A Friendly Witch


Someone wished to have a friend to share cotton candy with... That wish turned into despair, and despair became a Witch. A number of magical warriors show up to take down the Witch. Mami and Hannah then fight over the Grief Seed, while Mercury and Homura go to make sure that Mamoru is alright.

Date: 2015-07-22
Pose Count: 71
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 01:10:27 5276
A witch has appeared suddenly in the middle of a park in downtown Mitakihara. It's a strange place for a Witch, as it's not really a place known for its high death rate. In fact, if anyone had happened to pass by as recently as an hour ago, they might not even have felt even the slightest depression or other signs of a Witch.

Yet, the Witch is very much here now. There is a strong feeling of sorrow, lonliness and depression, an oppressing wave of dark feelings that lures one towards the barrier. It reaches out, calling, promising company, an escort to the grave...

If anyone had any doubt about the location of the labyrinth's entrance, they would get their first major hint in the form of Homura Akemi in her henshin, looking dour (as is usual for her these days) and she seems to be... covered in cotton candy? She's in the process of picking it off of her. It's very sticky and seemingly melted onto her, yet it lacks the magical power it once did.

"I can't believe this. Can't I save anyone?" she mutters. "Even just one single person?"

She doesn't wait for anyone to show up, but one might easily catch a glimpse of her vanishing as she steps into the barrier. It takes her a while to pick herself clean of the cotton candy however, so there's plenty of time to see her before she enters.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 01:18:03 5278
A day after a very upsetting encounter in one of Tokyo's parks, Runealy has come to realize that such places are very, very good leads. Things seem to happen in them quite often, to the point where going to them at random times might not be /likely/ to yield results on any one trip to them... but they still bring up leads more often than anything else she has tried so far.

Yet having lost a day in coming up with a very unusual solution to work her way /out of/ attempting to drain Akashimaru has shaken her confidence, and she asked Hinote to accompany her on this evening's patrols. As much as she wants to continue venturing out alone to prove she can do things without one of her sworn friends along... she has to admit having him here is comforting.

Especially since they've just found trouble. "Her." Runealy points out Homura for the split-second they can see her. "She's one of the ones I want us to keep helping, if we can. I'm going in, and... I'd appreciate it if you come with me, but I won't insist." She ducks out of view to transform, using some trees to hide this.

The Princess emerges several moments later, wand in hand as she heads after where Homura vanished to... off toward the barrier, to go inside it. She looks unnerved and scared, but keeping it fairly calm overall.
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 01:20:10 5279
Mami Tomoe shows up at the side with Nagisa Momoe, make sure not to get their names mixed up. Mami is definitely in her henshin - her familiar drills hanging around her face, and she has one of her matchlock rifles slung over her shoulder. While she doesn't necessarily need it, considering the nature of her magic, she feels safer with it out, especially as they approach the park on their 'patrol' route - which is to say, Mami's city wandering.

"I -- mmm, you can feel the witch barrier, now, right?"

Mami leads her towards it, but pauses, one hand coming out towards the younger girl.

"Akemi-san?" Mami sounds puzzled, almost as if surprised by the cotton candy covered Homura. However, she shakes her head. "She's... hm. What kind of witch really spawned here if she's knocked her out of the barrier with /that/?"

She glances down at Nagisa.

"Be strong, Nagisa-chan." She warns her, as she leads her into the barrier.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 01:24:38 5280
With school currently on break, Cute Wolf Tsukiko has more time for one of her now-normal activities: wandering the heights of Tokyo, keeping an eye out for whatever form of trouble might show up. The miasma of dark emotions radiating from the barrier catches her attention; /that/ certainly doesn't feel like anything good!

The wolfgirl arrives at a nearby rooftop in time to watch several magical girls walk into... /something/, vanishing as they do so. The dark feelings seems to be the strongest over there, magical girls are present, and odd things seem to be happening; yeah, whatever it is, that's probably the source.

She leaps to the ground, then cautiously moves towards the location the other magical girls vanished, taking a deep breath before walking through...

...whatever it is on the other side.
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 01:27:11 5282
Guardian Hino is walking along with Runealy today. Hunting Tokyo's defenders doesn't feel like 'fun'. He still walks along with his head held high though, about it. She stops a moment as she points over to the Puella Magi. It's that black magical girl he's seen a few times. The one that uses guns and explosives. He looks to Rune. "Right! No--I'll come. You don't even need to ask me twice~" he follows behind the same bush.

Guardian Oath. Flash of orange-red light. Out comes Guardian Hino on the Princesses' tail. He has a hand on the hilt of his sword. He draws it as he dissapears into the barrier just behind Runealy. He's fought a handful of these things already. He wasn't even magical when he helped with the first one. "Let's keep close together, Princess, if we can help it."
Ami Mizuno 2015-07-22 01:27:46 5283
    Getting a strange reading upon her computer, Sailor mercury arrives at the barrier a bit behind everyone else. or, as the case may be, hidden from everyone else. "Well....this is definitely where the readings are coming from." She says just as she watches the princess emerge from her hiding place. "This is definitely the right place, especially if she's here." She says to herself before she watches the woman go into the barrier, with her guardians. "This'll be an amusing situation."

She quietly waits for the princess and her guardian to enter before she makes her way inside, hopefully not running into them on the way.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 01:30:47 5284
For once, Miss White wasn't out looking for a fight. No, she's just gotten out of a meeting with a client, sighing as she leaves one of the high-class restaurants in the area.

She takes a small detour through the park, Raging Tempest mentally swatting her. With her perception spell active, she's soon sweeping the area with an Area Search. Between a bunch of magical people clamboring into a barrier, a few amongst them she knows a little /too/ well, and the name 'Nagisa' spoken, Miss White is dashing off towards the Witch's labyrinth, Raging Tempest in hand.

"It...no way. No bloody way. That /HAS/ to be a mistake!" She mutters to herself. Surely the name's just a coincidence!
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 01:35:28 5286
    Nagisa is following after Mami, taking in as much as she can about the way she patrols while she can. Unlike the blonde however she hasn't summoned any weapons, instead keeping an eye out- she's wary of wandering Kyoukos, especially as she's actively hunting Witches.

    "I... is that what that is?" she asks, tilting her head a little, causing one of the bobbles dangling from hat to fall away from her face. She focuses for a moment and nods, "I feel it." The girl has to keep some excitement out of her voice- this is the first time she's patrolled with Mami, and she might even get to see her fight!

    But Witches are terrible creatures, and she knows she shouldn't be happy any are around.

    "Akemi-senpai is here?" she asks, peeking over Mami's arm just in time to see her disappear through the barrier.

    There's a bit of disquiet at the idea that the Witch might be strong enough to boot Homura out, and she mumbles quietly, "Maybe it ran away right as she was about to defeat it?"

    Now she summons up her little black trumpet with it's red polkadots. "You can count on me!" she chimes before following through into the labyrinth, unaware of Miss White coming up behind them.
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 01:42:51 5288
Whomsoever crosses the barrier shall find a happy, cheerful place. Well, it /looks/ like it should be cheerful at least. The bright colors and off-key carnival music clashes heavily with the magical feeling of depression that permeates the place. The whole labyrinth looks and feels like a fair. There are giant Ferris Wheels in the background, a tent of horrors emitting too-real shrieks, all manner of usual carnival games, though everything here is distorted and twisted to dark purpose.

The tent of horrors is where the humans are being gathered. The non-magical victims drawn in by the Witch's Kiss are dragged in that direction. There is a bit of a line leading to it from the Labyrinth's entrance, but whatever kills them apparently hasn't happened yet. No one has died, yet, but the screams and the horrible clown-like monsters indicate that their deaths might not be long in coming.

Giant teddy bears, other stuffed animals, and clowns are the current form of this Witch's familiars, each of them cheerfully bounding about as if they were each as light as a balloon. When they see the various forces of magical justice entering the labyrinth, they bound towards the intruders with large, bright happy smiles, attempting to hug them. The hug has crushing, deadly force.

One could see a body lying on the ground in the middle of the barrier. Those who have seen her before would recognize her as Basu, a Puella Magi that hunted with Homura at one point. She's still clad in her bright blue and purple henshin, but her soul gem is absent. Her lifeless eyes are wide open.

One of the teddy bear familiars picks up her body and begins dragging her off to the tent of horrors.

Homura Akemi is here, as one might expect. She casts a gaze at Basu's corpse but doesn't pursue it. She doesn't have time for that. She doesn't notice the entrance of her fellows at this time, heading straight for a large Ferris Wheel in the distance. "I'll make this quick. You've suffered enough as it is!"

There is the hint of a promise in her voice, but to whom?
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-22 01:59:31 5290
A bright-faced clown with an actually cute and not inherently scary-looking face full of makeup, rainbow hair wild like Einstein and big red nose probably honkable, bumbles all roly-poly toward Mami and Bebe, arms open wide for a big, kindly hug! A little dog in a sweater with hideous sharp black fangs barks joyfully as it bounds along beside him, all set to jump up on Bebe and lick her face. Its slobbery doggie tongue drips green acid that burns holes in the ground.

