Magia Record Main Story Part 2 Chapter 9

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Episode 1:

Summary by bigscarythings
We start with Kagome narrating a recap of recent events - starting with a flashback to the Touka-Nemu explosion. In her diary, Kagome writes that she thinks of Touka's last command to her as akin to a curse, and how the horrific aftermath she saw from that event have been plaguing her over and over again. Given distance now, however, Kagome realizes that to prevent her from backing down on her memoir project, Touka gave her some kind of new role instead - what it is, Kagome doesn't understand. And she can't ask Touka, given that the latter is comatose. So Kagome's conclusion is to keep calm and memoir on, especially since Sakurako confirmed that Touka and Nemu are still alive.

Kagome then reviews how Kyubey hijacked the Automatic Purification System, and about the defectors to Neo-Magius. She makes explicit that no one from the East defected with Kanagi and Mitama, since all the eastern girls reported receiving a message from Kanagi apologizing for her selfishness, and also declaring war on Kamihama. And magical girls aren't the only ones suffering here - Kagome knows now that Tasuke has given up on saving megucakind now. We see a flashback of Urara explaining this to Kagome, that sometime after Tasuke met Kagome, he realized that unveiling the truth would lead only to tragedy, so he abandoned his cause. Back in the present, Kagome (in her pjs) mourns to Rii-chan about the sad ending to Tasuke's quest...

Cue the Chapter 9 title drop: Labyrinth of Enlightening Goodness.

Meanwhile, Iroha and company are trying to regain their bearings. Iroha has redistributed her four stones back to herself, Yuna, Juri, and Chiharu. At the Suitoku Temple, Iroha asks the remaining PB and Tokime girls if anything unusual happened after returning the Kimochi stones, given all the kerfuffle at the end of Chapter 8. The recipients report all was well - no one and nothing went out of control or berserk, even with Kyubey helming the controls. Hinano remarks it's a good thing, but still kind of anticlimactic. Felicia figures that after Kyubey's attempt to control the Kimochi failed, he figured it wasn't worth the effort and dropped that part of the plan. This seems especially apparent since it seems like the only opportunity for hijacking is in the transfer of bracelets.

Still, Yachiyo is worried. When the Kimochi were in control of their own system, they imposed rules so only select megucas could fight. Such rules may be gone now, so a fight with NM now could be a veritable bloodbath. Yuna shrugs it off, saying it makes things more convenient - even with NM's defections, the KMU-PB-Tokime crew still outnumber them, and the NM girls are a hodgepodge of various alliances. Yuna is more than happy to go ham on foes from Kamihama, but notes that the enemy is cunning, so they may exploit or take advantage of the KPT alliance in some way. Hikaru figures they just need to boost their numbers even more - specifically, if they can pull back Ao and Kanagi, they'll be all set!

...Of course, that's easier said than done. Yachiyo and Hinano remarked that while Kanagi was hesitant, she and Mitama seem fully committed to their new cause. Charu and Sunao think they can talk Shizuka down, though they haven't been able to contact her - Sunao's texts to Shizuka are all left on read. All this puzzles Sana; even with NM pulling defectors, KPT still wins the numbers Felicia thinks there must be some devious scheme NM is up to, like stealing back the APS. But Iroha reminds us that Kyubey confirmed Ui is the only one who can control the APS. And Yachiyo is pessimistic about fighting NM for their Kimochi stones, given that the Kimochi rules are gone. Chiharu realizes that NM may be aiming to nab Ui for themselves because that's just Ui's life now. But Tsuruno observes that NM is probably out to crush KPT's resistance and prove their strength rather than nabbing the APS. Sunao doesn't like the sound of that...

Yuna says since they don't know when NM will pop up next, all they can do is make defensive preparations. Any visits Iroha needs to do should be done now, because they won't be able to do so once the fighting starts. On that note, Yuna receives a text saying that Ao has returned to Futatsugi City. Yuna asks the PB girls back there to monitor her; Hikaru fears this may be NM making their first move. Yuna also announces that she needs to return to Futatsugi over the upcoming holiday, so they’ll all need to act in accordance with that.

Meanwhile, Sunao still has no word from Shizuka; Sunao's message was to ask Shizuka to read the picture book that Sana made for Shizuka (Sana’s second one after the book about Ai). Sana explains that ever since Sunao confided in her about Shizuka's struggle (a scene from Another Story 6), Sana was inspired to draw a story for her...and Sunao believes it's just what Shizuka needs right now.

Shigure and her grandpa are having breakfast together, courtesy of her mom. Her mom talks about how she changed to new cooking water, which makes Shigure worry that her mom did in fact fall for another scam, but her grandpa reassures Shigure that her mom wasn't tricked into the purchase; her mom confirms. Shigure's grandpa seems very happy, and decides he'll buy Shigure the new "Berry Pi" that she's had her eye on - he just thinks that Shigure has been in such a better, rejuvenated mood lately, and times like those call for projects to build. She eagerly accepts his offer, and asks that he looks at her program, too! Her mom is pleased to see all this, and they all spend time as a happy family together.

To herself, Shigure thinks about all the good turns she's been having lately, from this to everything with NM - she's glad she agreed to start the NM project again with Himena and San. They just need to fulfill this plan, and she'll no longer be mocked anymore... But...she doesn't know how they plan to do that, beyond using the radio telescope. She's snapped out of her reverie by her mom and grandpa asking her to be careful, wherever she goes - she's been coming home awfully late these days, and they can't help but worry about her... Shigure apologizes for concerning them.

Things have been on the up and up for [[Hagumu[[, too - she's still klutzy and a bit out of sorts, but the teasing from the other students in drama club teasing has softened up. Outside with an NPC girl, NPC-chan remarks that Hagumu seems to be in brighter spirits - and of course, teases her about whether she found a boyfriend, much to Hagumu's protests.

Soon, the topic shifts to a new picture book that's been going around online - it's quite a charming animal story according to the web, and NPC-chan wants to make a production based on it (with poor Hagumu as the turtle). Hagumu says it'll be tricky to make costumes for them, but the girl sends the book to Hagumu anyway before they go separate ways.

In a lull, Hagumu thinks back to Shigure - Shigure, who talked about NM's plan to unveil the truth about megucakind via the radio telescope...but will people really believe them? For some reason, she's starting to get a very bad feeling about this... She asks, has Himena talk to Hagumun about what the plan is supposed to be...? A concerned look on her face, Hagumu thinks about how she has no idea what the plan is, either...

