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Puella magi Rika Magica (when the magical girls cry)

Chapter Text

I cannot quench your thirst

Because even if you yearn for the truth, you refuse to believe in it.

I cannot quench your thirst

Because no such truth exists that you are in anticipation for.

But I still want to quench your thirst

Because I am the one that put you into the desert.

---Frederica Bernkastel

.

 

"I wish.."

She hesitated.

"I wish I could.."

'huh..this is harder than I had thought. I only get one wish, and it could be just what I need to escape fate. But I only get one, and I have to choose wisely. I'm never going to get an opportunity like this again.'

Rika stroked the creature's fluffy white fur.

It stared at her.

"You don't have much time, Miss Furude. It's only a matter of time before you're killed, so you may want to pick up the pace," echoed the creature's voice in Rika's head.

"I see, you have a point.."

Rika sighed and put the animal down. "Very well. I've settled on my wish."

.

The young girl, Rika Furude, was helplessly staring at the freshly killed corpses of Rena and Mion.

Not that she wasn't used to this. She has seen her friends massacred over and over, hoping through timelines, rolling the dice, for decades.

With

no

luck.

None at all.

She sat down and called out into the thick, humid air.

"Hanyuu? Hanyuu!?"

Hearing Rika's cries, Hanyuu went to speak to her. As she came into view, she anxiously twirled her soft purple hair as she too was faced with the sight. Ryuugu Rena and Sonozaki Mion battered to death on the floor. They were a bloody mess, painting the furnished wooded floors of the Maebara residence in an eccentric crimson. "I'm..I'm sorry...Rika..it didn't work this time, either..," Hanyuu said with a sad sigh, as she sat down next to Rika.

"There's nothing more I can do now, except wait for someone to kill me. It's already been decided," Rika declared with defeat. "There's no use trying to save a world if it means I lose my friends like this. A world without them isn't worth it"

The evening cicadas screamed into the empty sky, their song echoing through hinamizawa, piercing through the eerie silence.

Rika forced a bitter laugh. "I'm leaving now, the stench of my rotting friends is beginning to get to me. I need some fresh air, if you don't mind, Hanyuu."

She stepped outside, closing the door behind her. She wandered down to the stream near the Furude shrine, swinging her arms back and forth with boredom. She lifted up a tiny pebble and flicked it into the water, watching it skip across, ripples breaking the still surface. Amused, she spoke to herself, ticking down the seconds with her thin fingers. "Five...Four...Three..."

She threw another pebble.

plink..plink..plink...splash!

"...two....one. Keiichi's dead. He's bleed to death in a telephone booth, after experiencing stage five hinamizawa syndrome and scratching out his own throat. The police are already on their way down, planning to put his body under tests. Too bad they'll never find anything that'll make sense to them, as their is not enough money for the advanced medication one would need to detect such a thing. How sad, how sad," Rika recited to the river, from sheer memory. She's seen this timeline enough to know what happens.

"Hauu...Rika..What are you doing..?" Hanyuu timidly asked.

"What am I doing?" Rika repeated. "Oh, just killing some time until the world ends, and I die again."

A gust of wind blew past, sending her soft strands of wispy blue hair to fly up into the air, brushing against her face. She tucked it back behind her ear. "I guess I better get home, wouldn't want to worry Satoko-chan," she mused out loud. She began to walk home,  calmer than a person normally would in such a situation. By now, Rika felt numb to feelings of terror; hardly anything made her even feel squeamish anymore. Seeing such horrendous gory sights was almost normal for the young girl. But all that aside, it was past the time she usually cooked dinner for Satoko, therefore bound to worry the child. As Rika made her way home, she noticed the sky above her greying, as if it was going to rain. She decided to pick up the pace.

.

Rika opened the fridge and looked inside. It may be her second to last day to live in the timeline, but that didn't mean she'd make any less than her best for Satoko and her to share. If there was anything Rika favored about her current timeline, it was the fact that Satoko never had to live with her abusive uncle. Instead, she and Rika lived together as two orphan children who took care of one another, and Rika was just fine with that.

After rummaging through the fridge, Rika decided to make Sukiyaki, one of Satoko's favorite dishes. She gathered her ingredients together on the counter, to make sure she had everything she needed. She pulled down an apron from the cupboard and tied it around her waist. Then, she pulled out the skillet, and plugged it in, giving it some time to heat up.

Once the skillet was Nice and hot, she threw on a large bowl of oil, which contained a big hunk of beef. She steamed it in the oil just long enough for it to turn brown, being careful not to overcook it. While she was letting it heat up, she chopped up some celery, mushrooms, and onions to sprinkle inside the sauce.

She poured them in a different bowl, along with some salt and paprika. By now, the meat was cooked to her satisfaction. Rika put on some oven mitts, and pulled the meat out, setting it on a plate. She pulled out the bowl of oil, putting the bowl for the sauce in it's place on the skillet.

Once that was in, she turned the heat on the skillet down to medium and rinsed out the first bowl.

She threw about a cup of walnuts into the mix, then stirred it until it was a thick liquid. Afterward, she poured the liquid over the beef, and poured them each a fresh cup of orange juice, completed with cute little ice cubes dancing on the surface.

"Satoko!" She cried. "Your supper's ready!"
No answer.

'Huh, that's funny. Satoko should at least smell her favorite dish..'

Rika began to search for her.

She found Satoko curled up in her bed, fast asleep. Rika couldn't help but smile. 'Satoko looked so precious when she was asleep..,' Rika observed. Usually, Satoko was a feisty girl, known by her friends as the 'trap master'. She was fiercely independent, speaking to the older students like they were her equals, not at all intimidated by them, unlike some of the other children. But right now, she was laying there, wrapped up in a blanket while hugging a pillow. Rika almost hesitated to wake her, but did anyway. Wouldn't want supper getting cold, you know?

"Satoko..," Rika urged softly. "Satoko, you fell asleep..."

Satoko stretched out her arms, then laid back down.

"Ughh..Rika-chan? Is that you, Rika-chan?"

Rika smiled at her as she brushed Satoko's bangs out of her eyes. "It's me, Rika. Your supper is ready, I made you Sukiyaki," Rika told her in a gentle voice.

Satoko perked up.

"Oh ho ho..What's that delicious smell? Rika-chan, did you make me Sukiyaki? Thanks so much!"

Satoko leaped out of bed and ran into the kitchen.

"Ooh, Yummy~," Satoko remarked as she dipped her finger in it.

Rika laughed. "Come on Satoko, have some manners! I'll grab you a fork."

.

That night, Rika stared out the window.

She sensed the presence of something, but she couldn't tell what. She took a quick glance at Satoko, who was fast asleep beside her. 'Good, Satoko is asleep,' she was able to assure herself. She heard a rustling in the bushes. After taking one last look at Satoko, (just to be safe),  then headed over to the open window.

"Hello, Miss Furude, can you hear me?' Echoed a voice in the back of her head. A voice that Rika has never heard before, not ever.  Her curiosity had gotten the best of her.'

Who are you? How are you speaking to me..where are you?' She thought in hopes that the voice would be able to hear and understand her thoughts. Luckily, it was.

'That's..a bit of a long story,' the voice stated emotionlessly. 'But enough about me, Rika Furude. I'd like to learn a bit about you if that's okay. Would you mind meeting me outside?'

Rika climbed out the window, her curiosity getting the best of her. Sure enough, the small, cat-like alien was sitting on her windowsill, waiting for her. It's big fluffy tail was swishing from side to side as the creature stared at her with its strawberry red eyes, lacking any feeling.

She looked at it, and her dainty eyebrows raised in surprise. "Why aren't you a cute little alien," she said, cupping her hands around it. She sat the tiny animal on her lap, gently stroking it's fur. "So, what was it you came to me for?"

Hanyuu watched from a distance as Rika talked to the strange creature. It gave the little goddess an uneasy feeling, and she had trouble fathoming why. She's seen Rika go through countless timelines, all of her own doing, but she's never seen anything like this. Not once has she seen a creature like this, a strange creature reaching out to Rika. For some reason, Hanyuu really didn't like it. From the moment she looked at the alien, her gut told her this wouldn't do Rika any good. She even told herself she'd do something-but it was too late.

The creature had already caught the shrine maiden's attention.

The creature went right to business, so hanyuu knew it wanted something from Rika. Something that couldn't be good for her.

"So you're saying that if I signed a contract with you, you could grant any wish? And all I have to agree to is becoming a magical girl?" Rika asked with surprise. A part of her urged that this sounded far too good to be true, and that she should forget this night ever happened. 

But she ignored her gut. 

The creature looked into her violet eyes.

"Yes, Furude Rika. I have never seen anyone like you, who holds the potential energy you do. With your potential and ability, not only would you be one of the most powerful magical girls there are, but any wish, no matter how large, I could grant," it answered in a simple tone.

Rika was dumbfounded by what she saw in front of her, this creature she's never seen before in her entire life. Yet, this gave her a reason to be uneasy.  "A magical girl, huh?" She asked it. "How intriguing." She began to picture herself in a frilly dress, holding a magical wand, and couldn't help but laugh out loud.

The laughing awoke Satoko.

Satoko stirred under her covers, then turned beside her to look at Rika. Rika wasn't there. She stood up, worried about her friend. "Ri-Rikaa?" She quietly called out. 

nothing.

She rubbed her sleepy eyes, and wandered over to the window. "Rikaaaa~! RIKAA!!" She called out, louder this time. Her voice was croaky, and Rika could tell she was half asleep. Upon hearing Satoko's cries, Rika grimaced. This wasn't the first time Satoko has caught her out of bed, and it always ended up causing the dandelion-headed child worry. 

Satoko sleepily wandered over to the open window. "Rika-chan? You out there?" She murmured sleepily. She clutched onto the wooden frame, and hoisted herself over it. Her bare feet landed in the damp blades of grass. She opened her eyes, and saw Rika sitting cross-legged in the grass, holding the fuzzy white creature on her lap.

"Rika-chan? What are you doing out here..are you okay, Rika-chan?"

Rika reluctantly turned her head over to look at Satoko. "Mii~! I'm okay, don't worry about me.."

Satoko took a good look at the creature Rika had in her lap, and she couldn't help but giggle.

"Aww.. it's so cute..." She remarked. "If Rena-chan were here, she'd definitely try to take it home with her, Ohohoho~"

Rika felt a bittersweet pang in her chest. She knew what Satoko said was right, Rena would love to take the creature home. However, she also knew something that Satoko didn't. 

That Ryuugu Rena was battered to death in Keiichi Maebara's house, beside her friend Sonozaki Mion. 

Rika put the creature down, and decided to dismiss this to Satoko as a dream the next morning. She sat down beside Satoko, who had already fallen asleep in the grass. She lifted the sleepy girl in her arms, and carried her to bed.

Her time here was almost over, but for now, she would sleep.

.

Later found Rika Furude walking to school alongside Satoko. It was awful, as Satoko had no clue her dear friends had even been killed. But Rika wasn't supposed to know, so she didn't tell her. She would have to pretend to be surprised.

Today was also the day. It was the day Rika knew she was going to be killed. Who would kill her? She didn't know. How will they kill her? That, she didn't know either. All she knew was that she was destined to die today, and that was that.

Her time in Hinamizawa was as good as over.

The one thing that was still lingering in her mind, however, was the creature from last night. She was still in major disbelief that it was even real. A magical girl? A wish? How..rich. She couldn't help but ponder it, though. If she truly could have any wish in the world, what would she wish for? It was too much. She couldn't afford to space out today, because she knew she'd have to comfort Satoko later.

Suddenly, Satoko tugged on her arm in fear, causing Rika to jolt. "Satoko! What's wrong!"
"R-Rika...I can't.."
Satoko was trembling in her shoes. "I feel like someone is following us, I can't shake the feeling...," She mumbled, her lower lip quivering in fear.

Now that Satoko mentioned it, Rika really didn't feel so alone either. She really did feel as if someone was following them. It probably wasn't such a wise decision to take a detour through this forest, even if it was ultimately faster.

Here, Satoko and her were alone. If she tried to scream for help, no one would hear them.

Rika gripped Satoko's hand tighter. "Don't worry, Satoko." She assured her.

"I won't let anyone hurt you."

Rika looked around her. She couldn't see anyone, but she was certain someone was coming for them. She felt herself growing anxious already, just because of what was probably mere paranoia.

She looked at Satoko, walking beside her. She was visibly frightened, it was painted all over her face.

She made a silent promise to herself that she wouldn't let anything happen. She just hoped it would be a promise she could keep.

Suddenly, the sickening sound of rubber tires rolling through the trail interrupted her thoughts. "Rika! Someone's coming!" Satoko exclaimed, terror stricken and trembling.

That's when a large, ugly looking Van lurched straight towards them. Rika grabbed ahold of Satoko and made a flying leap off the trail, barely avoiding getting hit.

Rika wasn't having it. "Satoko, come with me. We aren't getting killed by these crazy freaks," Rika said in a fierce tone, her sudden shift startling Satoko.

That's when the van came to a sudden jolt. Rika turned dead around. Out stepped some strange looking men she's never seen before, dressed in tan and white suits, holding large, black..shotguns?!?

Behind them stepped a large figure dressed in a long, black cloak. Rika strained her eyes, trying to identify the face. "Takano! Takano Miyo-san? You're kidding," She said, her cutesy little girl voice gone, replaced by the one belonging to the mature Rika who has seen death and insanity fall to hell thousands of times, the one toying with fate and miracles herself. In front of her stood the majestic Miyo Takano, cloaked in black and armored with a large gun.

She grinned like a madman, a face that Satoko was horrified to see on her face. This wasn't the Furude Rika she knew...it couldn't be.

Miyo smiled a sinister, snakelike grin that if even for a moment, made her seem less human-like, and more demon-like. "So it was YOU, Takano? You're the one whose been killing me, you were the mastermind this entire time," Rika snarled.
"Ahh, so you figured me out, huh Rika-chan?" Takano asked her, unable to resist grinning.

Rika stared into her eyes, then fell to her knees.

"Fine by me." She stated, the emotion drained from her eyes. "Just, do me a favor and don't you dare lay a fucking finger on Satoko Houjou," She hissed.

Satoko looked at Rika in terror. She stood there frozen, not knowing what to do at all.

Takano turned to Satoko, then sneered at Rika.

"Fine, fine..But little Satoko-chan will turn me in, don't you understand, Rika-chaan~?" She grabbed Satoko by both wrists and shoved the child to the ground. "I can't let her live, you see?"

Takano leaned down to face Satoko. "Tell me, miss Houjou, would you like a little test~?"
Satoko gritted her teeth together, forcing herself to suck in a deep breath. "Rika!! Run away, please! Don't worry about me!" She screamed with all her might.

Takano frowned. "Hold the shrine maiden down, I'd prefer you keep her alive for the time being, you hear me?"
Two large, muscular men in white suits grabbed ahold of Rika and pinned her down. She didn't even bother to struggle, because she knew she couldn't win.

Takano smiled at Satoko. "Well? You ready for your test~?"

She smugly pressed the gun up to Satoko's head. All Rika could do was close her eyes. "Tell me, Satoko-chan...Cauliflower or broccoli. Which one is green?"

"Uhh..cauli...no...broccoli?" Satoko asked, her voice shaky.
Bang. The gunshot of, sending blood spraying in multiple directions, killing Satoko instantly.

Takano smiled sweetly and giggled at the corpse. "Correct! Good job, Satoko-chan~"

When Rika opened her eyes again, her body was being loaded onto a truck. Takano noticed her awakening and called to one of the men. "She's awake. You can give me the syringe, sir."
He handed it to her. She gripped it tightly in her hands, and slowly lowered the needle, lifting Rika's arm. Rika slapped the hand down.

"Awww, what's this?" Takano asked. "Pleading for your life?"
"No," Rika snapped. "I don't want to be put to sleep and forget everything again. I want you to kill me long and painfully. The louder I scream the more likely I am to remember."
Takano cocked her head to the side in confusion. "Ah? Is that so? It's painful you know, being disemboweled alive."
"So be it then." Rika said. "That way I can remember that you're my enemy."
Takano, confused by this statement, shrugged it off.

"Have it your way, then."
She shoved Rika in the trunk of the van, beside Satoko's corpse.

Then, the Van drove off.

'Hello? Do you hear me! Rika!'

Rika did a double take. Sitting beside her in the van was the creature from earlier.

"Oh? You again? So you weren't a figment of my imagination after all. Or perhaps you are, since staring at Satoko's corpse is harmful to me..especially to my mental health"

The creature sat down beside Rika.

'You know, you could wish this girl a happier life, or you could wish her protection..it's really up to you.'

If you can have absolutely anything you want in the entire world, the white creature is saying.

"I can become a magical girl, huh..Well, then."

Rika cleared her throat. "I wish...I wish.."

She hesitated. "I wish I could..."

'huh..this is harder than I had thought. I only get one wish, and it could be just what I need to escape fate. But I only get one, and I have to choose wisely. I'm never going to get an opportunity like this again.'

Rika stroked the creature's fluffy white fur.

It stared at her.

"You don't have much time, Miss Furude. It's only a matter of time before you're killed, so you may want to pick up the pace," echoed the creature's voice in Rika's head.

Rika sighed and put the animal down. "Very well. I've settled on my wish."

It perked up. 'Really?' echoed the voice in her head.

That's when Rika heard yet another voice inside her head.

"Don't do it Rika..You don't know what you're getting yourself into...What if it's a trick? A trap? Are you sure you can trust it?" Hanyuu anxiously stuttered.

Rika turned and glared at her. "And have you ever done anything better? No." she snapped at the goddess. "All you've done is tried to keep me motivated while trapping me in the endless maze. I'm being offered something that's actually going to be of help to me, something you haven't done," She snarled.

Hurt, Hanyuu timidly faded away. "V-very well..Rika...I'm..really sorry.."

Rika turned back to the creature. By now, the van had stopped, and she had mere seconds before losing this chance forever.

She blurted it out, quicker than she could even think.

"I wish that going into the new worlds, I won't forget who I'm fighting against. I want to remember that Takano is my enemy."

The creature wiggled it's ears, and an enormous light illuminated the sky, as Rika levitated into the air, sending a shock wave spreading through most of Hinamizawa.

The creature stared in wonder and awe at its newest energy conductor.

Chapter Text

(TRIGGER WARNING: This chapter contains gruesome mentions of child abuse and implied/refernced molesting. Read at your own risk and stay safe x)

Rika awoke again that morning, only this time, she was alone. At least, that's how it seemed. But she knew that that's how it's always been in this timeline..and how it always will be. She's never had any luck in this timeline, and it wasn't one she's bothered to try in before. In all fairness, who would? Shion Sonozaki is a mess.

That's when Rika got an idea. What if she were to kill Shion Sonozaki..?
Then, she'd only have one more enemy left to face. Takano.

What a plan, eliminating her enemies. She shook her head.  'Shion wasn't a bad person,' she had to remind herself. 'She only gets messed up when she's been infected.'

That's when Rika's own self awareness startled her. 

'Wait a minute..how do I know this? This isn't the only timeline where I don't live with Satoko..'

She grinned. The white creature wasn't messing around, she really did remember. That truly was a wish used wisely.

Speaking of which..would this make her a magical girl now..or something?
Who knows. What's important is that she managed to remember, to remember what happened to her. She had been dismembered alive at the hands of Takano Miyo. 

And that was something she swore to never let herself forget, no matter how many timelines it took for her to defeat that woman, she was still one step ahead. Because now, Rika knew who she was fighting against.

That was when she heard it again. The voice. The voice that echoed in the back of her head before.

'Rika! Rika, are you there!'

The creature climbed into her house through her windowsill.

Rika turned around to face it. "Ah, so you really were real, huh. I wasn't losing it."

It nodded it's tiny head. Rika tapped on her chin. "Hey, what is it you want me to call you, anyway? Or should I say, what, who are you?"