Wandering in the direction of Sailor Mercury and her scanner is a seriously fluffy teddybear; it looks awfully soft. It, too, stretches fuzzy arms out for a giant hug, stepping on a calculus final and grinding it into the dirt: it's marked with a red 99 in a circle, and the name on it is Mamoru Chiba.

A stall vendor with a rictus like she's three days dead of cyanide poisoning leans over the counter, holding out a candy apple on a stick toward Miss White, shouting something incoherently enticing, and a bear cub on a tricycle veers away from its path to start pedalling toward the Princess and her Guardian, trained mice performing acrobatics in a trailing troupe behind it; a pretty clown with a completely hollow back tumbles toward Ikiko with streamers and laughter that sounds a little too high, a little too frantic.

The queue into the tent of screams is fairly long, maybe twenty people lined up outside with dead eyes and blank expressions, and they're none of them moving except to shuffle forward when it's their turn. More than a few students are waiting their turn, people familiar from the assembled heroes' various schools, people whose names may have been lower on the posted scores' list than they might have liked.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 02:06:37 5292
"Thanks..." Rune isn't the least bit surprised Hino is coming along, and cedes to his request. "Right... with how we work, maybe I should stay a few steps behind you, really." It's not something she's proud of, but good sense tells her to let the armored knight with a sword be out in front. Just not /too/ far.

Perhaps unaware of Mercury's presence, she presses on. However, Mercury might have noticed something very interesting when checking initial scans closer. If she looks for it, it can be determined that 'The Princess' has trace amounts of dark energy in her. Not large enough that it would have been detected or triggered an alert on its own, but finer checks could reveal it, if she was indeed keeping an eye out for such fine details.

Tsukiko is new to her, and gets a curious glance-over. "Are you... new to this? To these kind of places? They're dangerous. More than almost anything else I've ever seen." She speaks in a low tone, worry weighing more in Rune's voice than any sort of calm would. Being here just /feels/ wrong, really.

Mami and Nagisa cause Runealy to raise an eye. She doesn't recognize the latter in this case, but does pick up on Mami and thus speaks to the pair. "Be careful. I guess I don't need to tell you that, but... I'll do it anyway. We've got your backs."

The barrier quickly reveals itself to have an unnatural appearance... "This is like the fair when we got here, only twisted and /wrong/, and...!" Screams cut her off, and her vision wanders to the advancing Homura, and... Basu's body.

She recognizes Basu, and the effect of seeing a second keen reminder that fights within these barriers can be lethal chill the princess in an instant. When a bear-cub and escorting mice head their way, they're met with wide-eyed fright! "G... get away!" Rune's wand launches a gem tip, which bursts into a wide spray of emerald sparkles in mid-flight. This far out, it's not likely to hit (or destroy) all of them at once... but it might eliminate a few, and she's hoping it will soften the group up for Hino.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 02:09:49 5293
Cute Wolf Tsukiko blinks. Repeatedly.

Whatever she was expecting from the dark feelings coming from this place, this wasn't it. The wolfgirl backpedals away from the weird clown, making her way towards a familiar face. "What /are/ these things?!" she yelps to Mercury as Tsukiko goes bounding past.

Rune's words of warning are noted, but the wolfgirl is focusing more on staying clear of the weird monsters than stopping for conversation. There's one other magical girl that Tsukiko recognizes, but Homura is further away and moving with a purpose -- too far away for a young magical girl to ask questions of, especially mid-battle.
Ami Mizuno 2015-07-22 02:14:26 5296
    After tapping her earring, Mercury's visor comes up just in time to see the....giant....teddy bear...trying to give her a hug. But it's the test that catches her eye...and the fact that the bear steps on it. Mercury doesn't get angry, but clutching her computer in her left hand, her right hand opens and her eyes narrow. It seems simply stepping upon the test set off Mercury.

Water gathers in her hand and she squeezes it, where it freezes into a....rather elegant rapier, which she stabs into the bear. "I'm not stupid." She then slices in an upward arc to cut the head of the bear in half. "This place reeks of dark energy." She says quietly before she picks up on another reading, not just Runealy, which she....files for later, but Mamoru Chiba. "What is Mamo-chan doing here?" She says as she lets the ice rapier dissipate and rushing towards him, not even realizing what she's done quite yet.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 02:18:14 5299
Just before entering the labyrinth, Miss White is quick to call for a WPS car to get over to the area. Just in case of casualties. She has the suspicion there's more than one magical person going in. Then she steps into the land of Carnie Horror Incarnate.

The girl pauses, stretches her sense of Device and the wind, and very nearly loses her very expensive dinner.

"...I sometimes wish I had a normal sense of smell. Like a slaughterhouse in here!" Complains the woman, loud enough to be heard.

But her search bears fruit, settling most importantly amongst Homura heading off towards the Ferris Wheel. She does flinch as she notes a familiar feeling of the Princess' magic, but buries her anger quickly as she feels the particular weight of one Basu's corpse in the arms of a Familiar. She's walking by the stall just as that hand reaches out with the enticing candy apple. She leans back, the thing missing her by a breath, and then her hand reaches out to the stall owner's wrist.

And then proceeds to tear it off with wind and pure magic-enhanced physical strength. Both are shoved down the Familiar's gullet hatefully, before she picks up the creature by her throat.

"...Good timing, monster." Then both dissappear as her Device calls out a Transfer spell.

She reappears close to the being holding Basu's corpse, and flings the other Familiar at it, before jabbing with twin fists with cutting winds. Shrapnel of the other Familiar's body is sent at the offending creature. She registers bullets from Mami around then, sure to keep out of the way! Seems they have the same objective.

"Call it a trade. Give me that girl's body." She commands, before already working on another spell. Emerald winds seek to crawl around the deceased puella, and draw her through to the WPS building in it's underground ward.

But then recognition amongst those still living catches her. She fears for all their lives. But a certain figure stands out.

She can't spare any more time for Basu's body. Magic filling her legs, ignoring the others as Runealy blankets FAmiliars with powerful magic, she's rushing off for that line. She can trust Homura to hold her own.

She will /not/ let Mamoru Chiba die by such disgusting things.
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 02:21:54 5300
Guardian Hino blinks. This is a weird barrier. This might be juuuust ahead of 'melting castle'. He lets himself get slightly ahead of rune, because logical princess thinking is logical. He blinks out. Is that a dead magical girl? It makes him grimace a bit--- but he remembers the story Rune already talked to them about. Someone takes her body away though.

He instead, turns towards- weird ass teddy bear coming leading mice. Hino raises his longsword and places it in front of him--- fire gathering against the red gem on it's hilt as he concentrates.

"Burn Ignition!" he calls out. A large swarth of fire burns out and forward, hoping to turn most of what's in front of him into a crisp. It proabably does- the fire covers a terribly wide area.

He move forward if the path is clear.

As he does, he asks. "Anyone we should look out for here?" he says. A vauge question. He's not quite sure who's Runealy's encountered yet. Or he could be asking about people to go energy drain after the witch is dead. It's a really vauge question.

Regardless, he keeps slightly ahead of Runealy. He'll play point guard.
Mint Chip 2015-07-22 02:23:11 5302
Kyubey appears, an adorable, totally not-evil mascot standing atop one of the little booths, looking down at all of the craziness going on. He's right above the booth Mami's current assault ends at. "Oh good, Mami, you're here. This is a real mess. And once this is over there is another real big mess I need to warn you about!" he says. "But first thing's first, right?"
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 02:25:11 5303
Mami turns to Nagisa, giving her a nod at seeing her weapon out and about.

"Two things. First off, always have a target in mind. Familiars will keep coming and coming, but our goal is the witch... or in this case, her." Mami gestures at Homura's retreating back, even as she stares at Basu's body being dragged away. Her mouth tightens into a line. She had known the other Puella Magi, but it hadn't been really anything - just an acknowledgement.

"Second off... fight fast. You don't want to be in an extended witch fight, because it drains our powers, I've learned over time. You want to be quick, but without being reckless."

Oh, those words will come back to haunt you, won't they?

"The dog is yours. I'll take care of the clown."

She shifts into a effortless run, her boots taking her swiftly through the room before she levels her matchlock rifle. She seems to be running striaght at the familiar, and at the last possible moment, it fires, the bullet one of her special ones where it aims to go all the way through and then turn to ribbon to tie the clown up so she can move striaght past it without problems, giving Princess Runealy a strange look on her way past, before a quick thumbs up. She's still nots ure what's going on, but she's not going to deny help!
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 02:33:37 5306
    Nagisa catches sight of the dead Puella Magi, but has no real connection to know the girl- or even really know she was a Puella Magi in the first place. Still, a body's a body and her grip tightens around her trumpet as she takes in the bizarrely jovial scene around her.

    She listens to Mami's explanations, but doesn't look to her, instead all eyes surveying the situation, looking a bit wary at all the people assembling inside the barrier. It's going to be hard to keep track of them all, and her bubbles tend to be a bit on the explosive side.