Now we cut to Himena in some kind of meeting room, chatting to Hiko about their plan to hijack the radio telescope to spread the word on magical girls. San asks how their situation is; Himena thinks it's still too soon to act. There are still too many enemies in their way who will prevent them from controlling the telescope, but Himena relays that Hiko says it's all working in their favor. PB has lost their shortcuts, after all, so most of their members are stuck in Futatsugi; their finances are screwed and they still have their muggle lives to worry about.

Hagumu points out that Touka has security measures regarding the telescope, so if KPT catches wind of NM gunning for the telescope, NM is as good as sunk. Shigure complains that NM should have stayed in the shadows until they were ready to immediately move out, but Himena brushes off Shigure's concerns with a beaming smile - there's no point in secretly winning behind the scenes. She needs to break KPT - she needs them to fight back and fail hard. Himena's sudden, eager viciousness makes Shigure a little queasy...

Himena moves on, saying she's already got measures in place to monitor the Futatsugi girls. They're ready to fight now, and they have a great head start! Meanwhile, Miyuri gushes about Himena and their goals, marveling how soon, people will be worshiping the goddess San-sama at her feet (of course) - but via telepathy, San wrangles Miyuri out of her fantasies: San has a plan to seize the telescope, but Shigure and Hagumu must remain unaware of it. This throws off Miyuri; she asks what they do know. Shigure and Hagumu only know that NM has a plan to make muggles aware of magical girls, but not how it will be done. It's a radical, extreme plan, and San has little faith that Shigure and Hagumu would be able to go through with it.

Meanwhile, Shigure and Hagumu pep themselves up by talking about how soon, everyone will know about megucakind, and they will be admired and respected...Hagumu is just so happy about how she might feel a little more confident and proud of herself. Himena says that's a given - they should aim even higher!

Back in the NM theater proper, Shizuka addresses her tribemates, saying that they are here to fulfill their role as the Tokime Tribe. For this end, they need to reveal the truth of magical girls and become the leaders of the people. The mooks question her, though, saying that the damage from Himena's plan could be catatrosphic...but Shizuka insists they must. Kamihama is a city rotten to the core, infested and ruled by evil. They need to vanquish all evil within this city first as a proving ground. A mook asks if that's really all it'll take? Shizuka says that if it isn't, she'll dispose of Himena earlier than planned, and the Tokime Tribe will be the sole gods of the people, leading them down the path of goodness...

Later that night, Himena is morose and sullen in her room. She asks why Sasha isn't reading any one of her messages - doesn't she realize Himena really is going to act on her plans…? "C'mon..." she says, "do more to stop me..."

The next day, Miyuri asks San if she's sure she wants to keep the plan secret from Shigure and Hagumu. San remarks it must be painful for Miyuri to hide things from them; Miyuri says she feels very insecure in doing so. They're all in this together to make each other's dreams come true, to fulfill their ideals of meguca supremacy; they're all here to heal the broken mess of each other's hearts - so boxing Shigure and Hagumu out of the plan just feels...distinctly not right.

San gets it, but Himena's plans simply don't align with Shigure and Hagumu's ideals. She recaps that under Shigure and Hagumu’s leadership, NM's original method for supremacy was to spread the truth about magical girls in hopes that would make muggles realize how much greater magical girls are than normal humans; Himena's (mysterious to us) plans, on the other hand, are very iron-handed. San believes fully that if Shigure and Hagumu discover what's going on, they'll defect immediately. To this, Miyuri asks San if she really is okay with this plan, considering Himena's method - even if San becomes god, even if they bring back the fire festival...will San be okay with losing all of her friendships with her youth group back in Takarazaki?

San says she was prepared for that from the very start. Himena's plan solely targets Kamihama City, and it's none of her business what happens with them. If Himena becomes a monster and extends her grip to Takarazaki’s youth group, then San, as their god, will protect them. There are all kinds of myths and religious systems where multiple gods coexist, after all, so San accepts that there may be two gods of the new world: one good, one evil (she is clearly just cribbing Madokami and Homucifer’s gimmick smh).

Still, San says that she would never have needed to rationalize things like this if Himena's plan hadn't gone so radical... Miyuri wonders what prompted Himena to resort to such means. San explains simply that Himena is afraid of losing Sasha. Sasha, after all, was the only one who truly ever extended her hand to Himena (in contrast with the rest of the NM girls), and Sasha and Hiko were the only people Himena could truly rely upon...

Speaking of whom, we cut back to Himena spamming Sasha's phone with next after text and...finally gives up. She vows to herself that she won't lost anyone else: she won't let anyone take Hiko away from her. She says all this is Sasha's fault for leaving her...and, seeming a bit unsure, she tells herself that she has to do what she must to ensure those she loves won't leave her anymore...

That night, Himena returns home; her mom scolds her for not properly announcing her presence, but Himena blithely talks aloud to Hiko anyway. Her mom begs Himena to stop, saying that Hiko is dead and that Himena mustn't cling to Hiko's memory like this; Himena insists that he's real, that she can see him in her head and talk to him. She and her mom get into a row about whether Hiko is alive, ending with Himena smashing something and screaming that she has no choice but to force people to believe her. She retreats to her room, and in flashbacks, we see the kids at school gossiping about Hiko and Himena going out together, Hiko's suicide, how his death seems to have broken her; in another, a teacher assures Himena that she'll get over his death, etc; another one is when Himena's mom declares that she's switching Himena to an online learning model, and that they'll be moving to Kamihama. Her mom assures Himena that it's not her fault, but she needs to accept his death...

Himena says that her classmates were responsible for driving Hiko to suicide, and now that she used her wish to bring him back, everyone seeks to kill him *again?* She can't forgive humans for that. She can *never* forgive humans for that. And so she'll force them all to see her way - she'll throw everything that the world knows to be true into chaos. And for that...she needs to know what's going on with Promised Blood in Futatsugi...she thinks to herself that Ao must be sick of that town, too...

Now we transition to Tsukasa's side of things. It's been very hard to meet with Tsukuyo, and they have no time to speak with each other anymore... But just then, Tsukuyo sends an update about everything she's heard, recapping that the PB girls in Kamihama are heading back to Futatsugi, and that NM are on the move again. Since the Mirrors are still a huge problem lurking in the background, she thinks she and Tsukuyo need to get back to investigating it...

Just then, Take enters the scene. He protested Tsukasa's situation to the Amanedad; the dad doesn't like it, either, but he says they have to give things time to cool off. She thanks him for petitioning her dad; Take remarks that if he were under house arrest like she was, he'd go nuts. Tsukasa giggles - she hasn't done that in ages. She thanks Take and says she'll repay him with his favorite dish for supper. He says it's nothing; he's happy to help her whenever.