It looked up at her.

'You can call me kyuubey,' the voice told her. 'I'm known as an incubator, you might say.'

She gently rubbed the incubator's head. "Intriguing," She noted. "So, if you don't mind me asking..what is my job, being a magical girl? What's my end of the bargain?"

The creature coked it's head to the side in question. 'I guess I never did tell you,' It noted. 'Alright, I'll explain the basics, of what you do and all. You may want to take a seat, and get comfy.'

"Very well," she replied. "You may go on, now."

"Good to know,' it stated.

'Well, the main premises of what you do is fighting witches, as they're called. Now hang tight, I know you're probably wondering what I'm saying. Don't worry, they all do.'

It curled up at her feet before continuing the explanation. 

'Basically, you humans have a lot of emotions. Stuff that my species will never understand, not that I'm complaining'

"what do you mean, will never understand?" She asked it.

'You see, where I'm from, the sensation you humans refer to as emotion is considered a mental disorder.'

"Interesting," Rika noted. "But enough on that. Please explain more on these witches I have to face."

'Alright. So these witches are born from nightmares and negative emotions of you humans. They feed on them, and use them to grow stronger. You see that crystal over there, by your bed?'

Rika turned to look at it. Nestled in her covers was an indigo crystal. "What's this?" She asked. 

"Why, that's your soul gem. You need to keep it close to you at all times. If you're too far away from it, you and your body will perish."

She put it in her pocket. "I see. So what do I get out of fighting these witches?"

'Oh, that. You're supposed to collect the grief seeds, they're good for your soul gem. You earn them after you kill and defeat a witch. You must fight the witches, as that's what you signed up for when you agreed to my contract.'

"Fair enough," Rika mused. "You did grant my wish so I suppose it's fair.

Kyuubey suddenly jumped back, startled. 'Rika! This will be your first battle against a witch!'

"What..What?!?"

'No time to explain. You'll know where it is, magical girls can sense that. Also, you'll know when to transform.

Rika was out the door in a flash. In the distance, she could sense it. A witch's labyrinth. It was right near...Teppei Houjou's trailer. 

'Wait a minute...,' Rika thought to herself. 'No, it couldn't be.' Yet it was. This witch was feeding off the despair of Rika's beloved friend, Satoko Houjou. Her running turned into an inhuman sprint, her tiny feet barely touching the ground at all. She was practically flying.

'This must've been one of the days that Satoko was absent from school..,'  She mused as she raced over there as fast as her tiny legs would take her.

The building was just ahead of her, and she felt the environment around her change. That's when Rika realized it. She wasn't in Hinamizawa anymore. She was in a witches' labyrinth.

She leaped up into the air, an indigo flash of light shot up in all directions. Rika's normal schoolgirl outfit disappeared, leaving her flesh bare and exposed. But before she even had time to process this, a new outfit covered her, along with armor and a long, almost angelic looking spear.

'Wow...' She thought. 'Is this my..Transformation sequence?'

Newly clothed, Rika's feet landed on the ground below her. Surrounding her was darkness and despair, screams of terror, and a show of what appeared to be bizarre puppetry. The stage was set, and it was time for her to clean up the act. She ran inside what used to be the old, ratty trailer of Teppei Houjou, now a colorful mess of the witches doing. She was in a realm of what normal humans couldn't see, and she suddenly realized if she died here, that would be it. there would be no more turning back.

But that's when she saw it. The Witch. It was sickening and hideous, but at the same time, majestic and beautiful. Rika's diamond colored spear was cold and heavy in her hands, but she thrust it at the witch, which came charging for her. That's when she saw it, the sensitive point. 

She went for it with all her might, striking mercilessly again and again until the witch disappeared into a mess of a thick, smoke-like substance, causing the labyrinth to collapse.

Once it was gone, a single grief seed lied there on the ground, beside Satoko Houjou, who was sprawled across the floor, naked.

The place where the labyrinth once was, replaced by a steaming hot shower. Rika was horrified at what she saw when she took a closer look at Satoko. 

She was completely naked and covered in bruises. Her hair was tangled and disheveled, and her skin was dry and damaged from being exposed to the steam and hot water for so long. Her lower lip trembled as she counted, her voice shakey. "1,237...ahh...1,238..1,239.."

Rika grabbed ahold of Satoko's head. "Satoko! What's going on!"

She looked up at Rika and gave her a weak smile. "Rika...you shouldn't be here...what are you..doing here..."

"Satoko! Just tell me what's happening, and I'll report it to the police!"

She slowly shook her head no. "Won't...listen....uncle will...punish me again....don't..do it..."

That's when Satoko noticed Rika's spear and outfit. "Rika..what are you....wearing?" 

Rika looked at her outfit, which was still there. "This? This isn't important. You aren't safe here."

"Satoko, I'm not letting him continue to do this to you." She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around Satoko's shivering body.

"Rika..NO! HE'll..HE WILL...HE WILL DESTROY...! PLEASE DON'T DO IT RIKA...PLEASE LEAVE ME HERE!!!"

Rika frowned. At that moment, she really wanted to do something horrid. She wanted to kill Teppei Houjou.

But she knew she couldn't. That would only make things worse, as she's learned in previous timelines. There was nothing she could do.

Feeling defeated, Rika left Satoko alone.

.

Rika entered the classroom again the next day, and to her dismay, Satoko wasn't there. However, Kyubey was. 

She looked at it, then gave it a 'someone might see you!' glare.

'Nope, the only people who can see me are those I allow.' It cocked it's head to the side again, in a questioning manner. 'You realize you can speak to me through your thoughts, right? It's a  magical girl thing.'

'Alright,' she silently replied.

It's emotionless eyes narrowed at her. 'You almost threw yourself at risk, yesterday, you know.'

'What are you talking about?' She asked. 

'You got a little too worked up over that Satoko girl. Didn't you notice your soul gem turning black?'

She pulled it out of her pocket and stared at it. Just as the creature has mentioned, it's normal indigo hue was going jet-black. 'What does that..what does it mean?'

'Oh, it's what happens when a magical girl begins to fall to despair. If you begin to turn to despair, your soul gem will blacken. If it goes completely black, you'll die, and become a witch.'

Rika was shocked. Her eyes visually widened. 'Become a witch?! What are you saying?' 

'It's a fate you cannot avoid, Rika. The fate of all magical girls. You see, contained in that gem, is your soul. It will be destroyed, and your despair will be the death of you. Where did you think witches came from? All magical girls eventually become witches when they die.' it said simply. 

'Hold on,' she mentally asked it. 'Why didn't you tell me this sooner?!' 

'Oh.' it stated. 'Well, you never asked.'

Chapter Text

"I wish..That Satoshi Houjou would stay with me, and be by my side forever, no matter what happens,  so I could be with him again."

'are you sure?' Kyubey asked. 'You're sure you won't regret it?'

"I made a wish," Shion insisted. "So, grant it already. jeez"

'Very well, Sonozaki Shion,' echoed the voice in her head.

A bright flash illuminated the sky, as the incubator wiggled its ears, granting the green-haired girl's wish and sealing her fate.

.

Alone Rika lied in her bed that night. Kyubey's words were echoing in her mind, over and over again.

'Oh. You never asked.'

'Hanyuu was right,' Rika thought. 'She was right this entire time. I Should've been warier from the start, but now look at me...I have to apologize to her. I have to apologize, dammit!' Rika tossed and turned. Eventually, she gave up on trying to sleep. "Hanyuu! Hanyuu..!"

No reply.

She climbed out the window and found Hanyuu sitting in the grass. "Hanyuu...I wanted to apologize for those awful things I said earlier..."

Hanyuu smiled. "Hauu..I'm very happy you apologized, Rika..and it's okay. Don't worry about what I said, I still believe in you. I still believe you can beat fate. Don't...don't give up, Rika, maybe it was the boost you needed."

Rika lied down in the grass and stared up at the sky. "Yeah, I suppose you're right. I won't let this destroy me. I won't give up."

Hanyuu sat down beside Rika and also looked up at the sky. "That's the spirit, Rika~," She said happily.

They lay there for a long time, in peaceful silence. "Hanyuu?" Rika asked, after a while.

"Hmm? What is it, Rika?"

"The stars are beautiful tonight"

.

Meanwhile, Shion sat in the car with Kasai, her driver, and bodyguard.

She laid back in the seat.

"Kasai-kun...how much long-ger?" She groaned.

Shion was the younger sister of Mion Sonozaki, the heir to the head of the Sonozaki house. She was definitely the black sheep of the family, but it didn't bother her much. While she could easily resent Mion and her family for casting her away like that, she was so much as grateful for her life. It was tradition for the eldest daughter to be heir, but shion was the twin that no one wanted. It's tradition to kill such a twin, but instead, they spared her life, which she supposed was lucky.

She was then sent to a strict all-girls boarding school, once she was old enough; which she considered to be not so lucky. Shion was a free spirit, a 'wild child' one might say, and the staff constantly reprimanded her.

But today was a great day for Shion, because, with the help of her bodyguard Kasai, she was stopping in to visit Hinamizawa.

Even though they weren't too close, as they haven't seen each other in forever, Shion was very excited to meet her twin sister again.

But little did she know she would meet someone else, someone totally different.

Someone who would light a deadly spark into the impulsive girl's heart.

.

"No way! You're really here? That's awesome, sis!" Mion excitedly exclaimed over the phone.

"Yup! Sonozaki Shion, in the flesh!"
"It's been so long since I've last seen you..wait..Shion?

"Hmm? What is it, sis?"

"What are you going to do if granny finds out? If she were to discover you were here, she'd flip!"
Shion tapped her chin thoughtfully for a moment. "I think I have a solution for that, Mion."

"Hm? You do?" Mion asked skeptically.

"Yeah! You know how we're identical twins, and we basically look exactly alike?"
"Yeah..."
"And how we used to switch clothing and pretend to be each other when we were little?"
"Oh yeah, I remember...that was always fun"

"Well, Thats exactly what we could do now!"
"I see...We'd have to be careful, tho..as fun as going undercover as me probably sounds, my life is more than sunshine and rainbows too you know..."

"Of course, sis! Besides, if anything does go wrong, I have my bodyguard Kasai here with me! He won't let anything bad happen!"
"If you say so Shion...Well anyway, enough of that! I'm so excited you're here! I finally get to meet my twin sister again!"
"Yeah..it's been so long..."
"Aaah...Granny's calling. I gotta go now."
"Have fun, 'Sonozaki heir."'

Shion carelessly slammed the phone down and stretched out her arms. She sprawled out across the bed, closed her emerald-green eyes shut, and fell asleep. Kasai came into the room to check on her, only to find her snoring. He smiled to himself as he turned out the light. 'Goodnight, Shion.'
The moonlight was all that was left to illuminate the room. Suddenly, it was darkened by an animated shadow. The silhouette of a tiny, cat-like creature could be seen from the windows. The cicadas were screeching. Kyubey looked at the green-haired girl, who was peacefully sleeping.

"Why do I see so much potential in all the girls in this village? It's like everyone here can be an ultra-powerful magical girl. If they were royalty or famous, I'd understand, but these are just teen girls in a humble little village tucked away from society itself. So where does all this potential come from," Observed kyubey with curiosity. This village had become a place of interest for the alien indeed.

Chapter Text

Shion stumbled, knocking the motorcycles down, like a wobbly stack of dominos. They hit the ground with a sickening crash. Shion cringed. Definitely got scratched up. She began to casually walk away, trying to pretend that nothing happened, that it wasn't her fault.

Unfortunately, Rika knew this would never work. She knew exactly what would happen next, how the bikers would find Shion and threaten her, only to be continually saved by Satoshi. Shion was a straight girl who attended an all-girls school for years. Her delusional ideas of 'prince charming' and 'destiny' would get to her head, and her infatuation would lead to disaster. 

Rika frantically looked around for Satoshi, but he wasn't in sight. 

So, she began to ponder whether or not it would make a difference if she saved Shion from the bikers. Shion didn't have an ounce of homosexuality in her, so there was no way she'd become infatuated with Rika.

Right?

Rika realized then just how ridiculous she was, overthinking this. Still, maybe if she did do something differently, she'd be able to change fate.

Shion laughed her deed off and began to walk away. Almost as if on cue, the biker gang appeared. They were not pleased, to say the least.

Furious, they all began to yell at her at once. Shion giggled dismissively. "Sorry, I can barely make out what any of you are saying," She noted, causing the leader to frown.

"What the hell?" He asked, clearly seeing someone appear out of nowhere.

That's when Rika looked behind her, and that's where he was. Satoshi.

"H-Hey!" A light-blonde haired boy with a clean white shirt called out timidly. It was obvious he was brave, even if he really wasn't all that strong. 

"Ehh?" asked one of the bikers. "Who the hell are you?"

The other three turned around in a perfect unison, turned around to face him.

Satoshi narrowed his eyes at them. "That's enough!"

Shion stared at him in wonder. She wasn't afraid of these men, as she had a taser in her pocket for self-defense.  Perhaps it was the fact that this boy cared enough to stop what he was doing and fight for her. That must've been it. Suddenly, Shion found herself wanting to get to know him better. It was like a chain reaction. 'This must be him,' she realized. 'He must've been waiting for me here, in the humble village of Hinamizawa..'

They began to crowd around him. "Why you little..."

By then, a crowd gathered. Surrounded, the bikers threw their arms up in defeat, intimidated and overpowered. Rika herself stepped forward, her tone bitter and mature. "If you're going to cause problems for the locals, then you should leave," she said fiercely.

They didn't know what it was. 

Perhaps it was the little girl's voice or the fact that they had been surrounded. But the four bikers began to feel really uneasy. Giving up, they quickly drove off.

Once the crowd had cleared, Shion gazed dreamily into Satoshi's eyes. "Uh..Um..." She stuttered.

Satoshi smiled sweetly at her. 

'He's so fucking precious when he smiles...I...he must be the one...' Shion thought to herself happily. She could feel herself heating up. 

"Are you alright, Mion?" Satoshi asked, reaching out his hand.

Shion remembered what she was wearing, realizing she had to pretend to be Mion, much to her dismay.

The jealousy was already present in her veins.

All she could do was force a smile. "Mhm!"

"Good, I'm glad you're okay," He said, patting her head.

.

That night, Rika tossed and turned, but could not fall asleep.

The creature had taken her home for refuge, and it was staring out the window, swishing its tail back and forth. 

"You're thinking about something, aren't you?"

It simply turned to look at her. "I don't think I plan on leaving this village anytime soon, seeing how much energy I can invest on it. That's all. Just looking at the mathematical equations." 

She patted it's head bitterly.

"You gonna make contracts with more people?"

"Not yet. I want to wait until they collect more potential energy, which lots of people have been doing by the second. I must say I'm intrigued."

Listening to the emotionless creature's mind, Rika sighed. She had fought more witches today, mostly revolving around the Houjous. However, a newer one appeared in Shion's room just an hour ago. A witch born of jealousy, one of the hardest to fight. 

If this creature really planned to make more contracts, she couldn't stop it. After all, she was the one who agreed to bring it into the game, so she can't throw the piece aside. Even if it does make things harder for her.

.

Shion was shopping for basics, at the local grocery store and supermarket. She was once again disguised as Mion, wearing her twin's yellow shirt and dirty jeans, her wispy, grass-green hair pulled up into Mion's signature ponytail.  She also took it easier on the makeup, since Mion is too lazy for such an ordeal. However, if she had known she'd run into Satoshi again, she would've made up an excuse to dress a little nicer. 

She gracefully pranced through the aisles, wasting no time in grabbing what she needed, practically gliding by, food disappearing with her while seemingly teleporting into her basket. Shion never realized she was such an efficient shopper until now, as the food was provided for her at boarding school. She had to admit she was enjoying herself.

That's when she saw him.

She stopped in her tracks and watched him go about his business. He fascinated her so much, she almost found it humorous. Watching anyone else shop would've been boring, but Satoshi wasn't anyone. He was different.

He was special.

Satoshi was looking at the cauliflower with a confused expression painted across his face. He turned around, noticing Mion.

"Oh, hey Mion!"

Shion frowned. 

She recollected herself. "Hey, whats up Satoshi!"

"Hey uh..this is a little embarrassing but, I need some help.."

"Oh? Don't worry, I won't judge~"

"Alright, so Satoko loves broccoli, and I wanted to buy her some to reward her good behavior lately...but uh..well, you know I'm colourblind..and uh.."

"Don't worry Satoshi, I'm happy to help!"

"Okay. I'll get to the point. I can't see the difference between califlower and broccoli, could yo u show me where the broccoli is?"

Chapter Text

 

"I think the priest was quite mature for keeping neutral," Shion noted.

"Well, if he were, he should've gotten along and cooperated," Mion insisted. "When a Hinamizawa role-model, especially one of the three great families disrupts the peace himself, it's hard for me to call that mature."

Shion disagreed with that, but she didn't mention it. She was glad Mion trusted her enough to tell her these things to begin with. She really had forgotten about Hinamizawa's origins and the legend of Oyashiro-Sama. All that aside, Mion also told her about Satoshi. More specifically, the Houjou family. Apparently, Granny Sonozaki didn't like them because of their parents' views on the dam project. This angered Shion.

'I understand that their parents didn't support it, but they're dead now. Dead. So why do the villagers take that shit out on Satoshi and his whiny little sister?

Shion had also started to attend Satoshi's baseball games. Unfortunately, he quit playing. She tried to talk to the coach, Irie, but he told her that there was nothing that she could do. Satoshi had quit, and nothing anyone said could change that.

Shion, being well, Shion, pressed harder.

That's when Irie told her about Satoko. That's when the hateful thoughts about the little girl began. That's when Shion realized the burden that stupid girl was putting on her precious Satoshi. She was tiring him out, taking his life away. Shion only grew more hateful by the hour, and crimson thoughts began to circle her head. She wanted to hurt that girl. She wanted to make her admit her sin, send her screaming and apologizing over and over, still refusing mercy. "Every day," Mion had told her. "Everyday the Houjous came to school worn out, with tired eyes."

Then one day, Shion had enough.

"Hey Mion," She asked over the phone. "Can I go to school as you today?"

.

That morning, Chie-sensei was late, so Shion had to wait outside with Rena, since the doors were locked. The weather was crummy, and outside it was pouring down rain.

Shion could never fathom why, but Ryuugu Rena had always made her uncomfortable.

Still, the girl could come in handy for extracting information. 

"Mii-chan! Hey, wait up! You're walking so fast this morning, what's the rush, the rush?" Rena asked her, gasping for breath as she sat down on the bench next to Shion.

"It's raining soo hard..." Rena noted, looking up at the sky. "At least there will be petacore when we walk home later!" 

"Pe-Petacore?" Shion questioned.

"You know, You know...That refreshing feeling after it rains? That's petacore," Rena informed her.

"Mm.." Shion mumbled, barely listening.

Rena changed the topic. "Mii-chan, do you like Satoshi-kun?" She asked innocently.

"I do," Shion mumbled without thinking.

Rena didn't seem the least bit surprised as she kept talking. "The smile," She directed Shion.

"Eh?" Shion asked, confused.

"I'm sure your smile can give Satoshi-kun some energy," Rena explained, making Shion's face heat up as she turned to look at Rena. "I bet he'll even come back to baseball after work's over!" She exclaimed happily. 

"Work?" Shion pondered out loud. "I wonder when he'll finish.."

"Probably until he saves enough money to buy that teddy bear for Satoko-chan's birthday," suggested Rena.

'Satoko, again?' Shion silently wondered. That's when it hit her. 'Satoko makes Satoshi sick...' She thought. 'Satoko takes away Satoshi's freedom!' She frowned.

Rena noticed her bitter expression. "Mii-chan?"

Startled, Shion turned back around to face her. "S-Satoko is too attached to Satoshi-kun." She tried. "If she were more reliable, he wouldn't be pushed in a corner."

