The Walpurgis has fallen. Nothing but utter devastation surrounded Mitakihara, with the one who took it down, a young girl in pink, lying on the flooded ground. Her body was already devoid of soul, turned into a horrible abomination that would seal the final fate of the world.
Yet one girl, all in black and white, still standing, had the chance to change the destiny. A red eyed, same faced creature observed the scene, waiting for what would happened next.
"Not matter what I must go through….now matter what happens….I must save Madoka!" declared Homura as the gears activated, allowing her to escape from the apocalypse. Once again, Homura leaped back in time, just to save her dearest friend from falling into utter despair.
However, just when she was in the middle of the process, the reality shattered like glass. The world she used to know was no more. A zone without time, devoid of anything but pure desolation, was the place she found herself in. She laid unconscious on the floor, if there was any floor to begin with. It definitely felt like some kind of surface, yet it was all dark. Not even dark like a night, more like being trapped in the middle of the universe. Once her conscious returned, she slowly rose up from the surface, looking around to see if there was anything.
Nothing. Nothing was there.
"Huh? What is going on? Is this the work of a witch?" Homura wondered as she finally stood up, stomping gently on the ground to see what even was real. She felt the surface, she could breathe normally, but she was surrounded by darkness. Even more odd was that she could see herself as if it were a day. Homura stepped forth, exploring such place, if it were proper to call it.
"It has to be. I've seen labyrinths such as these a lot." Homura thought to herself as she kept exploring it, reminiscing of all the times she had to fight witches. Any area with them was filled with imagery not comprehended by a mere human, a place of utter distortion. Yet, the place she found herself in was utterly empty. Not even as mandatory as a floor could be seen. No light source, yet as if it were a day.
Suddenly, amid nothingness, a white silhouette emerged. It seemed to resemble a young man in a lab coat, going right towards Homura, with its footsteps echoing through out the darkness. Upon seeing him, she raised her guard, preparing to attack it at any time, thinking it was a Witch.
"Do not engage, I mean no harm. I am the same as you." the silhouette extended its hand, urging it to calm down. While it worked, Homura was utterly perplexed. Familiars and Witches have never talked before, could it be that the silhouette was neither?
"Hm? What are you?" Homura tilted her head, lowering her guard a bit, but not enough she would be taken out by any surprise.
"I am sure you already understand." silhouette of the lab coat wearing man talked as if he knew her a long time ago.
"What do you mean? Speak more clearly." Homura pulled out a gun and pointed right at the silhouette, getting slightly intimidated by it. However, the silhouette didn't even flinch, it just sighed.
"Follow me. You cannot remain in this domain for a long time. I sense...something...something I cannot explain." silhouette turned away from her as it started walking into the distance. Homura lowered her gun, realizing that the silhouette was not a threat at all. Curious to see where it would lead her, Homura followed the figure, with both of their footsteps echoing through out the void. Homura wanted to speak up, but she couldn't, no matter how much she tried to do so. It was like forces above demanded her to be silent. Silhouette was in the same position, also curious about her, but not allowed to talk. As they went through, only echoes followed.
Suddenly, two figures appeared in front of them, both looking like girls. One of them was a small girl in a dress, a silhouette just like a lab coat man. Other one was a sight Homura did not expect: Madoka herself. Both of them turned towards the incoming figures. The girl silhouette happily ran towards the lab coat man, embracing for a hug. The man caught her, both kneeling down as they felt the warmth of their closeness.
However, Madoka was not a silhouette. It really was her, with a deathly afraid expression on her face. Her skin was completely pale, with her eyes devoid of any color whatsoever. She trembled, as if she was moments away from her final demise. To see her beloved friend in such state caused Homura's heart to feel immense, crushing weight. She couldn't bear it, she wanted to reassure her that everything will be alright, she will be saved.
"Madoka!" Homura called out for her, trying to extend her hand to reach her. However, all it did was to make Madoka run away from her.
"Madoka, please don't run! I'm here to protect you!" Homura asked her to stop, beginning to chase her in the process. She was completely perplexed, even feeling heartache, on why was her close one running away from her.