But then Tsukasa suddenly thinks about Touka and Nemu exploding - she ruminates that despite their methods, at the heart of the matter, Touka and Nemu really did want to save all magical girls. Yes, their means were extreme back in their Magius days, but even so, that doesn’t change the fact that they wanted to liberate magical girls from their fates.

Tsukasa realizes that compared to them, she's never taken her fate into her own hands - she's never tried to save herself. Those who want to be free need to move with their own two feet...and if Tsukasa and Tsukuyo want to liberate themselves from the curse of the east and the west, they must move forward by themselves, too. Back in the present, she grins and says she won't be relying on him too much, even though he says he's happy to be relied upon - knowing nothing of Tsukasa's resolve...

Next we cut to the hospital, with Ui imploring Iroha and Mifuyu to explain why she can't see Touka and Nemu. Iroha says Ui is forbidden from doing so. Mifuyu says the only reason Touka and Nemu survived the blast was because they angled it to avoid their soul gems. Their bodies are in an unspeakable state - only ticking away because they're magical girls. Ui asks if they'll both survive, and Iroha can only hope.

Still, Iroha doesn't get it - why haven't Touka and Nemu woken up? They are alive, but...not in their bodies, perhaps? Iroha ruminates on how she failed to realize just how willing Touka and Nemu were to die for their cause, like back in the PB negotiations in Chapter 4. Perhaps their desire was one of atonement, but at the heart of the matter, it felt like they considered their lives not important. Flashing back to earlier scenes with Touka and Nemu scheming about their big bang theory, Ui wishes she had been able to learn what they were up to. But in the meantime, Iroha says all they can do is keep going - Touka and Nemu are alive, and they have to believe they'll all be okay.

That settled, they head to Touka's room on Mifuyu's request. She has Touka and Nemu's soul gems on her, and since Touka's room has a good security system, she wants the gems to be stored there and to have them regularly cleaned. Sakurako explains to Ui that Sakurako can't keep the gems on her person; otherwise, Touka and Nemu's bodies will go bad. Mifuyu asks that they send people in to keep the gems in good shape, since Mifuyu may be busy with the Endless Mirrors shenanigans - not just the Alina and Mikoto stuff, but with KMU's plans to open up Mirrors passages for other groups, too. Iroha apologizes for making Mifuyu's life even harder, but thanks her deeply for her help. Mifuyu says not a problem - she doesn't feel forced; she's doing these things because she wants to.

As they're about to leave Touka's room, Ui bids her friends farewell from afar - until her eyes light upon a manual. It's one written by Touka for Nemu, instructing her in how to manage her writing business online, from how to update her web novels, or how to sell and distribute the end, though, Nemu didn't like the system and abandoned it. Mifuyu remarks how unusual it is for Touka to go to such lengths for others, but Ui thinks it might've just been because Touka found the system so annoying that she wanted to offload the labor on Nemu anyway. But that gives Iroha an idea - Sunao wanted Shizuka to read Sana's new picture book, right? Could they use this guide to send Shizuka a free copy? They decide it's worth a shot, and decide to talk to Sunao about it.

It's Momoko's turn next! She, Kaede, Rena, Ranka, and Karin are at Sakae High, for reasons that will soon become apparent. Karin seems heartbroken and like she wants to head to Mirrors ASAP, but Kaede tries to convince her that they should leave things to Mifuyu for now. Karin goes "But--" and Ranka groans in frustration - something like "Goddammit, how many times do we have to tell you not to go; there’s no point in worrying about you" - Rena teases her about how honest Ranka is all of a sudden; to this, Ranka snaps at her to shut up.

Juri seems to walk on at that point, beholding their dynamic with wide eyes, but figures they're all heading to the arcade or something together. Ranka explains that's not it - it's more complicated than that...

In a flashback, we see how things got to get to this point. Ranka had been looking around the school for Karin, visiting the empty art clubroom, and figured Karin must be depressed and at home or something. On her way out of the club, however, she bumped into a determined-looking Karin. They chatted about how she thought Karin would be depressed, but if anything, Karin is determined to save Alina all by herself; Ranka says going it alone is suicide, but Karin is set on saving Alina nevertheless! Ranka tries to restrain Karin by force, they yell at each other, and in that moment, KMR arrive at the school and see this epic fight before them, with Rena misunderstanding the situation and chaos ensuing.

Back in the present, Juri cracks up over the situation; Ranka, embarrassed, pivots the topic to what Juri is doing at Sakae. Juri explains that she wanted to hit up the arcade with Ranka, but also was out to sniff out Shigure and Hagumu to shake them down for NM info, but she hasn't been able to find them anywhere... Karin looks scared, but Juri admonishes her, backing up Ranka's assertion that heading into Mirrors alone is suicide. If Karin wants to see Alina again, she just has to wait for her to come out. Karin finally accepts this, noting that forcing Alina to do what Karin wants won't make her happy...

With sincere regret, Juri apologizes for roasting Karin well done back in Chapter 1, and says she'll pay for Karin's arcade games as an apology - so they all oughta monsey on over to the arcade and take out their frustrations on the game! Karin immediately perks up and asks to be treated to a drink, too; Rena's like "damn that's forward". Ranka asks if the others want to come with; Momoko says she'll catch up with them later. For now, though, she came here to help monitor the situation in the different wards given Kanagi's defection.

At Juri's prompting, Momoko confirms there are still no other defections, and that Kanagi and Mitama contacted the east-side girls in advance to discourage them from joining NM, too. Kaede and Rena express that they're worried about Mikage, especially since she used up her wish to cancel out Mitama's... Juri says she can head over east to check on her, but Rena says they had someone else better suited for the occasion...

In the empty Coordinator's shop, Mikage and Sudachi are hanging out. Sudachi, via fumus, seems to suggest that Mikage should head back home; Mikage says yeah, her parents are worried about her. Responding to Sudachi's questions, Mikage says she will fight her sister if it comes down to it - her sister did everything to shield Mikage from bullies; Mitama always smiled so Mikage could find it in her to smile, too; so now Mikage has to repay the favor - she'll stop Mitama, and if she can't quite make Mitama smile again, she can at least stop her from being so angry. All the same, Mikage is afraid that Mitama won't forgive her if they fight...

Via telepathy, Sudachi assures her otherwise - Mitama would worry about Mikage, not hate her. Mikage asks how Sudachi is so sure, and...Sudachi finally confides in Mikage her wish: Sudachi killed her entire class. Mikage is wide-eyed and disbelieving, but Sudachi affirms it's the truth: she wished for a curse, and now carries an immense, heavy sin. She needs Mikage to know this truth - that Sudachi is not as pure as Mikage assumes, that Sudachi can still imagine the terrifying beauty of all the blood pooling together...

