From Radiant Heart MUSH

Date of Scene: 24 August 2023
Location: Mitakihara General Hospital
Synopsis: Strategy session on how to defeat a double-Witch double-Labyrinth double-Feature.
Cast of Characters: Teresia Kuefer, Haruki Hara, Madoka Kaname, Magda Faust, Lulu Adelstein, Coco Kiumi, Amanda Faust

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    Mitakihara General Hospital, several days after the situation at the Juuban Ward Train Station. The injured should be on their way to recovery, with the aid of a certain medical magi. But it's unfortunate that Teresia couldn't have been there to help with the situation when it happened in the first place. The limitations of being only mortal. It's easy to think that because she can slow down time that she has as much time as she needs, but she can't help when she doesn't know about it. That's why they're supposed to stay in touch and NEVER GO INTO A LABYRINTH ALONE.

    The crew didn't go in alone, so that's good, but if the worst had happened they would have just been gone, and their friends and family would never know about it. She's not planning to lecture in those terms, but the tall blonde foreigner in her red and black jacket standing in a corner near Haruko's bed and the windows that shine sunlight upon said patient is definitely not her usual chipper, 'don't worry, everything is going to be daijoubu' self.

    This isn't a casual situation.

Haruki Hara has posed:
    The cat is out of the bag at this point. Haruko Hara is Haruki Hara. Says so on her--his medical chart and the patient board alongside the door to the room. Just a hospital gown, so none of the make-up, dresses, or other augmentations that allow an extremely pretty and feminine boy to pass for an extremely pretty and feminine girl. The worst part is the miserable expression on his face, the vacant gaze, and the lack of the fresh flowers and spring rains aura that he usually gives off through just being so extraordinarily gentle and zen.

    Haruki's arms are tied to the safety bars on either side of his bed, since he's still on suicide watch. There are marks around his throat, like someone has had their hands around it forcefully enough and frequently enough to leave a permanent trace. No information has been forthcoming about who might be responsible, including if it was Haruki himself.

    There are also two other marks, but those are only visible to those who can see beyond the Veil. A tower and a train, overlapping.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    This is not the first time that Madoka has been in the hospital. This is, however, the first time she's been a patient. People around here kinda know her a little bit, normally as a volunteer. Not everyone knows everyone else here, because it's a busy hospital, but there are more people who remember Madoka than she might expect. Secretaries at the front recognized her on the way in. Nurses have been sweet and supportive. They didn't even need to see her ID before they started phoning her parents. People have told her, perhaps too many times, how brave she is, to the point where she's likely to develop some kind of imposter syndrome.

    After all, it's not like she's a magical girl. She hasn't made the choice that others have. Madoka's not sure that she can call herself 'brave' under these conditions.

    Madoka's dad has been in and out during visiting hours, so it's possible that the others have met him at some point. He's very gentle, and worried about his daughter. He is also, however, not here at the moment. He has a son to look after, and Madoka isn't around to babysit right now.

    Occasionally, Madoka glances over to Haruko's bed, eyes filled with worry. She might have spent at least one night wondering if her roommate was going to get up and start walking off when no one was around.

    Haruki might be her 'legal' name, but that's not the name that Madoka was given, so she doesn't use it.

Magda Faust has posed:
    A green-haired, multi-braided girl in a white skirt and blouse stands nearby to Teresia but in a position where she can go to the side of either of the patients if needed. She is not transformed, so her healing powers are more limited, but the fact she can use them when not transformed at all speaks to her mastery of her craft. She is the Healer. She has been careful to make sure the recovery of her patients hasn't happened too quickly so that it doesn't arouse suspicion or make people start yelling about miracles. No doubt Teresia made sure the cover story of how the injuries occurred went over well with investigators. So it's down to Magda doing the only thing she can do.
    She waits for people to get hurt, and then fixes them when they come to her so that they can go out and get hurt again.
    She's glad she can help people, but sometimes she wishes she could just stop them from getting hurt to begin with.

    "How are you feeling, Kaname-san? Is there anything I can do for you? Or Hara-san?" she asks of each of the girls, eager to have something to do with herself.

Lulu Adelstein has posed:
    For someone who looked like barbeque several days ago, Lulu Adelstein seems to be in good health now. Nothing quite like self-healing paired with a powerful Healer. Sure, it was expensive as heck from a magical perspective, but it got her into a presentable state before EMS showed up. So now she just has large burn scars on half her face and some of her red hair hasn't grown back yet, as she sits backwards in a chair and rolls it back and forth idly. "So," she begins in her mildly-accented Japanese, and also some German. "How do we deal with this die Scheibe." Such language!

    "The Labyrinth entrance at the train station moved. So we'll need to track it down again. And if it's not in the same place as the other Witch, then that's two Barriers to find." She rubs her nose with the back of her hand like a mannerless tomboy. "I'm down for that, but I almost bit it in there last time. I'm not going in again without a plan and as much help as we can get."

Coco Kiumi has posed:
Ever since Coco has received a message from Teresia, she has been wondering what to do: on one hand, only Madoka and Amy know her magical identity, on the other she isn't confident about waltzing into the hospital as her magical self. She ponders back and forth about the matter, and she thinks that probably doesn't matter, though she might want to transform later anyway, since her songs might prove useful. That's for after she has reached the hospital room though. With the several exposures to her own song since then, the burns have by now disappeared, so she can safely wear her normal clothes again.

She is looking at Teresia, who to her understanding called everyone up for this meeting. "Is she going to be fine?" Coco asks the reputable espert on witches. "How much time do we have to defeat those witches?" She also looks at Madoka, asking how the pinkette is doing, feeling guilty she has been detained by the hospital ever since then. 'She accepted to stay by my side she trusted me', she thinks, her emotions all too evident on her face. To Haruko, she only says a simple "Hi, Haruko", not really sure what to tell her by the nonexistent knowledge they have of each other.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amanda Faust, a classmate from school, is the identity given at the front desk for the visitor.

    A second short redhead in tomboyish clothes hesitates just outside the door, apparently completely uninjured. Red T-shirt, black slacks, and white sneakers. But she hears familiar voices talking... Amy steps in and gives a brief wave. "Hey." She looks at the... unconscious? figure in the bed, then back to the others. "How is she?"

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    When everyone is present, Teresia starts explaining things. "The official story is now that a student attempted to end their life when a malfunctioning guardrail allowed them to jump down onto the third rail. Some of their friends were nearby and managed to get the student to safety, but a few of them suffered electrical burns. It's a 'miracle' that they all survived, and that the damage to the first student was so minimal." It's not super important. She has hypnotic suggestion abilities thanks to an aspect of her Wish, but it's a good idea to get everyone on the same page so that their cover stories don't contradict each other if they're asked for more details.

    Her arms folded, Teresia closes the one eye visible with her hair hanging over the other and sighs. "Before anything else... Introductions are in order, I believe." She gestures to the green-haired girl, so that anyone who hasn't met her yet knows she exists. "Magda Faust. She's an ultra-specialized user of Healing Magic. There is no one other Puella Magi I've encountered with more potent recovery abilities. If you think you're going to need the support, I recommend having her along. It's the difference between life or death."

    Then she gestures to the red-haired tomboy--no, the other one. "Lulu Adelstein. She is also one of the five of us German Puella Magi who came to Tokyo recently. We've worked together for years. She punches things."

    Then to Amanda she says, "Amanda Faust is a new Puella Magi. She has strong offensive capabilities and a modular weapon. I think she would work best as a backrow ranged support, targeting clusters of Familiars, or harassing a Witch from afar while the frontline fighters like Lulu and I go in for the kill."