    "Dog is mine; got it!" She calls out taking just a moment to watch Mami rush off and shoot the clown and tie it up all in one motion.

    For come reason it gives her a quick palpitation.

    She's cut it close enough that with the dog jumping at and trying to lick her she has to jump to the side and roll away, popping back to her feet into a run; unlike Mami she runs away from her target rather than towards it, trying to arc herself towards the older Puella Magi while playing a note and sending a small stream of bubbles at the canine familiar.

    She lets out a little gasp as she hears a familiar voice, "Kyubey?" She didn't realize he ventured into Labyrinths himself- wouldn't this be an incredibly dangerous place for a vulnerable, fluffy little critter like him?
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 02:45:12 5308
Stealing away Basu's body with magic isn't hard. It's not like the dead girl can resist or fight back. There's absolutely nothing stopping Basu from being teleported away wherever Hannah wants her to. Homura wouldn't even complain, if she was paying attention, which she isn't.

After all, that empty shell isn't realy where Basu is.

As Homura Akemi races towards the ferris wheel, a terrible laughter rings out all throughout the fair. The ferris wheel unravels into a large spindly thing, rails becoming limbs, carriages becoming hands and feet. The structure distorts into a massive wooden smiley face. A large, red glowing caramel-covered heart appears in the center, shielded by rickety wooden rails.

Homura hears the sounds of combat behind her, and looks to see. Good news, there's back up. Bad news, there might be fighting over this particular Grief Seed.

Homura has been generous before, but this particular Grief Seed has sentemental value to her. She's not inclined to give it up.

The Ferris Wheel Witch raises a carriage hand, and then swings it downward at Homura, smashing it into the ground. She leaps over it, climbing up the unstable wooden arm as she races towards the caramel heart.

The other magical warriors are ignored until they begin to approach the Witch, but those that venture too close will have a ferris wheel carriage thrown at them.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-22 02:51:24 5311
The bearcub on the tricycle's blown off it into the troup of mice, flattening some and then disintegrating into wisps of black, sticky smoke that smell like grease paint. A couple of the mice stick around to lap up the evaporating ichor before it's all gone, but the greater body of them scatter and regroup, swarming toward Runealy and Hino-- but those evil mice (their heads were already starting to distend) are very, very effectively cleansed with fire. A fine ash drifts to the ground.

The tumbling clown-girl with the hollow back -- it's scooped out, there's nothing inside her -- shrieks as the Cute Wolf scrambles away, giving chase with impossible geometry to her acrobatic leaps.

The candy-apple vendor has no such luck: it's just starting to flinch back from Hannah with its wrist and apple are torn from it, and the smell of rotten apples and cyanide pours out along with grease-paint blood. It unhinges its jaw to howl in pain and fury, which is even better timing for Miss White: hand and apple, down they go, and the unreal creature's making gagging sounds even as Miss White flings it at the Basu-stealer; they both explode like a smoke bomb thrown on stage to make a getaway.

The ill-fated teddy-bear that just wanted to hug Mercury!!! D: splits soundlessly in half, the searing cold of the magical ice blade keeping it from immediately exploding-- instead, when it falls, it shatters like a rubber ball taken out of a tank of liquid nitrogen.

The queue of victims shuffles forward another step, none of them reacting to anything going on around them. Yeah, Mamoru is there. Who knew he'd be suicidal over a 99 on a calc final? But he can't really be: it's this place, it's this pervasive feeling of wrongness that only the strongly magical of heart can resist. For whatever reason, today he mustn't be strong enough.

The big fat happy glorious huggy clown looks really excited all of a sudden as Mami starts running toward it, and it stands there, smile getting wider and wider and wider, AND WIDER, AND WIIIIDER, and then its smile is literally bigger than its head and screams are coming from inside its guts along with the smell of sulfur-- and then the bullet. The clown pops like an imploding balloon, deflating abruptly and then instantly falling to the ground as its form turns into a red-ribboned mummy. The red ribbons drift into a messy pile a second later as grease-paint smoke drifts upwards.

