Pressures (Homura Akemi)
|Pressures (Homura Akemi)|
|Date of Cutscene:||18 December 2015|
|Synopsis:||Homura does a lot of research, a lot of thinking, and reaches a lot of conclusions. Some conclusions are hopeful. Others are downright terrifying.|
|Cast of Characters:||Homura Akemi|
In Homura's Home
It had been a long time since Homura's apartment had been like this.
Before, the subject of her study was Puella Magi, Walpurgisnacht, and the various potential paths the timeline could take. Multitudes of pictures, excerpts from literature, maps with locations of Witches and when they appear. Most of her thinking was done under these conditions, as Homura tried desperately to find a way to save Madoka, to at least make sure she survived for a month and a half.
Then that month and a half went by, and while there were threats, none of them ended Madoka's life. There was no Walpurgisnacht, Madoka hadn't made a wish... after nearly a hundred failures, it was like Homura had won without even needing to try. Time went on without her being able to go back, and despite her only having one chance, it's as if the same universe that held her back was also giving her a break.
So her apartment wallscreens went blank. Pictures and maps of Witches were replaced with amusing videos and cat jokes. She even set up a few video game systems a blu-ray player, and so on. After all, if she had to survive indefinently in a single timeline, then she had to make sure she had something to distract her from the suffering of being a Puella Magi, right?
All of that was gone, now. The pictures were back. Pictures taken of youma, of Kyouko and Apatite, pictures of the Sailor Senshi, and pictures of the strange almost-P symbol that blocked the powers of her shield. Most importantly, pictures of Mamoru Chiba, transcripts of remembered conversations, and a detailed account of what exactly happened on the night of his apparent death.
She mutters, "I can't believe you're dead."
It's not a shocked mutter. No, it's a dismissive one. No matter how she thinks of it, and no matter how she looks at it, the evidence does not actually add up to Mamoru Chiba being dead.
"I cannot believe you're dead. You're alive somewhere, and I will find you. I don't care what I have to do, what sins I must commit, or who I have to kill. I'll have you back, Mamoru Chiba-kun."
With a renewed determination, Homura turns away from her wall-sized screen, and walks out the door. She has some research to do. She didn't want anyone digging through her internet search history to figure out what she was looking for. So that left her with one option...
Infinity Middle School Library
Homura was studying in the library.
Not for finals, though.
The finals that she was expected to take covered the same material that she had been forced to sit through nearly a hundred times before. She knew the material, and when her mind got bored of the same lessons over and over, she moved on to next year's material, and then the next... and then the next...
All the way through Middle School. All the way through High School. When she got to College level stuff she stopped caring about the core-ciriculum and focused more on subjects that would help her with her mission. Physics, for ballistics, and Chemistry, because how else is she going to know how to make a proper bomb? Some amount of literature was thrown in as well, Faust specifically.
But, this... this wasn't for school, and it wasn't for her own amusement. This was business.
While she had never interacted often with the Sailor Senshi before, they were Mamoru's friends, and they were also the most important lead she had with regards to getting Mamoru back. If he was still alive.
Of course he's still alive.
So she was looking up textbooks on the solar system, specifically the planets. Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter all had alchemical symbols related to their planets. When Homura thought back... she remembered seeing these symbols before, and often they were related to the Sailor Senshi's magic.
Earth's symbol got a peculiar glance, but it's not something she remembers having seen before. She moved past it. Was there a Sailor Earth? She'd never heard of such a thing.
She looked through the other planets. Saturn, Neptune and Uranus... was there such a thing as a Sailor Saturn? Did every planet have an associated senshi? She didn't really see anything to suggest it, and it's not like the naming scheme is completely planet based. After all, Sailor Moon isn't based off of a planet. (Was the Moon a stand-in for Earth...?)
At the same time, she didn't see anything that would deny the existence of other senshi. Maybe it's something to figure out later.
When she saw the page on Pluto, she stared, and then she shrieked.
There it was, plain as day on the top of a page. The one symbol that continued to haunt and mock her. The symbol that was like P but wasn't. The symbol that was blocking her powers to reset time.
Who the hell is Sailor Pluto?
She read on, seeing the history of the symbol. It's actually P and L put together. That makes sense, actually. She began to read, frantically, turning pages and trying look for a hint or a clue...
Who the hell is Sailor Pluto?
No... no it couldn't be... the senshi wouldn't be blocking her powers, would they? Maybe if they didn't care about Madoka, it would at least make some sense... but surely they cared about Mamoru enough to let her turn back time. So... why?
Who the hell is-- No, Homura wasn't going to find that answer in any book. Once she placed the book back on its shelf, she looked around the library to see several students glaring at her. Embarassed, she blushed, whispered an apology, and immediately left the library.
Some people might spread rumors about the weird Homura chick who freaked out in the middle of the library. Some of those rumors might even mention that she was reading about space and planets. Homura never really cared what kinds of stupid conclusions those people reached. She was just mad that they were giving her so much attention, and embarassed because it was her fault for making a scene.
On the Rooftops, late at night
Homura was in henshin now. She removed her shield from her arm and looked at it. She knew, mechanically, how it worked.
Internally, the shield is an hourglass. Tilting the shield sideways stopped the sands from flowing, and thus stopped time. Tilting it upside down, after roughly a month and a half of letting the sands run from the top all the way to the bottom, allowed her to reset the hourglass, and reset time.
At least, that was how it was supposed to work.
Pluto's power... Should I really be so sure that it's Sailor Pluto? What if she doesn't even exist? .. on the other hand, I have nothing else to call the person who is doing this, and she's using Pluto's symbol. ... caused the sand to vanish as it entered the bottom half of the hourglass. The sand being magical, it would always appear in the top of the hourglass after vanishing, but the bottom half would never fill. Homura could still stop the flow of time by turning her shield sideways, but she could never fill the bottom of the hourglass enough to reset.
That's how it worked now, with Pluto interfering with Homura's magic.
Homura opened her shield again. She expected to see the hourglass just as she left it, with a full top and an empty bottom. That's not what she actually saw.
The bottom half wasn't empty.
The top was still full. The sand was still there, but with a full top she still couldn't reset time. When she looked again, what filled the bottom wasn't even sand. It was more like ash. A tiny pile of ash gathering at the bottom of the hourglass. It wasn't vanishing like the sand did.
It was not a promising sign. Just as the emptying of the top half would allow her to reset time, the filling of the bottom half marked the coming of Walpurgisnacht.
Walpurgisnacht was finally coming... is that what this means? Could she really be sure? If Walpurgsinacht comes, and she still can't reset time... what will happen to her? ...what will happen to Tokyo?
... what will happen to Madoka?
Homura put her shield back on and turned away, long black locks flying behind her. She had to check, she had to be sure... and once she was sure... she had to warn people.
She hoped that she had roughly a month and a half to prepare.
But that was just a hope.