    Next up is Coco. "This is Coco. She isn't a Puella Magi, but she has versatile support capabilities that can boost an entire team, put most Witch victims to sleep so they can't do harm to themselves or others, heal, and weaken or damage Witches... And other things as well, right?"

    Once she has an answer, it's on to the last two people. "I am Teresia Kuefer. I am what you might call a Veteran Magical Girl. I am the leader of the Puella Meisters, for as much as that is worth anything, and I lend aid, tutoring, and advice to any and all who need it, whether Puella Magi or not. I am primarily a melee combatant, but I have options available to me." How mysterious!

    "Madoka Kaname. I understand that you have seriously considered becoming a Magical Girl, but have not decided yet. The fact that you have not returned to a civilian life after finding out about the dangers that threaten our world and the people in it suggests to me that you will probably decide in favor eventually... I would like to ask that you think harder on it before entering another Labyrinth. There is much good you can do and have done. But you are testing fate in a way that deeply concerns me." Her voice and eye are gentle when she says, "I don't want anything to happen to you, or anyone else here."

    With that out of the way, she addresses the questions asked. "I'm working on it, Lulu. Entering both Barriers at once isn't the advantage you may think. A Witch invading another Witch's Labyrinth is rare, but when it happens, they fight each other. We can use that to our advantage, but then we have a Witch to fight who is strong enough to kill a fellow Witch. It's not a winning strategy to wait and fight the winner."

    To Coco, Teresia says, "Sooner is better. She might not be able to do anything to end her life, but she might eventually just lose the will to live and wither away. Most victims of a Witch's Kiss either die or get freed before this point, so I admit I don't know what happens to someone who has been marked and remains so for an extended period of time. It can't be good for her mental health either."

    For Amy, Teresia just shakes her head. "In and out of lucidity. Not truly aware of what's going on even when she's conscious."

Haruki Hara has posed:
    Haruki, or Haruko as some still insist on calling them, is not very responsive, but clearly isn't catatonic. They still show emotion on their face, even if it is abject suffering and loss. Words are less forthcoming. But they do offer a response sometimes. "She died, and I did nothing." she utters.

    Well, that's cheery.

    She's already looking more hollow of face than just days before.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Madoka looks up to Magda with a soft smile and a slight cant to her head. "I'm fine. I'm actually feeling a lot better, thanks to you."

    Better, of course, is relative. Madoka doesn't really know what specific thing to ask for. Mostly she's just been... enduring, while waiting for her body to fix things. She knows not to push herself too hard right now, and she has a rough idea of how to avoid being a difficult patient. Normally, she'd be on the other side of this.

    "They said I should be able to leave soon, but I should still take it easy. With my wounds I'm lucky to not have any permanent scars."

    Visitors filter in. Coco and Amy. Madoka smiles and waves at them both.

    When talk of Witch-related matters comes up, Madoka looks down at her bed. "I don't know. I wouldn't be able to track or fight it." After saying that, she does think to add, "Well... not unless we find more people with those Witch marks and follow them, but I don't want to rely on something like that."

    Teresia's cover story kinda unnerves her as it sinks in. Madoka doesn't feel great about it, but it's the truth. Or at least, close enough. It doesn't really matter that the burns weren't electrical. Plus... they really needed to keep Haruko safe and stop her from hurting herself, so... That's what it had to be.

    Teresia speaks to Madoka, and the first thought in her head is, 'Oh, there it is'. This isn't the first time that someone has chided Madoka for entering a Labyrinth, but it was usually a brief comment that they didn't have time to get into. In this setting it's a bit different.

    "I know I shouldn't, but... I can't just stand by and watch someone jump through a Witch's barrier. If I had known others were there, I might have stayed out of it." Madoka starts touching one of her aching spots, fidgeting slightly in a way. "I do want to be a magical girl. I want to help people, but... it's not that simple."

    Madoka wants to explain further, but... how can she express something she doesn't understand? How can she find words when there aren't any?

Magda Faust has posed:
    Okay, good, it's good that Madoka is doing better. That's fine. Even if it means she can't do anything for her. Haruko's response, however, makes Magda flustered not by the fact she isn't needed but that she is unable to do anything. She looks at Teresia helplessly. "I can..." She hesitates and then waits while all the introductions are made and explanations given. She looks a little bit surprised at another Faust being in the room. They don't look much alike though, so maybe it's just a common name, like Smith, or Tomoe, or Hino. You know. Normal names that lots of normal people have.
    She nods in agreement with how she is presented to others. "I'm a Puella Magi too. Anything that was capable of being healed on its own, I can heal faster. That means even things that wouldn't have healed, like mortal wounds. As long as the capacity to heal is there, I can do it. But not, like... A genetic illness, or a tumor, or a missing arm. Sorry, I'm not very useful after all, I guess." 'Saving injured people who are GOING TO DIE in the blink of an eye' isn't useless, but there you go. What was that about impostor syndrome, Madoka?
    "It's... Nice to meet all of you." she says quietly and shyly after that. She's a happy person. A cheerful person. But feeling useless is enough to get anyone's mood down.

Lulu Adelstein has posed:
    With her introduction, Lulu in her backwards baseball cap, baseball tee, shorts, and sneakers, raises a hand in the air. "Sup. I'm Lulu. I punch things." Just making sure that everyone knows that Teresia's description was accurate. She looks over at Amanda next and says, "Are you and Magda related?" Someone was going to ask eventually. She grins at Coco and nods. "Yeah, you and Madoka over there sure did save me. Thank you for that. I wouldn't be here without the both of you."

Coco Kiumi has posed:
She waves at everyone, and starts speaking to the group. "Yes, I am Coco, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm not as good a healer as Magda here, and I can only use my powers when transformed, but that's a good summary of my abilities. I can also help ease mental distress somewhat. Though I need to sing to do all that", she completes Teresia's explanation.

Coco can't really understand the feeling of powerlessness Madoka is currently experiencing. How could she, when she was literally born from magic? All she knows is she can't stand that martyr complex she is demonstrating, now with her own guilt for not being able to avoid Madoka being hurt added on top of that option being outclassed by less risky solutions. Granted, she can now see with Teresia that not everyone is like that, but why take the risk when there are more affordable options.

"If I can intervene, Madoka, you don't have to take part in these war for resources that is being a Puella Magi", she says, remembering the animosity Cherry Spear demonstrated over the subject. "You could obtain other kinds of magics, like becoming a Precure, and still be able to help against witches."

"Don't worry about it, Lulu. I could have probably acted better had I kept calm", she tells to the other girl.

She gets disconcerted when Haruko brings up that dark sentence. Up to now, she thought it was her body the cause of her despair, she didn't expect someone's death entering the mix. "Uhm, I can't guarantee it would do anything considering how much distress she has, but if you want to try to talk to her and see what that was about I can try to use my powers somewhat."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Eventually, Amy takes a look at the chart, curious what the doctors think of this magically-induced illness. She's not a doctor, but she's picked up bits and pieces of knowledge over time, so maybe there will be something insightful? Or maybe she's just nosy.

    She nods when her name is called and elaborates, "Rocket launcher." Are you and Magda related? She looks over at Magda. "I doubt it. I mean maybe waaaay back? My ancestors came to America at least four generations ago. You can heal? Dang, that'll be useful... I mean like... I get that it sucks to have healing powers and find people you can't save, but... We almost died in that Witch's labyrinth. Having you with us could literally save our lives, next time."

    She smiles and holds out a hand. "I'm Amanda! Nice to meet you!"

    After a handshake (or not, if the other Faust is disinclined,) as Teresia briefs, Amy turns back to the chart, but she doesn't get very far into the chart before double-taking back and forth between the chart and the patient. "Male...?"

