they were passably clean; rooftops weren’t exactly pristine seats. Then, she picked up her handback and hopped off the roof, landing in a deserted street a block away. Kyuubei followed silently, unseen.

    She still had school, today.






    Left abandoned in Miki Miharu’s desk drawer, an innocuous piece of paper spoke confusedly of truth made lie, impossible realities and forgotten grief, its voice abandoned and forgotten until, one day, it would be found…



    The Disappearance of Miki Sayaka – End
     
    Lord K, Nemrut, Ugolino and 5 others like this.
  2. AzureGrimoire

    AzureGrimoire Could it possibly be rewritten, that fate of hers?

    Oh nice... very nice.
    That is nice awesome!
     
  3. Nolrai

    Nolrai aka HWSoD

    God damn that was very good.
     
  4. TheOneMoiderah

    TheOneMoiderah Healing-Type

    Pretty cool story you got there.

    I don't think anybody's examined this yet.

    Recommending.
     
  5. Prince Paul II.

    Prince Paul II. Pink lion

    Thank you for turning a perfect bittersweet ending into a real downer by adding a depressive yet plausible aftermath.
    Even the end of episode nine was more cheerful than this continuation. :(
     
  6. Aku-dono

    Aku-dono May or may not update; shrödinger's author

    I regret nothing!

    It's just how that story came out, really.

    Who said stories have to be cheerful?
     
  7. linkhyrule5

    linkhyrule5 Hero of Time

    Urobuchi.[/snark]

    I was hoping that Miharu would find out... but then, that would get complicated fast, wouldn't it?
     
  8. Prince Paul II.

    Prince Paul II. Pink lion

    It was implied that the new witch-less world is less negative than the previous world.
    Your story does not show the supposed improvement.
    Instead, the horrifying witches have been replaced by ultimately senseless conflicts between PM-gangs.
    It is nevertheless a good story and I am glad you created it.
     
  9. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C Mostly Harmless

    "Less negative" doesn't mean "all good." Even Homura herself says it's a world that probably can't be saved.
     
  10. Darth Artemis

    Darth Artemis The Villain in Glasses

    *Looks up from torturing a voodoo doll of Urobuchi*

    Hmm? Someone call for me?

    The content disappoints, but the rest is functionally sound, speaking objectively. It's better than average at very worst.
     
  11. AngryDesu

    AngryDesu Cleaner of Hell's Tokamak

    I'd be more concerned at the fact that Homura is, quite frankly, acting as bad as an incubator here.

    "Oh hey lets mindwipe anyone who finds out."
    "Oh hey lets cover up deaths when it's convenient to us."

    Slippery slope there, slippery slope.
     
  12. Nolrai

    Nolrai aka HWSoD

    Man, you happy ending zelots are annoying.

    I mean if you read some history I think your bad-ending meters would combust.
     
  13. linkhyrule5

    linkhyrule5 Hero of Time

    Meh, I can't speak for everyone, but I figure that at long last the PMMMers have Earned Their Happy Ending. As a result, fanfiction that involves more bad things happening to them... just doesn't catch my interest unless it's set pre-Madokami.
     
  14. Aku-dono

    Aku-dono May or may not update; shrödinger's author

    It wasn't so much "mindwipe anyone who finds out" than "mindwipe someone who's suffering and really shouldn't before she gets herself in too much trouble".

    But yeah. If we see Miharu again, she's not gonna be very happy.

    And the world after Madokami is better for the puella, overall. A lot better. No danger of turning into a horrible monster, and the demons are a lot weaker than the witches were mostly because they are all the same, and thus have the same weaknesses.
     
  15. Darth Artemis

    Darth Artemis The Villain in Glasses

    And you grimderp lovers aren't any better.

    You have an extremely low standard for "happy endings". :wtf:
     
  16. linkhyrule5

    linkhyrule5 Hero of Time

    Blame the rest of the anime. Also, it is a relatively happy ending. It's basically where most other Mahou Shoujo anime start: glorious teenage heroines waging a war against the night. With the added bonus of Madokahalla at the end of it all.
     
  17. Darth Artemis

    Darth Artemis The Villain in Glasses

    I really, really want to dispute this but if I do it's pretty much a guarantee I'll wind up making an ass of myself and derailing the thread for the next 20 pages like the last time or three this discussion came up, so I'll just leave it at "I could not possibly disagree more" instead of arguing the point.
     
  18. AngryDesu

    AngryDesu Cleaner of Hell's Tokamak

    Which really isn't any better since it's still Homura deciding she knows what's best for others and then doing extremely skeezy stuff to enforce this. Right now she may be justified in keeping Miharu out of the way but as I said it's a slippery slope she's set foot on and she's not exactly the sanest of individuals to begin with.
     
  19. linkhyrule5

    linkhyrule5 Hero of Time

    Spoiled kids mumble mumble underwater city mumble insane mumble squid mumble mumble boat. Dragon mumble bare hands.
     
  20. Nolrai

    Nolrai aka HWSoD

    Dude I like both. I love muffins work: http://dizzy.pestermom.com/?p=thcomic140

    I just find your insistance that stories that end a way you don't like are like some sort of personal insult annoying as fuck.

    I'm probably just over sensitive after seeing you try and insist of 'fixing' PMMM in ways that don't even make sense as some sort of revenge.
     
    thagguy likes this.
  21. Arkeus

    Arkeus Reading

    Homura, as you pointed out, isn't sane, and is far from unbiased when it comes to the Miki archetypes.
     
  22. biigoh

    biigoh Fluffy Paws indeed

    I enjoyed the fic, but I do notice a FEW minor problems with details.

    The Hut being built/set up by Akemi Homura doesn't make sense in terms of timing.

    We know that Homura gets contracted/shows up/whatever roughly about a month before Sayaka's "death/disappearance" and THAT is when she remembers Madoka and time-travel shenanigans.

    And this fic is set a week or so after the disappearance of Sayaka. So, yeah... ^_^;
     
  23. Jonen C

    Jonen C F.M.D.G.

    This is a good story, and an interesting take on the post-timeloop setting.

    What I would complain about is that there seems to be an unusually high density in the magical girl population, given that the lack of witches is supposed to make energy collection less effective, I doubt it would be even possible to support such a large population in a single city (given that we see Mitakihara has, what? Five over the course of the series run? And apparently got by on one?).

    Unless of course the new business model Homura has suggested for the Incubators involves creating an overpopulation of magical girls and having them work together to deal with the demons that do pop up, but produce the majority of the grief themselves, using this kind of bar as a pit stop of sorts. Which would seem out of character for her.
    Or maybe the Hut is actually some sort of junction in spacetime and you can enter it from many different places.
     
  24. linkhyrule5

    linkhyrule5 Hero of Time

    @biigoh: Actually, she remembers Madoka right after Sayaka dies. She's shown holding the ribbons in her hand, as if she just got them. Basically, the universe started at that point; she just happens to have fake (whatever that means when the universe gets rewritten) memories before then.
     
  25. biigoh

    biigoh Fluffy Paws indeed

    Fair enough, a full reality reboot works.
     
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