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Old 2012-02-14, 17:28   Link #90
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 36
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Chapter 9
Canon Route Chain

“I don't know what's wrong with me!”

That's what Hitomi was exclaiming this morning to Sayaka and I. It was the morning after Sayaka's victory over the TV-Witch.

“What's wrong, Hitomi?” Sayaka asked, “Not enough sleep?”

“I was up late last night dealing with the hospital and the police.” Hitomi answered.

“What?!” Sayaka asked, acting very shocked, “Did something happen?”

I had to admit I was a bit amused by Sayaka's skill at hiding the truth here. I never knew she could be such a convincing actress!

“I had an episode of sleepwalking, or something like that.” Hitomi answered embarrassingly, “When I came to, I found myself collapsed with a group of people.”

Sayaka chuckled over that, pretending to find Hitomi's words to be very hard to believe.

“Seriously?” Sayaka asked, over Hitomi's story.

In response to Sayaka's seeming skepticism, Hitomi then brought her hands together, to try to convey a more serious look.

“The Doctor said it might have been a collective hallucination...” Hitomi continued in explanation, “They want me to come in after school today for more tests. It's such a pain...”

“You really should have stayed home today.” Sayaka said, with her arms neatly folded across her chest, which I think might signify how Sayaka felt like a strong hero here.

“I can't!” Hitomi protested, “If I do, it'll seem like I'm really sick! My family would get even more worried.”

“That's our Honours student!” Sayaka exclaimed complimentary, “So mature!”

Sayaka then started laughing loudly. But as Sayaka laughed, I noticed Homura looking over at her with a certain glaring anger in her eyes. It made me feel deeply concerned for Sayaka, and wondering if she had made the right choice in choosing to contract with Kyubey in order to heal Kamijo's hand.

After school, Sayaka and I headed to the outskirts of Mitakihara Town's main park. We rested upon the grassy slopes next to a large shimmering lake. Sayaka stretched her entire body out over the grassy slopes, while I sat beside her.

“Man, I haven't felt this great in ages.” she sexclaimed to me, “It's exhilarating!”

“Aren't you scared, Sayaka?” I asked her, as I was still feeling a certain dread based upon what Homura was like in school today.

“Yeah, a little bit.” Sayaka admitted, “Yesterday went fine, though. Besides, I could have lost my two best friends, you and Hitomi. That's a lot scarier.”

I breathed uneasily over this. I was scared for Sayaka, but her words were sweet and true. I was moved by them, and I don't doubt that she meant them. But still...

“So!” Sayaka exclaimed, as she quickly rose to a sitting position, and held out her blue Soul Gem towards me, “I dunno. Maybe it's confidence. Maybe it's relief. And there's probably a bit of pride mixed in too. I think this is my chance to shine!”

Sayaka came to a standing position as she expressed her desire to shine.

“I, Magical Girl Sayaka, will protect the peace of Mitakihara City!” she proudly proclaimed, while she pumped one fist into the air and smiled widely.

I wanted to accept what Sayaka was accepting here. It sounded heroic, and wonderful. Yet, due to Mami's death and Homura's warnings, I feared it was too good to be true.

But if it was true, what did that say about me? Was I a selfish fool or a coward for not taking the same opportunity as Sayaka did? Should I have become a magical girl hero for the good our our entire city?

“So you don't regret it at all?” I asked Sayaka.

“I guess if there's anything I regret...” Sayaka began in answer, “It's waiting so long. After all, if I had made up my mind quicker, I could have fought alongside Mami and maybe she wouldn't have died.”

Sayaka then sat back down next to me. I felt chastened by her words, for they could easily apply to me as well....

Thinking back on Mami made me feel very sad, and guilty. I started to whimper a bit over sad thoughts over her tragic death...

But Sayaka playfully poked me in the face with one finger to bring me back into the here and now.

“What are you thinking, anyway?” she asked me.

“I... I mean, I...” I began stammering in reply, trying to find the best words to convey to Sayaka what I had been thinking lately, without overly depressing her.

“I guess hindsight's twenty-twenty.” Sayaka said, “When you ask 'why?', that's exactly the point! I just had to become a magical girl!”