    Now that she's looking for it... and there's no makeup, and no girlish attitude... Neurons trained for two decades to recognize the smallest fault in a possible subject of gender envy engage and see *something*, urging her to look away before anything more... obvious and dramatic rudely brings any gender envy to a crashing halt and replaces it with dysphoria.

    Of course, that's not how Mallory consciously thinks of this mental process.

    Her finger twitches. Ctrl+W. Close tab before you see something no straight man wants to see.

    Although, this is a completely different context than that process usually activates in. This is a real person, after all. .oO( So people like that really do exist, huh...? )

    "Uhh, if one Witch is strong enough to beat the other, isn't it so regardless of whether they fight eachother or not?"

    He's never understood that. There's nothing *wrong* with it, of course, being a guy who acts girly and dresses in women's clothes, but it would be a ridiculous thing for Mallory to be unless he truly, strongly felt that way, and he doesn't. The thought of himself wearing anything feminine is... revolting. (Unless of course he were magically transformed into a girl first. Then it would be okay for some reason.)

    Teresia's repeated she/her-ing shoves against that train of thought and finally knocks it off the tracks, and the redhead looks back and forth between Teresia and the patient. "Wait, 'she'? The chart and name say--"

    The patient speaks:

    She died, and I (watashi) did nothing.

    Well, not only is that dark, it sheds absolutely no light on *this* issue. The millenial-turned-teen looks confused and the train of thought she was just on has her feeling kind of uncomfortable for reasons she can't fully articulate.

    Male records + dressed as a girl + people call her a girl =

    The metaphorical train rolls onto another track, driven by an engineer who's ditched the habit for a hoodie and skirt.

    "She's... traaannnsss?" Amy looks uncertainly at Teresia, like a clueless grown-up who isn't sure if they've got this stuff right.

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    Teresia gives a confident, but sympathetic smile. "No, Madoka. I don't think I expressed myself properly. I'm not warning you against entering a Labyrinth. I'm saying that, you are going to do so again and again, based off what I have seen of your character. I want you to be armed and informed. You are already a hero in the eyes of many, for good reason. One doesn't have to save the world to save a life, and you've saved many more lives than most people ever will, and at a very young age. You are, without any doubt, made of the mettle that Magical Girls are made of. You are already on this path now. Where it ends is up to you."

    Moving out of her corner where the light from the window is her backdrop, making her a figure of shadow, Teresia strides across the room to be by Madoka's bedside. "Please make sure that your path is long, whatever form it takes. For yourself, for the people who love you, and for all of those you will one day love in the future." She then turns her attention on Coco. "Yes, mental reinforcement... And I noted that our magic expenditure goes down while your are amplifying us. That is a great boon, especially in a drawn-out fight. Witches don't run out of fuel. They are their own power source. A creature of spite, cursing everything, and making more suffering to feed itself. Magic doesn't disappear from the world after it has been used. And a curse doesn't vanish after it has claimed its intended victims. It just..." She makes a circular motion with her index finger. "...Hangs around, like a miasma, poisoning everyrthing until it can be disposed of properly. That's what Kyubey does. We turn the curse into a form he can contain and process. Otherwise, it will just manifest again and again. I think this may be behind the Japanese stories about curses, where they circulate around and around, drawing in more people, and never really going away."

    With a shrug, she turns her attention next to Amanda. "She is who she says she is. She is known as Haruko Hara. Not being able to trust your own identity is a downwards spiral that never ends well. Believe in your friends. Believe in your family. Believe in complete strangers. Believe in yourself. The capacity to hope is our greatest strength, just as our capacity for despair is our greatest burden. When given the choice between the two, I urge you to choose hope every time." She may not be backlit by the light from the window anymore, but that heroic aura of hers... That large-than-life charisma, might as well have her shining like the sun as she smiles confidently at Amy. "Because I believe in you."

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    The Ultimate Big Sister figure then puts her hands on her hips and shifts topics smoothly, still leaving behind that warm glow of someone who is looking after all of them, encouraging them to be their best, because she believes in that best without ever even seeing it. Because she believes in all of them, sincerely and genuinely. That kind of faith and confidence doesn't come from nothing, right?

    So they all have it in them to be Heroes.

    "If two Witches fight," she explains, "They are not paying attention to us. But there is no telling how long the fight will last, if one is significantly stronger than the other, and we will have to contend with any secondary properties of the Witches, and a Barrier's defenses, and possibly Familiars invading from one to the other as well on both sides. If we go in hoping to eliminate the one weakened by the battle, we might just instead wind up walking into the lair of a Witch strong enough to kill its rival in seconds, and then our plan is out the window. Adaptation is critical, but opportunism is potentially lethal. We can be flexible without being reckless, and that means we enter like we would any other Labyrinth: In force, coordinated, and trusting nothing that didn't come inside with us."

    Which brings Teresia to the next problem. She sighs as she walks over, and puts a hand on Haruko's shoulder. "Now for the next problem. I believe that Coco and Magda can solve the Witch's Kiss problem if they work together. You two may be able to get rid of one of them, if not both, by overloading the curse with what is anathema to it: Hope. But it won't save Haruko. Because I've spoken with Kyubey, and someone made a Wish involving this girl, and became a Puella Magi. The effects of that Wish are still in place, even though the Puella Magi who made it died in that same Labyrinth you all entered. That... Is not something so easily overcome."

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Hearing Magda, Madoka thinks about Sayaka. "I see." She thinks, for a moment, about Kyosuke's injuries. Her mouth opens to say something, but then she thinks better of it.

    Lulu's bluntness brings Madoka's smile back for a moment. The impropriety doesn't really bother her. They are foreigners, and this is their way of being friendly. At least that's how Madoka sees it.

    Regarding Haru's trans-ness, Madoka says, "I wasn't going to say anything, but... apparently." Glancing to Haruko... Haruki? she adds, "I'd ask what she's comfortable with, but... In her mental state... All I really have are my assumptions."

    Madoka trails off. She rolls her head to stare up at the ceiling, arms folded over her stomach.

    Coco brings up being a Precure, and Madoka shifts to sit up slightly. "I guess the issue is, I don't really know how to become other types of magical girl. I don't know where to find those strange computer weapons people seem to have, and I'm not sure I even know what a Precure is. Kyubey made his method obvious but... the truth is, I don't want to be unable to help someone just because I don't have the resources to. I don't think I could stand that. If I have a Grief Seed, I'd rather be able to give it to someone who needs it without needing to worry about myself."

    So naturally, what she does instead is jump into a death trap with no magic powers at all. This is why Homura suffers.

    Madoka hears Teresia's words and she has to cover her face with her hands to stop from blushing. She's... already a hero? Madoka wasn't ready to hear that. "Eheh... you really see me that way?" The veteran magical girl is right about one thing, though. This is likely Madoka's fate. She couldn't possibly be any other way.

    Madoka responds, but in her mental state it's less that she speaks and more that she squeaks. "Thank you, Teresia-sempai. That means a lot."

    What Teresia says about the inter-Witch conflict makes a lot of sense. You can't really depend upon something like that. They don't necessarily follow natural rules. It's not the same as playing FFA in an online game. You can't always just swoop in on the weakened victor. "You could also get caught in the crossfire. In fact, that might have been what happened to us."

Magda Faust has posed:
    She can remove a Witch's Kiss!? First she has heard about it... What she has been told is that even if she removes it, that it can just be reapplied. Two curses overlapping, that's... Maybe with back-up but even so... She nods her head shyly and reluctantly, cheered on by Teresia's belief in them all. "I'll do anything I can to help. Even if it's just a brief reprieve from her suffering, I'll give that to her." She doesn't quite parse the 'war for resources' comment from earlier, because that isn't how she was trained to see it. Whether that's the right way to be a Puella or the wrong way, it's the only way she knows.
    'This is the way.' as they say on Mandalore.
    "I agree... A wish is... Um... Err..." She tries to think of an American expression since they have an American here. "...'Above my salary'!" So close, yet so far. She smiles awkwardly before going back to busying herself with some bandages and things. She doesn't like the look of the bruises around Haruko's throat. Is that self-harm, or has someone been...? The green-haired girl frowns. There's still so much bad in the world that she can't do anything about, isn't there?
    "I'll be happy to work with Coco-san. Perhaps Haruko will be in a better state when she comes back than she was when she became like this...!" Yeah! Be positive! Keep up the good energy! Be hopeful!