But Mikage finally gets her jaw off the floor and gets a bit fired up - she accepts Sudachi is telling her the truth, but even with that knowledge, she’s certain that Sudachi must have had a reason that drove her to do what she did. And even if that's not true, the Sutan that Mikage knows is kind. And even if that's not true, and Sudachi is actually still quite scary and dangerous, Mikage will stand by her side anyway, and will continue to be kind to her. And Mikage told Sudachi that her heart would become brilliant and clean, so there!

Sudachi giggles, and says this is why she knows Mitama could never hate Mikage. Mikage is the sort of person who, rather than cowering from or hating people, will take action and help them instead. Mikage puts on a little smile and thanks Sudachi from the bottom of her heart.

Back to fumus, Sudachi seems to ask if Mikage thinks differently of her now - the answer to which is, of course not. In fact, Mikage loves Sudachi for being so kind.

Thinking to herself, Mikage notes that Nayuta is back at Yukuni City with Tasuke, trying to face the truth of everything that's happened... If Nayuta didn't break, Mikage won't either. She'll do everything she can for Mitama's sake.

We head back to Neo-Magius once more...where Himena's phone pings back. Himena is calm and smiling again, kyaha-ing over the message. San remarks that Himena got an answer back from this non-Sasha somebody. Himena relays that the mystery girl said she's made up her mind, and asks that the NM girls come to pick her up. San wonders if this may be a trap, but their mystery girl already addressed that: They can see for themselves when they come to pick her up.

Finally, to end Act 1, Tsukasa is in the kitchen (cue the CG). She scolds Take for hovering around in the kitchen as she cooks, but he's eager to see his favorite food being made. She grumbles a bit, but asks if he's really happy with just plain old meat and potatoes? Take says yeah - it's his favorite dish. And whatever she makes, she'd have to do it for the whole workshop; an elaborate dinner would be an unfair amount of labor on her, so this one-pot supper is a win-win for them both. Tsukasa thanks him for being so considerate, but to herself, she thinks she's got things to do. She says aloud that oh, she needs Take to run out real quick and grab some seasonings, but Take's like "naw, I'm okay with it being plain" which is...not what Tsukasa was hoping he would do.

Just as she's about to proverbially bash her head into the wall, but as a stroke of luck, Amanedad texts Take to get back over to the shop ASAP, so Take takes off, saying he'll be back soon. As soon as he's gone, Tsukasa turns off the fire and sneaks out - apologizing to the empty room, saying this is her final supper she'll prepare, and hopes the workshop crew will savor every last bite.

She arrives at some rooftop that evening, where she meets Himena. After scanning the area for magic, Himena confirms that Tsukasa is alone. There, Tsukasa leaks all the info on PB leaving Kamihama for the time being, leaving a big vulnerability in Kamihama. Himena warns Tsukasa that she better not be lying or trying anything funny; Tsukasa says she wouldn't even consider it. Himena seems a bit taken aback by Tsukasa's resolve. Given that no one else from the east chose to join NM, Himena asks if she's sure Tsukuyo will defect with her. Tsukasa is positive - the two of them may be the only ones who understand Himena's position completely. She and Tsukuyo need to leave this town. They need to break the shackles of history - and becoming the city's enemy, and being exiled as a result, is the best-case scenario for them. Himena says that won't be necessary - when they all reach the top, they'll be free to come and go wherever they please.

We switch to a quick bit with Shizuka in the NM theater - she's received the picture book. But rather than reading it, she questions Sunao's intent - if Sunao is messing with her, then she needs to bring her back to reality. That's her job as the head of the Tokime Tribe, after all!

The chapter ends with a Charu interview. Chiharu tells Kagome she'd been anticipating this interview - she had plenty of time to think about what Kagome would ask, and already has her future in clear vision. She wants to be a detective even greater than Kouichi Todoroki, solving many detectives! In theory, she would've also liked to be a shogun, but, well, there ain't many of those around these days, so being a detective is the more realistic dream. As for the Tokime Tribe...she's worried, and yet feels like everything is going to be okay. They'll need to rebuild the tribe from the ground up after all this...and it'll be hard, but she thinks she and her friends can do it. So for Kagome's question, she says she had decided to focus on her own future instead of the tribe's as a whole - she's afraid of what will happen next, but she’s looking forward to it all the same.

Episode 2:

Summary by bigscarythings
To open Act 2, Kagome and Aru contemplate the current situation - no one, not even Kagome, knows Himena's plan aside from NM themselves. Kagome was as in the dark about Himena's survival as everyone else, and Rii-chan doesn't feel Himena's presence now. Which means Himena is doing something outside of their range...

In search of answers, Kagome visits Puella Care. Unfortunately, Livia's got no clue on Himena's whereabouts, either. But the girls sense magic, and speak of the devil, and the devil shall come - Himena happens to drop by just then! She cheerfully greets everyone, then gets right down to business: she needs some Coordination done. Livia is taken aback - Himena has Mitama now, and relying on people outside her faction is a big risk; why not just use Mitama? But that's the bigger risk, Himena explains - if Mitama sees what Himena is thinking and turns back on Neo-Magius, they're really screwed then. Hiko figured it'd be safer to come by here, since Livia is completely neutral, so here she is.

Livia gets things started, and while the others are waiting, Kagome asks when Puella Care had seen her last. Yozuru says a long time ago, shortly before Himena vanished. So around that time, Himena had been putting together her power grab plan? Sudachi gives a long string of fumus in response, which Yozuru translates as Himena had been questioning Livia about some things, but had been forming a plan around then, but back then, it wasn't a very radical one compared to the situation now. Suddenly, Livia recoils at the end of the Coordination, while Himena cheerfully thanks Livia for her help. She's about to pay Livia, but Livia refuses it - she's already been paid her due, and Himena is dealing with a lot on her plate, so Livia just tells her to hang in there. Himena thanks her again and skips off - once she's gone, Livia heaves a sigh.

Yozuru asks what Livia saw, and Livia says she knows she's breaking her vow of privacy and trust, but she can't stay neutral anymore, because while she couldn't see the plan itself, she saw Himena's intentions loud and clear... Before she goes on, she asks Sudachi to remind them all of their purpose as Coordinators: via Yozuru, it is to save magical girls. That's correct, Livia says, but Himena's plan is anathema to that. If they don't act, they'll be well on their way to Rabi's road of resignation. Kagome asks just what Livia saw, but all Livia can really say is that it's bad. She couldn't see the plan itself, but it's capital-b bad. They need to figure out what it's going to be and stop it…

Meanwhile, up in the mountains looking over the city, Himena rallies up her besties. The entire faction reported in with zero late arrivals, all grouped by roles. Kanagi thanks Himena for adopting a no-fighting rule with other magical girls, and Himena says there's nothing to it - she's been badly misunderstood; her goal is to save magical girls, not fight them! Shigure and Hagumu back her up, and Kanagi says she's relieved to hear that. Mitama adds that magical girls aren't the problem; it's the muggles and the city's inescapable history. Shizuka says she's just concerned about purging the city's evils; not hurting her fellow Diviners.