One might not think that a demon dog is afraid of bubbles, and they'd be right -- but dogs also have a tendency to try to bite bubbles out of the air, and familiar or no, this one is no different. ... when the first bubble pops in its acid mouth, so does it, vanishing into nothingness.

~~~

As the Witch begins to show herself, the labyrinth itself begins to shift, the stalls and games and phantom crowds and carnival rides growing closer together, jumbling and piling up on top of each other in extremely unnervingly non-euclidean ways. The dusty pathways shift and shake, cracking like pavement with trees coming up through it, but it's just dirt, dirt and heat and stifling hot-garbage smell, waste and rot, decay and sweat and smoke and animal droppings, and the paths growing more and more narrow. More circus creatures and 'performers' start to fill the gaps, herding the magical youths toward either the tent of horrors or the transforming Ferris Wheel Witch with her caramel heart, trying to hug or bite or feed poison to them, laughing until they cry and then laughing harder. Stuffed prize flamingos flap overhead, their too-long legs dangling like broken television antennae, shedding sawdust mixed with sneezing powder as they go; a living funnel cake comes snaking up a side alley, coiling and smelling delicious, but scarring even fellow familiars with the confectioner's sugar that flakes off it and burns like acid.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 03:01:50 5312
A mix of magic-scatter and flames has handled the problem before Runealy and Hino. "That's pretty good... I didn't know you could do that. That specific way of using it, I mean." Obviously she knows about the fire. The finer details are new to her. Yet as the most immediate threat settles down, Runealy finally notices something among the line. "M... him?" Mamoru? Rune can't voice why picking him out being here is relevant, not without problems resulting, but she's even more alarmed now. More so as Miss White hurries past, and... "No, that's... actually okay, I think." The arrival of someone who has sworn in no uncertain terms to deeply hurt her is jarring, but right now Miss White seems to be more focused on activities that /help/ the princess (if perhaps for different reasons) and she is not about to complain about this turn of events. Seeing encouragement from Mami is a welcome relief as well, if one she can't stop to discuss at length now. The unknown Puella Magi accompanying her is mentally filed away as 'likely Mami's friend' and thus someone to keep a helpful eye out for... especially since she looks notably younger.

As a concern for the future: Mercury might not have time to compare scans right now, but Runealy will register as having changes since the scan of her done at Seishou. Previously, she showed completely clean of dark energy. Like most people should! The scan taken within the barrier will, when analyzed, show trace amounts of dark power inside her now. Nothing huge, but it is there in little pockets throughout the alien princess.

If she notices Kyubey, he's too far out for Rune to really react to at this time. Working with Hino is dominating most of her immediate thoughts. He needs quick answers. "Yes. The one we saw come in here is a friend. Those two," she points out Mami and Nagisa, "also friends." Tsukiko is gestured at. "No idea, see what you can find out." Mamoru... she can't tell the truth about, it would cause big trouble for both herself and possibly him as well. She makes up a justification. "He helped me when I was lost one day, even if he doesn't know it. I'd like to repay that with protection if we can."

Time to press on. Rune moves along with Hino, tense as twisted carnival attractions reach out for her attention; any one of them could be a trap. The creatures' herding is successful in her case, bringing her toward the ferris wheel. "This smell's starting to get unbearable... I hate it..." A complaint even in a bad situation like this, it seems, even as she continues to work with Hino to lash out at familiars approaching them. Hugs are bad. Poison is bad. She wants no part of them! Acid sugar likewise, and these and other threats occasionally make her have to leap aside from dangers, eyes wide the whole while.
Ami Mizuno 2015-07-22 03:04:08 5313
    Sailor Mercury kinda had a bit of a priority over the witch, which she didn't know about initially: Mamoru Chiba. Spotting him in line, Mercury makes it a point to actually SHOVE him out of line, just before he goes into the tent. COnsidering Sailor Mercury is NOT that strong, this is a monumental feat for her, even henshined like she is.

Provided she is successful in shoving Mamoru Chiba out of line, she actually slaps him. "Mamo-chan? Wake UP!" *POW* Even with her glove ON the slap is loud. She kinda concentrates upon trying to get Mamoru out of the tent first.....IF there's a way out at the moment. THEN she'll cocentrate on the witch if she has the time.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 03:06:27 5315
Cute Wolf Tsukiko yelps as the place gets weirder. First crazy monsters, and now crazier terrain? It's just... well, crazy!

The wolfgirl suddenly doubles back, darting to the side of the hollow clown-girl before springing forward, using the Familiar as a springboard to launch herself onto the roofs of the booths.

The footing up there on the shifting stalls might be treacherous, but it does make for easier avoidance of some of the ground-bound Familiars. She still has to make sure to dodge the flamingo dandruff, but she's making progress, albeit slowly, towards the tent of horrors.
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 03:13:34 5318
Did she just-

Mami wheels around when she hears a rather familiar voice, her eyes spotting out Kyubey, and Mami groans, making her way up to the mascot at a run, physically grabbing the poor(not) creature, slinging him around her neck before she starts heading straight back for the witch again. She can see people dealing with the familiars, so her goal is to blaze a path straight through.

"It's nice to see you, Kyubey, but you're absolutely right, immediate emergency first, then secondary emergency... second."

That sounded weird, but Mami doesn't go on. She sighs as she looks at all of the familiars that are starting to come in as the witch's barrier seems to tighten up, and she looks beihnd her to make sure Nagisa is okay, even as she gestures, a ribbon rolling through the crowds before more of her matchlock rifles ride from parts of it, forming a line.

"Stay behind me, watch our backs!"

Mami then runs down her ribbon line, delicately using her very familiar form of gun kata to sweep between her guns as she drives for the ferris wheel. Time is of the essence.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 03:16:54 5319
Miss White might be fast, but between shredding a Familiar and stealing Basu, Mercury has more than enough time to get there. Her run towards the man ends in a pathetic walk punctuated by a smirk. One more teleportation spell, and Mercury is slapping Mamoru in the face. Then she's trying to seize him out.

The white-clad, business suit bearing girl is behind the pair with an incantation from her Device.

"...Keep him alive, alright? And get him out of this terrible place. I owe that man a few things. Oh, and try not to die. I owe you one for this."

It's about then that she'll try to use a burst of wind into the Senshi's back to shove her towards the 'exit' of the Labyrinth. Forcefully. She's not holding back, trying to get Mamoru out as quickly as possible.

She waves at Sailor Mercury, should she succeed.

"Feel free to bill me for the medical costs! Byyyyye~"

It's around then that she turns around, and heads towards Homura. She draws in her strength, walking away, likely arriving last towards the Ferris Wheel Witch where she's detected Homura.

She certainly recognizes Runealy, as well as suspicious towards 'Nagisa'. So too does Runealy's friend give her pause. But her steps hardly falter, trying to take it all in at once. It's almost too much, with so many magical people around.
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 03:17:43 5320
Guardian Hino blinks, wait. What. Is that a werewolf? Well. Really. That's the most /less bizzare/ thing in this entire area. So maybe he's not as surprised as he should be. "Right. Later." he says. He begins forward again. He works towards the Ferris Wheel Witch. He'll be helping out Homura, it seems. That seems to be the pressing anyways--- if the Witch is gone, the barrers gone. He doesn't need to contend with these other for the seed. He has no need for a deranged Christmas Ornament that just makes more witches if it isn't stored in a freezer or something because it goes bad.

Though that /god awful smell/. It actually makes him feel terribly ill. Enough that he has to stop a moment. He just shakes it off and continues. "Let's head towards the main event over there." he says. "it seems people are on your friend already. More might make it more difficult to extract him. If anything, Mercury will get him out." he says.

He just really throws fire at anything that he happens upon that is a distubing creature in his way.
Mint Chip 2015-07-22 03:20:03 5321
Kyubey hangs there, warm and fuzzy, using his own strength to keep his position while Mami does her aerial acrobatics. "Elegant as ever, Mami-san!" he comments, mostly just used to buttering her up so she keeps thinking of him as her 'one true friend' and 'mascot' rather than... any of the things he actually is.
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 03:29:41 5324
    The dog chasing Nagisa takes an unhealthy interest in her bubbles and snaps at them, quickly reducing it to smoke before her eyes. If it wasn't for that acid she might have thought her earlier dodge was a bit of an over reaction.

    Then the ferris wheel starts to move, and she's worried it's about to start rolling around to crush people. Unfortunately it turns out to be even worse than that, unraveling to become a very large witch. Normally this actually might be a good thing- a big target is pretty easy for her to hit with her bubbles.

    But that's Homura running up the 'arm' of the creature, and right now Nagisa doesn't trust her aim well enough not to land some explosions too near her at this range, so fire support is out of the question, as much as she'd like to help.

    Not that it wouldn't be ironic for Homura to have to deal with explosions all around her seemingly out of nowhere.

    Then the Labrynth begins to change and she's instantly on the defensive, having to skid to a halt and leap away when the new geometry suddenly has her right next to that giant funnel cake, the scent of delicious food mingling with the hot trash and making the sweets loving Puella Magi gag from the mixture.

    Hearing Mami call to her she nods, "Right!" following up the ribbon a short ways behind her while shooting off bubbles in the air at the overhead flamingo familiars, sensing them to be the most dangerous merely by their mobility.

    She almost freezes, however, as she looks back towards the tent. She hurries up to the blonde Puella Magi and tugs at her arm, "Mami-senpai, look! I thought they were going to protect all the people, but they only saved one of them!" Cue screaming from the tent, "There's plenty of magical girls going after the witch, and Akemi-senpai can surely handle herself."

    She bites her tongue for a moment- isn't Mami the one supposed to be leading her right now? But she can't help it, this is too important, "Let's go back! It won't matter if the witch dies if it's already killed a bunch of people first!"
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 03:38:34 5325
As Mami approaches the Ferris Wheel, her approach is not unchallenged. Broken and splintered wooden planks burst out of the ground, driving towards her like spikes. Her path is flanked by a shower of splinters, and the wooden spikes that don't try to impale her cross over her, as if she were running underneath a saber arch.

