In The Woods

Madoka, Homura, and Chisato go into Aokigahara, to find the location of Kana Ishii's Witch. What they find is a familiar, and not the original, but it will help them prepare for the real thing. Kyubey manages to leave with the same body he arrived with.

Date: 2018-09-29
Pose Count: 16
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 02:13:45 98370
    It's a beautiful day at Mt. Fuji. The sky is clear, the birds are singing, and everything is overall quite peaceful. Yet, even on a day like this, something sinister is underfoot, and in a place like this, sometimes even the non-magical can sense it.

    The woods on the side of Mt. Fuji, opposite of Tokyo, are legendary, and not in a good way. Aokigahara, otherwise known as the 'suicide woods', are where many a despairing japanese have gone off to... well... actually it's best not to think about it.

    Either way, these woods have a dire legend surrounding them, and hiding behind that ancient legend is a 30 year old Witch and its familiars. It's that Witch that Madoka, Chisato, and Homura have come to find.

    Homura's Corvette was a two-seater, which made it unsuitable for this drive. Instead, they are here in a Salamander company car, a relatively small four-seater which was fairly easy to borrow from her father once Homura explained that she wanted to go on a drive with her mother and fiance. She never mentioned where they were going, and Suoh Akemi, for whatever reason, never asked.

    Chisato parks the car in a small parking lot off the side of the road. It's the kind of thing that tourists use to take a short break to stretch their legs and take pictures. Today, it's empty, at least for right now. Homura leaves the car and walks to the edge of the parking lot, putting a foot on the curb and looking off into the woods. Chisato gets out of the driver's side and follows her.

    Homura gives her mother a sideways glance. "So... she's in there?"

    "... yeah. According to Kyubey, she should still be in those woods."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 02:31:50 98373
    Despire the dangerous reason for heading out into the forest Madoka rather enjoyed the ride, sitting behind Homura. She'd asked her fiance to roll her window down for air, but the real reason was so she could watch her long silky hair get blown by the wind.

    A very enjoyable ride, indeed.

    Once they pull over though her demeanor changes a little, somewhat more serious and cautious. As Homura walks over to the edge of the parking lot Madoka peers into the woods from where she is, scanning the treeline for immediate threats. She doesn't see any but the fact they have Chisato with them to protect has her wanting to be ready to act at a moments notice.

    "Homura-chan," she calls quietly while approaching the veteran Puella. Pink magic sparkles around her until it covers her entire form, only to glitter away as her clothes are replaced with her pink, white and yellow dress.

    "Kyubey wouldn't lie to us directly, so I'm sure she's here. She wouldn't stay for so long only to leave so abruptly without reason. Witches are creatures of habit," she notes. "It's a big forest though, it might take us a while to find her, especially if she's trying to hide."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 02:46:54 98376
    Homura notices her pretty fiance henshining and follows suit, letting purple Puella magic wash over her and change into her more armored form.

    "It might," she admits, "but it also might have grown arrogant due to its successes, or it might react to my mother being here. Either way, Madoka-chan, it might be best to hide your real power until we find it. We don't want it to run away."

    Chisato looks down at the ground. She's clearly bothered, but she's not saying why. Homura takes her hand. "Mom, you know I'm willing to obey you in every other situation. I'm not trying to be rebellious or obstinate. However, from this point on, you must follow my instructions. Madoka-chan and I have a lot more experience than you, and if we're going to keep you alive through this then you need to listen to us."

    Chisato turns a litlte pale, then gulps. "I... I understand. I'll listen." Her wide eyes turn towards the woods, a little bit terrified of what awaits them.

    "I need you to hold my hand for now. We can't afford to split up."


    Homura watches her mother's expression closely, and once she's satisfied that her mother understands she silently offers her opposite hand to Madoka. Her fiance doesn't require the same level of protection but... well... Homura wouldn't be surprised if she wanted to hold hands at least for a bit.

    Whether or not Madoka takes the offered hand, Homura and Chisato both climb over the railing and start heading into the woods. There's a tense few moments of silence between them. When Homura speaks, Chisato just about jumps out of her skin. "So, did you ever find out more about Kana?"

    "W-what?! Oh! Um... yeah. I went to her parent's house. They still had her diary. It was... it was pretty crazy near the end. She kept talking about her... her sister."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 03:30:48 98381
    Madoka nods to Homura, "I don't intend to use any magic unless I need to, but with your mother here I want to make sure I can if I do." More importantly she wants Homura to have her shield ready to timestop at the drop of a hat, because there's no better way of protecting someone than freezing any would-be attackers in their tracks.