San warns, however, that clashes will be inevitable - KMU will try to take back KanaMita, and the Tokime Tribe their leader. The moment they figure out what NM is planning, they'll do everything to stop NM. The girls all confirm they’re willing to take that risk, so Himena starts discussing their game plan - PB for the most part has left Kamihama, so while the factions are separate, NM needs to act. Furthermore, Himena also needs a team to break into the Mikazuki bunker, or at least wait until the Mikazuki girls are absent before sneaking in. Miyuri is thrown by this - they're taking the fight to KMU, not the other way around! Himena giggles, saying that's why she wanted to confirm everyone’s resolve.

Shigure says breaking into the bunker will be hard; vacation is coming up, so the Mikazuki girls’ schedules will be variable instead of them all going to work or school at known times. Still, Kanagi agrees with the plan. It'll be hard to hide the fact that all this is part of the greater plan, so taking the fight to them will buy them some time. Mitama builds on this, saying KMU needs to realize what they're up to, but slowly come to grasp that there's nothing they can do to stop it - Himena affirms, saying it's all as Hiko planned. So as KMU struggles, NM will waltz their way to victory and seize the goal.

Meanwhile, the Mikazuki girls wrack their brains to figure out NM's goals. All they can deduce is that NM is targeting the muggles, not the Kimochi stones. KMR had already investigated the abandoned theater where NM used in the past - they sensed magic from the Tokime Tribe, and KMR retreated; if they had been detected, the Tokime girls would probably move to some other hiding place, making it harder to keep track of them. Tsuruno chews on things some more, and then wonders if their goal is meguca supremacy and spreading the meguca red pill, wouldn't the radio telescope be a key component of the plan? But Yachiyo has been patrolling that area to no avail - and besides, if anyone infiltrates the tower control room aside from Touka, an alarm will go off from there to the office in the Mikazuki bunker. Felicia's been patrolling the east, but got approximately jack and squat out of it, which leaves Mikazuki in the same position as well.

As Yachiyo is about to tear her hair out, she gets a text from Kanagi - Kanagi says she wants them all to meet. She wants to relay NM's plan to all of Mikazuki in secret, but asks that Mikazuki have contingency plans prepared in case of emergency - Himena is a sharp opponent. Kanagi sends them a map to their meeting place - a popular, lively area, which shows they're probably not here for a fight.

Felicia is like "hell yeah, we're winning" but Tsuruno instantly knows something's up. Why wouldn't Kanagi just talk to Yachiyo one-on-one? What does Kanagi mean by contingency plans? Yachiyo agrees - she doesn't want to doubt Kanagi, but given the circumstancknows something's up. Why wouldn't Kanagi just talk to Yachiyo one-on-one? What does Kanagi mean by contingencyes, she suspects this is a trap. They decide to call Iroha and Sana, who are in Suitoku Temple right now, and Felicia suggests they loop in Yuna ("that demon chick" in Felicia's words), too - as much as Yachiyo is reluctant to do so, she agrees they ought to see what Yuna makes of this.

So now we’re with Yuna, who ruminates over recent events - just when it seemed like the KPT alliance was coming together and the battle was over, all this had to happen. She's decided to leave Juri and Ranka in Kamihama for the time being, while Hikaru is monitoring Ao. Beyond that, their members are limited in what they can do - the middle schoolers have less freedom than the older kids, and moneywise, there's only so much Yuna can cover, not to mention the organizational work. In the past, she had Sakuya who would help shoulder the burden - in flashbacks, we see Sakuya chatting with her, things like how Yuna is only human when all is said and done, so she doesn't need to always be strong when they're together - if she wants to complain to Sakuya, then complain away!

Just the memory of Sakuya brings Yuna to tears, just as Hikaru comes in, and immediately freaks out over Yuna crying - she'll get vengeance on whoever made her cry! Yuna lies and says the tears are just because she had a big yawn - she had a load of work to do, after all. Moving onto Ao, Hikaru reports there was no strange activity on her end; after doing her watch, Hikaru rotated out with some other PB girls. Still, they just know that NM is up to something...but what? Kidnapping Ao won't help, either - Ao has lost her sense of fear, so interrogating her will do nothing. All they can do is just brace themselves for whatever will unfold.

Before they can chat more, though, Yuna gets Yachiyo's text. Yuna grumbles about the nerve of Yachiyo to stack yet more on their plate, but she sits up and takes notice once she reads about Kanagi's text. Hikaru feels like Kanagi may be seeing the light, but Yuna agrees with Yachiyo that it's too suspicious, especially with Kanagi’s urging about emergency plans. Yuna says she cannot be trusted. But at least they know for certain that NM is up to something, and that they must remain on their toes.

As that goes on, however, Hikaru gets distracted by a magazine... She see things talking about "The Egg Club" or "The Chick Group" (think motherhood) and hurtles headfirst to conclusions - Yuna is having a baby?!?! Yuna says no - she was doing research on child emotional development, but she got things a little confused when grabbing the research journals…

In Suitoku Temple, Sunao confirms she sent Sana's ebook to Shizuka, but...still no response. Shizuka opened the message and received the book, but she hasn't responded to any of Sunao's messages. Sana blames herself, saying her amateur art probably failed to click with Shizuka, and the book's message was pretty prosaic and regrets that Sunao spent money on it, but Sunao says not so - if she or Charu had been there when Shizuka read the book, Shizuka would have definitely seen the light... To this, Iroha pipes up and asks what exactly the book is about - Iroha has heard about this latest book, but hasn't been shown it yet... Poor Sana says she's just too embarrassed to share it with her.

Iroha, learning the book is different from the Ai book, asks if she can read it, but Sana implores her not to, and turns to Sunao to give a summary of the book. Sunao sits back, and explains the tale: a story not of right and wrong, but of understanding who suffers, and who needs to be saved...

Once upon a time, a turtle, plodding and unconfident, meets a white bird. Thanks to the bird, the turtle realizes that she can be relied on by others by being kind, and so she focuses on doing what she can to help others, one bit at a time. Soon, however, a tiger starts stealing food from the village, and is eventually caught. The tiger begs the turtle to help her, too, but the turtle turns her back on the tiger, thinking she shouldn't help evil people. The bird, however, swoops in to save the tiger, and the tiger apologizes for what she's done, and vows to help the village from that day forward. Seeing all this, the turtle realizes something: the worst offender in this series of events wasn't the tiger, but the turtle herself.