Hannah herself is also attacked as she draws near, the Witch understanding the threat that the kickboxer represents. A large rickety arm draws back, then flings forwards, stretching to impossible length in order to bring the massive carriage down upon her head.

Hino blazes his own trail towards the Ferris Wheel Witch, and the Witch reacts. Large water guns, huge and twisted versions of the guns from the 'fill the balloon with water' game, sprout all over the large Ferris Wheel. When they fire, huge streams of sticky acid rain down all around Hino's path, dissolving the ground and anything else they touch. When they land, they splash outward, spreading the acid further.

Homura herself has to deal with errant beams swinging towards her, but lightning fast reflexes (actually time cheating) keep her out of harm's way. She runs right by the caramel heart, and as she passes the heart is covered with explosions. The Witch screams in pain, the heart splitting in half...

Homura, for a moment, looks relieved... but that isn't the end of it. The gooey heart begins pulling itself together, melting back into one object, caramel crystalizing where the seams once were. Her face hardens. "Not going to make it easy, are you?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-22 03:41:32 5326
The hollaback girl clown-acrobat eats a faceful of dirt as Cute Wolf Tsukiko springboards off of her onto the roofs above; she explodes in black glitter and saltwater taffy instead of grease-paint smoke, splattering everything around and getting Tsukiko a little glittery-sticky in the periphery. The rooftops shift, but that's just fun parkour, right?

Sailor Mercury gets to Chiba and shoves at him, and he stumbles and falls to his hands and knees; the next person in line trips over them both, spilling them just inside the tent. As Mercury grabs him and hauls him upright, he towers over her, exhausted of will and unmoving, marked by a Witch's kiss, eyes blank and staring straight ahead. Not even the slap that rocks his head back is enough to make those eyes focus, to make that face react.

When Miss White teleports in behind them and shoves, HARD, with air--? Toward the edge of the barrier, no less? That's when Sailor Mercury may run into a problem she hasn't seen before: one of Mamoru's arms shoots out to grab the pole of a vendor stand they're blown past, latching on with an iron grip. There's a sickening pop, and as they land, that arm hangs uselessly. The other one's gotten hold of Ami's wrist, and inexorably, Mamoru begins walking back to the tent of horrors. His eyes are lifeless, and that complicated red mark glows a sickening dull red on his neck, just like the marks on all the other victims.

Meanwhile, familiars die in droves: flamingo dandruff floats downward, causing flammable sneezings wherever the plush birds pass; more than once, Hino's cleansing flames cause the very air to catch fire until the sawdust burns itself out. The funnel cake is shot to hell, bleeding hot oil before disintegrating into char; flamingos explode overhead and clowns and vendors and bears and tumblers meet messy, messy ends as they do their best to kill those trying to take their mistress' victims away and kill her.

What's worse, as the Witch is attacked, the screaming from the tent intensifies, and the queue of people outside it grows ever shorter.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 03:44:56 5327
"Yeah..." Rune feels bad about not being able to directly do much about Mamoru right now, but Hino is right. "Right behind you." She might realize more of why Miss White and Mercury intervening is for the best later on, but right now she's still relieved for their involvement. And for Hino's fire.

However, it seems someone else /isn't/ happy about the fire. The Witch has taken acidic exception to this, and Runealy... moves in front of him, encasing herself in a red energy bubble. She's outright trying to shield him by being in the path of the acid, wincing as it splashes down upon her forcefield. Will it withstand the onslaught? She hopes so. She's watching very, very closely to see if the acid streams will melt through, and plans to move if the answer becomes 'imminently, yes!' For now however, she is trying to endure it as she shouts back to Hino: "If it doesn't like what you're doing, keep it up! Do it as long as you can!" She's trying to buy time for him, it seems.

Looking back to him reveals another problem, though. Beyond Hino, she can see a bit of what's going on with Mamoru... and doesn't entirely understand why he would do that, but it adds some urgency to this. She renews herself to try to withstand the acid, to shield her knight so that he might continue his work... it seems they're on a very real time limit, now.
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 03:49:39 5330
"We take the witch down, we take the barrier down, and stop this little show of horrors!"

Mami says, to Nagisa. "However, if you want, you can continue fighting the familiars and try to help them. It'll be good experience for you - and I don't want to risk you fighting this witch anyways."

Sure, it's probably a bit weaker of a witch, but still, you don't do that to baby magical girls. You treat them nicely. Mami glances back at the witch. "Be safe, be careful."

She warns her protege(?) before diving back into the action.

"Thank you, Kyubey." Mami says, softly, even as she pulls out another series of guns, this time in a semi circle around her as she whirls into action with each one, aiming them towards the witch.
Ami Mizuno 2015-07-22 03:51:39 5331
    "Come on, Mamo-chan, just a little...OW!" Mercury says as Mamoru grabs her wrist and starts to drag her back towards the line and tries to stop Mamoru....to no avail. SO she resorts to kicking his legs so he falls backwards.....onto her. "OOF!" She grunts as she tries to drag Mamoru to the door....very very slowly.

In case anyone hasn't noticed, Mercury is not very strong.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 03:54:26 5332
Cute Wolf Tsukiko frowns as she watches the attempted rescue go awry due to Mamoru grabbing the pole. The Kisses are easier to see at this point, and they do not look healthy to Tsukiko's eyes.

The screams worry her, too -- whatever is in that tent, she doesn't want to find out, and it would probably be best if these people wind up in there. But what can a wolfgirl do to stop the advance of victims...?

Well, maybe she can slow them down long enough for the others to do something. Leaping from a nearby stall, she puts her shoulder down and tries to knock down the people advancing towards the tent. Without magic backing it up, they /probably/ won't be hurt too badly...

"Stop! Stop!" she growls, sweeping a leg to try to trip more of the victims; for each one that falls down, that's a few more seconds she might be able to buy. "Why don't you just stop?!"
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 03:55:29 5333
Miss White winces at that sound, but it's all she can do. Sure, she could save individual lives from that line. But destroying the Witch would release all the other unknown innocents.

And she simply values Tuxedo Kamen above all of them. After all, she's no warrior of justice. Better to focus on the most expedient solution.

Which involves a Witch unfolding before them all.

The speed of the creature is far beyond her human mind. But Raging Tempest is as solid as ever.

"Wind Rider!" Calls out the Intelligent Device.

Her legs glow, and then she shoves herself to the ground. It's a desperate, artless dash into a roll that has her back scraped by the girth of the unleashed Witch's carriage drawing blood through her shields. She continues on, barely managing to avoid death.

She 'sees' her fellow employee.

"And what worthy endeavor is easy, Akemi-san?" Offers Miss White with a smirk as she recovers, staggering to her feet with a bleeding back that will certainly require stitches.

Then Miss White is guarding Homura Akemi with a confident smirk, and her leg swings 'round.

"VIOLENT...RAGING....ARC KICK!"

A furious tornado of magical energy is kicked up, aiming to toss the Witch off balance more than anything else!

Then she calls back to the others.

"HIT THIS THING WITH ALL THAT YOU HAVE! KILL THEM, AND EVERYONE IS SAFE!" She howls out to the others.
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 04:00:22 5335
Guardian Hino watches as the witch spurts---something awful and wicked at him. He stops shooting to try to raise his sword into a guarding stance. It's all he can do. He antcipates a world of pain for a bit. Clenching his teeth. Then Runealy gets in the way- and deflects the acid. He blinks. Oh thank god. He leaps over Runealy- as he moves forward. "Consider it done, Princess." he says helpfully. "I'll give this thing a case of heartburn."

He continues running forward. Closer, closer to the Witch. He's not trying to get too close. But now he's in a proper striking distance.

He levels his sword with one hand at the beast. Fire dances around it in a winding arc, before it fires a raging 'beam' of fire at the Witch. He's able to keep the beam up for a few good seconds- though it'll eventually shrink and tapered out. Hopefully. Rune continues to keep close.

He doesn't want to loose her to an accident because she tried to save him from burning carnival gun acid.
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 04:04:16 5336
    Explosions all over on the witch in a vulnerable spot- this should be it! But when the labyrinth fails to dissolve Nagisa knows it's probably a bit stronger than she'd anticipated. Hopefully Homura doesn't let her guard down and get caught off guard at it's survival- she's treading on the thing, after all.

    It's true that killing the witch will remove all danger to the humans trapped inside it's barrier. Only a fast defeat might not be in store for this witch. More importantly though the way she's spoken too, however, has the Nagisa letting go of Mami's arm and sort of staring up at her.

    The tiny Puella Magi's expression is somewhere between hurt and insulted.

    But there's no time to dwell on that right now. "I'm going. Remember that I won't be here to watch your back!"

    And with that she's gone, using Mami's ribbon as a springboard to jump back towards the tent, dodging falling acid along the way. The great explosion set off by the flames and sawdust knock her to the ground, but she's focused enough to recover quickly and push forward despite the pain.

    While Mercury focuses on Mamoru and Tsukiko tries to stop the procession of the line, Nagisa attempts to end this at it's source, trying to steel her heart as best she can for what's ahead as she summons her a silver platter in one hand, holding it above her head, and her trumpet in the other before 'cutting' in line and running into the tent. Whatever she finds in there she's ready to start attacking.
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 04:07:56 5337
The Princess's forcefield holds, at least for now. The acid apparently falls short when used upon magical barriers. Anything that the barrier isn't covering, however, is fair game.

Mami's barrage of magical firepower hits home, the attacking wooden spikes blowin into splinters. As magical bullets smash through the Ferris Wheel's structure, breaking it apart even as new planks regenerate to replace the lost stability. The more it hastily regenerates, the more twisted and wrong it looks. Some of the bullets find their way into the caramel heart, ripping holes through it, and shattering the crystalized caramel.

Miss White makes it close to Homura, and Homura turns to her with a smile. At least one good thing happened today. "The heart seems to be the core, but as you can see, it grows back. If we can destroy it, we should be able to settle this."

Homura holds onto a wooden beam as Hannah kicks the giant Ferris Wheel mightily, causing the whole huge thing to stagger and shudder, leaning backwards as huge arms flail in a desperate struggle to maintain balance. It doesn't seem to be succeeding.