Rena giggled softly, making Shion shiver. "You say it so frankly, Mii-chan" The she tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Satoshi might be feeling that way a little too." Shion's eyes widened as Rena continued. "This really is a secret. Keep it secret, okay?" Shion nodded gently. "To tell the truth," Rena began. "Yesterday, Satoshi said it's tiring to be depended on by her as a brother, though that's sinful."

"Satoshi-kun really trusts you, doesn't he?" Shion asked her.

"It's not that he trusts me." Rena's voice darkened. "I think it's because I've experienced it too."

"Experienced it?"

"The footsteps..follow you...and it stands by your pillow and looks at you at night...The experience he's going through...all foreshadows Oyashiro-sama's curse," Rena states darkly.

.

The rain had stopped, and Chie-sensei had finally arrived. Shion followed Satoshi in. She smiled at him.

 "What do you want?" He asked her. 

"U-uh..coach was worried about you and-"

"Tell him I already said I quit. I'm not coming back," Satoshi interrupted. He walked away, and Satoko turned to look at her, with dull eyes.

.

"You're not going to eat, Mii-chan?" Rena asked, worriedly. Shion ignored her. 

"Satoshi!" She called out. 

Satoshi turned around and glared at her. Then, he walked away.

"Wait! lets have lunch together!!" Shion tried.

"I've told you many times, I'm not interested. I want to be alone right now, if only for lunch."

That's when she heard glass break, and Satoko started crying.

Two girls around her age looked at each other, then at her worriedly. The sun painted a dark shadow over the eleven-year-old. Satoko looked up to see who it was. "Nii-Nii?" It wasn't Satoshi.

It was Shion.

"Help me, help me Nii-Nii!" She cried as Shion used her hands to scrape the bento back into the box.

Fed up, Shion grabbed her by the head and yanked at her hair. Satoko screamed out in pain. Shion loved it. Lusting for more, She picked up the lightweight child and threw her into the cubbies, her little body slamming into them before hitting the floor.

She looked up in terror at the tall girl in front of her. "Nii-Nii!! Heeelp me-he-heee!" She screamed.

Shion kicked her smack in the face, leaving her with a black eye. "Listen up, you little brat. Do you understand why you're treated this way?" The other little children crowded around Shion, too scared to do anything. She picked up Satoko by her dress and threw her into the desks violently.

"Nii-nii.." Satoko cried again. 

"Because you're like that!!" Shion screamed as she began to throw things-books, bentos, anything she could find at Satoko. "If you want to cry, then cry! Your 'Nii-Nii' isn't here to save you this time! Stop fucking crying! Why do you cry? Because someone will help you if you do? You're pathetic!" She shrieked.  "You have no idea how much trouble you cause your savior!" Shion lifted up a chair and began to beat Satoko with it. "If you're this miserable, then die! Don't drag Satoshi with you! Go drag your miserable little self into a hole and die! You need to die, go die alone!!!"

Satoko just keeps screaming. "Nii-Nii!" She weakly tried to say. "Nii-nii..."

"Don't think you can just cry!" Shion hissed. "Don't think you can just hold onto Satoshi! If you won't kill yourself, I will!" She lifted up the chair threateningly.

Rika leaped in front of the crying girl, wrapping her arms around her protectively. "Don't bully Satoko! Satoko has been through a lot, you can't bully her!"

"I-I'm just teaching that pitiful brat a lesson," Shion growled. "If you're interfering, I'll break your head open first!"

Rena ran in front of Rika. "Mii-chan, stop! Let's talk about this!" She tried.

That's when Satoshi came running in. He fiercly pushed Shion aside. He turned to look at her. "What are you doing, Mion?" He hissed.

"I'm sorry..."

"What did Satoko do? WHAT DID WE DO?? WHY DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO BE BULLIED?"

Shion was just then beginning to regret her actions. She wondered if Satoshi would ever forgive her.

"The entire village accused my parents and bullied them...AND NOW IT'S US?" He laughed bitterly. "But that's just what the Sonozaki family does, isn't it?"

.

Shion's phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Shion? It's me. Satoshi called me, but I think it was meant for you.."

"Alright. I'll call him back, at a payphone, if that's okay."

"Yeah, that should work."

Shion called Satoshi back. Satoshi did two things, two things that surprised her. He both apologized and asked her to take Satoko to the Watanagashi for him, since he had something he needed to do. Feeling bad, she agreed.

The Watangashi wasn't too fun, and Shion didn't have it in her to enjoy herself. She had let Satoko run off with Rika, the little girl from earlier. Then, she went home.

.

 

 

Chapter Text

"I wonder if the police have an idea of who the suspect is," Shion asks over the phone. 

"I'm honestly not very sure," Noted Mion. "However, it seems that Ooishi is stubbornly asking around"

"Does Satoshi have an alibi for the festival day?"

"I'm really not sure. Sorry, Shion."

"Oh, I see. Bye, then.."

"Wait...Shion! Shion!"

.

Shion went rumbling into town, clothed in the same pale yellow T-shirt and dirty jeans from earlier, he hair tied back up into Mion's signature ponytail. That was when she saw him. Satoshi was walking around, without really seeming to know where he was going. His eyes were dull, and lifeless. 

"Heya, Satoshi-kun!" she called, running towards him.

"Eh? Mion?" He asked.

Shion noticed him staring into the window of a shop. "Whatcha looking at, Satoshi-kun?" She looked inside at the giant teddy bear. "Oh, is this for Satoko's birthday? How sweet of you! I'm sure she'll love it~"

Satoshi sighed sadly and smiled at her. "Yeah, I'm afraid someone will buy it before I can, though...so I come to check on it every day..."

Shion laughed at him and rolled her eyes. "Aughh, you just have to put it on hold! Then they'll reserve it for you!

"Huh?" Asked Satoshi. He had never even thought about that.

Shion grabbed him by the arm and dragged him inside. "Hello?"

The owner of the shop saw Shion and smiled. "Awwh, Mion! How goes it with you?"

Shion grinned at Satoshi. "The big teddy bear in the display case? I want you to put it on hold for Satoshi-kun here, this boy," She said, shoving him at the counter.

"Oh, of course, Mion!" exclaimed the owner of the shop. "One teddy bear on hold for a Mr. Satoshi Houjou! Good luck!"

Once they were back out, Satoshi was staring at Shion in awe. "T-that's all you had to do?"

Shion sighed in exasperation. "Yeah, dummy!" She exclaimed, giving Satoshi a playful shove.

"but..thanks...Mion..." He said, gently patting her head.

Suddenly, Mion noticed a startled look in his eyes. That's when she saw them. Behind Satoshi was the Okinomiya Police Officer, Detective Ooishi. He could really be a nuisance sometimes...

"Hello, hello" Ooishi greeted them. Shion gritted her teeth. "Houjou-san, I need to ask you a couple of questions, if that's okay."

"What's that?" Asked Shion. "To come quietly? Let's go,  Satoshi. You don't need to get involved in this"

She turned to look at Satoshi. He was pale.

Ooishi reached out his hand towards Satoshi. Shion ran in front of him. "You want to know his alibi, right?" she asked. "That would be me. Satoshi and I were chatting in a restaurant, Angel Morte."

"Oh?" Asked Ooishi. "Don't play games with me Mion, we already know you were at the Watanagashi until the end."

"To tell the truth, I'm not Mion."

Both Satoshi and Ooishi looked very confused by this statement.

"Uhh..what do you mean?" Asked Ooishi.

"So I didn't go to the cotton drifting festival, while Mion did"

"But if you aren't Mion..."

"My name is Shion," Shion interrupted. "I'm Mion's twin sister. This is our first meeting, isn't it? Hello." She bowed her head. "Mion has told me some..things about you"

Ooishi laughed at her. "You know, it isn't desirable to fool adults..."

"Please, go ahead and check the family registry," Shion demanded sternly. Her voice then softened. "Or, would you believe Mion if I called her and told her to come to stand next to me?"

Ooishi sighed. He went to go speak with his assistants. 

"Satoshi-kun," Shion whispered urgently. "No matter what they ask, say we were at angel morte."

"R-Right"

She hesitated. "Are you mad?"

"Why would I be mad?"

"Because I've been deceiving you," Shion answered.

He laughed a little. "Talking to Mion in the class didn't make sense sometimes...Now I understand why."

"Wait, you're not going to get angry?"

"Of course not."

Before Shion could question him any more, Ooishi turned around and walked back towards them. "Would you two come down to the station?"

.

'Damn them..' Shion thought. 'Questioning us separately...'

A group of men, each belonging to the Sonozaki family was there to greet her. "Welcome, Shion. Long time, no see."

"Where's Kasai?" She asked urgently. This was giving her an uneasy feeling and she wasn't sure why.

They parted, revealing a large van. "Get in."

Shion obeyed. The drive was short, but she had wished for it to be longer, had she known what awaited her. While she was still in the car though, a creature perced itself outside her windowsill. A fluffy white, cat-like alien. 

Kyubey.

'Um, excuse me?' It asked, it's voice echoing in her head. 

'Huh? You talking to me,' She thought in response. 

'Yes. I am. I have a very lucky offer for you if you don't mind.'

'Is that so? Well, I guess today is my lucky day'

'Oh, perfect, you're on board.'

'Hey, why wouldn't I be? You really think I'd ignore you, dismiss you as some stupid creature? I've been ignored all my life. I know what it feels like to not be taken seriously.'

'Hmm, I was right to choose you. No wonder I saw so much potential...'

'Potential? For what?'

'Well, my contract.'

'Contract?'

'Yes. Would you like to sign a contract with me, and become a magical girl?'

'A magical girl? Like the one's I read about in manga when I was little?'

'Kinda. I'll grant you a wish, too. With someone of your potential, I could grant absolutely any wish you'd like, just like that. So, I'd recommend you think carefully. You're only going to get this chance once.' echoed the voice as the car pulled into the Sonozaki house.

'Oh, I have to go now...Will I see you again?' Shion asked it in her mind.

'Yes, believe me, you will, it assured her.

.

"The head is very furious," Mion told her sternly as she was guided out of the car. 

"S-sis..." Shion stuttered, still confused as to what was even happening.

They came across a mysterious looking building deep in the trees. Even the sight was enough to make Shion feel anxious. "Is this the so-called ritual tool shed?" She asked nervously.

Mion said nothing.

Shion slowly stepped down the stairs. They were very old and fragile, so each step was tentative and nervous. When she finally got inside, she saw the members of the Sonozaki house sitting in a row. They were surrounded by old-fashioned torture tools, that likely haven't been touched in over a decade. 

Right?

The door behind her slammed, startling Shion. 

She faced her grandmother, Oryou Sonozaki. "You fool!" The woman exclaimed. "I wondered what you'd bring back...But how could it be that traitor boy from the Houjou family!

"Wait a minute...What the parents did has nothing to do with Satoshi-Kun!" She exclaimed angrily.

"SHUT UP!" Screamed Oryou. "EVERYONE IN THE SONOZAKI FAMILY HAS THE SAME CORRUPT TRAITOR BLOOD! 

Shion sneered defiantly. "You hideous granny, what are you bumbling on about now?" She said with a wicked cackle.

Oryou pointed a finger at the 17-year-old. "Watch your mouth," She snapped.

Mion glared coldly at her sister, but that didn't stop her. "Shut up, you fucking hag!" She hissed at her grandmother. "What the hell do you know about Satoshi-kun? You treat him like a pest when you barely know him. Are you displeased that a Sonozaki is with a Houjou? Is status all that matters to you?" She sneered. Oryou looked to the side, clearly thinking about something. Shion started to laugh bitterly. "That's so stupid! For a wise old granny, you sure are stu-pid~"

"That's enough, Shion!" Mion snapped with a frown.

Shion raised an eyebrow. "I see what happened here, Mion tattled. She doesn't like the fact that I like Satoshi-kun."

Mion said nothing.

Shion wasn't done talking. "But as this hideous Granny suggests, he really may have done something to his aunt." Shion began to laugh maniacally. "AHAAAHAAAHAA! AAAAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" She screeched. "I LOVE HIM!" She yelled, thrusting her arms in the air and twirling around in circles. "IS THAT REALLY SUCH A BAD THING? DOES A PERSON NEED A REASON TO LIKE ANOTHER?"

Akane Sonozaki slowly shook her head no. Now would be a completely inapropraite time to let it get in the way, but she knew all too well of the pains her daughter was in. She too, had experienced forbidden love at Shion's age, so Oryou chose her daughter to be the next head instead of her. She didn't resent her for it, however, but Shion's immaturity wasn't her fault. Shion, like Akane, was just a young child when that had happened. A foolish teenager blinded by desire. She sighed and brushed her forest green bangs out of her eyes.

Mion approached Shion. "I understand your determination, but with that much said, no one can cover for you anymore. You'll have to show us your responsibility." She stated.

"Responsibility? WHa...why?" Shion asked.

"This is Hinamizawa, Shion," Mion said simply. "And we are the Sonozaki family. One of the three great families and the actual head of Hinamizawa. I don't understand how you keep forgetting this."

"Hinamizawa?! Sonozaki family?" Shion scoffed. "Who cares?"

"LISTEN!" demanded Mion. "How many people have helped you in Okinomiya?"

Shion began to count on her fingers but was interrupted by Mion. 

"Kasai and uncle Yoshiro are in the room behind you. You owe atonement for them, too. Not to mention Satoshi Houjou.."

"I'm...I'm sorry, please just forgive them!" Shion cried, tears beginning to well up in her eyes.

Mion didn't respond to this. "Then Shion, How will you take responsibility?" She asked, leading Shion over to a strange looking device. "W-what's that?" Shion asked.

"It's a device used to rip off fingernails," Replied Mion. "Do you know how to use it?"

"O-of course not!!" Shion stuttered.

Mion sighed heavily before continuing to elaborate. "Each nail will represent your responsibility for each wrongdoing," She explained.

"T-thats..."

"Three."

"Only three?" Shion asked. "Hey, that's not so bad...Hahaha! That's not so bad!"

"Mm. Now let's get on with it," Noted Mion.

Mion slowly strapped her hand to the device. "Would you like to do it, or do you want me to?" Mion asked. 

"I-I'll do it.." Shion said firmly. After a lot of struggling, she finally managed to slam it down. 

She screamed out in piercing agony. "Aww, looks like it missed. I guess she'll have to do that one again..." Said Oryou smugly.

"Wait..what? Please sis, I don't want to do this anymore!"

Mion let out a huffy breath. "It's either this, or hell for the other innocent people you got involved," She said simply. 

In the end, Shion still refused, much to Mion's annoyance. It got to the point where Mion ended up having to call over men to hold her sister down. Mion felt bad, she really did. She knew something like this was cruel and if she were in charge it would not have happened this way. But Mion isn't in charge yet, so Shion had to do it Oryou's way, and Mion had to accept that. She had no other choice.

.

To Shion, all she felt was bitter resentment that could only be fixed by nothing short of a miracle. This magical girl and wish deal was starting to sound like a great idea to her. She didn't care what she had to do, or how many more fingernails she had to tear off. Satoshi would be hers, he didn't have a choice.

It was time to really start thinking about her wish.

Chapter Text

Kyubey swished his tail in anticipation as Shion stared at the creature perched on her windowsill. "Then tell me, Shion. What do you wish for?"

Shion cleared her throat. "I wish for Satoshi-kun to be with me forever," she stated.

"I see. Forever is a long time Shion, you're sure you won't regret it? That's a pretty powerful wish, you're sure that's something you're willing to trade your soul for?"

"You said you could grant any wish for me, right?"

"I did say that."

"So grant my wish."

"Very well," Echoed the voice in Shion's head. Kyubey wiggled his ears and a bright flash of light shot up into the sky, practically blinding Shion. She closed her eyes.

When she opened them, she had a crystal in her hand, and beside her stood Satoshi. "What's this crystal thing?" She finally asked.

"That's your soul gem," The voice replied. "Keep it with you at all times, you hear?"

Rika stepped out from behind a tree and faced Shion. "You made the contract, didn't you?" She asked.

"What, did you make one too?"

Rika sighed. "I'm also a magical girl, so it may be wise if I help you out with your first battle, to get you used to what we do."

Shion looked at her confused. "Battle? What battle?"

Rika raised an eyebrow. "The incubator didn't even tell you that part? What a sellout," She mused.

Satoshi looked at the two of them, clearly very confused. "Magical girls? Battles?"

"Don't ask," Shion told him.

"What about magical boys..?" He wondered.

The incubator turned to look at him. "Oh, I usually tend to avoid making contracts with males, as they can be very aggressive, and can lack logic and reasoning. It isn't completely unheard of, though."

Satoshi turned to Rika. "Well, you'll have to tell me about these battles too, since I go wherever Shion goes."

Rika frowned. "You shouldn't follow her into the labyrinth, it isn't safe for a human," She told him.

"But I go wherever Shioon goes! I don't really get a choice...Oh. and I'm immortal, so I can't die. That way, I'll be with Shion forever~!"

That's when Shion realized she may have made a big mistake.

.

Rika lead Shion into the labyrinth. "You'll know when your time comes to transform comes, as magical girls can sense it," She told Shion as Satoshi brainlessly stumbled behind her.

Shion had more questions. "So, will I get a fancy outfit or something? A weapon? Special powers?"

Kyubey answered her questions, sitting on Satoshi's shoulder. "Every magical girl gets their own unique outfit and weapons; accustomed to their abilities. Your powers, on the other hand, depending on what kind of wish you made. Rika, for instance, has the power to vividly remember past lives, and freeze time, since her wish had to do with time and memory."

"Interesting," Shion noted.

"You, on the other hand, have mind manipulation powers, since your wish revolved around manipulating this boy. That will be very useful in battle, once you master it."

Shion nodded. "Makes sense."

Rika turned to her. "We fight our battles against witches. Witches are creatures born from and feeding off of despair, more specifically, the despair of magical girls. When you die from falling into despair, you too will become a witch."

"Don't worry, Rika" Shion assured her. "I won't fall into despair. I have Satoshi!"

Rika nodded dismissively. "Right. Watch your soul gem, too. if it blackens completely, that means you've fully succumbed to despair. You can cleanse it, however, by collecting a grief seed from killing a witch"

"Wait," Shion asked. "So we're basically killing former magical girls?"

"Exactly," Rika told her. Don't overthink it though, it isn't worth blackening your soul gem over." Rika looked around her. "We'll discuss this later. For now, we have a witch to go up against. Since this is your first time, I'll give you a freebie on the grief seed. It won't be that easy in the future, though."

Rika leaped into the air, her current street clothes fading off her body, exposing her flesh to the air around her. A bright beam of light covered her, and her magical outfit appeared, along with her weapon. The light faded away, and she landed on the ground, ready for battle.

After Rika, it was Shion's turn. She too went through the process, emerging with a large missile-shooter and a new outfit and armor. Fully prepared, she ran headfirst into the battle with Rika.

.

Afterward, Rika handed her the grief seed. "Good job in there! For your first time, I must say that was impressive. As for the grief seed, don't use it right away. I'd recommend saving it, as there will come a time when you do really need it."

"If you don't mind me asking...," Shion began hesitantly.

"Hm? Go on," Pried Rika.

"If witches feed off of despair then...Whose despair was that witch feeding off of? I got kind of a familiar vibe when I was in there..." Shion asked.

"If I'm not mistaken," Began Rika, "I believe that was your twin sister, Mion. She feels really guilty for what she had to do earlier"

'Wait a second...ripping off my nails? How does Rika-chan know about that?' Shion wondered.

Shion looked distressed by this, so Satoshi patted her head to make her feel better. Shion had to smile.

"Thanks, Satoshi.."

"Hehehehe..Anytime, Shion. We've got the rest of eternity, after all, remember?"

.