“Sayaka-chan...” I uttered with a mixture of awe and concern.

“I found my wish.” Sayaka continued, “I have something I don't care if I have to risk my life in battle for. I just kind of regret that it took me so long to realize it.”

Sayaka then looked my way, and smiled slightly at me, while she relaxingly hung her arms over her knees.

“So you don't need to feel pressured.” she said to me, “It just means that you don't have to become a magical girl.”

While Sayaka's wish didn't have to do with me, nor is it for my direct benefit, it was clear to me that I may have factored into her decision to become a magical girl. She wanted to save Hitomi and me. She wanted to take pressure off of me.

Sayaka then left, as she told me she had somewhere to go and something to do. But as she left, I felt a deep desire to get help for Sayaka, based on all the frightening warnings that Homura had given me. But Homura herself was the only person who I could think of to turn to right now. I wasn't sure if I felt up to talking to Homura about it though...

Affection Calculation Time! An Opportunity Choice will now be made available to you depending on your affection level with Akemi Homura. To determine your affection level, refer to the following Akemi Homura Affection Data, and calculate your affection wit her.

Spoiler for Akemi Homura Affection Data:

Your overall affection level with Akemi Homura must be 0 or higher in order for Option B of Opportunity Choice 6 to become available. Otherwise, you must select A. If you end up selecting A, skip over Section OC6B

Opportunity Choice 6:

A) Don't bother going to Homura for help.

B) Try to get help from Homura.

Spoiler for Section OC6B:

With my desire to help Sayaka pushing me onwards, I decided to wait outside of the entrance to her home after arriving at it in the late evening. If my guess was right, Sayaka was intending to go on a magical girl patrol, like Mami used to. At the very least, I could back Sayaka up there. I could only hope that it would prove to be enough...

__________________________________________________ __________

Homura/Sayaka Alliance Chain

It was the morning after Homura's victory over the TV-Witch. Sayaka and I were chatting with Hitomi just before morning's classes, primarily to make sure she was Ok, but also to determine if she knew anything that she probably shouldn't know.

“I don't know what's wrong with me!” Hitomi exclaimed, after yawning loudly, “I'm so terribly sorry.”

“What's wrong, Hitomi?” Sayaka asked, “Not enough sleep?”

“I was up late last night dealing with the hospital and the police.” Hitomi answered.

“What?!” Sayaka asked, acting very shocked, “Did something happen?”

I had to admit I was a bit amused by Sayaka's skill at hiding the truth here. I never knew she could be such a convincing actress!

“I had an episode of sleepwalking, or something like that.” Hitomi answered embarrassingly, “When I came to, I found myself collapsed with a group of people.”

Sayaka chuckled over that, pretending to find Hitomi's words to be very hard to believe.

“Seriously?” Sayaka asked, over Hitomi's story.

In response to Sayaka's seeming skepticism, Hitomi then brought her hands together, to try to convey a more serious look.

“The Doctor said it might have been a collective hallucination...” Hitomi continued in explanation, “They want me to come in after school today for more tests. It's such a pain...”

“You really should have stayed home today.” Sayaka said, with her arms neatly folded across her chest.

“I can't!” Hitomi protested, “If I do, it'll seem like I'm really sick! My family would get even more worried.”

“That's our Honours student!” Sayaka exclaimed complimentary, “So mature!”

Sayaka then started laughing loudly. I was relieved that Hitomi, and likely the other victims of last night's witches attack, would not have to learn of the dark world of witches and familiars.

Right after Sayaka finished laughing, Homura walked over to her.

“Sayaka-san” Homura said, “I'd like to speak to you privately outside of class just for a minute.”

“Huh?” Sayaka responded to that, a bit startled by it, “Um... Ok, that should be fine.”

I figured that Homura wanted to talk to Sayaka about something relating to the world of magical girls and witches, not wanting Hitomi to overhear it. I didn't like being left out of such a conversation, but I also figured that Homura didn't want to overly alarm Hitomi by calling for a private conversation with both Sayaka and me.

“... Strange.” Hitomi said, as Sayaka followed Homura outside the room, “I didn't know that Sayaka had made friends with Akemi-san.”