    Homura holding her mother's hand is rather cute, though the reasoning behind it is obvious to Madoka. "This might be very dangerous," she agrees with Homura's warning, "but as long as we stay sharp and you stay with Homura-chan it should be fine. We're used to very dangerous."t

    She smiles a little and walks up to take Homura's hand, giving it a little squeeze with gloved fingers. She does, however, hold that hand a little behind herself as she hops the railing and enters the woods, intending to take point as best she can. After all, walking three abreast would be quite a bit harder than moving in a line unless they intended to hack down the underbrush.

    On the edge of the forest some light still breaks through the trees and for a brief moment there are a pair of glowing red eyes up in the branches, only for the bright form of Kyubey to come into view as their perspective shifts. "Kana Ishii was very concerned for her sister. It isn't surprising she wrote much about her near the end."

    Kyubey seems to have decided to come along despite having skipped the car ride over. Not surprising since he dislikes waste and being pitched out a window at full speed would likely require a replacement body. He jumps down and lands on Madoka's shoulder, giving her a start followed by a little sigh.

    "Are you here to do something other than harass us, Kyubey?" she asks, worried more for Chisato and Homura's sake than her own.

    "I am very interested in finding out if your impossible ability to bring Homura Akemi back after becoming a Witch is will also succeed for Kana Ishii." He gives a cant of his head and closes his eyes in a way that might have been cute if not for the fact those present knew better than to trust him, "Aside from that, don't you think it would be helpful if you knew the difference between Kana Ishii and one of her familiars before you entered a Labyrinth?"

    "You can tell the difference, Kyubey?" Madoka asks, peeking over at him out of the corner of her eye.

    "Of course! It's an easy thing for an Incubator. It was fascinating to learn that you could not. I suppose before you there was never a reason for a Puella Magi to need to know the difference."

    "And you didn't tell me this when I was trying to find a way because..." Madoka's voice trails off and Kyubey helpfully completes the thought.

    "You never asked." His tail swishes behind himself as Madoka walks through the forest, making her way a fallen log and past some overgrown bushes. "I just don't understand you humans sometimes. Even if you feel an antagonistic attitude towards me isn't it much easier with my help?"
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 03:52:51 98388
    Homura is more than happy to let Madoka take point, if only because it means that she can keep an eye on her. Like this, a simple quick timestop would pull both Madoka and Chisato into it, meaning that this is right where Homura wants to be. If Madoka happens to find that cute, well, it's not like Homura minds if her little angel adores her. Chisato follows behind the two magical girls, taking Homura's earlier advice to heart.

    Homura can feel the tenseness in Chisato's hands when Kyubey shows up. Daughter turns to mother and says, "Don't."

    "I wasn't going to!" defends Chisato.

    Homura gives her a wry look and then turns her gaze forward, listening to Kyubey without looking at him. Madoka asks the real question, and Kyubey gives an answer that Homura didn't expect, though she probably should.

    Chisato mumbles, though as close as everyone is they can all probably hear her. "So... we have to hang around that thing the whole time?"

    "It can't be helped. It's useful to us," responds Homura, before glaring at Kyubey coldly. "That's what you do, right? Keep us around as long as we're useful? Fair's fair."

    Chisato turns towards Kyubey with a frown. Of all the things that scare her, Kyubey isn't one of them. That thing has already done its worst. "Did you know?" After a moment, she clarifies, "Did you know that Aiko Kana wasn't even a real person? That she was just some kind of monster?"

    The elder Akemi closes her eyes and looks away, "Kana-chan cared so much about her. Aiko-san was doing horrible things, but Kana-chan didn't want to believe that her own flesh and blood could be so cruel. Then, to find out that her heart had been tricked... that her sister wasn't even real..."

    "You know, I asked her parents about Aiko-san. They had no idea who she even was. They didn't even remember her. I didn't even remember her until I read the journal."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 04:22:56 98394
    Kyubey at least knew better than to land on Homura or Chisato's shoulder.

    As Homura glares at him turns his head around to look at her with his all too familiar red eyes, "I certainly don't needlessly waste resources to cause you minor hindrances." After the verbal sparring he gives a more reasonable answer, "You seem to be under the impression I want to see you die as expediently as possible, but that isn't the case at all."