Chapter Text

It was here, and she'd run out of time. It was the day Rika was meant to die. She had gotten so caught up in being a magical girl and fighting witches, that she'd run out of time. She ran out of time to fight.

The world was doomed. She was still going to be killed, but it wasn't by Shion, at least.

It was Takano.

Takano was going to kill her. She laughed a little as her soul gem blackened. What was she doing? What was she trying to do? It's as if she wasn't allowed to be depressed. Even freedom of thoughts had been taken that day, the day she made the contract. It was absolutely hopeless.

She reached into her pocket and grabbed a grief seed, letting it restore the soul gem and fade away. Then, she poured a glass of wine. The cool liquid made a relaxing sound as it trickled into the fragile glass, filling it up in a blood red liquid.

She picked up the glass, and slowly sipped it, letting the alcohol flow it's course through her.

At least dying in this timeline won't be as lonely. Satoko would still be alive, at least while Rika was. Unfortunately, it wasn't like she'd last long. Even if this world doesn't kill her, the aftermath of Rika's death, the great outbreak will.

And then, Rika won't be alive to comfort her.

"Rika!" A tiny voice called her name.

"Han...Hanyuu?" Rika asked.

"Have you already given up? Hau-hauu...Shion's avoided disaster, and that's never happened before!"

That's when it hit her. Hanyuu was right. Rika wasn't done yet.

Besides, even if Takano did try and kill her, what chance would she stand against a magical girl?

None of her friends had died, not yet. Even Satoshi was still intact.

But that's when it hit her. There still was a problem. Keichii hadn't moved in and wasn't going to.

She was so close, too...

She turned to Hanyuu.

"Hanyuu, I got it."

Hanyuu looked at her quizzically.

"All we need is for someone to wish Keichii to hinamizawa..."

Hanyuu shook her head.

"Rika, no one else knows who he even is. That isn't going to work, and you know it."

Rika was still feeling cocky.

Maybe it was the wine.

"Then...let me die here. With that presence of that creature, then we can do it."

Hanyuu shook her head.

"Rika, I think you've had too much to drink. Your words are barely making any sense right now..."

Rika chugged down another helping of the red wine.

"Hanyuu!" She exclaimed. "I'm a magical girl now! A magical girl!" She began to twirl around in circles as she continued to speak.

"But, it worked this time! So all that has to happen in the next timeline, is for Keichii to move in..then...then...the rest will all fall into place, just as it did here and now! Ahahaha! It's a miracle!"

Hanyuu sighed. She knew there was no point in talking to Rika like this.

She wouldn't listen to her anyway.

But that didn't stop her from giving up.

Still...after all that's happened, she really began to despise the white creature that called itself Kyubey.

.

There was another witch. Once again, it was taking advantage of Satoko. She headed in bead first, each time her feet touched the ground they seemed to bounce up, sending her higher into the air.

She felt like she was flying.

She was also furious about how many witches take advantage of Satoko, her dearest friend. This fury drove her, and despite the fact that witches aren't capable of feeling pain, she sought to hurt it.

She lept into the air and transformed. Then, she sprinted headfirst into the witch. It was much stronger than the others, and rika realized that it had killed others before. While it would have much more powers then the others, that didn't stop her from savagely going headfirst into the combat. By the time she was done, shion had just shown up.

"Rika?"

Rika smirked at Shion playfully as she pocketed the grief seed.

"Better luck next time, Shion. This one's mine."

Chapter Text

"Nii-Nii! Please don't leave me alone!" Satoko cried out in anguish, her violet eyes welling up with tears.

"Sorry, little sis," Satoshi told her, patting the little girl's head. "But I belong to Shion now, you see? I can't protect you anymore."

Shion smirked wickedly at Satoko. "Satoko, that's what happens when you cause your Nii-Nii so much trouble! He leaves you all alone~"

Satoshi walked back over to Shion. "Y-yes, I agree with Shion!" He exclaimed, causing Shion to giggle.

"Come on Satoshi, let's leave this miserable little brat behind, shall we?"

Satoshi nodded brainlessly as he pranced away with Shion.

Rika watched them go. She waited until they were completely out of sight to approach Satoko. After that exchange, she knew this world was doomed, Keiichi or no Keiichi. She refused to stay in a world like this, one that was so damn cruel to poor Satoko.

She slowly put an arm around Satoko in an attempt to comfort her. "Satoko...It's going to be okay, I'll never abandon you..."

Satoko looked up at her with fear in her eyes, making Rika frown. "No, Rika...Uncle will...He will hurt you too..."

"I don't care about that," Rika assured her. "You aren't dealing with that awful man alone, You need to reach out and take help when it's there reaching out to you!"

Satoko smiled bitterly. "But...Satoshi left me alone like this because I'm weak, so if I can take it and prove how strong I am! I can do it...I can...I can...!"

This was probably the last thing Rika wanted to hear. Her death was creeping closer, and this world was over anyway.

So, why was she even trying to help anymore? She'd get another chance, wouldn't she?

Rika frowned as she turned to Satoko. "Satoko. listen to me."

"Eh?" Satoko asked.

"On the night of the cotton-drifting festival, Satoshi didn't show up, remember?"

"Y-yeah...?"

"And remember how you're aunt disappeared the same day?"

"Um...yeah..."

"That's because Satoshi killed her! He took her to a lonely place in the woods, and he battered her in with his baseball bat! The same one that he used when he used to play baseball...before he quit."

"No...It can't be...Nii-Nii would never do that! You're lying!"

Rika sighed. "I'm not lying, Satoko. Just hear me out, okay?"

"H-how do you even know this?"

"You're brother is collapsing under the symptoms of Hinamizawa syndrome. He withdrew a huge amount of money from the bank, and he was planning to run away. Instead, he's been bound to Shion now, and he cannot leave her side. This is the work of Magic, Satoko. Your brother is going to lose it soon."

Rika had no idea at the time why she told Satoko this. It wasn't going to do any good, to begin with, was it? No matter what, she was still going to be killed.

So what exactly was she trying to do?

.

Shion stared at Satoshi in disbelief. "Satoshi...I'm not going to hurt you! And believe me, if you're aunt came for you, I wouldn't let him touch you!"

Satoshi didn't believe a word she said. "You're lying...you must be lying! The only reason I'm with you and can't escape is that you're holding me, hostage, so she can come kill me! Let me go, Shion! I need to get out of here! I need to go somewhere...Far away."

Shion was heartbroken. Satoshi had been awfully distressed for a long time now, but she had done everything she could to comfort him. But it still...it still wasn't enough. When would it be? Would it ever be enough?

As Satoshi continued to panic, Shion grew more and more heartbroken. This wasn't what she wanted. This wasn't the Satoshi who had saved her from those bikers. This wasn't the Satoshi she had fallen in love with!

Where did he go? She wanted him back...No matter what she had to do! She'd destroy everything in her path before she gave up...everything and everyone...

As her thoughts raced and her despair grew, all her soul gem did was darken. It blackened and blackened, which only made Shion panic more.

"H-hey, why's it doing that? Make it stop...Make it stop!!" She screeched.

Kyubey kept it's distance, as he knew it was too late. Still, Kyubey had never in his entire life seen a magical girl turn into a witch this quickly. Such a powerful one too...

Hinamizawa was only intriguing the creature more and more by the second. There was still one thing it didn't know, however, and that was how quickly Hinamizawa would self-destruct.

.

The second it happened, Rika felt it. She was sitting in the grass outside of Teppei's trailer, trying to comfort Satoko.

That was when she felt it. The newborn witch and it was headed straight for her and Satoko. Before she even had time to warn Satoko, they were both trapped within the labyrinth. Rika was horrified when she was hit with the notion that they had both been trapped, and she wasn't able to save Satoko.

But she wiped that thought away as quickly as it came. She lifted Satoko up over her shoulders. "Satoko-chan, hold on tight!" She exclaimed. "And whatever you do, don't you dare let go!"

Satoko looked around her in terror, but she obeyed Rika. "Rika-chan...Where are we? I'm scared...Rika-chan!"

Rika turned around and smiled at Satoko. "Don't be afraid Satoko! I'll protect you! I won't let this witch kill you, okay? Just remember to hold on tight!"

She leaped up into the air, and a beam of a bright flashing light covered her, making Satoko squint. Rika's current clothing disappeared, and Satoko turned bright red when the shirt underneath her hands disappeared, replaced by Rika's pale, bare shoulders. Still, she obeyed Rika and didn't let go.

The bareness didn't last long, as it was quickly replaced by Rika's majestic magical girl outfit, and gear. Rika ran headfirst into the labyrinth, now fully prepared.

Satoko's eyes went wide when she saw Rika's new outfit. "S-so pretty..." She breathed.

Rika viciously fought the witch, more violently and aggressively than she's ever fought before. She refused to lose to Shion, no matter how powerful of a witch she had become. She also stopped caring that Shion used to be her friend, wiping that thought out of her head.

In this world, Shion wasn't her friend, not anymore. She had become her enemy.

Satoko stared at the witch as Rika slashed at it.

Shion was a huge witch, and her labyrinth was a colorful abstract mess. She looked nothing anywhere near human, and Satoko barely knew what that thing Rika kept slashing at even was.

So, she finally asked. "Rika...what is that thing you're up against?"

Rika answered her question while she fought. "Oh, this is what used to be Shion. This Satoko is what pure despair looks like. It's a wicked thing, and the Shion you used to know is gone now. Her despair has taken over her."

Satoko barely knew what it was Rika was going on about, but whatever it was, it seemed scary. The witch swung at Rika, sending her tumbling to the ground. Rika went crashing down, Satoko still on her back.

That's when it hit Satoko. Rika wasn't strong enough to fight this witch on her own. But what could Satoko do?

She felt completely helpless. At this moment, she would do absolutely anything to save her best friend.

Kyubey saw this as a golden opportunity, with the potential Satoko held, and it gave the creature a grand idea.

It approached her.

Satoko was lying on the ground helplessly beside her dying friend. She looked at the creature, her eyes filled with tears. "hello? Can you help me, please! Is there anything I can do...To save her?"

The creature cocked it's head to the side, it's strawberry colored eyes piercing through her soul. "Actually, yes! You could make a contract with me, and become a magical girl! Then you could be strong enough to save your friend! All you have to do is make a wish, and I can grant it!"

"A...w-wish?" Satoko asked.

"Yes, any wish. Your wish will be granted, and in exchange, you'll become a magical girl."

"Okay!" Satoko exclaimed confidently. "I wish that Rika can be saved, and I'll be strong enough to help her finish this awful witch off!"

"Is that wish something you'd be willing to trade your soul for?"

Satoko turned to look at Rika, who was lying helplessly on the ground.

"Yes," She replied finally.

"Alright!" The creature exclaimed wiggling its ears. "Congratulations, Satoko Houjou, on becoming a magical girl!"

.

When Rika woke up, she was inside of the Furude Shrine, back inside her teal day-dress. Satoko was sitting next to her, but...what was she wearing?

She rubbed her eyes sleepily, allowing her vision to focus. Then she looked at Rika playfully. "Oh, Rika! You're awake!"

Satoko was wearing a vibrant colored outfit Rika had never seen before. In one hand, she held a golden-tinted soul gem. In the other hand, she held two large pistols that would only be a weapon worthy of a magical girl.

"Satoko...You made a contract?"

"Yup! I wished for you to be saved, so I could be strong enough to fight that awful witch, Shion!"

Rika's eyes widened. "W-wait..."

"Don't worry, Kyubey right here told me everything I needed to know, about being a magical girl and such. I know it's a bit of a heavy price, but it's a price I'm willing to pay if it'll save my best friend!"

"But that's not it...," Rika said with panic in her eyes. "Today was supposed to be the day that Takano killed me!"

Chapter Text

"Satoko...You made a contract?"

"Yup! I wished for you to be saved, so I could be strong enough to fight that awful witch, Shion!"

Rika's eyes widened. "W-wait..."

"Don't worry, Kyubey right here told me everything I needed to know, about being a magical girl and such. I know it's a bit of a heavy price, but it's a price I'm willing to pay if it'll save my best friend!"

"But that's not it...," Rika said with panic in her eyes. "Today was supposed to be the day that Takano killed me!"

.

"Wait...So Satoko added another year to the expected time of my death?" Rika asked Hanyuu, completely dumbfounded. "Apparently..." Hanyuu remarked. She seemed awfully weary.

"And...Please correct me if I'm wrong..." Rika added hesitantly.

"Alright," Said Hanyuu with a nod. Satoko was asleep at Rika's place since Teppei had mysteriously left Hinamizawa. 

"So, Shion's wish only delayed Satoshi's disappearance?"

"Yes," Hanyuu said with a nod.

"And I'm getting another year until the time when I'm expected to die..." She noted.

"Yes, that's right," Hanyuu told her. "Satoko unknowingly increased your lifespan with her wish. This still kind of confuses me, but this is what I know."

"And since Teppei moved out, I'm going to assume Rena is next."

"Huh?" Hanyuu questioned. "What makes you say this?"

"Well, since he's leaving Hinamizawa, based off what I've seen around this timeframe in other worlds, he's eventually going to move back in with Rina. Chances are he may leave Satoko alone, no longer caring, but he may also take her in again."

"So you think Rina moving in will cause the other events leading up to Rena being infected?" Hanyuu asked her. "That's not a bad intuition, I do see where you're coming from"

"The only problem..."

"yeah? What would that be?"

"If Keiichi never moves in, chances are, Rena's plan will succeed."

"Plan? What plan?"

Rika sighed grimly. "Her plan to hold the entire school hostage. It's likely that the bombs will go off, killing everyone. I don't know if I can stop it without him."

"Oh, I see..." Hanyuu remarked with a sigh. "That would be troublesome.."

"Not just troublesome, it would mean this world was doomed from the start and we'd be wasting almost an entire year."

Suddenly, their conversation was interrupted by a sleepy Satoko. "R-Rikaa~What are you...who are you talking too?"

Rika turned around. "Satoko! What are you doing up at this hour?"

Satoko frowned and crossed her arms. "What about you, Rika-chan?"

Rika sighed and went back inside with Satoko. She'd dismiss it to the girl as a dream, tomorrow.

.

Remembering the previous timeline, Rika decided against taking a shortcut through the woods.  Even if it meant making Satoko and her late for school. That's when she noticed kyubey sitting on Satoko's shoulder. 

"Uh...Satoko?"

"Hmm?"

"Your shoulder..." She began.

"What about it?" Satoko asked. 

"It's just..."

"Are you worried about Kyubey? We're the only ones who can see us, remember? Plus we can talk to each other in our thoughts! It's a magical girl thing, remember!"

"Oh, yeah...can't believe I forgot," Rika noted giggling. She was still having trouble processing what had happened, but Satoko was a magical girl too now.  In fact, Satoko's sacrifice had saved her life. 

Rika walked into school with her, greeted by a stern talking to from Chie-sensei.  "You two, late again!"

"Sorry," Rika told her. "Satoko-chan overslept again~! Nipaah!"

Chie couldn't stay stern with her since Rika was too cute. She sighed. "Just...don't let it happen again."

Mion grinned at Rika. "Very clever, Furude Rika-san! Using your cuteness to your advantage!"

Rika smiled at her.

"Hauu~It doesn't defend her from Rena! Rena's gonna take her hooome!" Exclaimed Rena as she charged at Rika, who had to quickly duck out of the way, causing Rena to trip and land into a wall. "Outsmarted again...Rena will take Rika home someday!" She exclaimed.

That's when Chie clapped her hands together. "Okay, everyone! Settle down!" She motioned towards the door. "Okay, you may come in now."

A scruffy looking boy with messy brown hair came tumbling in. 

"We have a new student everyone! Chie exclaimed. "Please welcome him! You may now introduce yourself, Keiichi.

Rika's eyes widened. 'Hold on...' She thought. 'He is moving in now? What? He's never moved in in the middle of July like this...Keiichi...what else are you hiding in your past? What is it I'm missing? Why now?'

Mion seemed to notice Rika's startled reaction. "Rika-san?" She whispered. "You okay?"

"Mii...J-just a little shy!" Rika assured her.

"You may go sit down over there, by Mion and Rena," Chie told him.

Keiichi obeyed. As he sat down, his head seemed to be in the cloud, and a little bead of drool was dribbling out of his mouth. 

Mion decided to have some fun with this new kid. "Hey, Keiichi-kun? Whatcha thinking about?"

He almost jumped out of the air. "Nothing to be ashamed of," Mion continued. "it's perfectly normal for kids your age to have perverted fantasies." She grinned, reaching out her hand. "I'm Mion, Mion Sonozaki. It's very nice to meet you!"

He grinned, shaking her hand. "I-it's very nice to meet you too!"

Rena, who was sitting beside Mion, smiled and reached out her hand as well, just more timidly then Mion had. "I'm Ryuugu Rena," She informed him. "W-welcome to Hinamizawa!"

Satoko smacked him on the back in a chummy manner. "I'm Satoko Houjou! I'll be watching to see what you're made of, Keiichi-kun! Beware, as I'm known to others as the trap-master! I won't go easy on ya just because you're new! Oh ho ho!"

"Is that some kind of challenge?" He asked daringly. 

Rika stepped out from behind Satoko. "Mii! We have a special way of settling things here in Hinamizawa! I'm Furude Rika, and I'm sure Satoko would love to challenge you in a club activity!"

Mion smirked upon hearing this idea. "Good idea, Rika-chan! What game should we play?"

Rena also tapped her chin thoughtfully. "I wonder, I wonder!"

Mion thrust her thumb up into the air. "I know!" she exclaimed. "Let's get some fresh air and have a water-gun battle in the schoolyard!"

"A w-water-gun battle?" Keiichi asked. 

"Aww, you scared?" Satoko teased. "Ohohoho!"

"N-no way! Bring it on!" Keiichi exclaimed defensively. Mion grinned at him evilly. "Let's begin then!"

.

The gang was outside in a flash, everyone holding their own, locked and loaded water-gun. 

"We take games very seriously here, Kei-chan!" Mion exclaimed. "you'd better take this seriously!"

"Oh, you bet I will!" He exclaimed, not realizing yet just how serious Mion meant. Little did he know he was in for a big surprise.

"Ready...," Mion shouted. "GOOO!" As soon as she yelled this, everyone sprinted off in different directions. Keiichi began to chase after Rena, not realizing what he was up against. 

Rena looked up into a tree, where Satoko was hiding. She winked at Satoko, and Satoko winked back.  She began to slow down her pace, causing Keiichi to get excited. He dashed for her, but the second he went underneath the tree, a jet of water splashed down from above. Startled, Keiichi ducked out of the way and looked up, only to see Satoko up there laughing at him.

"Satoko! That's such a dirty trick!" He exclaimed angrily. She only laughed at him even louder than before. 

"OHOHOHO! Just as Mion-san told you, we take our games very seriously! That means we'll do whatever it takes to win, and we aren't afraid to play dirty!" She exclaimed, sticking her tongue out at him mockingly.

Rena took this opportunity to her advantage. While Satoko was busy yelling a Keiichi, she sprayed a jet of water up, splashing and Soaking the little girl. "You're out, Satoko-chan!"

"Aughhh! No fair!"

Keiichi dashed away, now it was his turn to laugh at Satoko. "Daahaaahaaa, NOW who's laughing?"

However, the next thing he knew, Rena was dashing after him too. "Shit! Have mercy on me Rena!"

"Rena having mercy on Keiichi-kun? Don't make me laugh!" She chuckled as she cornered him in a shed. 

"H-hey! Are you really trying to corner me?!?! That's low, Rena!" To Keiichi, Rena had seemed like such a sweet and gentle girl at first. But now, he saw a different side of her. Rena's merciless side.

He reached for his trigger, but before he could even pull, He was blasted in the face with a jet of water.

.

"Wait, I have to be punished?" Keii asked helplessly as Mion cornered him with a marker. 

"Yup!" Mion exclaimed. "Don't even try to back out, you lost, so you have to be punished!"

