A Puella and a Mage


Hannah finally tracks down Homura Akemi, and the lives of friends are traded.

Date: 2015-06-05
Pose Count: 15
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 01:39:04 1415
Finding the mysterious Homura Akemi has proven a challenge. Even /with/ an intelligent magical friend and search spells, finding someone with a power like hers isn't easy. Thus it is that 'Miss White' has spent much of the night atop buildings searching for hints of that strange magic Homura used.

Instead, what she's found is a familiar. This one happens to be a floating set of armor, complete with a massive pike. Hannah had dropped down into an alleyway at the burst of magic from the being, and is busy ducking, dodging, and slamming her fists into the blade seeking her heart. Between her own magic and the sounds of blade on knuckle, it'd be hard to not notice, at least if you're a mahou.

A brazen stab from the thing, and Hannah moves to the side, this time taking a cut on the cheek to get close enough to grab the haft. Wind magic flares around her free hand, and with a punch, cutting winds slice it apart. The creature doesn't take kindly to that, and hefts the remaining bit of its polearm, and tosses Hannah along with it.

"That should be illegal, youma scum!" She spits out as she goes tumbling into a trashcan. On her feet soon enough, she has a bannana peel on her head and looking /very/ cross.

"...This day has been /horrid/."

The creature charges, getting ready to use its gauntlets to punch at the magess!
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 01:50:58 1416
There's almost no warning before Homura appears. There is, at best, a brief glimpse of black hair and purple eyes as she looks down. The average reaction time for a human is roughly 1.5 seconds, and that's about how long that glimpse lasts. If one weren't paying attention, they'd miss it entirely.

What happens next, however, is almost impossible to miss. A sound like 10 shotguns going off at once, a sillouette of a magical girl standing between Hannah and the Familiar, and ten shots worth of buckshot firing directly against that suit of armor.

Just one shot like that would surely put a stop to a regular human being, charging or no. Let's see what ten of them do to a Familiar.

The shadowy girl exectues a one-handed shotgun pump before taking the large weapon into both hands again, leveling the barrel at the magical creature.

Without turning around, she addresses Hannah, asking, "Are you alright back there? Familiars may not be as strong as witches, but they still aren't to be trifled with."

The voice and shape is easy enough to recognize as Homura Akemi.

"Miss White, was it? Are you hunting for more Witches?"
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 02:06:10 1417
Hannah and Homura alike are soon treated to exactly why plate armor was brought down by the invention of guns. Buckshot rips through the familiar, staggering, before finally crumpling to the ground.

She'd been far too busy to even have a chance at noticing the Puella's arrival, but there's a smile on her face. Just who she was looking for!

"So /that/ is what that was! I thought it seemed different from the Witch. Nothing a bit of magic, some thread and a bath will not cure." Frown. She reaches up, and tosses away that bannana peel that lodged on her head. Raging Tempest runs the last few seconds audibly in Hannah's head. Once again, it's that odd almost impossible movement rate that Hannah can barely conceptualize. It rips out a giddy little giggle.

Then a black, hazey mist begins to billow out of the familiar's armor, and Hannah reacts.

"Coming from your right, I have this one!" She leaves the 'don't shoot me in the back' part out of it.

A step or two in front of Homura, and she swings a leg in an arc. Green wind kicks up, blowing away the smoke, turning it into a minor tornado of magic and the last remnants of the creature. Then, it all fades away.

"...Tricky. Thank you for the assistance, Akemi-san. Oh, no, at least not tonight. The Witch hunting was merely a byproduct of my goal for the evening." She pats a small purse just under her jacket. It's the sound of grief seeds clinking together. Someone's been busy.

"No, actually, it was /you/ I was looking for. I would like some information, if you please. And I am willing to pay. These are very valuable, I understand?" She plucks out one of the seeds as she puts away one of Raging Tempest's knuckles, flicking the black pointy object dextrously in her hand.

"And besides, I am sure you have a question or two of your own if you are as bewildered over the sudden gathering of so many /interesting/ individuals as of late." Magical ones, of course.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 02:26:56 1418
Homura holds her fire as Miss White moves in to finish the beast. There's a reason why Homura usually timestops before shooting. Friendly fire has a way of making magical girls a lot less friendly. The gun vanishes behind her shield, and tilts her head to listen as Hannah explains what she's up to.