    His head cants again, this time in confusion, "You surprise me, Homura Akemi. Haven't I told you before that I don't seek to expend the lives of Puella Magi unless it's towards some greater purpose? You have spoken often of your many timeloops. Did you ever know me to intentionally lead Mami Tomoe into a situation where she would learn the truth of Witches to drive her mad? She would most certainly die, but she's far more useful to me alive."

    He's speaking in that tone that's almost condescending in nature, "I take no joy in your deaths, and though you might not believe me I do try to be respectful towards you as living, sentient creatures, which is more than I can say for most of your race. If I was as cruel as you say I would disappear entirely after your contract is made and leave you clueless as to how to purify your soul gems."

    Madoka is for the most part navigating through the forest, making her way carefully while keeping both her eyes and her magical senses looking around for any signs of witches or familiars. That doesn't mean she's not listening to the conversation at all, "That doesn't mean you don't take advantage of us when it suits you, Kyubey. If you'd ever trick us how are we supposed to believe you when we can't be sure if our deaths would suit you?"

    Kyubey swishes his tail again, "Your deaths wouldn't suit me at all right now, Madoka Kaname. I want to find out how far your ability to create Puella Magi from Witches goes, and keeping Homura Akemi alive is important to keep you from becoming a Witch yourself!"

    As Chisato looks to him and asks her question Kyubey hops off Madoka's shoulder, walking alongside Chisato while looking up to her. "Seeing through the disguise of the creature that called itself Aiko Kana was a simple matter for an Incubator. It didn't even have a soul!"

    He runs up ahead a dozen or so meters and turns around, sitting down on a tree stump, "You humans are so fond of your emotions, but look how easily you can be fooled into loving a monster. I don't understand why you're mad at me about this either, Chisato Akemi. If you read her diary you should have realized if she hadn't made a contract with me Kana Ishii would have just ended up being eaten by her 'sister' just like all the others once it was done playing around. At least this way her death served a purpose by combating entropy!"
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 04:43:30 98395
    "Isn't that what you did to Nagisa-chan?" shoots back Homura. "Poor little child didn't even know how important those Grief Seeds were until I told her. She gave her first prize away to Kyouko without even the slightest clue of why it mattered. I've no objections to helping out a small child, but I really don't enjoy cleaning up your messes."

    Chisato frowns at Kyubey, glares at him for a moment, and then sighs. "Well, considering that her wish was to find out the truth, it seems like you could've just told her... but I'll agree on one point. It wouldn't have made a difference. She would still have to become a magical girl and she would still have to obliterate that monster."

    Chisato looks down at the ground, not really looking where she's going because she's trusting her daughter and future daughter-in-law to guide her through the woods. She firmly grips Homura's hand, though she's a little disturbed. No matter how hard her grip, Homura never seems to even be slightly uncomfortable. It's strange, seeing her once frail little girl be so... solid.

    "It wasn't even her fake sister that caused her to Witch. Once she knew the truth, that monster meant nothing to her, and when her parents forgot about Aiko she considered the matter closed. What happened after was what got her."

    "Her powers started opening her mind to horrible truths. She learned about where Witches came from and mentioned what the Incubators goals were, but after awhile she stopped writing down her discoveries. There were things in this world too terrible to mention, and she didn't want to spread the knowledge that she knew was corrupting her soul gem."

    "'I want to know the truth. No matter how horrible, I want to know the truth.' I suppose she got what she wished for." Chisato looks pale, almost sick.

    It's around this place that the forest seems to... change. So strong is the power of death here that even the trees have died. There are no leaves on the ground, just barren dirt where nothing grows. A bit further in, and there are ropes in the trees. Not nooses, more like decorations, tied in strange loose knots.

    Chisato finally looks up, and around. "We must be getting close. I remember that it happened just a bit further ahead..."

    "I feel it," interrupts Homura. "It's just up ahead. It's... coming right for us."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 05:06:31 98396
    "Nagisa Momoe didn't want to take advice from me." Not after what he'd done to her, at least. "Of course I would have told her once she had a Grief Seed. It really was thoughtless of her to give it away so easily." Kyubey turns his back and walks ahead of the three again, "I never meant to leave a mess to clean up in any case, that one should never have made it more than an hour as a Puella Magi. If you want to blame anyone, blame the ones who prevented her from becoming a Witch."