Satoko tugged on his sleeve. "Just be glad Rena didn't win, and you get Mion choosing your punishment..."

"Huh? Why?" He asked as Mion was going to town on his face with the marker.

"Because...She'd be dressing you up in a maid outfit, making Mion's permanent marker seem light..."

Keiichi almost jumped three feet in the air. "Wait, what do you mean, Mion's permanent marker!?"

"Hold still Kei-chan!" Mion exclaimed. You're gonna make me mess up, now is that what you want?"

"N-no..." He muttered helplessly.

"Good."

After what seemed like forever, Mion was finally finished. She stepped back to admire her masterpiece. 

"Awww, Mion made Keichii-kun so cute!" Rena squealed. "I want to take him home!"

Mion grinned confidently, clearly satisfied with her work. Alright Keiichi, let's walk home together!

"Wait, can't I scrub this off before my parents see it?"

"Nope! Not until we drop you off at your house!"

Keiichi sighed. 'Is this what everyone in Hinamizawa is like?' he silently wondered to himself, oblivious of what Hinamizawa really was capable of being. A pit of demons riddled in slaughter, despair and insanity. 

If only he knew. 

giggle giggle...

Chapter Text

Rena was a reserved girl, and she didn't like to talk about her problems. She was endlessly supportive of her other friends, however, and was always there for them, even if no one else was. She was not only supportive of her friends, but also her father.
Her mother had left him a while back without warning, and he was constantly blaming himself.
"What did I do - where did I ever go wrong?"
His ex-wife never even came to him to talk about it, no, it was her lawyer. The only one with any context at all was Ryuugu Rena, his daughter herself.
Now keep in mind, she was much younger back then. Much younger. But the memories remain crystal clear in her head.
In fact, around those couple of months, before her mother popped the big question to her, Rena noticed it all. She noticed her mother going out with this 'friend' more than she ever did with her father, and she noticed how her mother was rarely ever home.
Her mother had what she referred to as a best friend; He took Rena and her mother out to the carnival, out to eat, etc. Rena sometimes questioned her mother, but it was always the same.
"Momma, you seem awfully close to that man...are you sure he's just your friend, friend?"
"Yes, dear. He's a friend from work. Nothing more, nothing less."
Then she'd smile and pat Rena's head.
Sometimes, Rena tried to press harder, clearly catching onto something fishy.
"B-but...Momma..."
"Yes, sweetheart?"
"What if you think he's your friend, but he begins to develop feelings for you? He would know you're married already, right Momma? Right?"
"Yes, of course." She'd always answer in a manner that Rena found to be dismissive. But by then, she'd stop digging for answers. Because Rena knew she wasn't going to get any more information.
"Oh, okay. Good!" She'd say, smiling sweetly at her mother. But her suspicion was still there. It always was. Rena just hid it very well.
Until that day.
The calm summer day, when the air was foggy and the cicadas cried. The day when her mother broke the news to Rena. Not exactly what Rena was expecting to hear, but it didn't surprise her. Rena remembered it clearly. She remembered exactly what her mother had asked her that day.
"Reina-chan? Do you remember that man?"
"Um, wasn't his name Akihito?" Rena had asked, pretending not to know exactly where this conversation was going.
"Reina-chan, Don't you like Akihito-san?"
She didn't even give Rena a chance to answer. "Hey, Reina-chan, who do you like better? Mommy, or Daddy?"
Despite Rena's honest preference for her father, she didn't want to hurt her mother's feelings. So she cheerfully exclaimed, "Mommy, of course!"
So that's when her mother decided to cut straight to the chase. "So, if Mommy and Daddy were to live in separate houses, whose house would you want to live in?"
This was when Rena first felt her blood begin to boil. How dare her mother drag her into this...
"Umm," Rena stammered.
But her mother just kept on flapping her jaws.

"I'm thinking about separating with daddy and marrying Akihito."
'I knew it! I KNEW IT!' Rena silently screamed, but instead, she managed her composure.
"I am pregnant," her mother calmly stated.
That's when Rena completely lost her cool. "I won't go with you," She snarled. "Daddy's house is my home. I don't ever want to see you again."
"But Rena," Her mom argued. "If you stay with daddy, your life now will be -"
"Don't call me Reina so easily" Rena interrupted.
From then on, she went by 'Rena'. The i felt like a fragment of her mother that she did not want to keep.
Her mind began to fill with toxic thoughts. She tried to relieve them by smashing things, specifically all the possessions her mother had left behind. She would go down to the old dumpster and smash things. No one else has gone to that dumpster since the dam war, so Rena had decided to make it her own domain. Sometimes she went there to smash things, to scream, or even just cry. She found an old van that she would sleep in when she had to get out of the house.
Her father was always a kind person, and Rena felt so sorry for him. She also felt guilty for never warning him about the signs she'd seen. She deemed herself filthy, just like her mother.
Worried for her health, and not knowing about Hinamizawa syndrome or it's triggers, her father packed up and moved Rena away to Okinomiya. This didn't make things better, however. If anything, it only made things worse.
Rena was infected by the hinamizawa syndrome, as she left hinamizawa. She began to believe Oyashiro-sama was angry with her, and she was up all night begging and pleading the ceiling for forgiveness. Eventually, it occurs to her that she'd only ever be forgiven if she moved back to Hinamizawa, which she begged her father, but at first she didn't listen. Her symptoms only worsened.
She had no friends in school, as the kids there saw her as a freak. That and the syndrome had made her paranoid to the point that it already seemed everyone was out to get her to begin with.
She began to believe crazy things as she descended further into madness. She began experiencing hallucinations and felt that her blood itself was intoxicated. Maggots, she felt. She felt the maggots of sin crawling inside her bloodstream, wriggling about in her veins.
She began to scratch at her pale, delicate skin. She even cut herself. Whatever she could do to get rid of this 'tainted blood' her mother had left her. But there were so many of them. The more she got rid of, the more she felt wriggling about. It was of no use. The only way she could escape this would be moving back to Hinamizawa. But her father didn't listen, because he couldn't understand what she was going through.
So she stopped talking to him about it at all.
He felt awful not only because his wife had left him without warning, but his daughter was suffering from something horrendous and he couldn't do anything about it.
He began to resort to drinking.

Rena, on the other hand, hit her last straw.

She went to the school with a large hatchet, smashing all the windows in her school. She had no way of explaining what had happened, other than Oyashiro's curse. Then, she had made a final attempt to rid herself of her tainted blood by slitting open her throat. It was a miracle that Rena was ever able to survive this, as her father rushed her to the emergency room right away.
After she was okay, her father stopped drinking. He listened to his daughter and returned to Hinamizawa.
Rena experienced what seemed like an epiphany. She could've sworn she heard a gentle voice in her head apologizing, over and over again. The syndrome was lifted, and she met new friends in Hinamizawa. It seemed she could now finally be happy.

.

Rena Ryuugu was at the dumpster again, getting ready to go to sleep. She told her father she would be awhile, so he wouldn't worry. Sometimes, she would come here to cry, or just think. Sometimes, Rena needed to be alone, and her father understood.
She slowly stepped over the debris as she crawled inside the large van through an open window.
Inside the van was her collection of comfort toys, or as Rena referred to them; cute things. Treasures she had found at the dumpster.
She closed the window behind her. The rain began to hit the van like little pellets. The cicadas screeched in the distance. Rema found this white noise comforting, as it made Hinamiawa truly feel like home. No matter what changed in her life, the sounds were always the same, and the cicadas always cried.
Rena found this sort of consistency comforting.
She stared out the window and smiled to herself sadly.
"No, Rena," She muttered softly to herself. "You can't think that you're unhappy. You're happy now, you're definitely happy..."

.

Rika tossed and turned in her sleep. She couldn't stop wondering. 'Why did Keiichi come around this time?'
She knew why he had come the last time. He had gotten in trouble at his old school, for making mischief for the children. His father needed new inspiration for his paintings. So his mother, Maebara Aiko, had suggested they take a change of pace and move to Hinamizawa, a quiet, peaceful village she had read about. But they never moved in around this time, so Rika knew there was something else. Keiichi had more to his past then she had thought. There was more to this board than she originally anticipated.
Eventually, Satoko noticed Rika's restlessness and awoke from her own peaceful slumber. "Rika...Are you okay? You're restless...and you need your sleep"
Rika turned to Satoko. She knew what Satoko said was true, but she just couldn't seem to clear her head. "Hey Satoko," she suggested. "I think we should take a night walk, to help me clear my head. If you want, you can come with me..!"
Satoko smiled sweetly at Rika. In that moment, all of Rika's troubles seemed to melt. Her heart itself was always melted by Satoko's precious smile. "Of course Rika! I'd love to go on a night walk with you!" She exclaimed with excitement. Rika smiled.
"Thank you so much, Satoko"
The two little girls slipped on their shoes and paraded out the door.
They walked along the stream near the shrine, hand in hand. Rika knew not to stray too far from the path, as she was worried for Satoko's safety. Eventually, Satoko sat down beside Rika and took off her shoes. She set them down beside the steps of the furude shrine.
She sat down beside the stream and dipped her feet in the water. Rika did the same, taking off her own shoes, setting them down, and taking a seat beside Satoko.
The water was cool, and the stars reflected in the gentle currents of the stream. Rika held Satoko's hand in hers and looked at the stars. Satoko turned to her.
"I feel like I could be a kid forever down here, you know?"
Rika smiled all too knowingly. "Yeah, I know the feeling."
Satoko looked up at the stars, the back into the stream. "Rika?"
"Huh?"
"Isn't it pretty?" She remarked.
Rika looked down at the reflections of the stars in the stream. "Yeah, Satoko. It is really pretty. I guess I never noticed until now.
They sat together in blissful silence for a long time, until they saw a foreign reflection in the calm stream.
It was Kyubey.
That's when Satoko felt it. "Rika!" She exclaimed.
Rika turned to her. "Huh?"
"It's a witch! And it's coming from the dumpster that Rena likes to visit! I think our friend is in trouble!" She exclaimed in worry.
Rika felt it now, too. "Rena's having a nightmare," she told Satoko. "It's a nightmare witch."
She grabbed Satoko's hand, they slipped on their shoes and went running off in the direction of the labyrinth. Together. 

.

By the time they got there, Rika knew her suspicion was right. Rena Ryuugu was suffering a nightmare under the influence of a nightmare witch. 

"We have to get her out of there," Rika exclaimed. "This one is strong, strong enough to kill her.
She raced inside, and her and Satoko lept into the air, transforming into magical girls in a perfect unison.
Rika never enjoyed fighting witches. No one is supposed to enjoy it, after all. But she wasn't afraid either. There was definitely something special about fighting alongside Satoko. This was for certain. Rika and Satoko fought, giving it their absolute all.
Then, they dragged out Ryuugu Rena, who was safe now, peacefully sleeping. They carried her into her house and laid her in her own bed to rest.
Then, they went home and got a good night's sleep, the good night's sleep they needed and deserved.
Kyubey, on the other hand, was perched outside Rena's window. "What is it about the residents of this village and potential?" It wondered to itself.

Chapter Text

It was 2:45 in the morning. Takano was sitting at her desk, her current research sprawled across it. She's been taking notes all night long, based on observations she's made on the virus. She took note of the cause for the great Hinamizawa disaster - Rika's death - and how the entire village would fall. She considered how...wrong it would be to bestow such an awful thing over the place she's called home all her life, but she pushed those sentimental thoughts aside. She wasn't doing this for herself, per say.

She was taking the role as Oyashiro-sama himself, and becoming a god, for her grandfather. If only he could see her now. He would be so...proud.

She yawned, stretching out her arms. She was getting sleepy, sure, but she had to stay focused. After all, as of recently, she's noticed some major holes in her work. Stuff that she needed to further research before it could happen, the great Hinamizawa disaster.
Outside her window sat a strange creature, a fluffy white alien.

She was oblivious to it now, but it was watching her, and had been watching her for a long time.

Kyubey saw an enormous potential in her.
Finally giving up for the night, Takano spent the next half hour organizing her papers, her life's work. She would continue tomorrow, she had promised herself.
.
In the morning, Rena woke up with a fright. She remembered falling asleep in her van, not in her house. So why was she waking up in her own bed? She rubbed her eyes wearily.
"No," She assured herself. "It has nothing to do with Oyashiro-sama. I'm forgiven...I was a long time ago. I must've fallen asleep here when I was really really tired, so that must be why Rena doesn't remember!" She tried to assure herself as she slipped out of her nightgown.
She looked at her body.

Her arms, legs, throat, and even her lower chest was riddled with scars. Permanent scars that would never go away. Rena had some blending concealer makeup she used to cover them up, though.
They were always going to be there, a part of her, to remind her what had happened. They'd never let her forget. She'd remember for as long as lived, that she had angered Oyashiro-sama. She believed the scars were there as punishment and a warning from Oyashiro-sama. She was respectful since then, always attending the Watanagashi and doing whatever she could to atone for her sin, so Oyashiro would be happy with her.
She sighed as she slipped her clean uniform top over her head. She adjusted her skirt, then ran a comb through her silky, auburn hair.
Then, she slung her backpack over her back and met Mion outside.

Instead of walking to school with just Mion, now Mion and Rena went to go pick up Keiichi as well. Rena didn't mind, though.

 

"Keiichi! You idiot! You overslept again!" Mion exclaimed. Rena smiled.
'I'm definitely happy now,' she thought to herself.
. From then on, things seemed to be normal for a couple months.

September came along sooner than Rika would've ever thought. She wasn't used to this, she supposed. She wasn't used to living past June, if only for another year. However, she knew her problem wasn't over yet. She knew she was still destined to die. She didn't let the smiles of her friends now fool her. For the time being, Rika knew she was going to be killed by Takano.

She sat up long nights trying to figure out a solution. She knew the others weren't going to listen to her. Why would they? She was merely a silly little girl. No way she'd be taken seriously. That being said, she had plenty of time. So she had to try. Even if this world went to waste, she wanted to learn something from it. That's what her wish had scored her, to begin with. Memories of her previous worlds.

Rika had to skip school that day, having witches to fight. However, when she got there, something was different. The witch had already been defeated. Satoko was at school. So who defeated this witch so quickly? Rika felt herself grow uneasy. There was another magical girl in Hinamizawa, one that she didn't know about. She felt cool chills going up her spine, as she swore she felt as if someone had been watching her.

There was no grief seed. It had been taken. "Sure was a traveler, wasn't it?" she heard a voice behind her say.

Rika snapped her head around. A girl with bright red hair, a magical girl stood behind her.

"Who are you?" Rika asked. "You aren't from Hinamizawa, are you?"

"Eh?" This unfamiliar magical girl stepped out of the shadows, so Rika could see her.

She had chocolate-brown eyes and scarlet armor.

"I said, who are you?" Rika hissed.

"Oh," she said. "What, you a local?"

"Don't you have any idea where you are? You can't just come and go in Hinamizawa whenever you please, you know." The girl pulled out a stick of pocky and crunched it.

"The name's Kyouko. I've been in pursuit of this witch for a while, and it traveled into your village." Rika's eyes widened.

"Wait, you've been following it, while it grows stronger? Don't you realize it kills innocent people in the process?"

"Yeah," Kyouko answered. "So what? It's not like I know them." She took another bite of her pocky. Crou-nch. "Besides," Kyouko continued. "If you let 'em grow stronger, then the grief seed is bigger. So it all goes to a good cause, I guess."

Rika was still trying to comprehend this. Had this girl always come to hinamizawa in search of the witch, and she just missed it, due to well...not being a magical girl? Either way, Rika didn't like this Kyouko girl. She didn't like her at all.

.

"Hey kyubey," Rika asked the alien. "Have you ever made a contract with a girl named Kyouko? She isn't from here, is she?"

'Yes,' the voice replied. 'I have. I see you ran into her today?'

"I did," Rika told kyubey, sighing. Knowing Kyouko, the alien almost understood why Rika was talking in such a tone. Rika sat there in silence, petting the creature. After a while, Kyubey spoke to her again, it's voice echoing in the back of Rika's mind.

'Kyouko really is something, isn't she?'

Chapter Text

"You guys...," Rena said, her eyes tearing up. "You'll always be my dearest, most precious friends.."

Not sure why Rena was getting so sentimental all the sudden, Keiichi awkwardly laughed. "Daa haah...You too, Rena"

Mion looked up into the sky, the wind blowing her green ponytail astray. 'Shion,' She thought. 'Where have you gone? Why does everyone carry on like nothing happened? You and Satoshi are out there somewhere, this time I'm sure it wasn't some curse. You have to  be out there somewhere, you have to..." 

Keiichi looked at Mion skeptically. "M-Mion...Are you okay?"

Mion turned to look at Keiichi, and she began to cry a little. 'I can't imagine losing him or Rena like that, only for everyone to carry one,' she mused, a single, silver tear slipping down her cheek. "I agree with Rena," she said. "I'm so lucky to have all my friends here with me..." 

That's when Rena began to sob. Mion walked over to Rena, her arms spread out, and she hugged her. 

Rena looked up at Mion. "I'm sick of hiding it," She said tearfully. "Lately, I've had a nagging feeling something awful is going to happen. B-but...I don't know what, or why."

Mion hugged her tighter. "It's okay Rena, I've been having weird nightmares too..."

Rena tried to choke back sobs, but she couldn't do it. Bitter tears were pouring out, and she was shaking all over. "I don't want to lose our happy days, Mion! I don't want to hurt you, I don't want to hurt Keiichi, but I'm so afraid...That I can't stop it...

Rika awoke in the middle of the night. She was having another dream, although it was more of a recollection. A recollection of a past world that she's already lived in, one where her friends had remembered, where they all had dreams from past worlds and were able to befall that tragedy. 

'But it wasn't enough,' She thought with a bitter chuckle. 'All of my friends lived, but I was still killed that night. I don't remember who did it, but from what I know now, I assume it must have been Takano. It had to have been her.

She couldn't help but think about that world, though. In that world, she had saved Satoko from her uncle.

She turned around to look at Satoko Houjou, who was sleeping peacefully beside her. She was so happy to at least be able to keep her safe, even if that was it. She was very cautious about Rena, along with her father, as they had been targetted by many of the witches she had fought.

'Witches feed off of despair,' she remembered. 'So if witches flock to anyone in particular, that has to be a sign.' 

What she really couldn't forget, however, was that redheaded magical girl. Why had she come into Hinamizawa? Just to fight a witch?

Rika knew very well how problematic this would prove to be. That girl knew nothing about the Hinamizawa syndrome, and Rena was almost certain she would come down with it. But how would she know to return to Hinamizawa? Rika hoped this issue would play out somewhere else, so she didn't have to worry about it. She knew that was a selfish thought to entertain, but Rika couldn't help it. She didn't feel like adding a new piece to the gameboard of Hinamizawa, is that really so unreasonable?

Rika really hoped it wasn't, but her anxiety was nagging. So, she decided to talk to Hanyuu. She hesitated, looking at Satoko who was peacefully asleep beside her. Satoko has had nightmares before, and they usually led to panic attacks. During these ordeals, Rika felt it was simply essential to be there for her friend. 

But, this was urgent.

So Rika tucked her pillow under her blankets, at first glance makes it look as if she were still there. Then, she climbed out of the open window.

She gracefully leaped down the steps, and down to the stream that crept it's way past the Furude Shrine. She was in her bare feet, and the grass felt cool and soft int between her toes. She sat down by the stream, dipping her tiny toes in the chilly water.

"Hanyuu?" She called out softly, skipping some stones across the surface in anticipation. 

She pulled out a glass of wine, (now that Satoko wasn't around,) and took a sip of the strong-scented alcohol. The tangy flavor of the bitter, yet sweet grape-like liquid slipped down her throat, making her breathe in with pleasure. It's aftertaste and it's feels certainly was addicting, but Rika knew not to drink too much, or she'd feel sick. Just enough to make her feel a little less stressed, and calmer. 