"You were looking for me? For information?"

Homura glances over at the purse full of Grief Seeds, the offered fee. How interesting.

"Valuable to me, perhaps. To you, they are nothing but a death trap."

Homura cuts herself off from explaining further. She should probably get those Grief Seeds back. On the other hand, it's not as if she can really stop them from getting their hands on more.

Homura considers a few things. She considers what kind of information Miss White wants. She considers what she'd do with that information if she had it.

"... I can't promise you that I'll answer every question. There are some secrets that are worth far more than any amount of Grief Seeds."

"On the other hand, not everything I know is top secret. Well. You've found me. You want to ask? Then ask."
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 02:37:11 1419
Hannah smirks a little bit. "And that they have value to you, or anyone of your calling, means they have value to me." Counters the woman, voice full of mirth. She leans back against the alley wall.

"Of course, I completely understand. Tell me what you can. Let us see, oh, where /ever/ to begin?" Comes Hannah, drawing it out dramatically. She considers, then nods.

"To put it as simply as possible, I want to know everything you can tell me about Witches, Familiars, Grief Seeds, and those who hunt for the above. Death trap? Oh really? Why is that?"

She brings the Seed to her nose, sniffing rather than looking.

"I can practically smell the magic contained within this. Close enough to taste, almost. These Grief Seeds play coy, I swear!" Another little laugh.

"Exciting! Why do Witches drop these? What do you call yourselves? Those who value these Grief Seeds, I mean. What do you do with them? Do Witches have leaders, at someone's beck and call? Or are they all mere monstrous anomalies like so many other youma? How do they form their barriers and warp reality? Where do Witches come from and why do they create Familiars?" Comes Hannah with a flurry of questions, openly enthusiastic about hearing the answers. The eagerness might be a bit worrying.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 02:59:08 1420
"Supply and demand, huh?" says Homura. "People want it. You can provide it. I have to admit, I've never heard of /anyone/ trying to set up a Grief Seed economy."

She flips her hair, and she listens to the barrage of questions that Hannah pours out. She looks at the Grief Seed that Hannah produces, watching as she sniffs it. She seems rather fond of that.

"Everything I can tell you? Alright."

Homura points to the Grief Seed, and says, "That thing is actually rather safe as long as it remains inert. However, under the right conditions, that Grief Seed will turn back into a Witch. You'll have to fight it all over again. I haven't actually seen what happens if you defeat a Witch the second time, nor do I know if it's as strong as it was he first time. We Puella Magi don't take unnecessary risks with Witches."

"That's what we call ourselves, by the way. Puella Magi."

"As to why those are valuable..." Homura reaches behind her shield and produces a Grief Seed, then she causes a small purple gilded egg, her Soul Gem, to appear in her other hand. Holding them close together causes the darkness to leave the Soul Gem and enter into the Grief Seed.

"They are useful for purifying Soul Gems. They take the darkness into them. However, they can only absorb so much darkness before they hatch into a Witch."

"Witches do not typically have leaders. Not all Witches truly lead their Familiars, either. They really are just monsterous anomalies."

"I'm actually not sure how they form their barriers or warp reality, other than to say it's a result of their magic. As far as I know, Witches don't really have a consciousness with which to control their magic. Instead it's more of a reflection of their emotional state."

"Witches come from Familiars who wander off on their own, kill people, and mature into Witches." Homura strategically leaves out any mention of the /other/ method for creating Witches. "Witches create familiars because... well I'd assume it's instinct. However that's just an assumption. I don't really know."

Homura watches as Hannah gets overly enthusiastic. She has reason to be suspicious of this Miss White, but at the same time this is the kind of information that she has been sharing with people. Homura feels obligated to tell people how to not die when dealing with Witches, so all this information would get around to Miss White eventually.