“There were some... heated disagreements between them.” I explained to Hitomi, “But thankfully they were able to make amends with one another. Homura doesn't open up very easily, so I hope that she can be good friends with Sayaka.”

I didn't see the harm in revealing this much to Hitomi, especially since it might distract from the likely specifics of Sayaka and Homura's conversation.

Being invited out like this by Akemi-san really took me by surprise. I know that we've put our past differences behind us, but still...

“Not that I have a problem with it, but why are you addressing me by my given name all of a sudden?” I asked Akemi-san, as we chatted privately outside the class.

“...There's not many people I trust.” Akemi-san replied to me, “Once a person has gained my confidence and trust, I prefer to work on a given name basis with them.”

“...I'm flattered and stunned that I've gained your trust.” I replied to her, “I guess it's only fair that I start addressing you by given name as well, then. So, anyway, what is it you wanted to talk to me about?”

“I'd like for you to meet up with me after school.” Homura responded, “I'd like you to accompany me to... an important meeting. Due to the sensitive nature of this meeting, I can't divulge much about it here. I trust you know why.”

I couldn't help but to smirk about this. Playing the role I currently am in protecting the city was kinda fun, more than I thought it would be. It's like I'm now some flashy Intelligence Agent in a mystery novel or one of those really old, classic James Bond movies! Still, Homura's request was a bit inconvenient.

“I'd like to help you, really I would” I explained to Homura, “But it's been awhile since I've visited Kyosuke, and I'm feeling a bit guilty about that. So I was intending to visit him today.”

Homura looked slightly annoyed over this, but pressed on without much hesitation.

“If you agree to accompany me to the important meeting I told you about, then I don't mind accompanying you for a brief trip to the hospital.” Homura replied.

Now this was very startling. This was almost normal, and even pretty friendly. The very last thing I expected from Homura, of all people. Still, maybe she's not as strange and difficult to deal with as I had thought.

“Ok.” I said to her, before teasing her a bit over it, “But just so you know, this is the sort of thing that friends do. You sure you're Ok with that?”

“For the time being, yes.” Homura said, “I don't particularly care if you view me as a friend, or just as an ally. The key is making sure to protect the people that are important to us, correct?”

As Homura said this, I couldn't help but wonder about which people are important to her. She does seem to care an awful lot about Madoka, almost as much as I myself do. I wonder why? But that's a question that could wait for later. I strongly agreed in principle with Homura's words, so I just went along with her for now.

It's convenient that Homura didn't mind accompanying me to the hospital, as I sometimes felt guilty about dragging Madoka with me so often when I go there. This should hopefully give Madoka a bit of a break from everything, and a chance to get over the traumatic events she's been through lately.

But Madoka had later expressed to me a desire to come along with Homura and I. I didn't particularly care either way, but Homura firmly objected to it, so I talked Madoka out of it by reassuring her that I'd share any “need to know” important details that come out of this important meeting that I was going to go to with Homura.

First, though, I had to stop by to visit Kyosuke!

She's been in there over forty minutes now. I'll never understand what she sees in that violinist. He's pure artifice. Nice sounding music ultimately signifying nothing. Take that away, and he's just another normal person, ruled by selfishness and conceit. Nothing like Madoka.

I eventually see her walk out to where I'm sitting. She has tears in her eyes. This isn't good. As irritating as this is, I'm going to have to mitigate this situation before it causes her to break her agreement with me.

“Sayaka” I say in a concerned tone of voice, “You didn't...?”

“No.” she said curtly, while lowering her head and closing her eyes to try to shroud her pain from me, “I don't break agreements that easily, Homura. Let's go before I change my mind on that.

That last line said under her breath concerned me. But I'm not here to play Psychologist. There's simply not enough time for that, even if it was a viable option for me. Nonetheless, gaining Sayaka's trust and agreement is now essential to my latest plan to save Madoka. I would need to be at least somewhat sympathetic to her. ...Plus, it's not as though I still disliked Sayaka.

“It's unfortunate that your visit with Kamijo didn't go well.” I said to her as we walked away from the hospital, “Hopefully, he'll be in a better mood next time you go to see him.”

“...Thanks.” She replied in a low tone, but before quickly changing topics, “So who are we going to meet at this important meeting you told me about?”