"Make it stop! Make it stop! Please, I beg of you, make it stop!" Madoka cried out, tears rolling from her eyes as she kept running.
"D-don't...don't be scared, Madoka! I'll make sure that you'll be safe! Please! Please, stop!" Homura truly wanted to reassure her that she will save her, no matter how much will it take, how much pain will Homura have to endure, just to see her beloved one happy, free of suffering.
Just when she was about to get close to her, the void she was starting to get familiar to shattered, with the collapse of the whole place accompanied with a laugh that radiated nothing but pure malice. Hearing it alone could cause to their hearts, no matter how free of ill will they were, feel evil manifesting.
As another world collapsed, she found herself in a world where the entire sky was filled with the smokes of bloodshed. The soil itself was dulled out of color, with beige grass sticking out of it. She was lying on the floor, trying to get up as she saw such world around her. The horizon seemed endless, yet it felt even more apocalyptic than what she saw after Walpurgisnacht was slain. All she could see was endless smoke.
"What...what just happened?" Homura started to breathe heavily as she got up, looking around to see if Madoka was still there. "Madoka! Madoka!"
Suddenly, three hooded humanoid figures emerged from the smoke, walking towards her as they didn't even utter a word. All of them just stood there, observing Homura with intrigue. The magical girl herself immediately prepared herself to fight them all, but then she was unable to move, as if she was frozen in place.
"Why….why can't I attack them? W-what….what is going on?" Homura started to feel anxiety, from her concern of Madoka to just everything that was happening around her. Just when she thought things weren't getting even worse, a shadow obscured her. She looked back to see what was the source of the shadow, immediately regretting her decision when she saw what exactly was behind her.
Her heart stopped, gaining the same deathly afraid expression on her face when she saw an ox dragon like abomination grinning at her. Just like Madoka, it was on full display, but unlike her, the monster's eyes were fiery red. The creature was dressed like an air force general, seeming almost humane in a way, but rest of it was truly something that would even make Witches flee. It towered over Homura, displaying its dominance without even needing to move. All what Homura could do was to tremble as the creature chuckled.
"You cannot change what I have already set in motion." warned the creature as it just walked away from Homura, joining the hooded figures instead. It glanced over, giving her a final look before another warning was uttered.
"Let me give you some advice: Do not interfere with forces greater than you!".
As the monster said their statement, silhouettes of two figures started to appear from smoke. Phantoms, aerial warriors of the past, flew over in utter silence. Homura watched in horror as those flying machinations dropped some kind of canisters right on her. She let out a scream, but before the canisters hit the ground, her conscience was suddenly placed somewhere else.
With her eyes already open, Homura woke up in an ordinary apartment. She had everything an ordinary apartment needed to have, the proper furniture, equipment, the usual mundane stuff. It was the most normal apartment one could have, yet nothing felt familiar to her. Her heart was already racing through whatever she went through earlier, the unfamiliar environment amplified it even more so.
"...What...what was that? Where even am I? This isn't a hospital…." Homura's mind became overflowing with questions. Her body, not herself, decided to stay in bed, just letting her mind sort it all out.
Suddenly, a bell rung. Homura has the feeling to check who could it be, so she got out of the bed, going to the door. Looking through the tiny door window, she was surprised, for once in a pleasant way. A certain familiar girl was waiting for her outside. Considering a known face, Homura did not hesitate to open the door, although she was still perplexed on why she's there.
"….Madoka?" Homura greeted her dear friend with a question, having a slight confused expression on her face. Deep down, she was glad that Madoka seemed alright, but what she went through earlier was telling her to not lower her guard.
"Good morning, Homura. How are you today?" Madoka innocently greeted her, just wishing her day to be as good as ever. In a way, Madoka talked to her as if she was always like that. It all felt to this Homura, so to say.
"….Rather strange." Homura calmly yet without hesitation explained her feelings on the morning. She wasn't ready to tell the truth, because Homura herself was doubting its validity, since everything seemed so different.
"Oh, did something happen? Did you have a bad dream?" Madoka tilted her head in curiosity and concern.