Iroha thinks it's a lovely story, and wonders why Sana wanted to hide it from her? Sana finally blurts out it's because it's an allegory for real life: Sana is the turtle; Iroha is the bird; and Yuna is the tiger. Iroha seeks to save everyone and to reconcile everyone's differences while also respecting their feelings. Iroha hates conflict - she doesn't hate anyone. She wants to help them all instead, and so Sana wrote this picture book in an attempt to explain that. Now Iroha is the one getting flustered, but when Sana shrinks away, she immediately explains she's very, very happy to hear all this - it means Sana cares about Iroha's feelings as much as she does Ai's.

Sunao is happy that Sana's feelings came through loud and clear - which just leaves the question of how they can get through to Shizuka, who doesn't know what she's doing, and who doesn't realize that she is the one who needs to be saved...

Still at Suitoku, Iroha gets the message regarding Kanagi from Yachiyo. Yachiyo explains they're all certain it's a trap, but at this point, they need something they can act upon. Yachiyo, Tsuruno, Felicia, and Momoko will go to the meeting place, while Iroha and Sana will round up Ui and then follow up from there - if it is a trap, they'll have backup that way. Iroha explains things to Sunao, who decides they'll get the tribe on the ball, too. But as they scramble, they sense another reaction approaching - it's Shizuka! And it seems like Ao has met with Promised Blood, too, so things are heating up. Around that point, Kagome comes bolting onto the scene, too, panting and apologizing.

So change of plans: Sunao and Charu will wait for Shizuka's approach, and Iroha wishes them the best of luck in convincing Shizuka. Sunao says she'll hold Iroha and Sana's feelings as well, which flusters Iroha and Sana some more - but now it's time to act!

After Shizuka advances on Suitoku, and Iroha, Sana, and Ui scramble to meet Yachiyo and friends, we cut to KMR and Yachiyo's crew. Yachiyo is convinced that with Shizuka and Ao on the move that this is 100% a trap, but Momoko reasons that maybe Kanagi just has really bad timing...cue Rena and Kaede both blurting out at once that "She's not you, though!"

Tsuruno figures that they must be acting while PB and KMU are split up - but the info that PB was leaving town was strictly confidential! That means they have a traitor in their ranks - and Tsuruno dreads the idea of that. Still, they show up to the meeting place and find Kanagi and Mitama there, all transformed up. Mitama confirms that Iroha and friends aren't there, which puts Kanagi and Mitama into caution.

Momoko asks that Kanagi detransform and come to them, but Kanagi says they obviously must have realized by now that they were all being lured out. They have no intention to go back to KMU. Momoko says they have no reason to fight, and Mitama says she doesn't want it, either...but does explain that she and Kanagi think they're doomed, anyway. At the very least, they can go down swinging, becoming the common enemy that everyone must cooperate to fight. Momoko says it's nonsense, that the two of them will only suffer even more - but Mitama says this is what she wants. If the city must be destroyed, let it all amount to something at least, and Kanagi says she will bring equality one way or another, and strikes out at Momoko.

Momoko transforms, saying they can't be serious... Kanagi says that was just a warning shot; Mitama, on the other hand, is being very serious. Felicia suddenly feels her whole body in pain thanks to Mitama's magic, and two Black Feathers move in to grab her at Mitama's command. Tsuruno transforms and saves Felicia, while Yachiyo tries one last time to talk to Kanagi - they're being idiots for fighting here, in plain sight of muggles! But Kanagi is indifferent - if anything, it'll save them the trouble of introducing the might of megucakind to the muggles.

Yachiyo is taken aback - isn't that just what magical girl supremacy is, putting people in fear and awe of magical girls? Kanagi says she's indifferent to supremacy itself, but she's willing to do it anyway. The Mikazuki girls scramble, with Felicia freaking out over how Mitama is fully combat-capable now... And Yachiyo realizes that their worst fears are true: the Kimochi rules are gone.

As Kanagi expects, the Mikazuki trio moves to a deserted area. Mitama remarks via telepathy that they really did hold out hope that they didn't have to be enemies, Momoko especially... In any case, they steer the battle to the shipping container terminal (a former Mirrors site, etc); there, Yachiyo asks one last time if they're sure they want to fight. Kanagi says if this were just a problem between megucas, she would go back - but the problem is the city itself. Kanagi says she is committed to die, and can’t go back to them anymore. Tsuruno asks, what about your family or friends? Kanagi says she understands they'll be hurt, but still it changes nothing. Yachiyo is now fully convinced of their resolve - and squares up to battle. It's been a long, long time since she and Kanagi last rumbled... But Kanagi says it won't be a serious fight. They're not here to make magical girls suffer, after the long term, at least. Because just when Mitama says that - with a look of pained regret on her face - everyone's soul gems go haywire with agony and pain, the screen turning dark like it does with witching out.

Mitama's plan was simple, but one she is not happy about - given the way she fights with her cloth, she just infused her magic and planted the same cloths in strategic areas, like the meeting site and the shipping container area, and set their magic to go off at her command. KMR and the Mikazuki girls are fully paralyzed where they stand, and Tsuruno realizes this was the trap the whole time.

Mitama says since they all assumed she was still combat-incapable, so she was able to exploit that to her advantage - a trick that works once. As bad as this is, it's the least harmful way to get their enemies out of the way. Mokyu gets caught up and freaks out; Yachiyo commands Mokyu to run and warn Iroha, but Kanagi nabs Mokyu instead, and she and Mitama bid the rest adieu. But as they depart, Yachiyo notices they dropped something...and that something is interfering with her soul gem so that she can no longer detect magic, and thus has no idea what the object is..

On NM's side of things, Himena, Shigure, and Hagumu are biding their time for a message at the radio telescope in the background. Soon, they get said message, that NM has breached the Mikazuki bunker and disabled Touka's computer there, thus giving NM control of the break-in system for the radio tower. The trio makes their way inside using a passcode that Mitama had. It's a very long passcode, so Shigure is impressed that Mitama had it memorized, but Himena figures that it and Mitama's other notes were probably from Mitama's Magius days - she must've had various secrets of theirs in store as a sort of insurance policy.