"You don't seem to be approaching this the same way others might. Most just want to know how to fight Witches. Yet you... you seem to be seeking something else. You want to understand them."
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 03:24:25 1421
Hairflip! Somewhere deep inside, Hannah is utterly envious of such glorious hair and the ability to perform such a cool move. Homura might even pick up on that envious look that flashes through her face for a moment.

She runs a hand through her hair. Curse thee short messy ivory mop!

Hair-insecurities aside, she's all smiles and interest.

Hannah's head tilts as she considers. "Mmm. So then, a Witch can only be temporarily killed. Interesting. What conditions would those be? Time? Do Grief Seeds drain magical energy enough to reform themselves? Can that regenesis be slowed down? Sped up? Halted?"

A small sigh. "Oh? Are Puella Magi an uncurious lot?"

And then Homura produces her Soul Gem. The sightless girl seems to perk up, and then holds out Raging Tempest. The other hand raises in a waving gesture.

"Just a bit of analysis magic! Scout's honor! Area search."

Raging Tempest, in her british female voice, speaks up, "Yes, Mistress!"

Magic flares from that golden knuckle, and green lines spill out around Hannah to cover the alleyway. They seem more concentrated on Homura as she does her magic with the grief seed.

"A soul gem...interesting. Do all Puella Magi possess one?" She can feel magic pulsing.

If anything, Hannah seems like a kid in a candy shop at this point.

"So a Witch is an emotionally driven consciousless anomaly possessing powerful abilities, and a magical object is left behind after their death." She states to herself. Her Device dutifully records.

Then she pauses. There's an odd feeling of dread in her heart.

"Wait. What is a soul gem? I sense magic from that little object of yours." Her tone grows a little worried. She's clearly on the verge of making a connection here.

Then she stiffens. "...I see. So these Familiars must be killed at every opportunity. Alright. I shall slay every one that I find." There's no lost love in her voice. For all her own faults, she can't abide some filthy youma killing and growing up.

Yet, in the back of her mind, a plan begins to form. What if one could capture a witch, and their spawn the familiars?

A deep breath. "Tell me what you can about soul gems. What are they? Why are they able to draw in the magic of a grief seed?"

Hannah leans back, eyes turning to the sky.

"...Oh my. Someone is very, very sharp I see. Mmm. I cannot deny it. I want to understand these creatures. You could...consider me a scholar in some ways. Simply put, I have goals, and knowledge in all things magical can help me reach them."
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 04:03:41 1427
Homura responds to the responses to her answers. On regards to the conditions, Homura just says, "Being filled with darkness generally does it. I've heard that time is a factor, but we Puella Magi tend to stockpile them, so if it's a factor then it's not much of one."

"Puella Magi often risk their lives. It's rare for a Puella Magi to live long enough to learn all there is to know about being a Puella Magi. It's not that we aren't curious, it's just that the cost of experimenting is often too high to risk, and we generally don't learn something by experimentation as much as we do from being unpleasantly surprised."

As Homura's Soul Gem and Grief Seed are scanned, Homura's lips purse together. What can she see there? Homura wonders just how much she can see with her scanning.

"Yes, all Puella Magi possess a Soul Gem. It's a part of the contract that we make when we become magical girls."

Homura considers how to best respond to the magic that Hannah detects from her Soul Gem. Well, of course she'd detect magic from it. "The Soul Gem is the source of a Puella Magi's magical abilities. That's probably the magic you're sensing. We make a trade: One reality-changing wish for a life of fighting Witches. The strength of your wish is limited by your magical potential, but in general you can ask for some miraculous things."

"Oh, but make no mistake," says Homura, with a sudden severity in her voice. Well, more than usual anyways. "Making a wish is to commit yourself to an early grave. Puella Magi live on borrowed time."

In response to slaying familiars, Homura nods. "Some Puella Magi feel differently about killing Familiars, but in general it's better to slay them if you see them wandering around."

Another question about Soul Gems. Homura states, "No that's not qutie right. Magic doesn't flow from the Grief Seed to the Soul Gem. It's the other way around. Darkness is drawn from the Soul Gem and into the Grief Seed. To use a metaphor, the Grief Seed is like a sponge that soaks up despair. As Puella Magi fight, they get hurt, they use their powers, they feel sorrow... Each one of these things causes darkness to enter the Soul Gem. If the darkness ever grows too great... The Puella Magi dies."