Hino's flame beam rips through the wooden frame and blasts the caramel heart. The fire spreads quickly over the dry, splintered wood, setting the structure ablaze. The entire caramel heart crystalizes, becoming rigid and hardened. The blazing structure finally tips over the edge, crashing down into the ground. Homura reaches out to Miss White to take her hand, freezing time long enough for the two of them to reach safety before being caught in the blazing inferno.

The hardened, crystalized heart rises from the burning wreckage, held up by blackened and scorched beams of wood. Bits and pieces have broken off, and they aren't growing back. The heart is shattering, no longer regenerating. This seems like the best time to strike.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-22 04:20:02 5339
Victims get bodily bowled over by a Wolf Girl, some of them slamming into each other hard enough to take a while to start getting up again, others -- is that Rin from Class 3, Nagisa? Tsukiko, that has to be Ryo that sits two seats over. There are a few adults here and there, but by and large the victims here are classmates, faces from around school or the arcade or at club matches, all grades-- and all marked with that red spiky heart butterfly thing, and all slowly and stubbornly programmed to walk toward pain and death.

Speed the caster, speed the spell.

Even if the three of them could get to everyone in the tent, they're fighting-- they're all fighting back when rescues are attempted. Fighting back and attempting to pull their rescuers in with them. The only way to get them to stop that nonsense is to knock them out--

--the only way to keep them from dying wholesale is to kill the Witch. Miss White is completely right.

The horror Nagisa finds in there is... is so wretched. The seats in the tent are filled with familiars, cheering on the victims as they fight each other, as they try to perform circus stunts they were never trained for, as their dull eyes see nothing; their screams happen when an injury is so bad they actually wake up enough to notice it, Witch's Kiss fading momentarily from their necks. It happens right in front of Nagisa: the lights go on behind someone's eyes as his leg is torn open by a lion tamer's whip, and he falls to the tent floor, screaming and screaming. A girl blindly holds a flaming hoop while another girl catches fire trying to jump through it; a girl and a boy fight with live swords, though neither knows how to use one and they're doing themselves more damage than they're doing each other--

--some of the familiars start up an English song, something about friends and always having fun and never being alone again.

Mamoru is knocked cleanly down, but since he fell on top of Ami, it's going to be a piece of work to get him to stop trying to move. For what it's worth, only one arm is working, and he has none of his usual grace of motion or drive or really even mind, so a little artfully applied scanning and followup application of medical knowledge should disable him enough for Ami to drag him away without him fighting her further.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 04:22:43 5340
Runealy winces for a different reason now, as Miss White speaks. It is the last thing that Miss White shouts to them that hits her, the last word in particular. 'Safe' means a lot to the alien princess, on a cultural level, and it urges her to press on alongside Hino. Apparently she /can/ shield him. It's taking a significant effort, but it seems to be working within a margin of risk she's willing to tolerate... and she's pleased, at first, as his flames seem to be working well alongside others' efforts to bring down the Witch.

Then she realizes just /how well/ it's working. A forcefield probably won't stop all that, not with the structure falling their way! "Move!" Obvious advice. Boot wings light up, a silver glow heralding them launching Runealy backwards. She makes many such 'boosted jumps', hoping to get as far away from the wreck as possible. A few orbs launch at it along the way, a 'just in case' effort to shoot some holes open in the wreckage, hoping she can move within them if unable to outright escape.

Yet she can put enough distance from it in time, and lands with a stressed out "Ey...!", an arm raised to shield her eyes from any dust that might be kicked up from the wreck falling.

The heart is vulnerable now, it seems. "Hino... I've always felt kind of bad the first time we showed our resolve together was... in that alley. Let's show that our promise is about safety!" She again invokes the word in a cultural sense.

A white line of energy radiates from her tiara, flowing toward Hino's sword. "Ward Oath Unification!" The line, once halfway to him, changes colors to match one more associated with his own magic. Her wand produces a swirling 'column' of tiny green energy sparkles, flying toward the heart. There are little gaps in it, by design; it's meant to pick up whatever Hinote cares to hurl into it, combining their magic into a spinning mass!
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 04:25:59 5341
Sorry, Nagisa. Explain later and Mami will apologize and appease you with cake and tea. That's how Mami makes friends, you know. Tea and cakes and apologies. Funny how that works.

"Shot through the heart..."

And Mami is indeed, to blame and going to be to blame! Mami summones more of her ribbons, getting to the highest point she can, even as she takes a steady stance, before spindly metal legs sprout out of the ground to support the cannon that Mami pulls out from over her shoulder.

"Ready... aim!"

"TIRO FINALE!"
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 04:28:38 5342
Miss White's left eye closes in irritation. It possesses a regeneration abilility. Homura calls out.

With the smallest of breaths to steady herself, she's smiling once again.

It's around then that she doubles the magic going into data capture, rather than fighting strength.

"...Oh really? What a /useful/ ability! So a Witch can actually attain such a power?" A little laugh here. Miss White manages to shake her head sadly.

"Right. Business." She adds at the end of Homura's statement. If they all band together, they might be able to defeat the creature. Her kick staggers the beast, and she can only rely on the others.

After all, she has to recover from her strike. Miss White's strength sends her staggering back. She can't recover immediately, drawing up her fists defensively.

More than enough to fling her past Hinote and Runealy, so much has she poured her magic into her strikes. She ground-slides past the pair.

For a moment, there's no hatred in her voice despite all that's happened.

"...Divisions aside, some creatures should not exist. Right, Bandit-chan?" A single closed eye, and a smirk, then she slides aside.

It's then that Mami Tomoe unleashes her Tiro Finale. Both eyes close. She smiles.

Her ears bleed from the pure sound of the attack.

She laughs.

"What power! FOR YOUR SINS AGAINST WE FEEBLE SOULS, DIE SCREAMING, YOU USELESS EXISTANCE!" Howls out Hannah, full of fury and hate.
Ami Mizuno 2015-07-22 04:29:06 5343
    It only takes a little medical knowledge.....and another part of where to hit someone. *WHACK* One chop on the back of Mamoru's neck and down he goes for the count. "And you're going to have to stay there for the time being, Mamo-chan." She says softly as she lays Mamoru back gently, and makes her way for the battle at hand. And she sees the witch....finally. And only three people would recognize the words being yelled in the labyrinth.

Mercury Aqua Jet!

And a Torrent of water is fired at the witch. This can't be good.
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 04:30:40 5345
Guardian Hino eyes go wide. He bends down and----jumps high into the air, following Runealy. He doesn't want to be stuck under rubble. He comes down close to Runealy. Not directly on target, but far away enough that the crashing witch isn't anything he has to be afraid of. Also, he sort of lands on his butt. Hino may not had been aware he could /jump fricken high into the air a long distance/. He makes a note to try to add 'leaping like a god damn super bunny' into his practice regim. Luckily, he's quick to get up and join Runealy's side. He holds up his sword, standing next to her. "Right.... let's show this thing. True Strength!" he says.

"Ward Oath Unification!" he calls out, fire bursting from his sword, dancing out along with the emerald green energy sparkles, filling up the magical void between them.

It looks light a dazzling beam of green and orange light right now- probably.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 04:38:44 5346
Cute Wolf Tsukiko hesitates. Targeting the heart of the Witch is undoubtedly the wisest course of action; the wolfgirl just has to rush into the thick of the fighting at magic-boosted speeds and slam into it.

From a near-full stop, and into the line of fire of several magical girls, several of which seem to favor explosive attacks.

...

"Right," she sighs, diving and rolling on the ground, hindering the line of victims by remaining underfoot, trying to force them to stumble and fall, and to keep them off of their feet. She's probably getting inadvertently kicked and stepped on, but at least it's slightly helpful?
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 04:42:04 5347
    It would be bad enough to see familiars tormenting the people inside the tent, but the fact that it's other people makes it somehow even worse to her. The Witch's Kiss, a mark that shows a victim has been brainwashed by a Witch; she's seen people try to throw themselves from buildings before, but nothing that would have suggested this much control- having the people fight for the amusement of the familiars.

    For a moment Nagisa freezes in place, and then her blood runs cold. Still near the entrance she holds her platter even higher, the thing growing absolutely enormous- large enough that she can slam it down sideways, the platter itself digging in the dirt while the lid plugs the entrance solid- there won't be any more 'entertainers' filing in this way.

    Several more enormous platter lids are created, and these she runs around, slamming down over the people fighting, effectively separating them from each other and keeping them from harming each other any further.

    But the tiny Puella Magi is far from done. Her heart feels like it's trying to pound out of her chest as she casts her white eyed gaze over the vast army of familiars, sitting in the stands. Cheering. Cheering as people scream out in pain. She jumps up atop one of her larger platter lids and holds her arm. Her trumpet appears and falls into her hand.

    On some level she knows familiars aren't really alive. They're just lesser pieces of a witch, itself some kind of horrible monstrosity. But right now they're mimicking human behavior, and it gets to her.

    "Stop... stop cheering! Stop singing!" she shouts, knowing it won't do any good.

    She lifts the trumpet to her mouth and blows a note, long and loud, spinning around to send a nearly endless stream of bubbles into the stands, destroying row after row of jovial familiars. From outside the tent there's the sound of explosions all around the it's periphery, followed by a screeching shout of rage and an even more intense series of detonations that may well blow the lid right off the tent.

    It's probably a good thing the witch is about done. It's a dangerous thing for a Puella Magi to fight using such powerful negative emotions.

    Kyubey would probably be inwardly smiling right now, if he noticed.
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 04:52:48 5348
Runealy's and Hino's combined attacks swirl together and smash into the heart, emerald and fire mixing together in a deadly combination. The combined blast strips away massive shards of crystalized caramel, causing the heart to shake and crack. The entire labyrinth shakes with their combined powers as the Witch shrieks from the blow. It can't handle this kind of pressure for long.