Lulu Adelstein has posed:
    Lulu gives a cheesy grin. "Hehehe... I didn't see myself as a Hero either. I had to learn how to love and appreciate myself for who I am and what I can do. It's not easy, and even I fail sometimes. But I have people who will pick me up when I fall down." She clenches her fist dramatically. "Which means I have no excuse for moping around feeling sorry for myself! Not if there's someone who needs my help! Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be leading a Puella Magi team of my own! If that happens, I want to be able to say that I never left someone behind when I could have given them a hand. You know?" Roughly as she may speak, Lulu has clearly learned to Choose Hope from her mentor. Passing that on to others is a much better philosophy than a Magical Girl who only cares about getting Grief Seeds for herself. Even if Magda runs out, there's no way she's going to steal from someone who needs it more.

    That would violate everything she has been taught, and would be a rejection of big sis Teresia. All of the Meisters believe in Teresia fully. Lulu is no different. "Well, if you do become a Puella Magi, Madoka, then you can work with us. There's nowhere in the world safer than under Teresia's watch." Then she puts her arms behind her head as she shrugs. "Even if you don't, I'll be glad to fight alongside someone who kept me from getting eaten by a train." She looks at Coco as well when she says that. Don't think she forgot whose flying orb of light she floated to safety in! Her smiles goes lopsided though when she looks at Haruko. "All I can do is punch Witches and Familiars. I can go beat up the Witch until it lets go of Haruko. But I don't think I can do much for her right now. I'll say this though..." She takes in a breath and moves her arms to rest on top of the chair back as she leans on them. "...I can sort of... Feel people. 'Communicate through my fists', I guess you could say. I did that the moment I had a chance to be alone with Haruko." Lulu tap-taps over her heart. "There are a lot of things all mixed up in there. Even without curses, she's going to need serious help. Maybe she can get over it without magic, given time. But the mix of love and despair she feels isn't normal. It's not in her heart. So my guess is, as the girl who just punches things..." She looks around at everyone. "Someone made a Wish without considering what the other person wanted, and now Haruko Hara is like this." She jerks a thumb Harukowards. "Because they wanted her to love them, and were willing to force it to happen even by magic. When... They probably could've just asked, like they wound up doing anyway."

    Shrug. "I'm not smart, but all I'm saying is... Not every problem needs magic to solve it, just like not every problem needs to be punched. If you can help without magic, do it. If you find a situation where magic is the only available answer... Either get some magic or find someone who has it. Don't try to put out a house fire by bleeding on it." Both arms up! "Okay! I'm done trying to sound cool! I'll go with whatever you all decide!"

Coco Kiumi has posed:
"It does?" Coco says surprised once Teresia mentions that they spend less magic with her around. "It might be because that may you tired, I think. I can help people with fatigue, so apparently there isn't much difference between that and magical fatigue", she tries to come up with a working explanation. "You have been the first people I have met that have a finite source of magic, so I didn't really know it could do that."

Teresia's explanation about curses brings up an unwanted simile in Coco's mind. "I think I get what you mean. Something like that happened to my best friend. She has been corrupted by her negative feelings too, and nothing I have done was good enough to get her out of it", she looks remorsefully to the side. "We", she adds, touching her shell locket, "are supposed to be 7 all together to reach our max potential, and with Sara consumed by despair as she is now, the hope you speak of has been already tainted. Nonetheless, I want to do everything I can to help Haruko", she says.

"Yellow Pearl Voice!" The clothes she is wearing get replaced by the usual kaleidoscope of colours, before that turns into her yellow gloves, her yellow boots with flowy extensions and her yellow blouse with a yellow skirt, while her pearl expands into her trusty E-Pitch microphone, its blue shape settling comfily into her hand, the jewel nestled safely in the head's center. But she doesn't stop there. She activates the bracelet on her wrist, the magical energy of white light shining from it calling forth a circle of white light that descends from the top of her, giving her clothes extra decorations.

She is about to sing when she is stopped by Lulu's revelation. "Haruko did talk about being asked out by a girl after we rescued her from the train witch. Haruko was distraught by how the girl was expecting a boy, so the wish is probably clashing with her sense of self. But if the girl died, I have no idea how we can fix it. Even if she were alive, how do you release someone from a wish?" she looks towards Teresia.

She doesn't wait for an answer however since Madga is ready to cooperate with her. "I will do my best. The Tale of the Seven Seas ~Pearls of Mermaid~: Pichi Pichi Voice, Live Start!" Coco sings of the seven-coloured ocean where the the sun shines bright and life is forever, its beautiful story that keeps creating miracles. On the seashore touched by dawn a beautiful pearl melody with the gentle kindness from her homeland invokes the belief in love that will protect everyone forever, the precious treasure box of love containing the pearls of the mermaids.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    One day things will be Explained to Amanda, but today is not that day.

    The tall blonde of wisdom, shining like the sun, gives direction and advice, and at that attitude Amy can only smile. "Believe in the you that believes in me... because ours is the hope that will pierce the heavens!" She responds enthusiastically to the reference she assumes Teresia is making, and pumps a fist in the air. Yeah, Teresia *could* rock orange shades like that...

    She is who she says she is. Trust in your identity. Yeah, that makes sense. Trans people just *know*, and she can't imagine what that's like. Well, okay, Amy's in the opposite situation, a guy turned into a girl, but gender's not an important part of who she is. Being a guy didn't decide her hobbies or anything. It probably *would* suck a lot more if she'd been a macho guy with hobbies that needed strength. Although, as a magical girl she's kinda super-strong and stuff, so maybe not! Anyway, that's not the same -- she was born a guy and then turned into a girl, it's not like she was born a girl somehow always knowing she was really a guy.

    "I get it." (ed: Do you, Amy? *do* you?) "Two Witches fighting *could* work to our advantage, but it could also make a bad situation worse." (ed: Oh, that, yes. Carry on.)

    Amy approaches Haruko to look at the magical marks on her neck. "Someone made a wish about h-her?? What was it?"

    Strange computer weapons. "What?? *Computer weapons??*"

    Amy nods at Madoka finally putting things into words. Madoka would rather be a type of magical girl that won't run out of magic and be unable to help, or have to take grief seeds for herself. Makes sense. "I don't know how they become Magical Girls either... But, I'm never going to get the chance for a lot of things. We can't be in the right place and time for everything. If this is the only type of hero you get to be... I think it's okay to not be the perfect hero, as long as you still help people when you can, right?"

    Magda attempts an Americanism! "It's, uh--[Above my pay grade.]. I'm not sure what the right word for that is in Japanese, it's like, determining how much you get paid, but also your rank? In a military context. So, it means it's a concern that the speaker doesn't make decisions about, only follows orders about when someone higher-ranking does."

    I can communicate through my fists! "PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY DO THAT?!" Amanda is ASTOUNDED. But then Lulu actually turns out to be really smart and insightful and clever?

    Damn, the next generation is turning out pretty great... Amanda's hope for the world is at an all-time high!

    Her phone beeped (it's the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers communicator noise!) while Lulu was talking. "So someone made her love her..." Amy starts to reason as she pulls it out of her pocket and types something back. "But... if she loved her anyway..."