It's a half-truth. Technically speaking, the Soul Gem becoming too polluted will cause a magical girl to die. It was the half-truth that Kyubey fed them, when they were still foolish enough to believe him.

In some ways, Hannah reminds Homura of Kyubey. Not that she's particularly sociopathic, but... that curiousity.

Homura's expression probably can't be read by Hannah, but Hannah can probably hear her pacing off to the side before responding. "So you have goals? Well, I assume those goals include staying alive. In that case, be careful. I wont tell you what to do, but know that when you play with things like this, you /are/ playing with fire."

Catching a Witch is easy. You've got a Grief Seed, so you've already caught a Witch. Actually controlling it, however... well, that's the exact kind of thing that Homura would freak out about. Probably best that she doesn't know.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 04:34:49 1431
Hannah sighs a bit. There's a certain amount of sympathy in her eyes for a moment.

She listens, and frowning, speaks.

"...I really want to ask about that 'borrowed time', but I have the feeling that is a question that is too cruel to ask. So I will not. Right, start from the top."

Ahem!

"Puella Magi require the magic from a grief seed or they perish." She pauses, there, and shudders visibly. A gulp. Then, she simply flicks that grief seed in her hand to Homura.

"...I really hate being a curious girl sometimes. Call this one a freebie. Do not do anything stupid like dying, alright?" Comes Hannah, turning, 'glaring' in Homura's general direction. She calms down after a deep breath.

A wish for a lifetime of fighting. Hannah's sadness turns to anger, clenching her Device hard as every muscle in her body tenses at once. Teeth grit, and she lets out a breath of a 'hmph!' when she finally lets go.

"So pure fighting in exchange for a single wish? What a sour deal. 'Miracle'? Please! So long as..." She pauses, catching herself, and lets out another breath.

"This world will not allow anything like a 'miracle'. That is what I believe. Not the way it is. So Puella Magi are slaves to Grief Seeds, at the cost of their lives otherwise?" If she was about to make a connection, her better part takes control.

"If you play with fire, bring a fire extinguisher. That is part of why I wanted to find you, Akemi-san. To figure out what I need to hold before delving too deeply. I am getting an idea."

Another pause, and then a nod to the girl.

She smiles a bit. "If I die, then I betray a lot of people. Simple as that. I am a bit more worried about you." A tilt of Hannah's head.

"...For a mage that supposely lives a short life, you really do know a lot. I wonder why? Do not answer that. A secret, perhaps? Heh. I hope to learn more about you, and that /wonderful/ ability of yours, Akemi-san! Mmm. Not teleportation...ah, but nevermind." Hannah waves a hand in front of herself.

"I have no desire to use something like a 'wish' to accomplish my dreams. I have bled and sweated and suffered enough already, that I can do no less than gain what I want with my own will, strength, and actions. A 'contract' can burn in the fires of the abyss for all I care."

Hannah reaches into her pocket, and pulls out a card. It has the number to a burner phone.

"I think we have a number of intersecting goals, however. Such as the familiars, killing Witches...well, anyone outside of the realm of magic should not be hurt or become involved, I think. So if you need help, and it does not get in my way? Call me. I do not have your level of acceleration ability, but my fists make up for it in power, I think!" A smile here, and a nod.

Then a shrug. "Or if you just need someone to talk to. I will not claim to be innocent, here. I have many a sin. But I try to be a woman of my word. So if you want to vent those non-magical frustations? I have an ear. Consider me a slightly 'shifty' friend, hmm?" There's an honest smile here. Hannah wouldn't go so far as to betray an every-day life.

Then she tosses the coinpurse of grief seeds.

"Payment more than well earned, Akemi-san. So! Any questions on your end?" She waves Raging Tempest about for a moment.

"Or should I begin introductions for your sake?"
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 05:01:03 1435
Homura catches the Grief Seed. Normally she'd reject such kindness from a magical girl, but there's no reason why Miss White would ever need this as much as Homura does.