"Ri-kaaa...' she heard a whiney voice beside her. She turned around, it was Hanyuu. 

"Oh, hello Hanyuu. I came out here to speak with you, you know."

"Hauuu...Sorry Rika...," Hanyuu whimpered anxiously. "You really shouldn't be drinking this time of night...hauhau...w-what if Satoko sees you?"

"Stop worrying so much,"Rika retorted as she flicked another stone across the stream. It skipped three times.

Plink! Plink! Plink! Splash!!

"And," Rika smugly added, for extra measure, "If you complain about my drinking one more time, I'll chug this bottle and make myself sick. We share the same sense, you know."

"Hau!! Rika, that's cruel!" Hanyuu exclaimed, growing queasy just thinking about it. 

"Glad that's settled then," Rika remarked with a smug grin. 

Hanyuu put her hands on her hips with a pout. "S-so, what was it you want to talk to me about?"

Rika sighed. "I encountered someone earlier who wasn't from here, someone who I know for a fact I've never seen in the previous worlds."

"Oh, that magical girl who came here in pursuit of a witch? Yeah, you told me about her...hauu...the one with the red hair, right?"

"Yes," Rika confirmed solemnly.

"Did you catch her name?" Hanyuu asked her.

"Yes, I did," Rika answered. "She said her name was Kyouko. That's what she told me. But theres one thing that still doesn't make sense, and that's what I wanted to discuss with you. I had a possible theory, too, but I wanted to get your take on it too."

"Alright," Hanyuu answered. "Tell me what you were thinking, and then I'll give you my opinion."

Rika nodded. "Well, in theory, I assumed that the girl came here following a witch, correct? Just like she said. 

Hanyuu nodded.

"Well," Rika continued. "There is a part of me wondering if she has always come here."

"You mean, in every timeline?" Hanyuu asked. 

"Yes," Rika answered. "She's always come here, but since I've only recently taken the magical girl duties on my shoulders, I've just never had a chance meeting with her. 

Hanyuu tapped her chin thoughtfully. "That does make sense," She noted.

"However, in retrospect," Rika continued, "You have to factor in her visiting Hinamizawa, and how that would affect her.

Hanyuu's eyes widened. "Hold up, she just came and left?" She asked.

Rika nodded, causing Hanyuu to frown. "That's really disrespectful..." She grumbled. "I don't know this girl, but from what I've heard, I really don't like her..."

Rika sighed. "I really don't like her either," She noted. 

Hanyuu perked up. "Eh? She didn't do anything to you, did she?"

Rika raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Hanyuu, if you don't mind me asking..."

"Eh?"

"Why are you suddenly getting so protective of me? Other people kill me all the time and you barely bat an eye. 

"Hauuuhauuhauuu! T-this is different!" Hanyuu exclaimed defensively. "I-I just think someone would have a l-lot of nerve just barging into the village and harming you, the reincarnation of oyashiro-sama! If the village heard about it, there would be a riot!" 

Rika sighed. "Whatever, I'll continue," She said, letting out an exasperated sigh. "ANYWAY, I feel like there is more to this than we are anticipating."

"What do you mean?" Hanyuu asked her. "So far you've told me that you think that's always happened, you just never noticed it, because you were never a magical girl and it was never your job to fight witches."

Rika nodded. "That was my original theory, but there is more to it than just that. You see, witches only come here if they have enough despair to feed off of, and that particular witch was really powerful, and it only came here for one reason; because our village had enough to feed it. Something different has happened in this timeline, Hanyuu. It's too early for this to be occurring. It's been a while since Satoshi and Shion disappeared, so that can't be the cause of it. I believe we are dealing with something different we haven't dealt with before."

Hanyuu looked at her. "Now that you mention it, you do have a point, Rika. It is very likely that there is a lot more to this than we originally thought."

'Thought?' Rika mused with a chuckle. 'Don't take any of the credit for my findings and theories, Hanyuu, when all you've done is nod your head and agreed with everything I say.' Rika snickered to herself, a little too loudly. 

"Hey!" Hanyuu exclaimed, stomping her foot and pouting like a little kid. "I heard that! I hear your thoughts, Rika, and that was so mean!

Rika sighed. "You know I'm right, though."

Hanyuu sulked, but humbly sighed and nodded, agreeing with Rika once again. 

"See! There you go, you're doing it again!" Rika exclaimed with a wicked grin.

"H-hey!" Hanyuu exclaimed. "That was a setup! You did that on purpose!" 

"You sound like a whiny child, Hanyuu." Rika remarked, grinning. "I sometimes wonder why I ever disscuss these things with you"

"Because you don't have the guts to discuss it with your friends?" Hanyuu asked with a devilish smirk. 

"Hey!" Rika exclaimed. "That was a direct attack!"

"It's true though~"

"I will chug the rest of this wine."

"Hauhauhau!! Don't do it Rika!"

"Hmmf, I win," Rika said proudly.

"No fair..." Hanyuu whined.

.

The next morning, Satoko ended up oversleeping. Rika just couldn't bring herself to wake her, as Satoko hasn't gotten this great of a night of sleep in ages, and she looked so calm and peaceful there. She decided to show up at school late since she wasn't comfortable leaving helpless Satoko alone. It was far too risky of a risk to take, she decided.

Mion looked at the two children skeptically as they paraded into the classroom, hand in hand. "What's going on? You two are late, again?" She asked, a concerned edge to her voice. 

Rika looked at her, startled by this sudden concern, coming from Mion of all people. "W-why are so worried, Mion-san? Satoko just wasn't feeling well, so she had to get some extra rest! But, she's feeling better now, so we decided we would come to school!" She exclaimed, patting Satoko's head as she explained herself. "Nipaah~!"

"Alrighty then," Mion chuckled. "I was just a little worried because Satoko's always coming here early to set up her traps that Keiichi always falls for! It's not the same when we don't get to laugh at him, it just doesn't kick off the day the same!"

Keiichi scowled at her. "W-whatever! Y-you can't fool me forever Satoko!"

Looking bored, Satoko pulled on a string that was hanging from the ceiling. A mess of jump ropes fell down directly on top of Keiichi, entangling him into a tangled mess.

"S-Satoko! What the hell was that for?!" Keiichi asked angrily. 

"Oh," Satoko said calmly. "You were right where I wanted you!"

"Damn you..." Keiichi mumbled as he tried to get out. 

"Hey!" Rena crossly lectured Keiichi. "You can't be mean to Satoko, she's too cute!"

"Whatever..." Keiichi muttered.

"Mii~! Don't worry about Satoko, she's just messing around with you!" Rika exclaimed while giggling at him with her mischievous friend.

"Rika is such a good girl," Keiichi said with a groan. "Satoko is a horrible influence on her..."

Rena started to gush over the two of them. "Satoko and Rika are so cuuute~!" She squealed. "I want to take them both home with me~!!!"

"Sorry, Rena," Satoko told Rena. "Only I get to take Rika-chan home," She explained to her.

This only caused Rena to gush over them more. "Aww, so cute! They're like a little couple, even living together! I just want to take them hooome~~!"

Keiichi raised an eyebrow at Rena. "Y-you realize that can't actually happen, right...?"

Rena looked at him, clearly very confused. "Huh? Why not, why not, Keiichi-kun?"

"B-Because," he told her, his voice wobbling. "They're both girls!"

Satoko raised an eyebrow playfully at Rika, then looked at Keiichi. "Ohohoho, does that bother you, Keiichi-kun? Rika and I are scandalous!"

Rika giggled at him. "Nipaah~!"

Mion smirked evilly at Keiichi. "Even though our village is very old fashioned, Rika and Satoko rebel against the rules! Even better, Satoko is a Houjou!" She said laughing. 

Satoko poked Keiichi peskily. "You're just jealous that you don't have a girlfriend, Keiichi-kun~"

Mion chuckled at Satoko's joke, but sighed sadly, looking at Keiichi. 'When two ten-year-olds are having better luck then you are...,' She thought grimly. 'Too bad Keiichi is waaay too dense to ever get the hint...'

"It's okay, Mii-chan," Rena said, comforting Mion. 

"Wait...why is Mion so sad all of the sudden?" Keiichi asked.

Rena shook her head. "You're so oblivious, Keiichi-kun..."

.

Later, long after the club activities, Mion walked home with Rena. "I understand how you feel, Mii-chan," Rena said, trying her hardest to comfort her friend. Rena secretly despised this side of Keiichi and how oblivious he could be. She's seen Mion try to downright confess before and Keiichi thought she was joking. 

Mion turned to Rena, with a sad smile. "Hey, Rena? Can I tell you something else? It's kind of a serious subject..."

Rena turned to look at her. "Of course you can, Mii-chan."

"Good," Mion remarked in relief.

Chapter Text

Takano Miyo was a very smart little girl, filled with curiosity and wonder. She looked up to her grandfather the most, as his research never failed to amaze her. She loved visiting him, so she could talk about his life's' work, his research on the disease known as the Hinamizawa syndrome.

"Frontal lobe?" The tiny girl asked him, her chocolate brown eyes wide with wonder and curiosity.

"Yes, Miyo," Replied the little girl's grandfather. "That is where the parasites control"

The older man who was sitting at his desk, turns and explains that his thesis involves the existence of a parasite that influences the frontal lobes of the brain. The girl hums in frustrated confusion; the man continues that many parasites can control their hosts at times. However, many want to reject the idea that a parasite can control a human. The girl asks why. The man sighs and explains that it would mean the human mind could be controlled, and how it could shut down multiple religions at once, by using a mere parasite to explain them, something the common people could not accept.

"If our thoughts are being altered by these parasites, it'd be no different than the Black Plague." He continues that his research may end up justifying genocide and oppression due to race and religion. He explains this is the reason discussion of "brain-infecting parasites" has become a "taboo" since WWII.

Miyo finds this to be ridiculous. "But grandpa! It's still true, that doesn't matter!" She insisted.

Her grandfatherly figure, Takano Hifumi, Her father's old professor had sighed, patting the little girl's head. "Yes, but people refuse to accept it. They value their religion more than the truth, as sad as that may sound."

He continues to insist that these brain-changing parasites indeed exist, and it is his life's goal to prove so. At least, he hopes so, but he sighs sadly, remarking how he doubts anyone would listen to him anyway, causing Miyo to frown. "B-but...Grandpa...I know you can do it! You're gonna do it, right?"

At this notion, he smiles sadly and admits that while it is indeed his goal, it would be very difficult for him to make happen. However, if his work ever would be accepted, he would then be resurrected.

Miyo smiled excitedly. "Wow, like a god?!" She urged.

He smiled at her. "Yes, like a god."

.

Tanashi Miyo was a lively young girl, filled with spirit and heart, a pure soul that one couldn't find often, like a rare precious gem, with the rest having been mined away and taken advantage of by the greedy. Miyoko was very similar, as her bliss didn't last her long. Fate would eventually come and once more, mine her away, tarnishing her pure surface forever.

However, Tanashi Miyoko was still very young when it happened, back when her parents had driven off, only for her father to return in critical condition. Her eyes filled with tears, all Miyoko could do was cry, and beg him not to die. His last words to his daughter is to go to Takano, Hifumi as he is sure his old professor will take great care of the child. As he mumbled the phone number, the last breath escapes his lungs and he dies, coughing up blood, then going pale.

Tanashi is then put with an officer, who asks her if she has any relatives to return to. She shook her head no, only to murmur, "Takano Hifumi."

"That won't do," The officer tells her, as he drives her down to the orphanage where she was destined to abandon God himself.

Fate is a cruel thing you know. Giggle giggle...

.

Miyoko sits in the dreary cafeteria if one could call it that. In the background, the agonizing screams of a young child, no older than seven years old can be heard.

"The coffin penalty," Eriko whispers to Miyoko. "I've heard it's still one of the lighter ones."

Eventually, the screams come to a stop. A tall, intimidating man walks in with a horrified looking child, with scars visibly bleeding through their shirt across the back. The children go silent, and all eat in perfect unison. All is well until a chubby little boy spills his meal across the floor.

Tanashi Miyoko is afraid to even look at the man as he forces the young child to eat it off of the floor, so none of the food goes to waste.

As cruel as it may sound, there is only one thought going through each child's head. No, it isn't empathy or remorse for the boy, not even a prayer. It's simply; 'I'm so glad that this isn't me'.

Cruel, but that's the life Tanashi Miyoko is forced to accept at the orphanage. Until later at night, the scruffy looking girl with the short brown hair and deep, indigo colored eyes, the one known as Eriko, takes a stand.

She gently wakes up the others, urging them not to make a fuss, as she has come up with a plan. Earlier, she had tested the key that unlocks the hen-house on a different door, and it has proven to work and unlock that door, although the lock was stiff. Eriko saw this as potential salvation and formulates a plan. It's a slightly unstable plan, as it doesn't guarantee the safety of anyone. But, it's the best the children may ever know, so they decide to go along with it.

The children speak of an orphanage over the mountains, where children are treated with kindness and motherly care. They're even allowed to call the main staff "Mommy". "They even have a snack-time!" Eriko exclaimed with excitement, being careful to keep her voice down.

A younger little girl with her thin, brown hair messily done in a braid, who goes by the name of Kikuko, starts to cry. She couldn't help it, the idea of going to an orphanage with a mommy and snack time just sounds so perfect to her, and she'd do anything to have such a happy life - but as far as she knew, there was nothing that could be done, and a life like that was something she could never dream of having.

That's when Eriko decided to 'pop the question'.

At first, the children were extremely hesitant about the plan, imagining the worst.

Eriko also explains that in the past there was a group escape, trying to win their trust over with proof that it can really happen.

Miyoko asks if this is really true, and Eriko responds that the orphanage keeps it secret since only one person was caught, and they don't want to give anyone else ideas, out of fear that it couldn't possibly work. She then explains that they had all succeeded since they all scattered in different directions. The young boy, Tomomi is scared about being caught; Eriko asks him how much longer he intends to stay.

She then asks Miyoko, who's been quieter than the rest of the children, if she too will go with her. Miyoko asks her if she is sure they can escape, and Eriko then explains that she cannot guarantee anyone's safety, but everyone - her, Tanashi, any of the children - has much better chances if they all go as a group. After all, if they don't do anything, they will certainly be trapped in the orphanage forever, only to die there; a fate that no one wants. That settles it - the children are convinced now and are ready to make the great escape.

Eriko works the lock to no avail, causing the kids to grow more and more anxious. "It's okay," she assures them, "It will open, it just takes some effort."

The seconds ticked away slowly until there was a rusty creaking noise - the lock had been opened.

"No time to say goodbyes," Eriko exclaimed. "Remember, everyone run in different directions!"

Frightened, the children all dash off in separate directions. It isn't long, unfortunately, until the manager notices they are gone. He sends men out to find the runaway children.

Miyoko runs with flashlights and the screaming Head behind her.

She finds her path ends with part of the mountain. She tries to climb it, but she slips and falls to the ground. The flashlight illuminates her horrified face.

The Head grabs her and starts to beat her by slamming her head into the ground. She manages to bite his thumb, sinking her teeth into the flesh as hard as she could. A metallic flavor fills her mouth as he screams out in agony.

Screaming at her, he stands above her demanding to know how she dares to bite him.

While he's screaming, she grabs ahold of a root and hoists herself up onto the mountain. It feels as if her fear has at the moment, given her what felt like a godly strength, the strength to curse, the strength to climb up the steep mountain at an unrealistic speed.

The man begins to feel dizzy and rushes back to take care of his aching thumb. The girl had managed to break a bone and split open a vein, meaning he'd eventually pass out of blood loss. Feeling defeated, he calls back up, telling them where to look.

.

She finally makes it far away enough to feel safe, as the pouring rain becomes deafening. Thunder crashes in the distance, a large bolt of lightning strikes nearby. All the girl can see is forest, endless forest, with not a hint of civilization.

She grabs onto the nearest tree trunk and begins to scream at the 'gods'.

She raises her tiny arms to the thunderstorm, demanding they take her, demanding to die. She screams louder, for it to kill her, to kill her just like it killed her parents. She screams to the gods, calling them stupid, asking what she did to ever deserve this. Her throat aches from screaming, but that doesn't stop her. She cries out to the storm to strike her with one of its divine lighting bolts, to strike her dead by the electric sword, strike her, electricate her blood and rip the life out of her lungs.

She cursed him, the so-called god that had put her here, the god that others worshiped, she turned away from, hated.

And at that moment, a bolt of lightning hit right in front, inches away from her eyes, and she survived. She barely did, but she upheld and survived.

'God,' she thought in anguish, 'isn't real.'

She hears the voices of the pursuing Orphanage Guards and Head. She begins to run, but her footsteps into a puddle that proves to be a hole and that's when she trips. She finds herself having fallen to a road, then she sees a payphone.

She sits inside since it is at least warm. On the floor of the booth lays a coin. She recalls, "0,3,2,7," and starts dialing. Hifumi answers, and she meekly identifies herself. He repeats the name "Tanashi" a few times, and she explains that Tanashi Takemitsu was her father.

She explains that her father told her to call him. When Hifumi asks if something happened to her father, she haltingly explains that he and her mother died in a bus crash. Hifumi expresses his condolences but frankly asks her what her father expected by instructing her to call him.

Miyoko pauses then screams, "Please save me!"

Since then, she's gone by Miyo, which Dr. Takano asked if he could call her, answered by a meek nod.

.

That's when the scientists came. Instead of glorifying his genius work, they stomped on it, calling it rubbish.

They stomped on his papers.

Dr. Takano sent Miyo out to get tea-and that's when she heard him crying. Crying.

The fury was strong, for such a tiny body. From that day on, Takano Miyo swore to herself she'd live out her grandfather's legacy and take his place, resurrecting him as a god.

From then on, the young girl who went from being 'Tanashi Miyo' to the newly born 'Takano Miyo', made a vow unto this rotten world; to continue her grandpa's research, no matter who stood in her way; and it all was set into action when she was paired with him; the ambitious klutz, also aspired by his own personal goals; Irie Kyouske.

.

'No,' Takano urged herself. 'I won't let the furude family get in the way of my research.'

Earlier that day, Furude Ouka, Rika Furude's mother had gotten in contact with Takano and Irie, and she wasn't happy. She told them that she didn't want them using her daughter in their experiments anymore, since she had been developing a high fever due to their 'sketchy' research. Takano tried to argue this, but the best she could get was a mere compromise.

"You can have her for three more months, but that's it."

No, Takano wouldn't be defeated that way. So, she decided to pass Oyashiro's curse herself, demoning away the father, and killing off the mother in a tragic 'suicide.'

Sketchy, yes, but the villiagers believed it, and she held the right to refuse the police's questioning.

So, she simply refused it.

Takano was ambitious, but careful.

So when she met a white creature in her dream, and it offered her one wish, any wish she'd like, she thought that over very carefully, yet not knowing how dangerous a wish gone wrong can be.

However, she woke up the next morning, confirming her suspicion. The creature she had met in the dream had indeed been her imagination - just a silly dream. But she just couldn't help but think, 'If I was offered any wish I want, what would happen? What would I wish for?'

Little did Takano Miyo know just how real that dream could be - and how relevant it would become in her life.

Chapter Text

The time was drawing near - Rika realized, the time that Rena grew infected and slowly descended into madness. Rika had so much hope for this world, and she was ready. She was ready for anything it threw at her, while Hanyuu wasn't as excited as she was. Hanyuu had already begun to warn her that there would be a strong chance of it not working out again, and she would only be let down more when it ended up not working.

Rika had sneered at this notion, refusing to let the words of the goddess get to her. Hanyuu had felt a pang of anguish when she realized just how hopeful Rika was. Hanyuu knew this world was destined to end in tragedy, but she didn't tell Rika that. At this point, she had decided to let Rika figure that out for herself.