    Her phone beeps again. She looks at it. "WHAT?!" She begins furiously typing. And then relieved at a reply, and shoots a quick reply back.

    And then it clicks. "So she was forced to... well, either way, she loves someone who's now gone... would the magical compulsion keep her from being able to move on? But then that's not a Witch's kiss, that's... a Puella Magi's curse, albeit accidental. And if her death didn't remove it... what will?"

    She glances down at the phone. Types a quick reply. There's some more back and forth.

    Coco talks about her friend. "Maybe we can help Sara too, after?"

    The Puella Magi was expecting a boy. Wait, is Haruko even into girls? This gets more twisty-turny. Amy holds a hand to her forehead. "Ugh, this is a mess. Don't people know not to wish for love, or immortality, or infinite wishes? It's like, the three things that are never gonna work. Yeah, how *do* we release someone from a wish?"

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    Teresia has fewer speeches to make at this point. Keep morale high. Keep hope strong. Don't let their magic get depleted, don't let them fall into despair. Train them properly, keep them alert and aware, don't fight solo, don't do everything for them but be there if they need it. All of these lessons and more, all automatically carried out by her, because of her Wish. The mood in the room is good. That means there's less encouragement required on her part, and more action.

    She nods towards Amy's statements on wishes. "A wish is just a hope. But a Wish, capital W, is a fundamental reordering of reality. That will have a ripple effect, and more than just you will face consequences for it. That's why, if you have the luxury of thinking about it, you should be sure of what you're asking for, not just in word, but in your intentions. A Wish is Hope too. That means it comes from your heart, and what your personal understanding of what you're Wishing for is."

    She pat-pats Haruko's shoulder and then steps away. "Wishing for someone you know nothing about to love you would never end well. At best, the love fades with time and any relationship ends, and everything goes back to how it was. If what you're asking for isn't love, but simply the opportunity to date someone, then that lesser outcome is more likely. You are asking for a chance. Making it stick is then up to you. It's really just moving some variables around to make something that might have happened anyway definitely occur." She shakes her head, making her long blonde hair sway from side to side. "If you try to subvert someone's very capacity to choose, the ripples will not be kind or easy. But, that love might still fade away with time regardless. If we wait with Haruko after the Witches are dead, get her normal, mundane therapy and support like Lulu suggested, she may be just fine eventually. I can't speak for your friend Sara, but there has to be a way to help her too."

    Teresia moves across the room to stand near the door as Coco starts to transform, making sure the door stays shut. "Big Wishes have big consequences. Overriding someone else's will, and then giving up on them... Is a reckless waste of precious Hope." she finishes quietly, just as Coco finishes transforming.

Haruki Hara has posed:
    Haruki's eyes drift to the hand touching their shoulder, but there's no other change to their demeanor. They do hang their head a bit and mutter something under their breath. "If a wish could fix everything..." At least the misery is fading from their face, replaced with fatigue. At least getting a break from the dual curses would probably be a huge improvement to Haruki's mental health. Dealing with the consequences of a Wish and the Witches and all of that can come afterwards. It's up to Coco and Magda to buy that time now, with Teresia's guidance. But having all of these people here who care about them... Haruki... Haruko raises her head and looks directly at Amanda. Right in the eye.

    It's that same sad emptiness from inside the Labyrinth. Like a, 'Yeah... I understand. Thanks anyway.' right before stepping off a cliff sort of look. Appreciation, but not enough to win against despair.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Madoka is still blushing from what Teresia said when Lulu speaks to her, and eventually she calms down enough to really respond. She stops hiding her face, and nods to Lulu. "There are a lot of people around I'd like to work with, but... I'd like to consider you all friends. I think we have the same goals. If we all help each other, we can get through things we wouldn't be able to on our own."

    Communicate with your fists... who does this remind Madoka of? She tries to catch the fleeting thought, but it's gone now. When she hears the explanation, Madoka frowns and looks at a wall. Teresia puts to voice a lot of the worries on her mind regarding such a thing, and then confirms them.

    "'Wishing for a boyfriend' was a wish suggestion I've heard before, but... when it's put that way, I don't think I'd want that at all." She reaches up to play with her fluffy hair. "... It's scary, the kind of thing you could wish for without really... thinking it through."

    Madoka is quiet as she watches Coco transform. She's seen this before, so it's no surprise. The magical girl starts to sing, and Madoka takes the moment to be introspective. There isn't much she can offer right now except for hope and well wishes.

    To release someone from a Wish. Is something like that possible? According to Kyubey, Madoka probably could do something like that, but that doesn't seem right. People Wish based upon what they sincerely want, and it seems wrong to abandon that hope. Then again... it's true that what you wish for might not necessarily be what makes you happy. If the interpretation and effects of a Wish could be changed... or perhaps the wording and intent...

    She decides to finally respond to one of Amy's questions. "To go back to something I said before, yeah... Computer weapons. You know... like what... Firefly has, or that science guy. Nanoha also has one, and so does... Someone said her name was Deathscythe..." Madoka's face scrunches up as she tries to remember. "... but I don't think she actually likes that name. The blonde kid with the twin tails... Not Sailor Moon. The shorter one with the scythe. I think I've seen some others with them, but I don't remember off the top of my head."

    She's talking about Intelligent Devices, but she's never heard the term 'Intelligent Device' before. At least not in a context where she could connect A to B. At least not in this timeline.

    Madoka gives Haruko a glance, and sees her react. The magic clearly has an effect, but maybe not enough of one. "On the other hand, if Haruko really did fall in love with her... to be rejected by a loved one, and then watch them die in front of you... that can't be easy. I wonder if that's making her more vulnerable than usual."

Magda Faust has posed:
    O-oh. Okay. "I see." she says in a vaguely apologetic tone for not already knowing these American expressions. She speaks fluent English, but she's still so ignorant! "Thank you for telling me. Eheheh." She rubs the back of her head a bit in embarassment. And then. They're doing this thing then. Like, right now. Like, right now right now. Magda pulls out a pendant that was hidden in her blouse, with a shimmering green stone set in it, and begins her own transformation. Determination comes over her face as she switches from shy mode to, 'I'm gonna' do the thing I hope or maybe just flail with a giant syringe at some kind of worm creature that then swallows me and then I get spat out and I'm covered in slime in front of my friends, and Kyubey, and Godoka, and everyone, and this is a selling point in the OP, but it doesn't really follow through with it, like not even in an omake or 4-koma I don't think, though there's this alternate parody version with my love interest as the main character and I--'
    Green clovers spread across the floor at Magda's feet. Her shoes become a pair of white and red platform sneakers with white bandaids instead of velcro straps, and bandages wrapps around her ankles. The transformation gradually leads upwards to thigh-high white socks with red stripes around the tops. Magda leans forwards a bit because that zettai ryouki is a bit much for a shy girl as her skirt flares out into a white and red pleated one. Then she stands up straight with her arms over her head and wrists crossed over each other, as her blouse becomes a mock old-fashioned nurse's top, with a cute red scarf at her throat. A folded white nurse's cap appears on her head as she brings her hands down to rest under her chin, folding them and smiling like a little medical angel.
    Finally, as she draws one hand down her side, and the other across her chest, a needle holster and a syringe bandolier appear in an explosion of green four-leaf clovers, which become her Soul Gem embedded in her nurse's cap.
    Henshin complete! She decided not to bring out the giant syringe, that might be a bit much.
    "O-okay!" First time showing her henshin animation complete. It won't be used again, don't worry, it's instantaneous from now on.
    String over to Haruko's side, and with the augmentation of Yellow Pearl Voice's song, the Medical Magi places a hand against Haruko's forehead to check her temperature. Pulse. Blood pressure. Whatever she gets from these basic checks is enough for her to decide on her next course of action.
    A tongue depresser appears in her hand, with a green clover on both sides. She uses this on Haruko's tongue, taking a peek inside the poor girl's mouth, and then withdrawing. The clover-print wooden stick vanishes into the aether.
    It is replaced with a needle and syringe with a shining silver liquid inside. "Someone better be ready to catch me," she warns. Then she injects concentrated Hope into Haruko, taken from her own Soul Gem. Even with the healing boost and the decrease in mana expenditure rate, her Soul Gem goes totally black in an instant. She falls backwards immediately afterwards with her eyes as vacant as Haruko's.

