Wraith Arc: Chapter 8
Mami sits on the ground and stares at the magical girl who has just saved her, tired from the battle against the two mutant wraiths. Wraith-Mami and Wraith-Kyoko look on, damaged by the attack from Wraith-Madoka. Wraith-Madoka faces down Wraith-Mami and Wraith-Kyoko, her appearance that of Madoka but with wraith-like features: a third eye is on her forehead, spider-like legs jutting out from the hollow core in her torso and a magical symbol on her chest where her soul gem would normally be. The two mutant wraiths turn their attention to Wraith-Madoka, who summons a magic barrier around her that blocks their attacks. She points her bow at them and unleashes several magic arrows that strike at the imposter wraiths, though they manage to evade. Wraith-Mami takes advantage of the confusion and turns her several muskets onto Mami and fires at her but Wraith-Madoka leaps in front of Mami and summons her barrier once more, protecting the both of them. Mami is surprised that a wraith would protect her against her own kind. Mami turns her musket on Wraith-Madoka, but she only reaches out her hand towards Mami. Wraith-Kyoko leaps down from a nearby building, prepared to attack once more. Before she can reach them, Mami hesitantly takes Wraith-Madoka’s hand and time stops. Mami realizes from the way she fought that the wraith is not allies with the others and wants to work together. Time unfreezes and Wraith-Kyoko’s attack lands in empty space. Ribbons begin to bind her from behind. Wraith-Mami searches for them and sees Mami in the distance. She aims her musket only for Mami to suddenly appear from behind her and bind her with ribbons as well. Wraith-Kyoko struggles nearby as the ribbons tightly hold her. Wraith-Madoka continues to hold the ribbon that connects her with Mami, allowing them to coordinate their attacks in stopped time. With the two mutant wraiths tied down together, Mami summons her Tiro Finale and finishes them off. As the dust settles, Mami thanks Wraith-Madoka for her help, as it was thanks to her she managed to avoid death. She asks if she’s a different kind of rogue wraith than the two that attacked her.
Back at the clock tower, the wraiths continue their odd vigil. The clock’s face bursts open and several tendrils come flowing out. Mami notices the commotions and turns to see these hairlike tendrils begin to wrap around the clock tower, several of them forming braids. The wraiths move closer to the tower as more ‘hair’ comes out and the creature begins to take shape: leg like limbs point straight into the sky from its dress, spools of thread stand on either side of it, and a crown like feature appears above what looks like Madoka’s magical girl dress at the top of it all. Mami can’t believe that this massive creature could be a wraith. Wraith-like familiars begin to appear around the creature, their female ‘faces’ split in half and harpy claws dangle underneath what looks like Homura’s magical girl dress. The transformed wraith extends its hairlike tendrils in every direction of the city’s streets. Mami moves closer in, noting that its repulsive power is far different from that of the miasma of a wraith. A braid whips at Mami, narrowly missing her and damaging a nearby building. The falling debris almost lands on Mami but Kyoko appears to pull Mami out of danger. The two girls hurry out of sight. At a safe place nearby, Kyoko shows Mami her spent soul gem and explains how she ran into unexpected trouble with the wraith from earlier. She looks up at the towering creature and asks if it’s the same giant wraith they’ve been tracking. Wraith-Madoka appears and confirms it is the true form of the giant wraith and it is no longer the comrade of the wraiths. Kyoko is ready to confront the mutant wraith but Mami has her stand down. She asks Wraith-Madoka to share what information she has on the unusual events that have been happening in the city. Wraith-Madoka tells them that the creature is no longer a wraith now that it has been changed by a power that lies beyond the laws of this world. If left unattended, it will devote itself to harvesting the life out of the earth. The creature has barely begun to manifest its powers and has not completed its transformation yet, but it has already begun to spread its curses and take numerous lives. Wraiths do not wish for the annihilation of all life and have gathered here to attempt to hold back the rampage of the transformed giant wraith. She tells Mami and Kyoko there’s nothing they can do except escape and leave this to her. Mami thinks on what Wraith-Madoka has told them, and despite the difficulties of believing her story, she would never run away from a clear menace to their world and leave everything to the wraiths. This is the city that the magical girls have always protected and Mami wants to stay and fight alongside Wraith-Madoka. Kyoko worries that the wraith may turn on her later, but Mami feels that being alongside this particular wraith feels like being with someone with whom she’s always fought together with. Mami tells Kyoko to leave and make sure to clear out the town as much as possible to avoid casualties. Kyoko throws a pair of grief cubes at Mami, telling her she may not have many but to use them while she can. Mami teases Kyoko before thanking her for saving her earlier and uses the cubes to cleanse her soul gem. As she turns, Kyoko and her soul gem hang suspended in the air, bound by the hair tendrils of the transformed wraith. Wraith-Madoka immediately fires an arrow, releasing Kyoko from its grasp. Wraith-Madoka then turns and races after the transformed wraith. Mami sits on the ground, holding Kyoko’s body. Kyubey appears and examines Kyoko’s soul gem. He tells Mami to give up: the moment Kyoko was touched by that tentacle, her soul was taken away completely and she has now passed away. Kyubey had been scouting the area and saw how everyone who had been touched by that tentacle were deprived of their capability to continue their vital functions. He tells Mami this area has been compromised and she should run away from here. Just as he finishes talking, a familiar of the transformed wraith appears behind Mami. Mami snatches the two grief cubes Kyoko was holding and cleanses her soul gem further, just as the familiar begins shooting beams of dark energy at her.
Wraith-Madoka continues her pursuit of the transformed wraith’s familiars, firing her arrows wildly as they chase her through the sky. A familiar attempts to sneak up behind her but she blasts it apart with another shot of her bow. More familiars turn and focus their attention on Wraith-Madoka. Nearby, Homura continues to watch lifelessly as the battle rages on. The braids begin to attack Wraith-Madoka now as they crash into building in their attempt to kill her. They blast her with dark energy which she manages to block and more braids come at her. She blasts the braids apart with her arrows but not before a swarm of familiars attempt to gang up on her in the confusion. However, Mami is prepared and has already summoned several of her muskets to shoot the familiars to pieces. Mami shoots at the familiars, buying Wraith-Madoka time to charge her attack. Mami continues to fire, but her magic has run out. Wraith-Madoka unleashes her attack as hundreds of magic arrows decimate the field of familiars and lands on the transformed wraith. The dust begins to clear, however a familiar who managed to escape the attack appears from behind and snatches Wraith-Madoka in its claws. The transformed wraith remains unscathed and the familiars tear at Wraith-Madoka before dropping her from a dizzying height. Homura watches as black energy in the forms of birds tear at a falling Madoka. She says her name, and then turns to see the braids consuming the city, the lifeless bodies of Mami and Kyoko laying on the ground. She opens her eyes wide as she suddenly comes to life again, thinking the horrific scenes around her as another dream but realizing it isn’t. She clutches at her hair and sinks to her knees before suddenly slamming her fist to the ground and taking off running in the direction of the falling Wraith-Madoka. She calls out Madoka’s name and reaches for her but the ground beneath her collapses. Falling, she continues to reach for Wraith-Madoka before catching her and pulling her close. She realizes that Madoka is not a product of her imagination and she has finally remembered everything: the transformed wraith is a witch and the proof that Madoka existed. The power of the past and the source of everything that has happened all comes from the existence of a single “shield”.