For now, she decided to let Rika enjoyed her time here. It was late May, and when the month of June came around, disaster was bound to strike. Hanyuu was convinced that Rika wouldn't even live to see Watanagashi. The real reason was the alien, the one that called itself Kyubey. Hanyuu just knew it was going to make some errors that would be fatal to Rika - and by ever making the contract, Rika had really lowered her chances of ever getting her happy ending or even a happy ending for any of her friends. Hinamizawa was doomed, possibly forever. At least, that's how Hanyuu felt.

She couldn't bring herself to tell Rika that, either.

Hanyuu didn't like Kyubey, not even the slightest. She had known that the emotionless creature with the strawberry-colored eyes would be nothing but trouble since the very beginning. Yet, she never got to stop Rika from bounding herself in an eternal contract with it. That may have been what bothered Hanyuu the most. She could've done something, but she chooses not to. Because of her choice, Rika had to suffer.

Forever.

It was all Hanyuu's fault, and she was certain Rika wouldn't hesitate to tell her that. So, Hanyuu kept quiet. She'd let Rika keep fighting because she couldn't bring herself to end it now. Not after all they've gone through, Hanyuu couldn't give up, either. Maybe that was why she had such a pit in her stomach. Rika wouldn't comfort her though, and she understood why. It was selfish of her to even ask that of the poor girl. If anyone truly needed comforting, it was Rika. Not Hanyuu, it would never be Hanyuu. Hanyuu would have to stop wishing for such a thing and get a grip on reality.

She couldn't help but wish, however. She had to do something to help Rika, anything. This was her sin, after all, and Hanyuu had to make up for it. It was too late to show herself in this world, though. Hanyuu couldn't ever bring herself to do that. This was Rika's story, not hers.

But, there were two people who could see. Two others besides Rika, who would hear Hanyuu. This plan would probably end up backfiring, But Hanyuu didn't care. She was sick of being worthless. She was going to make an effort two.

The two others who could see and hear Hanyuu were Kyubey, the dreaded alien himself, and Ryuugu Rena. Hanyuu didn't like the second idea, as Rena was one of Rika's friends, one Hanyuu decided not to get any more involved with than she already was, at the moment. So that left her with Kyubey, the filthy alien itself. So be it, she thought.

'This had better work'

.

The alien stared at her, not once showing even an ounce of emotion.

"What do you mean, can't guarantee anything?" Hanyuu demanded.

'Well,' The voice echoed in her mind. 'You see, this is why I'm here. Simply asking me to change something that drastic and stop making contracts isn't going to stop me. I'm here to make contracts, and contracts I will make. The universe needs the energy, so why do a few sacrifices matter?'

Hanyuu gave up. She should've known that talking to the alien wouldn't change anything. How could it care about her feelings if it didn't even understand the feelings, to begin with?

"I'm so sorry, Rika... "

.

Satoko had nothing but a towel wrapped around her.

Keiichi was ahead of her, so she ran towards him as fast as her weak little feet could take her. She heard the obnoxious flapping of wings, and the sickening sounds the crows had made. But nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to see next. She didn't know what she would see, but when she heard Maebara Keiichi screaming viciously, she knew it would be nothing good.

When she stepped up, the first thing she saw was Keiichi swinging an axe. Then she looked down at the ground to see Rika's lifeless body. Her intensities were being pulled out of her by the hungry crows. Satoko felt like she was about to puke. She couldn't believe this was happening.

'It can't be real...it can't be real...!'

Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. Satoko screamed. She couldn't bring herself to turn around. "Satoko-chan! Calm down, it's me, Rika!" A gentle voice was faintly echoing, but Satoko could barely hear it over the loud screeches of the crows.

It couldn't be Rika, Rika was dead. Wasn't she? "Don't touch me, you murderer! I won't let you kill me!" She shrieked. "Not the way you killed Rika!"

She screamed in terror as the grip on her shoulder tightened.

"I won't let you kill me, the way you killed my best friend!" "Satoko, it's just a nightmare! Please, open your eyes, I'm okay! I promise," the voice urged, and the rushing in Satoko's head began to increase. 'This must be my punishment...' Satoko thought as she started uncontrollably shaking. "Satoko!" Rika's voice was yelling now, and Satoko could hear it clearly.

"Trust me!"

Finally, Satoko gathered every ounce of her courage and opened her eyes. Beside her was her best friend Rika Furude, who was hugging her tightly. She was alive and breathing, Satoko noted with a sigh of relief. She took a few deep breaths before trying to speak.

Rika knew already what was happening, and it both worried and surprised her. It was normal for Satoko to get these nightmares, but this was no ordinary nightmare. This was a real memory, from a previous timeline. Rika wondered if she should ask Satoko about what she saw and how familiar it was, but she decided not to. The child wasn't in the right state of mind, after all, and Rika had to make sure she was okay.

Satoko blinked a couple times, in disbelief as she looked at Rika's face. Although the sounds of the crows were still echoing in the back of her mind, and she had the image of Rika's blood-soaked corpse stained in the back of her mind, she was sure this Rika in front of her was the real Rika - no blood, no crows - and that she was having a night terror.

She sighed as she lifted up her hand, and felt Rika. When her hand didn't go through the girl, instead, she felt the soft cloth of the nightgown Rika had been wearing, she was then assured that Rika was truly alive and well.

Rika felt Satoko relieve some of her tension right then, and she smiled comfortingly at the child. "You don't have to be afraid anymore, Satoko," She urged. "Rika-chan is here to scare the nightmares away! Nipaah~!"

"Rika-chan! You don't know how happy I am to see you alright..." Satoko remarked rather grimly.

Rika smiled and hugged Satoko tight. "It's okay now, Satoko. I'm safe, and you're safe now. Nothing will hurt either of us."

Satoko smiled, too. Sometimes, she didn't know what she'd do without Rika.

Eventually, Satoko had fallen completely silent, and all Rika could hear was the steady breathing. Rika raised an eyebrow. "S-Satoko?"

She looked down at the girl, who was sleeping peacefully in her arms. Not wanting to wake her, Rika gently laid her down in her bed, laying beside her. Then, with her arms still wrapped protectively around Satoko, Rika closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Rika couldn't help but feel hopeful now. If Satoko had remembered, maybe Rena would, too. Maybe like last time, Keiichi would play an important role and save Ryuugu Rena, opening her eyes to the support of her friends.

However, Rika felt her heart sink the next day, when Rena hadn't shown up to school. It was the first day of June, and it was too early.

But that didn't stop Rika from assuming the worst.

Chapter Text

"Oh my god! You're so cuuute~" Rena squealing upon the sight. "I want to take you home with me!!"

Kyubey stared at her without batting an eye. "Did you hear my offer? I was wondering if you would like to make a contract with me, and become a magical girl -"

Rena kept babbling on to herself. "I want to keep you for sure~! I've seen lots of cute things before, but YOU-"

Then she paused. "Wait, you asked me something? Sorry, sorry... Rena just got a little distracted, that's all~!"

If kyubey was capable of feeling any emotion at all, he would be very annoyed with Ryuugu Rena for wasting his time. However, since it was literally impossible for the creature to feel the sensation of emotion at all, it just sat there and stared at her, completely indifferent. It had one goal, and that was to make a contract with this girl.

'Yes, actually,' the matter-of-fact voice echoed in her head. "I was wondering if you'd like to sign a contract with me and become a magical girl."

"A magical girl, magical girl? What are you talking about?" Rena asked, suddenly confused. "I'm kind of surprised... a little shocked, actually. I thought those only existed in manga-?"

'You're reaction is very normal,' Kyubey reassured her. 'But magical girls are very real. Your companion, Furude Rika, she's a magical girl, for example. You may find this news surprising, but it really isn't as big of a surprise as you think it is. You see, she doesn't tell others for convenience purposes, I bet.'

Rena's eyes widened in shock. "Rika-chan is a magical girl? That's shocking, so shocking... I've always thought there was something different about Rika, about her... but I never would've guessed she's a magical girl... "

Kyubey has made countless contracts before and knew how to appeal to girls about it. Playing it off as normal tended to work very well, as humans liked to have things in common with their peers.

Rena began to stroke the alien's fluffy white fur as she thought it over.

'Your friend Satoko? She's a magical girl too,' Kyubey added.

Rena looked up the galaxy poster she had on the ceiling of her abandoned van, then looked back down at the creature. "Wow, Satoko-chan too? Anyone else?"

Kyubey thought about bringing up Shion but changed its mind. The alien has learned from experience not to inform the girls about the suffering and witches just yet unless they asked. They were more likely to make contracts if the main point of it looked like their wish, and being a badass magical girl, like in the manga. Kyubey found this way of thinking to be illogical, as it made more sense to ask for details, but Kyubey had basically given up on trying to understand why humans act the way they do.

Instead, Kyubey solely used them for profit, as fascinating as they could be. That, and Kyubey felt no feelings of remorse when they became witches. It was logical not to get attached, why didn't humans see that?

Now was the perfect time to bring up the wish, Kyubey decided.

'Oh, and I believe I forgot to mention something very important,' Kyubey began. 'You get to mae a wish, and it can be any wish you want. However, you only get one, so be careful. You're never going to get a chance like this again, and if you'd like to take some time to think about it, I understand. Please notify me when you are ready, as well. I don't have forever, so please don't take to long. Think about your wish, okay?'

Rena nodded. "I would like to talk to Satoko and Rika too, since they are more experienced at this then I am. They've been magical girls for a while, and they could give me some helpful advice," Rena remarked.

'Yes,' Kyubey told her. 'Definitely not a bad idea. Remember, in the end, it's all up to you. When you've decided on your wish, I'll be waiting."

.

"W-why not?" Rena stuttered, startled by Rika's sudden hostile tone, and almost immediate rejection of her notion.

Rika sighed. "It isn't what it looks like on the outside, Rena. There is more to that contract then that dreadful alien told you about.

"Dreadful? It was cute... " Rena sputtered.

Rika glared at her. "Don't let looks fool you, Rena. I'm telling you not to make that contract if you know what's best for you."

Rena stepped back. "I-I see... "

Rika took a deep breath and relaxed her tone. "Listen, Rena... That creature will grant your wish, it's true, but it will take your very soul, too."

"My soul? Take my soul, my soul? What do you mean, Rika-chan?"

Satoko reached into her dress pocket and pulled out a golden crystal. "Do you see this crystal I'm holding?" She asked Rena.

"Yeah, I see it...," Rena answered.

"Well," Satoko explained. "This is called a soul gem. This may sound really complicated at first, but listen, okay?"

"Alright," Rena answered.

Rika cleared her throat. "Inside Satoko's crystal, is her soul. Before you doubt what I'm saying, it'll make sense in a minute, I promise," She assured Rena. "Satoko and I's souls are not in our bodies. They are contained inside these crystals, so that no matter how much damage our bodies take in battle, we aren't hurt, as in we don't feel the pain. Our bodies are empty shells, but as long as we have our soul close to us, like how Satoko kept it in our pocket, we can move and control the body."

Rena's eyes widened in shock. "T-Thats like a zombie... That's awful!"

Satoko tilted her head a little in confusion. "I've never thought of it that way," She remarked.

Rena threw her arms up in the air. "How on earth do you two stay so calm about this?! This is awful, completely awful!"

Satoko sighed, smiled weakly at Rena. "You see, it's because we can't let ourselves get too unhappy, or our soul gems will turn black and break into a million pieces."

Rena looked at Satoko. "What do you mean, turn black? Break? What, why? H-How?"

Rika turned to Rena a serious expression painted across her face.

"Rena, if we succumb to despair, our soul gem will turn black, and it will break; we will die and a witch will be born," Rika told Rena in a very serious tone, the wind blowing her wispy strands of indigo-blue hair astray. "Witches are the creatures we must fight, as a matter of fact, it is our duty as magical girls to fight them. They are born from our despair and suffering, then go off to feed on the despair and suffering of the common people; by the time a witch gets to Hinamizawa, it is already very strong. We have no choice but to kill the witches."

Rena stared at her. "Surely there's another way... There has to be!"

"There isn't," Rika insisted. "The only way to cleanse a blackened soul gem is by killing a witch and earning grief seeds. Naturally, all magical girls blacken over time."

Rena looked down at her feet. She was already having second thoughts about this, after what she's heard.

"Remember, the option is alway's available to you, Miss Ryuugu,' Kyubey's voice echoes in Rena's head, once again.

Chapter Text

The creature stared at Rena, as emotionless as always. A face that made Rena feel sick now, especially after learning more about the true things this alien has to offer.

“Yes, Kyubey. Again, thank you so much for the offer, but I’m good.”

The creature emitted a noise that sounded something like a sigh before dashing away, leaving Rena be. It’s only parting words to Rena were; ‘well, it’ll always be here if you change your mind.’

Rena lied back in the van, staring at the poster she had on its ceiling. It was a constellation poster she had found in the dumpster, and she thought it would look ‘adowable’ in the van.

It did.

Rena was happy. She had her friends, as well as her share of problems, just like any other girl. But that didn’t mean she wanted to change that badly. She truly had no wish, nothing she wanted to change so badly she’d trade her soul for it.

Rena didn’t want that. She was definitely happy.

For the first time in a long time, Rena didn’t have a nightmare that night.

.

The next day, Satoko and Rika showed up on time. They came walking into the building, chins held high, holding hands.

Mion, Rena, and Keiichi had all woken one another up and walked to school together too - arriving after Satoko and Rika.

Everything was back to normal. Yet, Rika still smelled trouble. The previous night, Hanyuu had told her she was feeling uneasy. At first, Rika shook it off, deciding not to make a huge deal out of it. But now, she realized what Hanyuu has meant. Something was different in the air. Everything seemed to be perfect; maybe a little too perfect. Rika decided to be wary.

After all, every time things seem to be on a role, something bad always happens, and it hits Rika harder. So she’s learned to never expect too much.

Rika decided to lay back and enjoy herself now, while she still could.

The club activities were alive that day - they had played another game of old geezer, and Keiichi had lost. Rena, being the winner, dressed him up in a frilly maid outfit, squealing at how cute he looked, while Mion teased him.

It was just like normal until Rika noticed Rena leaving school on a different path than usual.

She usually would walk home with Mion, so what was she doing now?

Rika decided to follow her.

Satoko looked at Rika, a confused expression across her face. “Rika, where are you going?” She asked her, her violet eyes wide in question.

Rika smiled at her. “I just thought we’d go to Angel Morte since you deserve a treat! We haven’t gone out to eat in a while! Nipaah~”

Satoko raised an eyebrow but nodded. “Alright, it wouldn’t hurt,” she replied.

By the time Rika gets there, she doesn’t even have to go in to realize the situation. It’s already too late.

Sitting at a table for two was Teppei Houjou and a strange look woman. She had a strapless yellow top with pale colored skinny jeans. Her eyes were sly and almost catlike. ‘Rina Mamiya,’ Rika observes.

Her worry had been confirmed when she saw the table in front of it. She saw Rena sitting there, staring at the two.

It was at that moment when Rika realized it was too late. The tragedy she had tried to avoid had already gotten its wheels of fortunes turning.

Satoko tugged on Rika’s arm, her face pale.

Rika turned to her. “Satoko. You aren’t going to live with him again, you hear me? Let’s get out of here.”

Satoko nodded, too scared to speak. They ran away, but not fast enough.

They had been seen. Not by Teppei, but Rena. Rena realized who those footsteps she heard were - it wasn’t the curse. It was Satoko and Rika.

.

Satoko was panicking, and Rika was making every effort she could to calm the child. "Why... Why is uncle back? He isn't welcome here!" She exclaimed in fear.

Rika sighed. "Satoko, no matter what he does, you are not to return to him, you hear me? No matter what kind of force he uses against you, you fight while you still have the life!" She demanded. Satoko stared at her.

"Besides," Rika tried. "With the whole soul gem and despair deal, you can't afford to be put back in such a state, you know? I don't want to see my own girlfriend become a witch. You wouldn't put me through that, would you, Satoko? Rika asked desperately.

Satoko rolled her eyes at the blue-haired girl. "Rika, why are you being so serious all of the sudden?"

Rika stared at her in disbelief. In every other timeline like this one, Satoko felt obligated to move back in with him, as penance for - wait. Satoshi disappeared in this timeline, but not the way Rika was used to. Rika felt a little guilty for being happy about this, but at least Satoko wasn't blaming herself. If she was able to at least save Satoko, maybe that was enough. Even if this timeline crashes and burns like Hanyuu was anticipating, she had a success, even if it was minor. Rika smiled at Satoko.

"I was just worrying too much! Don't worry about it Satoko, I'm glad you're taking so much care of yourself~! Nipaah~!"

Satoko raised an eyebrow at her. "Taking care of myself? Of course, I am! No way would I ever put myself through something that awful ever again! Rika, you're so silly sometimes!" Satoko protested.

Rika was staring out the window, already distracted. She was relying on the same miracle to occur twice, that Keiichi would help save Rena from her fate. But Rika knew she couldn't depend on it.

Chapter Text

 

Rena loved her father very much, and always tried to be a sweet, supportive daughter to him. She still felt awful about what had happened with her mother back then, and she didn't want him to think for a second she would ever be like that girl in Ibaraki, that imposter called Reina. No, Rena had been reborn. Ever since she moved back to Hinamizawa, she reintroduced herself to everyone as 'Rena,' instead of Reina.

Sometimes, she worried a little, however. Worried since no matter what she did, she couldn't completely cut off ties with her mother. She would always have the same, filthy blood. However, Rena refused to let this control her. She wouldn't ever be like that crazy girl who smashed the windows of her school back in Ibaraki. The girl who everyone was afraid of.

The girl that even Rena herself, feared.

She was happy now, and she had no reason to think about her past. It wouldn't do her any good, after all. She's been faced directly with trouble before and managed to overcome it - that awful alien's contract, for example - so she wouldn't let anything get in the way of her happiness. She was going to be happy Rena now, and no one would stop her. She wouldn't let them.

She was too happy to care, after all.

She was happy. She was definitely happy...

.

That night, Rena had slept in the comforts of her own home, in her own bed.

Mion knocked on the door. Rena's father opened it.

"Heya! It's me, Rena's friend, Mion Sonozaki!" She exclaimed politely, bowing her head. "I'm here looking for Rena? She wasn't in that van when I checked... aha..."

Rena's father smiled. "No worries, Mion! I'm sure I've told you this before, but I'm happy Rena has someone like you as a friend. She's talked a lot about the club, and how happy it makes her," He remarked. "This is on me, I let her sleep in on a school day."

Mion sighed. "Ah, Rena! Don't worry, I won't let her be lazy! We have fun club activities planned today!"

He nodded. "I'll go tell her you're waiting. I'm really sorry!"

Mion shook her head. "It's fine, it's fine! Don't worry about it!"

Rena's father went back to wake his daughter. He woke her up, as well as telling her she had to be home early, as he had someone she wanted her to meet.

Rena was up, dressed, and ready in no time. She came skipping out, happy and all ready to begin her day. She had her uniform on, her hair was brushed, and her bag was slung over her back. Perfect.

Mion and Rena walked off to go pick up Keiichi.

.

Club activities were as fun as ever. Mion had picked up a game up chess, and Keiichi lost, as usual. Surprisingly, the winner was Satoko, who turned out to be very good at chess. Better watch out for trap master Satoko!

"Alright, everyone!" Mion announced enthusiastically. "It's time for the punishment game~!"

Satoko chuckled as she pulled out a large marker. "Ohoho~ Looks like I get to punish Keiichi~!" She exclaimed with excitement.

Suddenly, Mion frowned. "Hey, Rena? Where are you going?"

Rena was at the door, about to leave. "Oh, don't worry Mii-chan! My dad said I had to be home early, that’s all~!”

Mion slowly nodded in relief. What she wasn’t sure of, though, was why she was so worried to begin with. Rena would be fine, wouldn’t she? Just fine...