Lulu Adelstein has posed:
    "Hah! I understood that reference!" Lulu announces excitedly, pointing at Amy. Of course she does. She grins and says, "I think it's some form of empathy, but it's expressed physically because I use... 'Body Magic' or 'Physical Reinforcement Magic' or something like that. I can never get a straight answer from Kyubey about the specific name and I don't really care. Just means I punch things better and can literally get stronger through the power of friendship." Her grin gets even bigger.

    Madoka's words are wise. No need to rush something like this, and Lulu will be glad to fight alongside Madoka no matter what she chooses. A Wish is a choice that should be made thoughtfully, like Teresia said. Lulu's smile fades away. Too bad I didn't think mine through.

The reaction from Haruko draws the redhead's attention, as does Yellow Pearl Voice's transformation. The singing that had bolstered her inside the Labyrinth is echoing throughout the hospital room now. Will this be enough to break not one but two Witches' Kisses? She's never heard of such a thing before. Normally you have to kill the Witch or else it will just make its victims try again and again. She believes in Teresia 1000 percent. But she sometimes wonders how the veteran Magi knows so much, and why she sometimes doesn't tell them everything.

    Heh. She and Kyubey are really similar to each other in that way--Magda gives a warning and collapses while Lulu is still get up out of her chair. She dashes for the green-haired girl. She's a track runner. Surely she'll get there in time. And surely she'll be horrified by how that Soul Gem went from pristine, bright, lively green to pitch black in a heartbeat.

    "SEED." she yells out as she extends her hand, palm up, not caring who gives it to her, as long as she receives it.

Coco Kiumi has posed:
Coco keeps singing of the seven seas from which she originates and the power of the mermaids' pearls while Magda does her job. She is proceeding like usual, even if that might not be the most indicated thing to do in a hospital. Oh, well, let's hope we aren't kicked out due to the sudden music. The mermaid princess looks in shock after Magda collapses. 'Why didn't I check what her plan was before agreeing!?', she mentally chastises herself, almost stopping everything to run at Magda's side. The best thing she can do is continue to sing Pearls of Mermaid and hope she can keep the darkness at bay while hopefully someone procures Magda a Grief Seed.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy listens and nods. So a Wish can't permanently alter someone's mind... But the road to undo it may be long and arduous. Amy looks a *little* ashamed when making rash wishes is mentioned, but... she's pretty sure hers at least can't possibly harm anyone else.

    She happens to meet Haruko's gaze for a moment. WHAT WAS THAT LOOK. ...She can't really be looking at me, right? She must be delirious and see someone important to her...

    Wishing for a boyfriend is a thought Amy can't even compute. Although, she can understand someone lonely wishing for some kind of ideal friend, but... wait, if they aren't turning someone *into* the ideal friend, is a new person made out of thin air? How does that work? If this girl had worded her wish differently, would it have turned Haruko *into* a boyfriend? Would that even make sense? Amy's read some mangas like that but reversed. The thought something like that might happen IRL is *chilling*. It's unthinkable anyone would wish Mallory into a boyfriend OR girlfriend but being forced to love someone is ewwwwwwww. Let's push that out of our minds.

    She's seen Coco transform too, so she didn't comment on it. "Wait, Nanoha's a magical girl? The, the kid who looks like Stern Starks? I dunno who Firefly or Deathscythe are... like the Gundam?"

    She looks at her phone. "Apparently they're called Devices, and I guess I'll get an explanation of what they are soon."

    What if it's not magic, just a broken heart? Amy sucks air in through her teeth at the thought.

    Expressions! "It's fine. Idiomatic expressions are hard for non-native speakers. I'm sure I'm messing up Japanese ones still..."

    Oh. Magda is a Nurse Magical Girl! "I like the colors." She comments. White and red are classics, clearly!

    Uhh, what? "What is that?" She barely has time to process before SOUL GEM EMPTY. "FAUST-SAN!"

    She wasn't expecting this. She's not fast enough to catch Magda. If no one is more on the ball with a Grief Seed, she'll transform and retrieve the now-halfish-depleted Circus Witch seed from one of her pouches and hand it over -- but of course, Teresia is prepared, isn't she? Before Amy can even transform.

    "What did she *do*?!" Amy stares at the other Faust in concern.

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    'Don't sacrifice yourself if you don't have to. Rely on those around you. Communicate clearly.' Lessons that Magda has just abandoned, it seems. Teresia is transformed mid-stride, with no Henshin animation in sight. It's not instantaneous, but close enough that she just seems to blur briefly like she's passing through air with a slightly greater resistance than normal air, and then she is there, placing a Grief Seed against Magda's Soul Gem to extract the corruption. Her hand seems to blur repeatedly, and the Grief Seed keeps... Changing? Empty. Partial. Full. Then empty again. She goes through the cycle twice before she is content with the state of the Medical Magi's Soul Gem and steps back.

    She looks directly at Yellow Pearl Voice, as she stands in her long black gown with white fur trim, and high-heeled boots, and says very clearly, "Don't stop." Then she turns back to Haruko to see if it worked, and if not if there's anything she can do to help.

    The Grief Seed that was in her hand (or was that two of them?) is already disappeared off into hammerspace or whatever. A hand touches the side of Haruko's throat, where those bruises and scars from strangulation begin. Maybe those will be healed by the restoration of Hope as well.

    "Haruko-chan. People who care about you are here. We're all cheering you on. You did nothing wrong. You are valid, and appreciated just for being who you are. We accept you, and nothing will change that. So whatever dark thoughts might be telling you otherwise, whatever might be trying to pull you down to its level, just know:" Teresia then leans down to talk into Haruko's ear. "You are already a magical girl to us."

    There's no way she'd do anything else in this situation. Not admonish, not lecture, not plead tearfully. She is the idol that younger girls look up to. She is the hero who defeats the dark and leads the way to the promised land. She drinks the poison for her subordinate and then does not die.

    She must do this. It is her role now.

    So the magic turns its gears, and the golden glow radiates from her, and she coaxes a small spirit into realizing just how very big it truly is, and holds out a hand in the darkness, with everyone standing around her, waiting for the spirit to join them.

    Come on.

    Just take that first step.

    Then another.

    Everything will be fine from there.

    Because Teresia Kuefer, the Mahou Shoujo Hero, believes that Haruko Hara has more than enough strength to walk on her own.

Haruki Hara has posed:
    Haruko doesn't react to or interfere with the initial examination, nor Magda passing out, nor the yelling and panic. But as the singing continues, telling a story of healing, inner strength, and the seas giving life and taking death away, the hope that was injected into her begins to do its work. She may not be a Witch, but she is taint by them. Haruko shudders and her eyes close. Her breathing becomes ragged. Her head twitches to one side as Teresia speaks to her.

    Brow furrowed, eyes moving quickly behind their lids, hands clenching her sheets...

    Head shakes back and forth quickly, then stops. As those words are whispered, that sheer heroic presence of someone who Will Not Fail Her No Matter What makes the hope shine within her soul.

    Haruko takes that first step despite how frightening, and dark, lonely the darkness is around her.

    She takes another.