Mami's Tiro Finale hits home, blasting a hole right through the heart. The heart remains, cracked and splintered.

Mercury Aqua Jet slams in at roughly the same time, sheer water pressure eating away at the heart and adding to its shaking.

The combined magical power of Mercury, Runealy, Hino and Mami smash into the heart, as the Witch's shrieks fill the air. When the attacks end, the heart remains, cracked, broken, shaking. It seems to still be standing.

Then suddenly, it shatters into pieces, each piece floating in the air for a brief, fleeting moment before falling down to the ground one after another. As each piece falls, the witch's darkness disappears, the barrier weakens, the labyrinth fades away, and the Witch's Kiss vanishes from the necks of the victims.

They've won.

Homura stands atop the grassy fields in the middle of the park, close to Miss White. The Grief Seed floats down towards the ground. Homura does't suspect that most of the people here will go for it, but Mami and Nagisa are here... can she really just let that happen? Let them use up the Grief Seed and then feed it to Kyubey when they're done with it?

She prepares to race for it, but a moment of horror distracts her.

"MAMO-CHAN?!"

Homura notices her friend among the victims, and starts racing towards him. How did he get here? Was he here the whole time? No, no, no! This isn't fair!
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 04:58:42 5349
Homura is watched carefully, but when she ditches the Seed for one of the victims, MAmi casually races over to it to nab it. Even if she doesn't need it, she's not sure about Nagisa, so it's better to be safer than sorry.

(With these two especially.)

"Mamo-chan?" She says, softly, before lifting her voice. "Akemi-san, who is Mamo-chan? Are you dating someone?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-22 05:11:05 5351
As the Witch's heart is breaking, but before it shatters:

The queue of victims are endlessly confounded by the quick work of Tsukiko, until their mindless brainwashed bodies can't tell up from down-- and then suddenly a giant silver platter blocks the entrance. Those few kids still standing outside start rhythmically pounding on it until it rings, adding to the general din.

Inside the tent of zombie gladiatorial civilians, fighters, wounded and not, are separated by platter lids; they're safe from each other and, even more importantly, they're safe from the screaming little girl with the deadly bubblegun.

It's like when a crowd in bleachers does The Wave. It's just that instead of standing up from their bleacher seats, there's a Wave of explosive conflagration: the scent of scorched candy and grease-paint and hot garbage and rot is only there briefly before everything's blown away in a hot wind.

The tent itself doesn't just blow its big top: the entire thing shoots up in the air, vanishing into roiling black smoke and tattered streamers-- then fades away, along with the rest of the twisted carnival and its crooked little paths of misery and despair and poison candy.

All of the victims collapse, marks fading from their necks, exhausted-- some wounded, some dead.

Mamoru is lying right where Sailor Mercury left him, dislocated arm and all, though it's hard to say if he'd still be as passed out as the other victims since Ami hard-style Vulcan neck-pinched him.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 05:11:54 5352
Cute Wolf Tsukiko grins as reality reasserts itself when the Witch is defeated. With the magic powering the Kisses gone, the victims are no longer in danger from being pulled into dangerous combat!

They're also about as conscious as sacks of flour.

The wolfgirl yelps as she finds herself at the bottom of a dogpile of former victims, all slumped unconscious as the magic controlling them departs. "All of you together are /heavy/!" she groans as she tries to pull herself out of the pile, with limited success.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 05:12:34 5353
The barrier fades, and the princess sags in relief. "We did it...! Hino, you did great!" She's tired, but glad to be out of that awful place. Yet certain words echo in her head. 'Some creatures should not exist. Right, Bandit-chan?' And so 'Bandit-chan', Runealy, looks over to Miss White. "If you're referring to me... I agree. Unfortunately, 'shouldn't' and 'must' are two different things. If you meant the Witch, I still agree... glad it's gone."

As the seed descends, Runealy realizes it's possible a second fight will break out. She understands just how valuable they are, and is torn between two urges. One is to go check on Mamoru, but it seems Homura is already doing that... and possibly other friends as well.

So she makes no move for the seed. Instead, the princess looks to Hino. "Make sure only she," a gesture back to the departing Homura, "her," to Mami, "or the one with her earlier," again pointing to Mami, "get near it! Any of those three can have it, but stop anyone else!"

Toward that end, Runealy begins looking around, wand ready in case anyone makes a move for the Grief Seed. She's expecting Miss White to go for it. Or for one of Miss White's associates, the man with dark energy, to swoop out of nowhere and make a move for it. Yet for all the awful things the alien princess is doing lately, she is firm in trying to help any of the Puella Magi here get what they need. So she makes no move to take the Grief Seed, merely to watch over it.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 05:16:10 5354
The other magical folk pour in their attacks, and yet, on the edge of Miss White's senses there's a particular pull. A spike of energy from one girl who rushed off towards the innocents in the tent.

...Wasn't there a name called out? 'Nagisa'? As the Witch dies, and Homura rushes off to Mamoru, Miss White oddly relaxes. Between Mercury and Homura, she can count of them both.

Instead, she goes for the Grief Seed. She'll try to grab it up, but rather than keep it for herself, some part of her intervenes. These girls, forced to fight and risk their lives? Unforgivable. It's one thing to die for one's own desires.

But to be brought in by a simple candy man preying on the weak with a promise like a miracle? It's not something Miss White, Hannah Sharpe, can forgive.

Her Device calls out.

"TRANSFER!"

But Runealy calls out. Miss White, as she goes for the Seed, offers a thumbs-up to her 'enemy'.

"Glad you understand."

After so much fighting, it's a crap-shoot for who gets the Grief Seed!

It's around then that Nagisa Momoe might recognize the form of Miss White appearing just behind her. Perhaps even with that very grief seed in her hand, offered to the girl. If not, another from some previous hunt is offered.

"...Forgive me if I am wrong, but, you are a Puella Magi, right? Take this. That kind of magic usage is likely to kill you without it."

A flick. There's something in her hand too.

A business card.

"...I could use someone with that amount of passion on my side. Think about it. You could really do some good in this disgusting, rotten world with your attitude. 'Nagisa-san', right?"

It's a shot in the dark, at this point.
Ami Mizuno 2015-07-22 05:19:34 5355
    The witch's heart shatter and Mercury had other things on her mind. Naturally, she heard the combination attack by the princess and her guardians, but they seem to be after something else, so she takes the opportunity to get Mamoru up and carry him out.....slowly.

As Stated before, Mercury is not very strong, so progress towards the exit is slow. She MIGHT get a passing scann of the grief seed through her visor, but her attention is still on Mamoru.

Any attacks at her back will be met with an immediate Mercury Aqua Mist.....
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 05:28:00 5356
Guardian Hino thinks this is over. The barrier dissapears. There's some people piled up. Some dead. Some not. He wonders how the news is going to spin this one in a rather grim manner. 'DEAD AND UNCONCIOUS PEOPLE PILED IN PARK IN WEIRD ART PROJECT' or something. Then Runealy gives him more orders. Protect that thing!? Nrg... why would he want to do that!? Runealy explains herself though, so he begins towards the grief seed---

Someone who isn't part of that group of people makes a grab fro the seed.

His sword is already raised as he approaches it-----so he fires another firey, beam like attack from his sword into Miss White as she makes her move- the same kind he fired at the Ferris Wheel Witch earlier.

"Back off away from that!" he shouts.
Homura Akemi 2015-07-22 05:28:34 5357
Homura reaches Mamoru's body as Mercury begins to drag him away, hands reaching up to pull on her own long black hair, teeth gritting. He's alive, right? Yes. Yes, he's alive. Others are dead, but he's alive. She slowly stands up, looking at him.

"You JERK! How many times are you going to end up in the hospital?!"

Homura looks between Mercury and Mamoru, taking up the other arm and saying, "Here. Let me help. He's my friend, too."

Mami's question isn't answered immediately, but once Homura is no longer freaking out about things she turns around and says, "He's not my boyfriend!"

Between the two magical girls, very little could really stand a chance of threatening Mamoru.
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 05:37:54 5358
    The labyrinth dissipates around them and Nagisa is left standing on top of the platter lid, some poor student still trapped beneath, now collapsed. She's breathing heavily and not just from the exertion, her face red and with tears in her eyes. It only takes a moment for her to look around and see the hurt people around her, some badly injured, some even dead.

    "Why?" she asks quietly, "Why didn't I just save them from the start?" She squeezes her hands tightly, one clenching into a fist, the other tight around the handle of her trumpet.

    Even though she speaks of blaming herself, she knows what's at fault for this- witches, and their familiars. They're the ones who are causing the harm. But even with the witch destroyed she can't calm herself down so easily. There's been too many bad things happening lately, and right after the worst disaster in her own life she's ever known.

    And so when Miss White appears behind her, she's in a particularly bad mood.

    She looks over her shoulder first, and then turns around slowly. Her eyes are still showing that anger and fury from when she poured her magic into destroying the familiars cheering on the deaths of innocent people.

    She clearly registers the words spoken to her, and the girl looks to the woman's face, and then to the grief seed in her hand. And the business card.

    Her free hand reaches out and strikes quickly, trying to snatch the grief seed out of her hand.

    "These don't belong to you!" she shouts, her anger directed suddenly towards the woman in the white business suit, changing directions as wildly as stormy wind.

    "How could you! How -dare- you talk about 'business' at a time like this," screeches the 8 year old, finger pointing accusingly down at the bodies below. "You're powerful, you could have saved them. But you only care about these, and you don't even need them!"

    Her voice might give it away, but her opinion of the woman has just tanked, despite not having done very much at all to deserve it.

    If she realizes this she might have time to react, but otherwise she's left directly next to Nagisa as the Puella Magi lifts her trumpet and blows a large amount of explosive bubbles into her face at point blank range.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 05:50:56 5359
Hinote's attack hardly isn't without purchase in Miss White, despite her peculiar skills. For all that she feels the winds change into pure fire, she ducks down, protecting herself as she reaches for the grief seed. Fire lances across her already bleeding back.

On the one hand, her wound is instantly cauterized. On the other, her back is ON FIRE!