"...I guess you could say that….like I was in another place. Where...even am I?" Homura tried to vaguely put it in words without revealing too much, if it were true.
"Um...Homura? What do you mean? This is your home, after all." Madoka became even more confused by her friend's behavior.
"...My home? Since when?" Homura kept rolling off more questions. She never remembered ever living there, but apparently it was her home.
"Oh, this is more of a recent thing. We all moved to Tokyo, remember? My mom found a new job and she feels like we're gonna get better schools here. Honestly I'm so glad that you, Sayaka and Mami have all moved here. It wouldn't have been good if we were separated." Madoka explained it all, hoping that Homura would be able to remember it. However, Homura's memory of the previous time remained, although she made it like she understood it all.
"….I see…" Homura quietly nodded.
"Umm...can I ask you something?" Madoka expressed a desire to ask on why was Homura in such perplexed, lost state. The pinkhead was getting increasingly concerned about it, almost suggesting that Homura should stay at home, with her taking care of her.
"If it's about why I sound so confused….I'm not sure of myself. Lets just focus on other things instead." answered Homura, making sure that she was alright, nothing really to worry about for her.
"...A-alright, if you say so…" Madoka lowered her head for a moment before both of them, after Homura needed to do things for the morning, went to school together.
As they went on, Homura took a good look at the city itself: Tokyo. It was just like in pictures, skyscrapers desperately reaching for the above, the glass structures providing reflections for the sun, the people restlessly going with their lives as if they were blood for the body. Amid skyscrapers, Tokyo Tower stood above the rest. In a way, it all seemed familiar to her. Mitakihara Town was similar, skyscrapers, people and all. Yet it wasn't Mitakihara, the town where she last remembered to be.
"Weren't we supposed to be in Mitakihara? Why are we in Tokyo, out of all places? Could this mean...the loop was broken...out of a sudden? No...it can't be that convenient. There must be a catch." Homura wondered, unsettled by how it all seemed to similar, yet completely alien to her. A thought that the loop was finally broken started to show up, but she truly wasn't sure of it yet. Considering how many things were concerningly different, perhaps something completely else would await them.
They arrived to school, nearly identical to the one in Mitakihara. A blue haired girl of similar age awaited them, the one being Madoka's childhood friend, Sayaka Miki. The gal ran towards Madoka and Homura, happily raising her hand.
"Good morning, Madoka!" greeted Sayaka.
"Good morning, Sayaka." Madoka greeted as well. Homura remained silent.
"I see that Homura is there with you as well. What's up with that?" Sayaka scratched her chin as she wondered why Homura was with her.
"Oh, I wanted to tag along with her for school, hehe..." Madoka rubbed her hand on her head, giggling just a little as a little blush appeared on her face.
"If you do not wish for me to be here, I can leave." Homura suddenly and bluntly said as she was seconds away from walking away.
"Don't leave, Homura! Please don't..." Madoka begged her to stay, not wanting her to be gone. "Sorry...we didn't mean like this..."
"No no no, I didn't mean it as in, like, that I want you gone. I was just curious, since Madoka always goes to school with me. It's the first time I have seen you two going to school together." Sayaka elaborated herself that she had no ill will against Homura (in that time), just that it was unusual to see her with someone else.
"...It's fine." Homura stoically reassured, just letting a little nod.
"Ehehe, well there's nothing wrong with that. I'll always love going along with my friends. Now, we can go together, right?" suggested Madoka as she pointed at the school.
"Of course! Let's go, Madoka!" Sayaka approved the idea as she was more than willing to escort them.
"...Sure." Homura, not the loudest type, agreed as well, starting their school day.
During their break, Homura was going to the higher classes alone, looking for a certain someone to discuss a topic that bogged her mind for the entire day. Since she was possibly from another time, she wanted to see if there were things still aligning up to the previous time.
After some wandering around the school, she found the person who she was looking for: Mami Tomoe, the one that showed Madoka and Sayaka what it meant to become a magical girl, with its glamorous exterior and detoriating interior. Mami was all alone in the hall, perfect situation where it could be discussed.