Still, once inside, they await the alarm to go off so they can shut it down, but...nothing happens. They're uneasy that nothing is happening as they were warned, but decide to forge ahead anyway - after all, Himena brought Shigure and Hagumu in case they got ambushed! Sitting at Touka's computer, they now need to bypass the computer's security system and wrest control of the telescope. From there, they just need to get their hands on one Meiyui Chun, and they'll be able to change anything and everything they want with this telescope, be it perception of the truth, or fundamental things like how people can breathe... Himena just needs to synthesize Meiyui's magic with the telescope, and they're golden. But to do that, they need to get Meiyui, and to actually hack into this computer...

This scene's battle cuts to San and Miyuri, who have tracked down the mafia to a dark alley for an ambush with a Feather army (you fight NM in this node - first their flock, then Miyuri, then San). Meiyui remarks that Nanaka was right to be prepared for the unknown enemy they felt back in Another Story 7...because the mafia has, in fact, tricked San and Miyuri into a surprise attack! Miyuri panics, but San reassures her that she knows what she's doing, and that she's taking control - and Miyuri disassociates...

Kako notices how weird Miyuri is becoming all of a sudden, and Akira warns them all to be careful - just as San commands Miyuri to strike.

We suddenly cut to San in some other part of the alleyway. She's wracking her brain about something - there's no way that the mafia can remember them, but how could they respond so quickly...? She wracks harder, and thinks that Meiyui's magic was...something like false perceptions, or illusion...? Yes, that was why she came here - they needed to finish their plan for the radio telescope with that illusion magic, and...

And Meiyui sneaks in for another strike, but San manages to dodge this time. It seems like San has been getting struck by Meiyui's illusion magic, thanks to her and Akira using their magic in tandem to detect San's weakpoints; San has to keep reminding herself of why she's here and fighting while the mafia steer NM around.

As for Miyuri, Nanaka is vexed by Miyuri's erratic, unexpected maneuvers in this fugue state, but thanks to Akira’s advice, Nanaka finally strikes Miyuri, who Akira found was most vulnerable when doing a jump. San shouts Miyuri’s name and switches back into gun mode, thus falling right into the mafia's gambit: Akira has figured that San is most vulnerable when she shifts her hands into gatling guns, so she's there just as San pulls out her weapon, and bam - Akira goes for a mighty punch! San braces herself, and then Kako immediately uses her replication magic to double the impact. Cue San smirking, just as everything goes south.

With a howl of pain, Akira's arm breaks - as San explains, she activated her personal magic, too: "absolute defense", which fortifies her body like impenetrable steel when under mortal threat. Akira learned the hard way just how effective this magic is. And now more Feathers come flocking in, and the mafia scrambles; Meiyui tries to use her magic again, but Nanaka warns her not to abuse it, given how fast the effects are wearing off - but just as she gets that sentence out, Miyuri comes powersliding in again, dealing a big blow to them both.

Kako remarks it's like Miyuri is a zombie or something. San explains that Miyuri is the secret weapon, while San is the unbreakable fortress. Even more Feathers come to play, but Nanaka smiles, utterly uncowed - sure, they may have numbers, but none of them seem very strong individually. And before Miyuri can accost Meiyui, Nanaka sneaks in and gives San a big slash - Nanaka, with a grim look of determination, says it was evident that San's magic can't activate by itself, and thus she is vulnerable to surprise attacks. In the nick of time, Iroha, Sana, and Ui, having sensed the chaotic battle, close in, with Sana pulling Akira out of the battlefield, and Iroha and Ui joining the fray.

San recalculates her vantage - Sana and Akira aren't in range, which still leaves five girls to worry about, including their target... Kako wants her team to retreat into the crowd, but it'll be rough doing so while safeguarding both Meiyui and Akira. The girls decide there's no better option and start to move, but San won't let them go so easily, and fires a wall of bullets and sends Miyuri in to grab Meiyui.

After some flashes of the screen (what were the sound effects? I can’t hear), Akira and Sana are on the run as the bullets start flying. Iroha implores San and Miyuri to stop the fighting, with Ui saying they all need to work together to take back the APS - but Miyuri, in her fugue state, hears nothing but San's voice, and blitzes Iroha and Ui instead. San orders Miyuri to break past Iroha and Ui, but she's cut short by Nanaka slashing once more into the fray. Nanaka will hold off San herself - because San is incapable of precision or sniper shots, and no melee abilities to speak of.

Nanaka scores some more good swipes, but San eventually retaliates by whacking her gun arms against Nanaka as she flees out of Nanaka's range (I choose to believe that she used the wheels on her head to escape) - a gatling gun makes a good blunt weapon in a pinch, after all! And San was just baiting them into thinking she couldn't take precision shots - for just as Meiyui finishes beating down the Feathers blocking her way, San shoots down Meiyui with a shot to her leg! And so San, smiling smugly, decides she’ll just shoot Meiyui a few more times to be sure, and then she'll have Meiyui dragged back to NM in no time...

...Not if Hinano can help it, though! Cue the second CG. The fight is in Hinano’s territory, and she will do everything to defend it. So while San may be a veritable fortress of iron, she's still got nice, squishy lungs pumping away in Hinano treats her to a good whiff from one of Hinano's favorite chemical compounds as she darts past San. And with that, San is out of commission! But even with San down, there are still large numbers of NM Feathers swarming about, and Miyuri as well - Hinano orders a full retreat!

Meanwhile, Team Himena just can't beat the computer's security system, thanks to the eye scanner... Himena is frustrated; nothing like this was in Mitama's notes. Himena's next idea is that they take an infrared photo of Touka's eyes...which would necessitate Shigure and Hagumu seeing Touka and Nemu's horrific state, so Himena says they can sit this part of the plan out. She decides she needs to dial in San to do the job instead, but asks Shigure and Hagumu to help with one other thing: get Mitsune over here. She can use her magic to trick the security system.

Shigure and Hagumu protest - the only way Mitsune can use her magic now is by doppeling out! And if she uses her doppel now, she'll actually become a witch! Oh, Himena says Mitsune won't be the one using it - Himena will synthesize Mitsune's magic to herself. Shigure and Hagumu then agree with the plan, but it doesn't seem like they’re not fully into it...

Back to San, recovering from her ordeal, tells a feather via a phone call to keep monitoring the Satomi Medical Center. San plans to go down there herself, and hopes to also learn who from KMU goes to visit. To that, the feather remarks that Mifuyu is currently in the hospital as they speak...and San, chuckling to herself, seems to hatch a plan...