Between Hinote and Nagisa, Miss White has little chance at this point. The mood of Nagisa strikes her even more than what she does physically.

There's no resistance here. The Seed is snatched from Miss White without complaint. Far too easily.

Despite the burning pain against her back, she takes a deep breath. Then, she simply falls to the ground of the collapsing Witch Labyrinth, and snuffs out the flames. There's no more resistance in her body, as the girl strikes her heart. Eyes close.

"...Powerful? Me? In this form?" She offers in turn.

Bubbles fly towards her, and she does little to defend. They sear upon her flesh, and leave welts, her arms raising up to guard herself at the last moment.

Then she pushes herself up, panting.

Both eyes close, and despite the pain, she kneels.

"No, this is not the time. You are absolutely right. At least on that. Save them all? Nagisa-san, as long as this world remains in this filthy state, the there is no hope for anyone. Just keep that in mind." With a deep breath, she stands up. and nods to the little gir. Are there tears in her eyes?

"...If you want to place all your anger on me, go ahead. You...no, all the Puella Magi...if your hatred and fury should crash upon me and be turned to dust, that would be enough. Never change yourself, Nagisa-san. Until then." With a wave, wounded, Miss White fades away in winds of emerald.
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 05:51:55 5360
Mami is getting that Grief Seed. IT'S HERS NOW. She probably needs it too with all of that Gun Kata'ing.

However, she hears Nagisa and that's Bad so she starts trotting over to the smaller puella magi, worry o nher face. "Nagisa-chan?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 05:58:13 5361
"No you don't!" Runealy's fears prove apt. She doesn't know Miss White's underlying motives in going for the Grief Seed. "You stay away from it! They need that!" And so the princess opens fire on Miss White, trying to drive her away with a trio of orbs launched from her wand! One is aimed in the hopes of landing a direct hit, but the others are angled off to the air above the Grief Seed itself; trying to make approaching it dangerous as she lashes out in unison with Hino.

It's only when Hannah goes elsewhere, and Mami secures the seed, that Runealy settles down. She looks over to see Mamoru's friends taking him away, and implications over what just happened with him begin to play out in her mind. Her head lowers, and remains so as Nagisa lashes out. Fighting Witches within their surreal, seemingly impossible 'sub-worlds' is awful enough as it is, but all of this makes it far worse.

And so she stows her wand behind her back, and it 'magnetizes' to the side of her dress' bow. "...Thank you." A tired, quiet remark to Hino. "You were absolutely wonderful out there, and I just wish I could find the right words for that right now. Let's... ...let's go home for now." She's opting to stay neutral in any of the finer points of what's going on among the Puella Magi, and starts to walk away, looking back to see if her friend follows.
Ikiko Hisakata 2015-07-22 06:01:47 5362
It's slow going, but Tsukiko is able to worm her way out of the pile of unconscious bodies. At least the fighting is over!

...or maybe not, as the remaining magical girls start squabbling with each other, blasts being exhanged as sharp words are said.

The wolfgirl looks around, eyes wide. Magical girls can't trust each other? She might have to warn Prism Keeper Orange about this...

She gives Ryo a quick hug, glad that she was able to keep him from entering the tent of horrors. Looking around to make sure there's no fighting around her, she bounds away, intent on getting as far away from this place as she can. Maybe she'll go visit Uminari City, instead...
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 06:06:43 5363
Guardian Hino looks back at Runealy. He just smiles. "You're welcome, Princess. As always." he says as he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He puts his hands clasped in front of him a moment and closes his eyes. He does pause like that for a moment, before he opens his eyes and follows after Runealy.

He listens to the fight between Puella Magi as he frowns. "Is it usually like this with--- Puella Magi?" he asks Runealy quietly as he walks along.

"Why is that other one intent on recruiting people?" he asks.
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 06:09:24 5365
    Nagisa was expecting some resistance, some shouting, or some fists to come her way. Her boiling anger calms to a simmer as her actions and her words seem to break through to Miss White. It's not a worldview changing moment, but if her words got the woman to realize that offering jobs in the middle of a disaster zone was the wrong thing to do it's good enough for her.

    So while she could, technically, attempt to blast some more at she fades away, she simply lowers her trumpet and huffs a little. "Even if you can't save everyone, we could have saved more than we did." She's including herself in the blame this time, too. "All of us could have."

    As the woman starts to fade away in the wind she frowns a little. Never change? She was out of line attacking the woman out of nowhere, she tells herself, so why would Miss White want her to stay the same?

    She jumps down from the platter lid and then all at once they all disappear, revealing the hurt and passed out people beneath them- and even some lifeless bodies.

    She looks around and tries to find Mami before shouting to her, "You have a phone, right? Please call an ambulance, these people need help!" She looks down at the soul gem she grabbed from Miss White's hand, and slowly forces herself to make use of it- it would be stupid not to, and purifies her soul gem with it before putting it safely away.

    And then she'll walk over to one of the bodies- the ones not moving, their heart stilled never to beat again, and begins crying.

    She doesn't know who they are, but she knows to someone this student, only a few years older than her, was the most person in the world.

    And now they're gone.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-07-22 06:15:47 5366
Amidst the barrage from Runealy, Miss White is smart enough to turn aside and take the blow on one arm! Her left arm goes limp from the strike, combined with Hinote's flame upon her back, and the sudden combination is very nearly too much for her ordinary henshin.

Willpower, and an odd concern for Nagisa, push her on.

Nagisa's words hit her. She chuckles, lowly, weakly.

"...The desperate offer as they will. Take that as you desire, Nagisa-san. No. These people would have died regardless. So long as this world's unclean nature remains, so long as the unnatural bonds of magic claim a Puella versus a Magi?" She pauses, before falling backwards just as the witch's labyrinth fades away. A black sedan skids across roads, her own Familiar ready to pull her into his arms.

"You are a better person than I could ever be, Nagisa-san. I just hope this world becomes worthy of someone so innocent and pure as you." It's about then that she passes out, led into the black sedan!
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 06:18:03 5367
Mami looks at Nagisa for a few moments, before she pulls her phone out of hammerspace and clicks it open, her voice quietly reporting the incident down at the park. After a few minutes, she hangs up, sliding her phone back into the storage space she uses for it, before she heads down over to Nagisa, kneeling down next to the other girl.

She touches her shoulder for a brief second, before Mami gives in to her own heart, and she pulls the younger puella magi against her in a hug, still gripping her own saved Grief Seed in one hand, the gem on her hat darkening slightly, the taint of black threatening the yellow soul gem. She doesn't say anything - she doesn't need too.

She's been here before.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 06:20:45 5368
"I don't know what she's after. But... as far as I can tell? Yes. This is what it's like for them." Runealy is deeply unhappy right now, her voice weak and quiet as she stalks off. Like Nagisa, she's hit hard by what happened... but she expresses it differently, containing it for just long enough to walk out of sight, to be out of view when her magical garb disappears ahd she is back to normal. Then the tears flow.

"Sometimes I wonder if I'm right in saying this place can better withstand the damage than we can. I'm starting to think I'm wrong, but... if so, what would that leave us...?"
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 06:24:51 5369
    "They wouldn't have died today," is the only response the young Puella Magi has for Hannah's distain for the world. She's hurting to much to be able to think much about the other stuff right now, though she'll no doubt remember the words.

    When Mami comes over to her she doesn't seem to notice until the hand is put on her shoulder, but when she's hugged she turns into it. Nagisa wraps her arms around the older Puella Magi and hugs tightly, crying against her and taking refuge in whatever comfort she can get that will calm her grieving heart.

    In the face of such tragedy she's grateful for whatever consolation she can get.
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 06:32:47 5370
Mami rocks Nagisa back and forth gently, letting her cry. She remember her first few fights, and she wasn't unlucky enough to get something nasty like this, though. Then again, she was also fighting alone, so.... Mami grimaces slightly, before she stands up, cautiously pulling Nagisa to her feet.

"We can't be here when the emergency people come, but we'll watch til they start coming, okay?" She whispers. "I'm so, so sorry, Nagisa-chan." Mami has a feeling that she screwed up tonight.
Hinote Kagari 2015-07-22 06:37:04 5371
Guardian Hino walks along with the Princess, and when she shifts back out of her Princess Mode, he lets the Guardian Armor fade away. Then Runealy begins to cry. This breaks his heart in two- as if he literarly just felt it crack down the middle. He stops and grabs her shoulder, and then tugs her into a hug. It's a soft hug- that gets tighter for a moment before he releases.

"I can't answer that for you Runealy. But not everyone is a Puella Magi. I wish that I had an answer for you. But I don't. All I can say, is never let your conviction waver. If you second guess it, then it's doomed from the start. Let's get you back to the store. Okay?" he asks, offering his hand. "I think we both need a little rest after this." he says with a small nod.
Runealy Waldia 2015-07-22 06:40:09 5372
Rune stops to let Hino hold her, leaning into his support. It helps, even if it's mostly serving to take the edge off very terrible feelings and thus bringing them up to 'merely' terrible. "...Mm." A faint, agreeing sound. "Even if none of them were, I'd still be wondering about this... but we'll figure it out. ...Back to the store. We're resting." Her words turn near monotone near the end, flatly going along with Hino's advice because she knows he's right, even if she's exhausted on many levels... including emotionally. "You're still really amazing. Some times I don't know if I tell you that often enough..."
Nagisa Momoe 2015-07-22 06:41:31 5373
    Nagisa doesn't feel like leaving, but picks herself up slowly when urged, tears still trickling down her face and staining her cheeks. She nods a little to Mami's words, and then hugs onto her again for a moment.

    She knows the experienced magical girl is right. They won't want to be here to have to try to explain why so many people are lying hurt or dying on the ground, all with signs of having fought each other bloody.

    So she releases the hug shortly after it begins, and allows herself to be led off to somewhere safe. "I am too..." she whispers in reply.
Mami Tomoe 2015-07-22 06:50:24 5374
Mami leads Nagisa off, offering her her hand to hold for the walk. Where they'll go? Likely her apartment. It's time for tea and cake...

... and more tears.