    Madoka is giving him another slightly cold, annoyed look as she had the other day in the Tatami room. "Do you grant wishes you know will immediately result in the deaths of the wishers often, Kyubey?" she asks in deadpan sarcasm, only to immediately realize her mistake. "Wait, don't answer that, I don't want to know."

    "As you wish, Madoka Kaname."

    With Chisato paying less attention to where she's going Madoka takes a slightly more winding path through the forest, avoiding larger obstacles that need navigating around. It slows their progress a little, but really they don't have a specific destination in mind and moving about technically means a slightly wider area searched.

    Madoka frowns a little as Chisato explains what happened to Kana's mind, "Can you remember any of the specifics that she was worried about, Akemi-san? There are so many dangers in this world, but the number of magical heroes protecting it would likely surprise her as well. Something she might have thought was certain doom... well, we've faced threats like that and made it through before."

    The scenery started to change and Madoka can feel the same thing Homura can. It doesn't entirely surprise her that a powerful Witch that had faced down and killed many Puella Magi would be so bold, but as she's about to tell Chisato to get ready to call out to Kana she's beaten by Kyubey.

    "This is one of Kana Ishii's familiars," he sounds almost bored. "It isn't as powerful as she is, but it's had plenty to eat and is quite strong. It might be a nuisance for you, but it will still produce a Grief Seed."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 05:35:31 98397
    Homura frowns at Kyubey. Blame the ones who prevented her from becoming a Witch? She gnashes her teeth at him for a moment, but doesn't respond to that. "The last thing I want is for that little girl to Witch." Homura doesn't mention the reason why that is. If people want to assume that it's because Nagisa was young, which is at least half the reason, then she'll allow them to assume that.

    Chisato's expression at Madoka's question is a sort of thoughtful frown that Homura's fiance might find familiar. After a moment, she shook her head. "She only mentioned that she didn't want to talk about them. The words 'lovecraftian' and 'apocalypse' were mentioned... I don't know. From what Homura-chan tells me the world gets threatened every so often, often by things that the non-magical can't even see. It's hard to say what potential apocalypse she saw that terrified her so. All I know for sure is that she felt truly hopeless."

    The Witch is approaching, and Homura is on her guard. Kyubey might seem bored, but Homura interjects, "It's fine. We need to kill it anyways. We can't suffer them to live, and it'll give us a preview of what to expect."

    Almost immediately the Witch is upon them. It doesn't wait for them to enter its Labyrinth. It draws the four of them into it. The inside of the Labyrinth... looks like a total nightmare.

    It's a forest, much like Aokigahara where they just were, but very different in a way that only a Labyrinth could ever be. The trees look like they were cut out of thick paper and pasted onto reality. The sky is endless black, a night with no stars. All around them is a strange cat-like rowring... no, more like a million cats coming from all directions, each of them sounding vaguely threatening. Chisato draws closer to Homura, who in turn is looking in every direction for the Witch.

    Peeking out from behind the trees, in every direction, are strange faces that look almost human, but distorted beyond recognition. Hollow eyes with hollow mouths on pale skin, each of them watching the two Puella and their companions. As they draw closer, Chisato clings to Homura, "Make them stop!"

    "Mom, we need to see what they do!"

    "B-but... I'm scared!"

    Homura glances back at her, stops time, and draws both mother and fiance into the timestop with her. The familiars surround them, frozen. Homura shrugs. "Whatever. We can look for the Witch this way, too. ... Where is it, anyways?"

    Chisato points up, mouth agape. What she's pointing at is the paradoxical sun up in the bleak, empty night sky. The sun is shining brightly, wearing a happy, joyful mask. Yet, as joyful as it looks, there's something sinister in its smile. One wonders what lies beyond that mask. They might not find out today.

    "Madoka-chan, this might be as much as we can learn today. Should we just end it?"
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 05:53:51 98408
    "We already know that you and I want very different things, Homura Akemi."

    Kyubey seems entirely nonplussed as the Witch rushes at them and draws them into it's Labyrinth. He can escape at a moments notice, and generally speaking there's only been one Witch that ever bothers threatening him directly in the first place.

    Once inside the Labyrinth Madoka is quick to take stock, holding her hand out and forming her bow in it as the familiar's approach, not yet loosing any arrows towards them. Chisato gets scared and Madoka feels a pang of sympathy for her, knowing it must be terrifying. It's not like she's completely immune to the horror of so many creatures rushing in to kill her either, it's more that she's experienced enough to know that panicking will only get her killed.