This world wont allow a miracle? Well, actually, Homura has something to say about that.

"You're absolutely right. Miracles are not of this world. Bringing something like a miracle into the world necessitates an equal and opposite tragedy. It's certainly a sour deal. If only we were all so wise."

What does that say about Homura herself? She clearly made such a deal. Yet, by her own admission she condemns her own actions.

"Yet there are some things a person would give their life for, even if they had to cheat reality in order to achieve it. I don't regret the wish I made, but I've seen some... truly regretable wishes."

As Hannah wonders how Akemi knows so much, Akemi keeps it silent. She's been a Puella Magi for roughly two years, but despite being 14 it's not like she started when she was 12. Something like that would be a little too complicated.

Homura accepts the phone number. She considers, for a moment, giving Hannah her real number, but a disposable phone recently came into her possession. Despite Homura's wariness, Hannah's attitude is one she respects. Yet, despite Hannah's likeability, trust is a rare and closely-guarded commodity. She gives Hannah the disposable phone number.

"I will need your help one day. A powerful Witch is coming, Walpurgisnacht, and I am... gathering magical warriors for the cause of fighting and defeating it. Rest assured that you very much have a stake in that fight, as Walpurgisnacht is powerful enough that it doesn't need to hide in a Labyrinth, and like any Witch she'll destroy anything she sees. She could probably wipe out all of Tokyo if left unchecked."

"... but that's a ways off. If you're interested in helping, prepare for that."

In response to the 'slightly shifty friend' comment, Homura stares at Hannah and gives her a flat toned voice. "I do consider you that. I also think you can handle yourself in a fight just fine. I agree that normal people shouldn't be dragged into this. It's not their fight."

"I'm not one to vent, but let's keep in touch. I think we can benefit eachother a lot in the long run."

Homura ponders for a moment if she has questions. She has plenty! Yet she doubts that the girl before her has answers to most of the important ones. "Just one qeusiton. Since you don't use a Soul Gem, how do you get your magic? I don't expect a full answer, but I would like to know, especially if it's safer than the Puella Magi method."
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 05:23:16 1438
Hannah sighs at Homura's initial words. A shake of the head.

"Wisdom always comes at the cost of innocence. Speaking bluntly? You strike me as someone who has suffered greatly. So not matter the method that you have gained your wisdom? That you offer it in turn is a good thing. I have ambitions, but not enough that I enjoy suffering from others. An honorable woman holds some scrap of virtue, I think."

A shrug here. Wishes that people would give their lives for. If not for Raging Tempest, she could almost see the temptation.

Hannah's body goes slack for a moment.

"A Puella of the Wise who has seen too much. That is what I gather from your words, Akemi-san. Well, I shall say this much. 'Wishes' are something I shall steer those I care for away from."

The number is taken, and then she listens.

A Witch powerful enough to destroy Tokyo. The mere thought has Hannah's fists clenching and pure fury riding on her face. She trembles in pure anger, that such thing should be possible, as though the very thought is anathema to herself and her 'goals'.

"...Give me a call. Any day, any night, whatever. Anything like that? It should not exist. I will CRUSH such a thing if my feeble strength should allow it!" Comes Hannah, some part of Homura's words hitting upon something so very core to her being.

Then she relaxes a bit. A nod. It seems they're on the same page.

Hannah raises her goldne knuckle and smiles.

"Right! Introductions."

Raging Tempest pipes up.

"Good evening. My name is Raging Tempest!" Comes the femininse voice from Hannah's Device.

"Akemi-san, meet Raging Tempest, my partner. I am a 'mage', a girl possessed of magic. My 'partner' is Raging Tempest, an Intelligent Device...a 'focus' for the magical potential within myself, as well as a living partner that allows me to cast spells and fight for my desires." Then, she shrugs.

She cannot, of course, reveal where she obtained Raging Tempest. Such would betray the Professor she owes so much.

"...A less sour deal, I am afraid." There's guilt in her voice. She honestly feels bad for a Puella Magi.