"Hey, Mami." Homura quietly initiated the conversation, quickly gaining her attention. When Mami saw her, she immediately became cautious of her. Homura remembered that previous times, her and Mami did not go along very well. Judging from Mami's reaction, it seemed to be the case as well.
"...Oh, it's you. Hello...there." Mami tried to greet her as politely as possible, but it could be felt her guard was up.
"I have a question for you. It might sound strange, but you need to hear me out." Homura spared no time for her request to be fulfilled.
"Alright, what is it?" Mami grabbed her chin in curiosity, slightly intrigued to see what Homura needed her for.
"Are you a magical girl?" Homura suddenly asked. Mami's irises shrunk upon hearing it. Both of them knew that they were magical girls, at the very least in other timelines.
"...What? You should have known this! Why are you asking?" perplexed Mami, more or less confirming that magical girls still exist. Even though convergences have already happened, the fact that existence of magical girls is still there made the possibility of the loop repeating even more likely. Perhaps events
"...Huh...so magical girls are still a thing here..." murmured Homura, with the fear of previous events skyrocketing. It also meant that certain things still existed in that timeline.
"Why do you sound like you came from another place?" Mami was starting to get baffled by her behavior, implying that she's acting even stranger than she ever did before. At that moment, Homura had to drop the truth, or at the very least her hypothesis.
"...Because I might have been from another place. My memories do not align up with this place. I don't ever remember moving to Tokyo. All I remember is the events from somewhere else..." Homura said it all, she could no longer hide it. Despite not trusting her fully, Mami knew that she wasn't making up due one simple factor: Homura's power was time manipulation. It was starting to make sense to her on why Homura was acting so strange.
"Don't tell me...you...you jumped from a timeline, didn't you?" stammered Mami, realizing what Homura must have went through.
"I'm not sure if I jumped, so to say. I'm not sure what even happened, how it happened." Homura gave out an answer, still not sure if it was a timeline jump or did something entirely else happen.
"Then...what was the timeline supposed to be?" Mami asked, feeling an itch of fear in herself. The future seemed uncertain, especially for them. Will the loop repeat, was a question still to be answered.
"….I do not know." Homura bluntly stated her ambigious answer. However, one implication was not left.
"Speaking of that...can I ask you one more question?" Mami raised her finger.
"…..him, right?" Homura already knew what was she talking about. She noticed as well, he was oddly absent when Madoka escorted her to school, her joining up with Sayaka and later on in the class. Did that thing disappear or was he just about to appear?
"Yeah, him. He just disappeared, even though I have still made a contract with him. He was supposed to be here, right? Do you have something to do." Mami gave out another answer, revealing that he did operate before his disappearance. That was the moment that Homura knew she had to go in action.
"...No...Not that I remember.…..Thank you, that is all I need." Homura thanked her before she turned away and started returning to her class.
"Wait, you still have-" Mami wanted her to halt, still having so many questions about the previous timeline. Questionable if Homura could have answered at all. As she went on, her mind became overwhelmed with thoughts.
"...He is gone? It can't be that convenient, can it? If he's gone...would that mean the loop is broken?" Homura wondered if she should embrace this timeline without worries, since so many things seemed so different. However, some things remained, which caused her to remain on guard, that the future won't be the same as before."No...I must be on guard. Mami, Sayaka, Kyoko then...Madoka...if anything happens to them, it will all repeat. Will it?".
So many questions, yet answers were far away. However, one of the questions already answered itself, but no one was aware of it.
The night before the incident, Tokyo went on as usual. Lights illuminated the whole city to stardom, cars were travelling along the jumbotron infested metropolitan labyrinth, nothing too unusual. Although, one thing, unnoticed by everyone, was a blank faced creature lying on the floor. Its life mechanisms already ceased to be, with only its head sizzling as it was melting. The creature itself was the very thing that allowed magical girls to be. Odd that no duplicate appeared, perhaps they ceased to be.
Suddenly, a thing walked near the corpse. A faceless musketeer, covered in darkness, wandered around, ignoring the dead creature. Surrounded by lights, but it did not cast a shadow. Despite being visible, no one noticed it. For what purpose was the musketeer wandering in the city, only it knew.
Pioneer was on its way.