“You should know, first of all, that it might take us some time to meet her.” I answered, as Sayaka and I continued to walk along, “I'm using my Soul Gem to try to locate a witch or familiar. My hope is that by attacking that witch or familiar, I'll draw her out.”

“That's interesting, but it doesn't answer my question.” Sayaka replied.

“With the death of Mami Tomoe, a new magical girl should be in town by now to take over her old territory.” I explained to Sayaka, “It's imperative that I meet up with her, as I will soon need her help.”

“What do you need her help for?” Sayaka asked.

That's one question I didn't want to answer. But I've brought Sayaka Miki this far in, so I probably would have to answer it regardless.

“I'll answer you that question if you promise me you won't tell Madoka about it.” I said to her.

“Why don't you want Madoka to know about it?” Sayaka asked.

That's one question I wasn't going to answer. Hopefully she'll get the hint, and accept my condition. After sighing lightly, she did.

“Fine, fine.” Sayaka said, “I won't tell Madoka about it. What is it that you need the help of this other magical girl for?”

“In two weeks time this city will be attacked by a giant witch more monstrous than you can imagine.” I answered, “It's called Walpurgis Night. It's unlikely I can defeat that witch alone. Having the help of another magical girl will likely be necessary here.”

Sayaka blinked uneasily over that.

“...Then why have you tried so hard to stop Madoka and I from becoming magical girls?!” Sayaka asked incredulously.

“I don't mean any disrespect, but...” I began in answer, “Walpurgis Night is a witch that only experienced magical girls should face. Not ones with less than a month of experience.”

With that answer, everything was starting to crystallize for me now. The whole basis of the disagreement between Mami and Homura was now clear. With this Walpurgis Night coming, Homura didn't want 'rookie' magical girls to get dragged into a fight above their heads. While I found the implications here a bit insulting, I can at least and at last see where Homura has been coming from all along.

... And yeah, I have to admit that Madoka and I are the sort of people that would endanger ourselves to try to save others, as last night alone proved. Kyubey and Mami probably found that to be a positive characteristic for Madoka and I, but Homura saw it as a potential risk given the circumstances.

“Ok, I think I finally get where you've been coming from all of this time.” I said to Homura, “But what if you and this other magical girl can't handle Walpurgis Night? Maybe Madoka and I should...”

No.” Homura replied firmly, “The new magical girl and I will be able to handle it.”

“Why are you bringing me along to this meeting then?” I asked.

“Because you now need to be in on this agreement as well.” Homura explained, “It'll all be clear to you soon. We've now reached a familiar. Stay close behind me!”

“Right!” I exclaimed, as I shifted behind Homura.

Homura then quickly transformed into her magical girl outfit.

The two of us then walked down a flight of stairs that I think lead to some sort of energy maintenance or plumbing area deep within the bowels of the city. As Homura and I walked through the familiar's barrier, the steps and walls turned from their normal color to a bright neon green. I also saw giant crayons falling in front of us, and what I think was a partially melted yellow ruler overhead. The sides of the walls also now kinda resembled humongous pieces of notebook paper. These witches and familiars certainly have some weird tastes...

“Don't let your guard down.” Homura said to me, as we carefully descended the stairs, and then walked forward, “Even a familiar can easily hurt a normal human.”

As we moved further along, I suddenly heard some loud, playful grunting, as though coming from some rambunctious young boy. Next thing I knew, yellow balls were bouncing all around us!

“Duck and take cover!” Homura shouted to me!

I did so, but while still looking all around me to see where this attack might be coming from.

“There it is!” I shouted to Homura, pointing at some bizarre cartoonish creature flying around in what looked like a WWII era fighter plane.

Homura then pulled out a gun, and started shooting at the familiar with it!

Homura's first couple shots missed, but the third and fourth shots hit their mark, bringing the familiar crashing down, defeated!

“Great going, Homura!” I exclaimed as I pumped a first, impressed at her quick victory.

But somebody else wasn't pleased.

As the familiar's barrier dissipated, an acrobatic and fast spear-wielding redhead girl in a simply stunning red dress made her presence loudly known!

If you chose A for Choice 3, read Section “Sayaka notices Madoka Went 3-for-3”. Otherwise, skip over it.