"But I cannot turn aside opportunity, as it stands."
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 05:39:05 1441
Homura watches Hannah's reaction to Walpurgisnacht and other things. Hannah and Homura have a lot in common, and she isn't wrong about Homura having spent a lot of time suffering. She decides on an explaination that doesn't give away too much.

"In roughly two months, I will have been a Puella Magi for 2 years."

Sort of. 22 cycles, each cycle a month, that roughly means 22 months, unless Homura has her math wrong. One or two cycles may have been cut short. She deosn't remember.

"I know a lot because I've seen a lot. I don't know any Puella Magi who has survived as long as I have."

On the subject of Walpurgisnacht, Homura nods. "Good. I'll tell you when I have more details. Destroying that thing is going to be necessary, for a lot of us."

Homura turns her attention to the Intelligent Device as it speaks to her. "Hello Tempest-san, I'm Homura Akemi."

Homura turns back to Hannah before continuing, "I too have a loved one whom i wish to steer away from wishes and contracts. Yet, she wants to be a magical girl. If I can't convince her to stay out of this world... giving her a less terrible alternative might be what I have to do."

Homura doesn't ask outright, but she does mention it as a possible motivation. After all, if this Miss White is willing to pay her for things... Something like that could potentially be worth more to her than any amount of Grief Seeds.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 06:00:03 1444
Hannah rubs her hand amidst her hair, and frowns.

"...You speak as one who can see the future." Comes the woman, shaking her head. %r Then two hands come up in the air in frustration.

"It does not matter, in some ways, why you know so much. Only the end result. Well. You sound honest, so..."

A deep sigh from Hannah.

Hannah nods, and then, takes a powerful leap to the roof of the nearby alleyway.

So Homura cares for a friend. Enough to suffer and bleed. Hannah closes her eyes, and turns away upon that rooftop.

"...This being that threatens us all? Well, you do not strike me as a liar. So I shall assume your words as truth. You have my strength, such as it is." A pause here.

Hannah waves a hand non-chalantly.

"Give me a name. And I swear upon my life, I will protect them and absolve them from my own ambitions." Comes Hannah absolutely. For a brief moment, she smiles.

"...I only ask, that you shall absolve the name 'Ao Karina' from this magical world." A smile here.

"Agreed? My life for Ao's in the face of this 'Walpurgisnacht'? Agreed?" She lingers here, awaiting an answer."
Homura Akemi 2015-06-05 06:10:29 1446
Homura considers Hannah's observation. Well, Homura actually /has/ seen the future, several times in fact. They were different futures, and they were futures of timelines very different from this one.

"I wish I could be more honest, but some things must never be known."

At the promise of Hannah's strength, Homura says, "Alright. I'll be counting on you. Whatever your... other friends want, I'm sure it concerns them as well. You'll know that I speak the truth when you see the Walpurgisnacht. Before that, I require no commitments from you. Think of it as another club."

At the mention of Hannah's friend, Ao Karina, Homura pauses. Well, so here's someone who can understand her motivations.

"Madoka Kaname. If you don't bring harm to her, then we will have no problems. I'll also watch out for your... Ao Karina, and never drag her into the horrors we've seen."

"Agreed. We'll fight against Walpurgisnacht, and we won't bring harm to eachother's loved ones. Your terms are perfectly acceptable."
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-05 06:22:59 1448
Madoka Kaname. Hannah Sharpe nods.

"...'Some things must never be known.'. Fair enough. She can appreciate words like that.

A swift smile atop that roof.

"Like I said, only reveal what you can. I know that some simply must keep secrets for their own purposes. I accept that." A small shrug.

Ao's safety is accepted, and Madoka's in turn. Hannah offers an honest, almost pure smile at Homura's words.

"Alright. Madoka Kaneme, is it? Good. I will offer my life for this girl, as you offer such for Ao-chan's." A solemn nod here, and her sightless eyes stare into Homura's, full of purpose.

"I wish I could offer more assurances. But that is all I have, my word, I mean. Good luck, Akemi-san, as far as Madoka-san's life goes. I will do what I can." A final solem nod, and then she's gone as she leaps across buildings.

"...I want this world in one piece for my goals. And the people I love. Good luck, Akemi-san." One final nod, and then the mage is off!