    She wants to reach that hand, but how can shee? She has chains around her ankles. Chains from two different jailers, each fighting over who has the prerogative to torture her. Maybe... Maybe if she just...

    Water begins to fill Haruko's soul. Just a shallow layer at first. But soon, the smell of fresh flowers, and the feel of spring rains in a forest start to pour down on her. The water level rises. It rises and her legs slip free of their restraints.

    In her soul she is definitely Haruko Hara now. She looks like who she always knew who she was supposed to be. She sloshes through the water, reaching out for the hand that takes up her entire field of vision, and then grabs hold of it.

    Haruko Hara opens her eyes with a gasp. The two Witch Kisses dissolve into motes of darkness.

    She is grabbing Teresia's hand tightly.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Madoka watches on as Magda does a checkup on Haruko, tilting her head curiously and silently watching. When she starts to collapse, Madoka isn't in a good position to see the Soul Gem go dark, but she does cover her mouth. "B-but... if you use that much..."

    Apparently, they already know that it's a problem, so she doesn't finish her statement. She watches Magda and Lulu for a tense moment as she hopes silently that it doesn't deplete too much. Coco's music is heard just barely over her own heartbeat.

    That would be too awful. To run out of magic so quickly, just like that... that's just terrible. She was only trying to help. If she was here all by herself, with no other Puella Magi...

    Amy doesn't seem to understand what's happening, and Madoka answers, "Faust-san... I was told... that if a Puella Magi runs out of magic, they die." This isn't entirely correct, but it's what was said to her, and frankly it's bad enough even if the truth is worse. It's gonna be a fun day when she finds out. Hopefully that's not today.

    Then Teresia steps in to do her Big Hero moment. To Madoka, it seems so casual, so easy. Problem identified, problem solved, all in one fluid motion. In the wide, wonder-filled pink eyes of one who so often feels helpless, to be so able to easily save the day makes Teresia an object of envy. Not the kind of jealousy that breeds resentment, because Madoka is too kind for that, but certainly the kind of covetousness born of admiration.

    Teresia can act cool all she wants, but moments like this are what actually defines a heroine in Madoka's mind.

    It's a bad angle to see from, for Madoka, but her eyes dart to where the Witch Kisses are supposed to be, and sees that the aren't there. She covers her mouth with one hand and gasps.

    "Did that really work?"

Magda Faust has posed:
    Magda's Soul Gem on her hat goes from pitch black to a muddy gray-green, to sparkling green in the span of a few seconds. It takes a bit longer as she lies in Lulu's arms to get her senses back. But eventually, her eyes regain their light and she blinks repeatedly. "Heh... Heheheheh... Sorry." she says as she laughs a bit nervously and tries to sit up on her own. "I didn't know it cost more magic to do that on a person than a Witch... I just thought I'd be weakened a bit..." She coughs a few times. Did she stop breathing for a while there or something? She feels so... Not congested exactly, but like.... Hm.

    "I feel like I caught a cold and then got better really fast." is her expert analysis. Sorely understanding it, but there you have it, straight from the nurse's mouth.

Lulu Adelstein has posed:
    Fear is strong, but Lulu was trained by Teresia Effing Kuefer. She doesn't panic or shut down or hesitate. She gets into position and prepares to do what must be don--Oh, Teresia is cleansing the Soul Gem. Well, at least Lulu caught her friend! And is there for her when the green-haired Puella Magi awakens! As Magda 'heheheh's and explains the logic behind her actions, Lulu angrily puts one hand next to the other girl's face and flicks her in the forehead.

    "Don't you 'heheheheh' me! You're supposed to communicate your plans! No matter what past experience says, when it comes to Witches, Familiars, and all of that junk, don't assume it'll go the same way as before." Yeah, Teresia wouldn't lecture. She would inspire, and make this a teachable moment, and somehow find a way to make Magda understand what could have happened and the severity of her choice without making her feel bad about herself.

    Lulu isn't Teresia. So she impresses upon one of her best friends how UTTERLY BOGUS it was to just try something randomly.

    "If Teresia didn't have extra Grief Seeds on hand...!"

Coco Kiumi has posed:
Coco is shaking with apprehension like never before as Madoka reveals death is what follows the depletion of a Soul Gem. If he didn't like Kyubey before for cheerfully running a system that puts people against each other, she likes him even less now that she knows he doesn't put them in danger indirectly, he does that directly. Frustration and anger starts welling up inside of her and she would have a few choice words for him if she doesn't get distracted by Haruko reacting to the spells.

She still keeps singing a bit more for good measure while she checks out the side of the neck where the Witch's Kisses are supposed to be. 'Nothing... They are gone...' she thinks with relief, staring at Haruko's immaculate neck with both incredulity and joy. 'We really bought some time...'

With one less danger to keep track of, she looks with worry at Magda, still anxious at what just transpired on her side: a sigh of relief escapes her lips as she looks at the pristine Soul Gem. She wants to berate both Magda and herself for carrying out such a reckless plan, but she really doesn't feel like she should say anything since she just escaped such a grave danger and she says it was unintentional on her part anyway. She stops her song now that both Haruko and Magda are fine, besides something in what Magda says catches her attention. "What do you mean, it costs more on a person than a witch? Is that how you attack witches?"

After that questions, she remembers she has one of her own to address, the inquiry about helping Sara. "Helping Sara is going to be very hard", Coco, says, looking at Teresa and Amy. "She is with the King of the Deep Seas now. The worst part is she freed him herself from the sea dephts in which Aqua Regina had imprisoned him." She shakes her head sadly. "We seven princesses were supposed to keep the seas safe, not put them in danger. Why did you have to do that, Sara?" she says to herself. "The King... Gaito will stop at nothing to gather our seven pearls and take Aqua Regina's power for himself. If that happens, he will reinstate the reign of the Panthalassa and seek to conquer the world in revenge."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Teresia is very cool and heroic and ionspiring and Amy is torn between being relieved that as long as Teresia's around everything will be alright, and feeling like a failure for being twice any of their ages and *not* being as prepared as this teenager.

    But uh

    But she kind of has something else to focus on for a moment.

> Faust-san... I was told... that if a Puella Magi runs out of magic, they die.



    She pulls her pendant out of her shirt and looks at it. It's a bright, full red at the moment, but now she remembers vividly all the times she's seen it with darkness in it... and when it was barely a fifth full, on her way to face her first Witch...

                              She could've died?!                              

    And the German Puella Magi aren't reacting. Amy looks up at them. "It's true, then...?"

                              She could've died!!!                              

    Amy thinks back to the seed Teresia handed her after the train incident. Already mostly empty.

    She looks at the pendant.


                         {||||||||                    }                        

    ...One full life bar and a mostly-depleted subtank are all that stands between her and death.

    Amy stumbles back, and sits in one of the chairs for visitors, staring at nothing in front of her for a few seconds.

    Hey! Just because you know this now, *nothing has changed*.

    Amy's eyes focus and she looks at the german puellas and Haruko. "Did... did it work? Is she better?"

Teresia Kuefer has posed:
    Teresia doesn't contradict Madoka. She just waits until Haruko is back with them all, squeezes back when her hand is gripped, smiles to reassure her that everything is okay now, and then turns her attention on Coco and Amanda, the two who didn't know. "Close enough," is her quiet and not-very-reassuring answer. "Power has a price in every world. There's no such thing as free magic." she continues on, still very not-reassuringly as she stands up straight. "By my estimation, Haruko-chan will be fine for a while at least. But this isn't a long-term solution. The casters of this curse need to be taken down, or else it will just linger within her, poisoning her and dragging other people into its tempest of spite. At the very least, the time crunch we were under has had a few days added to it. Possibly longer with additional infusions, but..." She looks skeptically at Magda. "For obvious reasons, I'd like not to have to rely upon that."