Spoiler for Sayaka Notices Madoka Went 3-for-3:

“Hey, what the heck are you two doing?!” she angrily asked of Homura and I.

“Is that the new magical girl?” I asked of Homura, in order to make sure of that.

“Yes.” Homura answered, “Stay behind me, and let me handle her.”

Hello!” the redhead magical girl shouted at us, while she pointed her spear directly towards Homura and I, “I asked you two a question!”

“Isn't it the role of magical girls to fight both witches and familiars?” Homura asked this girl, while Homura waved a hand through her air.

“...So you're like Mami Tomoe then, huh?” this other girl asked, “Well, I don't believe in that crap! Us magical girls hold up our end of the bargain just by being magical girls. It's up to each of us what we do beyond that, and I don't know about you, but I have no intention of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

... I can't say I was liking this new magical girl. Not at all. She sounds like some heartless and selfish Grief Seed farmer. I wanted to speak up here, but I decided to let Homura handle this, at least for now.

“There's a few people in this city that are important to me.” Homura said to the redhead, “If a familiar gets too close to one of them, I intend to destroy it. But let me be clear here. I don't go out of my way to hunt down familiars. You're right that it's important to ensure our Grief Seed supply remains plentiful.”

These words seemed to calm the redheaded magical girl a bit, as she pulled her spear back closer to her side.

“...Well, at least you're not some justice freak who doesn't recognize what being a magical girl is really all about.” she said to Homura, “Still, it's not a good idea for one of us to be close to normal humans. That never works out well...”

“It surprisingly works well for me.” Homura said, as she gestured towards me with one hand, “This girl here is named Sayaka Miki. Yesterday evening I was able to track down a witch due to her aid. It can be useful to have a normal human willing to patrol your territory for you, and then call you in when she finds a witch.”

“You're actually willing to do that?!” the redhead asked of me, as she was quite shocked.

“Yes.” I replied, “Because like Homura, there's people in this city I want to protect.”

I think the redhead girl seemed stunned by all of this. Given how decisive and forceful she seemed at first, it was strange to see her come across as unsure of herself now.

“Well, that's nice and all...” she stated, “But that's beside the point. I don't intend to share this turf with another magical girl! It never worked out with Mami, and I doubt it'll work out now, either!”

“That's why I'm willing to leave this city to you, under two conditions” Homura said, stunning both the redhead and myself.

“What two conditions?” the redhead asked.

“First of all, I want you to make the same agreement with Sayaka that I made.” Homura said, “Don't worry. That agreement won't require you to kill many familiars, only a small percentage of them. And in return, Sayaka will offer you the same benefits that she's offered me. Secondly, there is the issue of Walpurgis Night...”

Homura explained that to the redheaded girl, who I would soon learn was named Kyouko Sakura.

I had considerable misgivings over what Homura was doing here. While I didn't like Homura as much as I did Mami, this Kyouko really rubbed me the wrong way. I'd much prefer dealing with Homura than with her!

I could tell that Kyouko also had misgivings about all of this, only from the opposite perspective.

“Why should I make a burdensome agreement that I don't have to?” Kyouko asked with a tone of irritation, before a malicious grin swept across her face, “Why don't I just take you out!?”

“That's...” Homura began in reply.

Then, in an instant, Homura went from standing in front of Kyouko to standing off to Kyouko's side... with a handgun aimed point blank at the side of Kyouko's head!

“...easier said than done.” Homura concluded.

W-wow!” I exclaimed breathlessly, “So cool!”

I couldn't help but smirk over how the tables had turned on Kyouko here. Kyouko, for her part, was sweating bullets.

“...Fine!” she finally relented, “I'll go along with this lame agreement of yours. But you two better hold up to your side of it as well!”

“Of course.” Homura said, as she pulled back her gun.

“Anyway, I'd had enough of this for one day.” Kyouko said, “I'll see you around.”

Kyouko then leaped upwards, stealthily back and forth from one ledge to the next to the next before finally leaving.

“As cool as that was, Homura...” I said to her, while I gazed upwards at Kyouko while she made her exit, “I still don't trust that girl.”