Rena’s father smiled at Rena, and beside him stood a fishy looking woman, the same one Rena saw earlier with Teppei. 

Rina.

”Rena, I’d like you to meet Rina, my new girlfriend,” he said, gesturing towards her. “Rina, this is my daughter, Rena.”

.
Nightmares were plaguing Rena, and she was feeling sicker and sicker. It's been a few days since her father as introduced her to that awful woman, in whom Rena knew the truth. She was in despair. What should she do? She can't just let this woman take over her life... her father, too...
Yesterday, she had checked her dad's wallet. Money was missing. Money that wasn't on his receipts. Money that had been stolen from him. Rena gritted her teeth in rage. She was having dreams of doing it, and now her hands were shaking. She knew if she didn't act soon, that she'd become the girl from Ibaraki again, and perish for good this time. She wanted to confide in her friends, but on the other hand, she felt as if she couldn't. She didn't want to stain her hands in blood, no, not again.
Her father didn't listen. She begged him to break up with the woman and he ignored her begging and ignored her pleading. It was completely hopeless. Except, it wasn't.
She still had a choice - it may cost her soul.
SHe no longer cared about that, though. If this was the price to pay for happiness, so be it.
Rena stared into the alien's eyes.
"Umm... about that contract...," She stuttered.

If Rena had been misinformed about the incubator, she would've thought its tone was excitement, however, she knew it wasn't capable of the feeling emotion of any sort.
'Really? What do you wish for?'
"I want all this darkness to go away... I just... I wish I could have a life set up for things to be happy."
Kyubey blinked. 'Um... that's pretty abstract, you know. But, if that's what you're willing to trade your soul for... I'll do my best,' she heard the voice tell her. It wiggled its ears, an Rena flew into the air in a blinding light. The contract was sealed, and her fate was sealed.
Sadly, Rena will soon find her new happy life to be but a prison.

Chapter Text

She will turn all of fate's misfortune to nothing.
She will flood the earth with magic,
and take all of humankind into her play.
A moving stage construction.

If everything is a play, no unhappy things will exist.
It may be a tragedy, but it'll all be part of the script.

The play stops on Walpurgisnacht,
and the earth does not turn even once more.
The story will not change.
Tomorrow, and the day after, is the night of Walpurgis.

.

Rena Ryuugu was a newly born magical girl now; she could no longer turn back. She knew this, but it's a good price to pay for happiness. Isn't it?
She sure hoped so. If she did end up regretting her choice, she didn't think she'd be able to handle it.
Rina was gone, and so was Teppei.

Thanks to her wish, they had left Hinamizawa, and came down with a disease, scratching out their own throats and dying. Rena no longer heard footsteps, and 'oyashiro's' curse was gone from her life. Just like she had wished, this world was set up so Rena could find happiness in it. Sadly, and Rena will learn this soon, happiness, real happiness cannot be wished for. It isn't that easy.
.
"You became a magical girl?" Rika exclaimed hopelessly. "Even after everything we told you?"
Rena nodded. "I promise," She told Rika, "I promise you that I'll never regret it."
Rika had been replaying this conversation in her head for hours now. At this point, she knew that there was no longer any hope for this world. She just wanted to die already and respawn into a new world. The only way she could save her friends now would be to prevent them from becoming magical girls. All of them.
Hanyuu stared at Rika, nervously twiddling her thumbs. Rika turned around to face Hanyuu. "What?! You need something?" She snapped.
Hanyuu hides her face in her hands. "N-no, nothing..."
Rika sneered at her. "Then go away. You aren't needed here, and I'm really upset."
Hanyuu nodded and left Rika alone.

.
"Wal...Walpurgisnacht?" Rena asks as Rika glares the incubator down.
The incubator stares at Rika, not saying a word. "Not going to talk, huh, stuffy?' she asks coldly.

'My name is Kyubey, I thought we've gone over this.'

Rika began to pet its head, smiling sadly. "Aren't you a cute little sociopath, Coobie?"

It blinked. "Kyu-bEY. You've got it right before,' it said simply, but not really seeming to be bothered too much.

"Aww," Rika cooed. "Did I hurt your pride? Adorable."

'A creature like me doesn't feel a sense of pride,' kyubey corrected her.

"Oh, Right, You're emotionless. Poo."

"Rika...," Rena urged. "Why did you bring us here? You were about to explain what you meant by Walnuts purgis, or whatever that was... that was..."

Rika looked at her and nodded. "Right," She noted. Then, Rika explained the most powerful witch known to magical girls, the one kyubey had talked about earlier.

The stage-constructing witch, that they all must fight, that very well could lead to the death of them. They were sitting outside in a circle, talking about this, so RIka wasn't too surprised when they were overheard by another magical girl. 

"I hear you all plan to fight Walpurgus too? First time I've seen it come here, first time out of all the loops..." A monotone, but pretty sounding voice muttered. The group turned around.

The girl had long, shining, dark hair that reached the middle of her waist. Framing her face were short, messy bangs held in place by a darker colored headband.  She had fair, pale skin without even a trace of a blemish to be seen. Her eyes were a rich violet, the same color of the juice you get when squeezing a blueberry. She wore a solemn expression, one that Rika knew too well. The others knew nothing about her, but Rika could tell just by looking at her, that she has been through a lot, maybe even somewhat similar to Rika's situation. 
Kyubey seemed to have something resembling shock when he saw her if he did feel any emotion at all.

Her name was none other than Akemi Homura.

Chapter Text

Walpurgisnacht is on its way, and it won't be long now.

Rena, Rika, Homura, and Satoko were all prepared to fight. Rika is comforting Satoko, who is afraid. Homura watches her, and cannot help but feel jealous. She... wishes she could be of such comfort for Madoka... but she couldn't even protect her. She was feeling optimistic, though, much more than she ever had before. Walpurgus has never left Mitakihara before, and she wouldn't be the only magical girl to fight it. Instead, she would have help. Lots of help.

She has never seen these magical girls before, but she didn't want to grow to close to them. As cold as it may sound, getting close would only cause her problems. She had to be prepared to sacrifice the lives of others, for her. For Madoka.

Much to her dismay, however, the other girls took it upon themselves to introduce themselves and get to know her. 

"Hello, new girl! What's your name?" Satoko asked, and Homura turned around and sighed. Here they go already, trying to get close...

"Hello," Homura replied politely. "My name is Homura Akemi. I don't plan on staying in your village for too long, and I'm only here to fight that witch. I do appreciate your help, though," she added quickly. "How 'bout you? What's your name?"

Despite being reluctant, Homura didn't know anyone here and decided to kill some time before the battle.

Satoko reached out her hand for Homura to shake. "My name is Satoko! Houjou Satoko, nice to meet you, Homura-san!" She exclaimed cheerfully.

'How does she stay so happy?' Homura wondered. 'She's been a magical girl for a while now, I can tell. But her spirits are so high... I'm a little jealous,' Homura mused silently. She reached out her hand for the frivolous little girl to shake.  

Rika snapped out of her cold, gaze and smiled sweetly at Homura. "Hello Homura, my name is Furude Rika! I welcome you warmly to Hinamizawa, even if you won't be here very long! Nipaah~!" She chirped innocently.

Rena's eyes widened as she strained herself. "Rika-chan is so cute...," She mumbled, resisting the urge to take the kid home. She regained her composure before introducing herself. "My name is Rena Ryuugu," She informed Homura. 

"It's... great to meet you all," Homura remarked dismissively. She had already moved on to other worries. 

Rika stares at Homura. She wanted to talk to her, for some reason. She didn’t even have to speak to Homura to know the reality of her situation. Homura was just like her in a way and Rika wanted to know how. “Miss Homura-San...” Rika began, her lower lip quivering nervously at the older, more intimidating girl.

Homura turned her head to look at Rika. “Hm? You speaking to me?”

”Y-yyeah,” Rika answered. “I want to know something... plus, you’ve been doing this for a long time, haven’t you?”

Homura looked at the little girl, a tad confused as to what exactly her deal was. This little girl was different than the others. She was wise beyond her years, and Homura recognized the look in her eyes. She recognized it immediately, and her own eyes widened.

”Who...” Homura stammered. “Who are you?”

Rika didn’t know what it was exactly, but something prompted her and she told Homura... more than she had originally planned, in hopes that Homura would understand her troubles.

Whether or not the hopes were foolish, Rika didn’t care. 

In the distance, Kyubey watched the two converse. Kyubey watched the entire thing, and the stone faced alien was dumbfounded as Homura and Rika discussed their troubles. Homura even offered Rika advice, and by the time their exchange was over, the two girls hugged. Hugged? Kyubey didn’t hear the entire conversation, but he was sure it was what he figured it would be. 

‘Who knew that fate, would bring these two together.’

In the distance, the cries of the awaited destructive witch drowned out the cries of the cicadas. The girls turned dead around. It was time, Rika realized. The great witch that they had previously discussed, it had arrived.

The group of magical girls took their places, each one gracefully leaping into the air and transforming in a beautiful unison. If Kyubey (Who was watching) had experienced emotion as humans did, he was sure he would’ve found this beautiful. They all rushed in, not fighting for the grief seed, but fighting for each other.

Fighting for Hinamizawa.

Giving there all for their home and friends, a passion Kyubey has never seen before. He wiggled is ears, remarking that there must be a first time for everything.

Chapter Text

The four girls have dove headfirst into the long battle with Walpurgus. This had to be one of the first times Homura has ever worked with this kind of help, and she felt more optimistic than she has in a long time. After all, Madoka couldn’t come after her and make a wish, and Homura could defeat the witch without her, now that she has help.

Of course, Homura didn’t want to allow herself to become too close with any of these girls, in case something happened to any of them. She’d fight with them, and they had her gratitude, of course. However, that’s about as far as Homura decided it would be.

Each magical girl had a different fighting tactic, and with all of them combined, there was not very much weakness for walpurgus to work with. There was a different magical fighting skill for each of them, you see, so one persons weakness - someone else could easily make up for. 

Since Homura’s wish involved time looping, she had the abilities to manipulate it in combat. Homura has the ability to stop and control time, which she used to her uttermost advantage. However, she did have to be more cautious than usual since the other girls were here, too. See, Homura’s main tactic in combat was to freeze time, and launch multiple bullets at her target. When she unfroze it, they would all strike the witch at once, causing significant damage. Homura was well aware though of the dangers of this. She couldn’t afford to accidentally hurt one of the other girls, as the others would be very upset with - and probably wouldn’t forgive - her.

Rena didn’t look very powerful at first, however underestimating her could easily mean certain death to some. Rena’s attacks are the strongest out of the four, but the drawback is that they take a long time to prepare. This basically means that Rena has to continue to defend herself while preparing such powerful attacks. Luckily, with the help of the others, she could do just that. Combat is usually over for Rena with her first two or three blows, but walpurgus was much stronger than that, recovering quicker than the other witches. The average witch would’ve been taken down by now. This doesn’t however mean that Rena’s attacks are useless against the witch, as they are most certainly not. They just don’t have the same impact they would on a weaker witch, that’s all.

Satoko Houjou was a clever little girl, and her magic was a reflection of that. Her specialty, as anyone could guess, was setting traps. Once she got the witch where she wanted it, it would be bombarded with attacks. Such traps are simple for Satoko since those unfamiliar with who she is would be quick to underestimate her, oblivious to just what she may have up her sleeve. Homura made a mental note that she would be a very dangerous witch.

Rika Furude’s main weapon was a long sphere that requires close contact with her opponents. Such a thing would be difficult for the average magical girl, but not for Rika. Why? Because she had the ability to predict the enemy’s next move, so she could change the outcome, change the future. Her predictions were always spot on, too. 

Yes, Walpurgus wasn’t going to win this battle, that was a no-brainer. However, no one had ever at any point promised that the battle would be without some... casualties.

.

As Rena was preparing her next attack, Satoko danced around the witch to distract it, firing hell on it when she got the chance. Rika was very worried, as Satoko was dangerously close to the witch. Too close for comfort. So Rika fought close to Satoko, so she could dive in and protect her if she had too.

Then, Rena fired her attack. It grazed the witch, paralyzing it for a brief moment and taking decent damage, but then it went flying straight towards Satoko.

“No!” Rena cried out in anguish when she realized what she had done.

Rika leapt forward, pushing Satoko out of the way. Time itself seemed to slow down as Satoko turned pale and her eyes widened. Struck, Rika hit the ground, barely surviving the blow. Satako, however, was safe.

“Rika! No, you dummy! Why did you...!” Satoko sobbed, tears rolling down her face. Suddenly, she felt a cold hand patting her shoulder.

She turned around. It was Homura, the raven haired girl with the blank eyes. “You can’t mourn over your friend now,” Homura told her coldly. “Besides, your friend hasn’t been killed. Magical girls can take more damage than the average human, you know. I assure you, her body may be in shock but she isn’t in any pain and she’ll live” 

Satoko’s eyes widened as she wiped away more tears. “Really? Rika’s going to be okay?” She asked, her lower lip trembling.

Homura nodded. “Yes, she is. But you need to fight in her place, for now.”

Satoko shook her head. “I can’t leave Rika there all alone! She needs to go somewhere safe... can you and Rena handle the witch?”

Homura sighed. “Sorry, but I can’t guarantee either of our lives. I can’t even guarantee yours, or your friend.”

Satoko gasped as she picked up Rika’s limp body, putting her soul gem in her pocket. “Why... how...” she stuttered, staring at Homura in disbelief. How can you be so cold?”

Homura’s eyes softened. “Listen, I know how you feel, Satoko.”

Satoko raised an eyebrow confused as more of Homura’s bullets went flying, though she never saw her shoot them. “What do you... mean?”

Homura’s eyes grew distant. “You’d do anything for you’re friend... right, Satoko? You really care about her don’t you?”

Satoko nodded.

Homura smiled a little, something Satoko hadn’t seen her do since she’s been here. “Sorry, you just... you remind me a little of someone I know,” she told Satoko, who just stared at her in confusion. “Even if it isn’t in this world, I hope you and Rika can be happy together.”

Homura turned around and dove back into battle, joining Rena once again. Satoko just stared at her, confused. She had no idea what Homura was talking about, but she did feel a little guilty for being so quick to judge her. ‘Homura-chan really is a nice person,’ Satoko mused. ‘She has just been through a lot.’

Satoko carries Rika home, promising herself something.

She would defeat Walpurgisnacht, without Rika’s help. She couldn’t risk losing Rika, even if costed her own life.

.

Rika finally came conscious again back at the house, but no one was there.

‘Why am I here?’ She wondered. ‘Did something happen? Is Satoko alright? Wasn’t I fighting that witch up until...’

Then, she remembered. She had taken a huge blow for Satoko, and probably fell unconscious. That explains one thing, but it didn’t explain how she ended up back here, in her house.

Confused, Rika wandered over to the table, when she saw a note that was left by Satoko.

She read it over and her eyes widened when the realization hit her. Satoko was out there fighting the witch without her, while she was perfectly safe here. 

‘Satoko... why?’

Chapter Text

Rika knew that Satoko wouldn't want her fighting any further, but she just couldn't let herself lay back and watch. It was far too risky, and even if this world would eventually be a dead end, Rika was sure she could at least learn from it. She refused to stay back, she decided. She went running back, sprinting as fast as her tiny legs would take her. Her feet grazed the ground so little with each step that if one didn't know better, they could even say she was flying. Rika stopped at nothing, almost tripping twice due to not being careful.

She had to continue to fight, for Rena, for Hinamizawa, and for Satoko.

Walpurgus was in her eyesight now, but when she came, her eyes widened at what she saw. Rena was lying on the ground, unable to move. Rika stared down at her friend, then helplessly up at Satoko.

"Wh-What happened?" She cried in anguish. She was too late, she realized. Horrible things had already begun to happen.

Homura leaped down to Rika's level. "She got removed from her soul gem," She explained.

"R-removed?" Rika stuttered. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Yes," Homura informed her. "You see because she went too far of an attack, she went flying backward, and her soul gem didn't go with her. The witch had probably destroyed it already."

"Wait... is there anything I can do? To save her, I mean."

"No. Not really, as she has been separated from her soul, so her body hasn't exactly died but gone limp. Without her soul, she can't live," Homura replied grimly. "In other words, she's gone."

Rika's eyes widened. Satoko landed beside her as well, putting an arm on Rika's shoulder. "It isn't your fault, Rika-chan," She tried.

Homura sighed. "Since she's died inside a witch labyrinth, her death will be regarded as a disappearance, a mystery forever," She said. "No one could ever find her, as she's in a realm humans cannot go."

Satoko's eyes widened. "That means... Her death may as well be Oyashiro's curse, to the other villagers? That's awful!"

Rika grimaced. "That's right," She hissed. "No one will even search for her. It isn't even Watanagashi and everyone will be left fearful. She'll be just like Satoshi... everyone will have to say she transferred out."

Homura sighed. "I know this is hard for you guys," She began, turning around with her back to the two little girls. "But your friend is very lucky." Her voice sounded a little shaky, which was odd for her, as she usually had a blank, emotion-free tone.

"Lucky?" Satoko asked skeptically. "How is she lucky?"

"She has friends like the two of you who will remember her," Homura answered. "Not all magical girls have that, you know. She had support and happiness, even with the burden of being a magical girl on her shoulders. She died helping her friends and without regret. She'll always be in your memories, right?"

"Yeah..." Satoko answered, her voice shaking too.

"Then," Homura said, turning around. Her cold eyes were tearing up and her lower lip was quivering a little. "Rena is very lucky."

The three of them turned around, facing the aftermath of the Walpurgis. The witch had been defeated, and they had exited the labyrinth. As Homura had said, Rena's body could no longer be found, but Satoko and Rika tried not to think about it too much.

Homura shook Rika and Satoko's hand and thanked them for their help.

"Wait," Rika remarked. "You're going back already?"

"Yes," Homura told her. "I have things I have to take care of."

Rika still hadn't gotten a chance to talk to Homura, so she suggested Homura stay for dinner.

"Don't worry!" Satoko reassured her. "Rika-chan's cooking is the best~!"

Homura sighed. "Alright," She finally answered. "But afterward, I really need to get going."

"I understand," Rika remarked.

After their dinner, Rika sat outside with Homura while Satoko was doing the dishes. She was sure this would be the perfect time to talk to Homura, and ask for her help.

"Homura-san," Rika began. "You aren't from this world, are you?"

Homura's eyes widened. "W-What?"

Rika sighed. "I'm sorry if that seemed sudden," She tried. "But, you don't have to tell me."

Homura looked her in the eyes. "Will you believe me if I tell you?"

"Yes."

"I am not. I have been reliving the same month over and over, trying to change it's grim outcome. Sadly, I haven't had any luck," Homura answered. Rika couldn't help herself. She giggled a little. "I thought you said you would believe me?" Homura asked.

"I do, don't worry. Now, would you believe me if I told you I've been doing the same thing?"

Homura's eyes widened. "Huh?"

Rika proceeded to tell Homura everything. All about the myths of Hinamizawa, and the sickness all of her friends seem to fall under. She told her about the tragedies and deaths that keep occuring, and how all she wanted was to save her friends and have a happy life, but now has the burden of a magical girl.

"I've always thought you had something different about you, being a little child and all, but I never woulc have thought," Homura remarked.

Rika nodded. "Homura..."

"Yes?"

"I told you all of this, umm..." She stuttered. Rika decided to cut to the chase. "Will you remember me in your next timeline?"

Homura raised an eyebrow. "Yes, I will, probably."

"Then... Could we... help each other out?"

Homura looked at Rika. "What makes you think you can help me?"

"It's worth a try, isn't it?" Rika asked urgently.

Homura slowly nodded. "Alright, then."

Rika looked at her. "I'll see you in the next Hinamizawa," She said, a gust of wind blowing past. "Goodbye, Homura, and thank you"

"N-No problem."