    Shaking her head, Teresia sighs. The veteran among them looks at all of these girls, regardless of their ages, origins, or forms, and says, "This might be a situation where it would be best for you all to sit it out."

    Her henshin turns into glittering black magical energy, like a starry night sky, and then reverts to her original outfit.

    "I'm just glad that Haruko-chan is still with us." she concludes with a hand on the girl's shoulder. Not that Haruko is likely to know who she is or anything, but, you know. Any port in a storm. Speaking of which...

    "I would be glad to aid you, Coco, in saving your friend and finding your sisters. No one wants a conquering tyrant to take over the oceans or the world. As long as you stand with us against our enemies, I believe we can form a powerful team." Bright smile of charm and trust and sincerity. Which is all real, but also a way to get more allies, because that awful Witch is still on the loose, and it will be coming here, and she needs help, because she still has a timer in her head ticking down until the end of the world, and she can't tell anyone and it's driving her crazy and she really, really, really, really hopes that someone else out there knows.

Haruki Hara has posed:
    No, Haruko doesn't know everyone here. Even if she can vaguely remember some of them as if from a dream... Or something. She slowly unclenches her hand and takes it back from Teresia before leaning away from the touch on her shoulder. "I'm sorry. I'm not sure what's going on, but... I really..." Tears build up in her eyes and start dripping down her face as she turns away. "...really don't want to be touched right now."

    Yeah. They all helped. A lot. But... It makes sense that she might need some time alone, and some time to rest without nightmares plaguing her whether awake or asleep. Unlike the others present, she is no hero. She is a mere mortal, trapped in circumstances beyond her control or understanding. She probably won't even remember most of the magical stuff by tomorrow anyway.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Kyubey, suddenly is here. Where did he come from? Who knows. He's sitting on a windowsill.

    "If you're done with those, Teresia Kuefer. I'll take them off your hands."

    Madoka might not have been able to see how many Grief Seeds Teresia used, but Kyubey would know how many full Seeds she had on her. He looks up at Teresia with his perfectly round, red eyes and unchanging smile. Sitting on his hind legs like a pet awaiting a meal from their caretaker. Tail swishing slowly back and forth as if this were the most casual thing in the world.

    Maybe Coco will have her chance to tell him off after all.

    Madoka, meanwhile, is concerned about Amy's reaction. She feels bad for bringing this up, but... someone had to say it, right?

    Madoka listens to the story about Sara, and gives her a worried stare. "King of the Deep Seas? Is that who you're fighting, Yellow Pearl Voice?" Someone who wants to conquer the world. So, that's what Coco means when she refers to 'Gaito'. Madoka is sure she's heard that name mentioned before. "So you guard the seas from things like that. Even the oceans have magical problems."

    She considers Teresia's words, and watches Haruko for a moment. Is she really going to be okay for now? This seems like a whole lot of hardship that she didn't really deserve. Not wanting to be touched... after everything, that seems like a normal response.

    "This has been a lot. As much as I want to help you hunt, I feel like the only thing I could do is get hurt again. I don't regret jumping in when I did, but... I can't depend on my luck holding out forever."

Magda Faust has posed:
    Her dazed, awkward giggling is interrupted by a very Japanese, "Itai!" of pain when she is flicked. She moves away from Lulu grumpily and stands up, allowing her own henshin to lapse into her casual clothes. "Oh, um. Thanks, Faust-san--" She pauses. That is so weird calling someone else by her surname. "...Amanda-san?" Yeah, she'll go with that for now.
    She can't comfort Coco and Amy, unfortunately, so she just tries to... Deescalate the situation. Which she isn't very good at, unfortunately. All she can do is stand there with her hands clasped together, a nervous smile, and lots of sweat drops.

    "Ah, yes... Perhaps... This shouldn't be our main solution. Ahem. A Witch is a creature of negative emotions, like despair. I inject positive energy into them, and it destroys them from the inside-out. They aren't compatible. It's not quite the same as how I heal injuries, but against a Witch's Kiss, I thought it might work..." Pause. "...Maybe."

    The request for people to clear out and give Haruko some room is heeded. Madoka can stay, obviously, but there's no further need for Magda to make everything worse. She gives what she hopes is an encouraging smile and a thumbsup to Madoka on her way out, but walks into the closed door due to not looking where she's going, and lets out another, "Itai!" >_<

    It takes her pausing to open the door and rub her forehead for her to realize what Teresia is suggesting. She turns, bug-eyed and responds with telepathy. <<You want to challenge two Witches at once by yourself, Teresia-onee-chan!? Isn't that the same recklessness you warn us against!? Like, um. What I did just nowvermind I am going to go now.>>

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy takes a breath and shrugs. "I mean, I had no chance at all as a civilian, did I. I'll, uh... just have to be a bit more careful with my magic, but really... even if it weren't instant death, running out of magic against a Witch or monster would likely result in imminent death anyway. *Still*..." She glares at Kyubey. "You should have told me!"

    She takes another breath, stands up, and turns to Teresia. "I understand. I'll follow my own advice, then, and stay out of it. Just let me know if there's anything else I can do to help." She bows.

    As they leave Haruko, Amy offers the patient a nod and a "I hope you feel better soon."

    But then she looks between Teresia and Coco. "Save? Uhhh... is 'With the King of the Deep Seas' like 'in Davy Jones's Locker'? Wait, does Japanese have that expression? It sounded like, like..." She holds a hand to her head. "Sorry, I was a bit distracted there, with..." She looks down at her pendant, and then tucks it back under her shirt. And then is surprised. <<Wait, *alone*?! ...I know we're kinda green, but... isn't there *anyone* you can take-- I mean, anyone who can actually help you?>>

Lulu Adelstein has posed:
    Okay, so... It worked. That's good. But it's not a permanent fix. Which isn't good. And the situation is dangerous enough that Teresia wants to tackle two Witches solo and still thinks she'll be able to come back to help Yellow Pearl Voice with the King of Atlantis or Cthulhu or whatever!? It's a good thing that Lulu has absolute faith in Teresia's judgment and ability. If her leader says it's possible, then it's possible. She gives a nod and a wave to Kyubey, and helps hustle Magda out of the room by opening the door for her and shooing her. <<I'll let you figure that out, Teresia. Thank you again for saving me, Madoka. I think that's a good decision. Right tools for right situation. If you don't have them... Don't try to put out a fire by bleeding on it, you know? Anyway, I'm sure I'll see everyone here at some point. Haruko too, I hope.>>

Coco Kiumi has posed:
Coco nods once they start talking about the King of the Deep Seas. "If by sisters you mean the seven of us, then Sara is part of those seven too', Coco clarifies. "Not that you are wrong, in a way we are a lot like sisters, but in others we are also different. Thank you a lot for your help, I will probably need it. I barely escaped from the grasp of his servants. And, you have my help with everything that's going on, you have my word. I won't let those witches continue to hurt Haruko if I can help it." She offers the latter a smile, trying to communicate serenity, telling her it's ok and she doesn't need to force herself.

To Madoka she says "Yes, the sea needs to be looked after in order to stay welcoming, but we kinda failed at that. Sara betraying us in her grief reflects badly on me especially, her closest friend, and yet unable to help her out of that pain. The waters were never so turbolent as they were that day when Sara destroyed my kingdom and hers."

Coco shakes her head at Amy's question, though she has something more to say to her. "You should be way more angry than that at him. As far as I am concerned, he is conspiring to kill you! He is vile and as evil as our enemies", she expresses the frustration she has inside.

"Gaito's palace isn't anything like Davy Jones' locker. Now that he is free, it can move and keep itself concealed from eventual invaders. It's a perfect fortress that only his allies can access."