“You will. In time.” Homura replied to me, “Besides, you'll have a couple weeks to evaluate her for yourself, as I intend for all three of us to work closely together over that time.”

“And then you intend to leave.” I stated to Homura, “Why? I hope that it's not just to get her to help you!”

“... Are you seriously concerned for me?” Homura asked me.

“Well, I...” I began stammering a bit in reply, not sure what to say here.

I have to admit that I was kinda growing to like Homura. In her own way, she could be very smooth, efficient, effective. I also no longer thought that she was a selfish person. She, like me, wanted to protect innocent people. Well, at least some people. I don't like the compromises I've had to make first with Homura, and now with this Kyoko, but maybe it's for the best. Maybe it's...

AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!” Homura and I both cried out, as we were both struck hard by something, knocking us unconscious...

To get that full VN feel for the following section, click on this link, and listen to the theme song at it, while you read the following...

“Disengage cloak.” came a voice that would be alien to both Homura and Sayaka, though ironically belonging to an adult male human.

As his cloak was disengaged, his immense mechanical flying machine, shaped like a gargantuan beetle, became viewable. He was standing in a makeshift balcony situated near the top of “the beetle”. Standing beside him were two androids shaped like giant bipedal insects, each about the size of two large muscular human males.

He himself had bright green hair and eyebrows. His facial features were sharp and angular. His eyes were beady. His arms were neatly folded across his chest. He wore a purple business suit with a white shirt underneath. Most notably, though, he wore a large, green, malleable Soul Gem in the shape of a necktie, around his neck. One final important fact was the identity of the alien with him...

“Incubator!” he shouted to him, “Are those two girls unconscious, but alive?”

“Yes!” Kyubey confirmed, after leaping off of the balcony to scurry about the fallen forms of Akemi Homura and Sayaka Miki.

Excellent.” the green-haired magic man said, as a devious grin washed across his face, while he leaped off of his 'beetle' to join Kyubey on the ground below, “I knew those two SSS-bots would come in handy!”

Homura and Sayaka had been grabbed and rendered unconscious by two invisible SSS-bots, which had been created by cutting edge technology to be entirely silent but fearsomely formidable. SSS stood for “Stealth, Storm, Shock”, and that is precisely what they had done to Homura and Sayaka.

Aaahhh...” the green-haired man said, with a quick release of satisfaction and swelling nostalgia, “It's great to be back on Earth again. It's been several decades since I've last seen my native planet.”

“I trust that you're satisfied with the results of me contacting you? Of informing you of the opportunity you had here?” Kyubey asked him.

“Kidnapping a couple teenage girls to force a third to make a ransom wish for me.” the green-haired man said, as a maniacal smile spread across his face, “I'm honestly impressed, Incubator. It's such pure, evil genius!”

“It's not about human concepts like good or evil.” Kyubey replied, “It's about ensuring that Kaname Madoka contracts with me and becomes a magical girl!”

“Yes, that girl must mean an awful lot to you in order for you to actually turn to me for help.” the green-haired man said in boastful reply, “I would imagine that getting my help is something of a nuclear solution for you and your people.”

“Kaname Madoka has magical energy potential that surpasses even yours, Emperor Jinnai!” Kyubey exclaimed to him.

Heh!” Jinnai chortled in reply, “I'll believe that when I see it. In any event, you better be right about her! I hope I didn't waste my time coming back here for nothing but rekindling old memories.”

“Kaname Madoka will not allow a friend to die if she can help it.” Kyubey stated, “In return for the safe return of Sayaka Miki and Akemi Homura she'll make almost any ransom wish that you could desire!”

At these words, the man calling himself 'Emperor Jinnai' chuckled loudly.

“This planet's prodigal son has returned.” he stated, “But only to become its prodigal King! To think that this normal 14-year old girl named 'Sayaka Miki' is going to be the bargaining chip that nets me unquestioned dominion over Earth, my planet of birth! Due to one wish from a naive little girl, I will become Sovereign of this entire planet! And this will be accomplished without having to fire a single shot! Ha ha ha ha ha... Bwa-ha-ha-Ha-Ah-Ha-HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

To Be Continued...

Last edited by Triple_R; 2012-02-17 at 06:05.
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