    "It's okay, Homura-chan," Madoka replies as time freezes around them, Kyubey and everything else along with it. "There are other Witches like this, and we should deal with them before we try to reach Kana-chan. Now that Kyubey is giving us an easier way we can do that sometime when your mom is safe." She looks over to Chisato and gives her a small smile.

    She blinks a little at the expression on the woman's face, turning her head up and seeing... what is undoubtedly the Witch. A little shiver of revulsion runs over her, knowing the monster above is little more than a thoughtless killer. This type of Witch she has no sympathy for whatsoever.

    A nod is given to Homura along with a serious expression, "There's no reason to give it a chance to hurt us. We can find out the ways it attacks and uses it's familiars later, so let's just be efficient about this."

    Another small smile towards Chisato, looking friendly once again, "Don't worry, Akemi-san. The next thing you know you'll be completely safe." Her head tilts upwards and the rose atop her bow blooms and flares with magic, "Homura-chan, let go of Akemi-san and rest your hand on my back, okay?"
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 06:20:25 98422
    Homura doesn't respond to Kyubey further. His words provide a suitable enough end to that conversation.

    When time freezes and Madoka responds, Homura gives her a silently grateful smile. Despite her coldness, Homura understands well her mother's fears, and it isn't really fair to expect her to have the resolve of a hardened warrior. "Right... Mom, you don't need to see this. Just close your eyes, okay?"

    Chisato nods, and then releases Homura's hand, joining the rest of the time-frozen scenery. Homura then moves closer behind Madoka, and gives her cheek a little kiss. "Not yet. I need some setup time. I still intend to get intel from this fight."

    She hugs Madoka-chan tightly from behind, then whispers, "I'll be back before you know it."

    When she releases Madoka, she... almost immediately is pushing against her back? Well, not that immediately, because there are so many bullets in the air that they almost make up for the lack of stars in the sky, and scattered all around are several camera drones, some which observe the familiars and others which are pointed straight at the false sun Witch. Chisato, specifically, is surrounded by a shelter made of riot shields. Homura whispers into Madoka's ear, "Whenever you're ready, my little angel."

    At the appropriate moment, time resumes, and all of those bullets fly towards their chosen destinations. Some fly into the barely-human Familiars, which explode from the impact of HV rounds. Others fly towards the Sun Witch, tearing huge cracks into its mask and forcing it upwards from the impacts alone.
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 06:30:36 98424
    Madoka is a little surprised by the kiss to her cheek, blushing and giggling. She leans back against Homura as she's hugged from behind, enjoying the moment with no regard for their surroundings. There's hardly anywhere safer or more private than frozen time, after all.

    Of course Homura is back before she knows it, because for her Homura's hand returns the same moment it leaves. She takes a moment to look around at all the bullets in the air as well as the camera drones, giggling a bit more, "Good idea, Homura-chan. You're right, there's a lot we can learn even from this."

    Rather than firing straight at the witch as she intended she uses a bit of magic to fire some arrows at the familiars as well, including one large explosive one into a large grouping. Finally she aims skyward charging three shots and sending them streaking upward, somewhat dulled as they freeze in place not that far from her bow.

    Time resumes and the arrows impact familiars while the explosive one detonates. In the same moment the three arrows impact the Sun Witch one after another, the first one hitting and damaging it while the latter two pierce straight through it as the creature explodes and dissolves as the magic that binds it together is broken.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 06:43:56 98426
    Later on, when they review the footage, they'll see the way the familiars scatter into parts as they explode from gunfire and magical arrows. Later on, they'll see the strange goop that the tiny creatures, no larger than a human baby, leave behind. Later on, they'll see the way the trees lift up out of the ground in a futile attempt to block the relentless assault. Later, they'll see the Sun Witch's mask crack, revealing an endless dark void underneath.

    For now, though, they don't see any of that.

    They don't see any of that because all around them is violence and fire, flashes of magic and the bangs of the sound barrier being broken as easily as dry, rotted wood. The drones are so positioned and so numerous that at least some of them will catch something, but it will take awhile for them to sort through the footage.

    What they might see is glimpses of what is happening around them, how easily the Witch falls to their attack, and how defenseless the familiars are before it. By the time Chisato opens her eyes, the Barrier is already gone, and they are ejected into the real world. The Grief Seed falls into Chisato's hands, and she looks at it.

    "The tip... it looks like a magnifying glass... it reminds me of Kana-chan's Soul Gem." She stares at it, blinking, then suddenly startles as she remembers where she is. She extends her hand, offering the Grief Seed to Madoka and Homura. "U-um... Here, you probably want this. Can we... can we just leave?" Chisato looks around nervously.

    Homura silently grabs Chisato's hand, and then Madoka's. She glances back at Kyubey. "We're done here for today, but we'll be calling on you later. With any luck, we won't lose any more Puella to this Witch... or her offspring."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 06:54:33 98428
    Madoka releases her bow and rather than falling it simply disappears. She'll look over to Chisato and nod, "We have what we came for. We should be able to scout the rest without putting you in danger." And maybe more importantly subjecting her to the horrors of a Witch's Labyrinth, never mind the forest itself.

    As Homura tells Kyubey they're done and implies he's no longer needed he jumps up onto one of the tree branches, perhaps disturbingly right above one of the dangling ropes. "I'll be there when you need me. I suppose I should thank you for not wasting one of my bodies when you had the chance. It's good that you take hunting seriously, it only takes one mistake to end the life of a Puella, even a powerful veteran."

    Kyubey steps behind the trunk of the tree and is gone.

    Walking over to Homura, Madoka takes her hand, figuring there's no reason not to be safe even if the path back to the car is likely clear. She leaves the Grief Seed for Homura to take, given her infinite storage capacity. "Thanks for coming with us, Akemi-san. I know it must be difficult for you to have to remember all of this again. It means a lot to me though, to be able to try and save Kana and give her a new chance at life."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-29 07:06:20 98430
    Homura glares up at Kyubey. She's not going to waste one of his bodies this time, no. She knows that's futile. When he's gone, she mutters. "Of course he doesn't take pleasure in our deaths. That would be a feeling." She takes the offered Grief Seed, and puts it into her shield before re-grabbing Chisato's hand. She doesn't move to leave right away, instead keeping an eye on her mother to see if she's alright.

    Chisato, still, is shaking somewhat. She looks wide-eyed at Madoka, then looks away. "I... I shouldn't have come. I'm just holding you back, I---"

    "Stop that. We needed you, and we still do." Homura cuts her off. Her tone of voice makes it clear that won't allow such pointless negativity or panic in a situation like this. "We have what we came for. Let's go. Mom, even if you don't come with us next time, you should review the footage so that you know what to expect when we take care of the real thing."

    She nods at Homura, and then looks at Madoka. "Do you... do you really think you can save her? I mean... it's been so long."

    She's still shaking, and after a moment she releases Homura's hand... to throw her arms around Madoka. "Thank you! Thank you... for killing that Witch and protecting me, for always looking after my daughter, and for trying to save Kana-chan. I... without you two here I wouldn't know what to do."

    Homura glances between Madoka and Chisato, and then places a hand on her mother's back. "Come on, Mom. You'll feel better when we get out of this creepy place."

    Chisato nods, releases Madoka, stands up straight and then takes Homura's hand again. "I'm ready. Let's just go."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-29 07:17:47 98432
    "Eheheh..." comes the slightly nervous laughter from Madoka as Homura speaks after Kyubey leaves. She's not wrong. Not really.

    She's also just as quick to try and cut off Chisato's negativity, though she takes a different route than Homura. "You're not holding us back at all, Akemi-san! We needed you here to see how they reacted to you, and how you reacted to the Witch and Labyrinth. It must feel like you were too scared to do anything, but you didn't run away from us. It might not seem like much, but even being able to take directions in that kind of situation means a lot when you don't have magic."

    It's true Homura could just stop time, but if Chisato had broken and ran at the mere sight of the Witch and it's familiars there wouldn't be much hope of saving Kana Ishii.

    To Homura's question Madoka nods, "I do, and you know why?" A small hand gesture to Chisato, "Because even after all these years she still has a friend who cares deeply about her and what happens to her."

    She blinks with surprise as Chisato hugs her, smiling gently when she recovers and reaching up to gently pat the back of her mother-in-law to be. "You're welcome, Akemi-san. It means a lot to me that you care." When Chisato starts to pull away Madoka will look into her eyes, "Being able to protect and save people is why I wanted to be a magical girl, so thank you for showing me how important it is."