Now the mafia and the KMU girls are off in the boardwalk area of Minaminagi, licking their wounds. Nanaka, looking distraught, kicks herself for being such a disgrace, but Iroha says it's nothing to be ashamed of; San is one of NM's very best fighters. Nanaka says that Meiyui and Akira didn't slack one bit, but still, San is a formidable mix of ability and skill. Akira says they should go ahead and find Yachiyo, and then Akira will let herself recover there, but Sana cautions her to not push herself, what with Akira’s injury. (You could say that fight cost them an arm and a leg)

Still, as they close in on Yachiyo's location, they feel Mitama's magic - Yachiyo warns them not to approach or else they'll fall into Mitama's trap, too. Tsuruno asks them to carefully look around for any dropped objects nearby, and the girls find Grief Seeds about to hatch - they freak and manage to save their friends from Mitama's trap in the nick of time, just as the witches are born. As that happens, they learn via frantic texts that witches are swarming everywhere in the city, and in massive numbers - thus diluting their manpower to focus on NM.

Momoko wonders over NM's big plan; Meiyui remarks that whatever it is, they intended to involve her in some way. Nanaka concludes that with all their different movements, they must be all working in tandem to accomplish a goal all at once - and if the witches are hatching now, NM must be doing something that absolutely requires them to have no interference. To this, Tsuruno recalls Kanagi's message and Mikazuki’s ensuing conversations...and her stomach drops at the realization: NM is after something in the bunker. They need to get back there ASAP, and Kako immediately volunteers to help hold off the witches. Felicia protests, saying Kako ain't with KMU, but Kako says it's not about KMU here - witches are a threat to all of Kamihama. Nanaka affirms Kako's logic, and asks Felicia to leave it all to them - and Felicia does

As the battle ensues, Nanaka scolds Akira to not be reckless, but Akira insists on fighting - she may have one arm out of commission, she's still got the other! Kako remarks that there are still other witches out there in the city - but they'll just have to go after them later. Akira asks what Meiyui'll do from here; Meiyui says once this battle is wrapped up, she'll tap into her Blue Seas connections to escape the region, thus ensuring NM can't complete their operation. To herself, Nanaka thinks that just leaves the question of what's going on with the Mikazuki bunker...because depending on what happened there, they may need to adjust their next moves...

Finally, to finish off Act 2, the Mikazuki girls return to the bunker to scour every corner, and find…nothing. No bugs, no traps, nothing stolen, nothing strange... What on earth is going on, then...?

And thus the act ends with Shizuka's interview! Shizuka's dream for the future, as always, is to serve the Land of the Rising Sun and create a world of happiness. Only recently has she grasped the depths of the world's evils, but she is confident that the tribe can change things. She knows her tribe will have her back no matter what...but also fears that if she goes off the right track, that they will do nothing to stop her, either. But when this battle is over and the Tokime Tribe become free to pursue their ideals, she hopes to become familiar with the world and all it has to offer. Her first order of business will be to take the tribe to an amusement park!

Episode 3:

Summary by bigscarythings
Kagome recaps how she visited Puella Care to see if she could learn anything about NM's doings; there, Himena just so happened to show up, too, as if she'd known Kagome were coming. Still, all Kagome gleaned was that Himena is about to do something very, very bad.

With that lead all dried up, Kagome moved onto the Tokime Tribe. She remarks how the Tokime Tribe have been exploited by society for generations; how the pure and innocent Shizuka went down the dark side… Kagome remarks it's as though some invisible force at hand makes things turn out for the worse for magical girls. But while it's made Tasuke give up, Kagome has chosen to carry forth - and went to Suitoku in hopes that Shizuka would rejoin the Tokime Tribe once more...

Shizuka, now at the Suitoku Temple, is met by Charu and Sunao. Charu asks if Shizuka is there because she quit NM...but no. If anything, Shizuka argues, it's everyone else here who quit the Tokime Tribe. Ryouko and Chika remark that Shizuka hasn't changed her mind at all, while Shizuka asks them all once more to join her, looking sad at first, then gradually finding her determination - explaining that Diviners must lead the people from the top. She argues that although Himena is the leader of the project for now, if she starts hurting those outside of Kamihama, Shizuka will take her down and win control. With that, muggles will learn to respect Diviners, and from there, the Diviners will bring out the best in the human race.

Sunao can only call Shizuka arrogant for believing such, and after getting encouragement from the others, she goes off about how you don't win respect through fear or decrees. If anything, Shizuka is acting just like Mikoshiba now - having her own, rigid model of what people should be like, forcing people to fit into that model, eliminating those who fail to do so, and keeping the remaining people scared and cowed and bound by rules. Chiharu adds on that while she gets where Shizuka is coming from, actually, you can't force people to change - she also pitches in that if anything, it's looking like Himena is the one using Shizuka, not the other way around. Shizuka asks if Charu is sniffing that out with her magic; Charu admits no, but Sunao says that people like Himena can, in fact, do horrible, evil acts with a pure heart and/or without malicious intent.

Shizuka, looking depressed, says she’s sorry that the others can't see her way, and Sunao feels likewise with Shizuka. But now that Shizuka is present, the Tokimes aren't going to let her run back to NM - Charu and Sunao transform for battle, and insist they're going to take Shizuka back!

In the ensuing battle, Ryouko and Chika back up their friends, but a crestfallen Shizuka retreats, leaving a mob of Tokime grunts between her and her friends, despite the latter's protests. The grunts say they don't expect to last long - but their only job here is to buy time...

Charu and friends beat the grunts handily, but Shizuka's gone again, too far to track with magic. The girls wonder if maybe they were too harsh on Shizuka, but Ryouko says they had to be direct in order to pierce Shizuka's heart - better to go too sharp than too gentle. Branching off from that, Ryouko asks Chiharu and the others: what do they think the Tokime Tribe's ideals are? Shizuka keeps referring to them, but Ryouko, having not much proximity with the tribe, doesn't get it. After some thought, Chiharu says her ideal is to become a hero, but she also empathizes with Himena's ideal of "free love." To her, she likes being the good guy fighting the evil devils, but to her, what she loves about heroes is when they unconditionally have faith in other people - that they will help others without discrimination, no matter who they are, to the point where even evil people can be redeemed into good (ex. think back her reaction to Mikoshiba suiciding instead of surrendering herself in GJD).

Sunao assents to all this. She believes they do not need to make a big show of leading people to goodness - she thinks their job is to save people by slaying demons, and that doing so is what it means to believe in people's inherent goodness. Ryouko notes that the old tribespeople from outside of the main Tokime village seem to understand that, like her grandpa at the temple - she just wished the head priest was able to better convey the idea of people's suffering and need to be saved. Sunao is reminded of Sana's book as well. Chika thinks that perhaps those ideals are what drew Asahi in, and considering the loss of that ideal was what made Asahi leave...Chika wants to set things right. While they can't track Shizuka with their soul gems, Chika can call on her animal buddies to help sniff her out!

In the meantime, Sunao and Kagome step aside for a chat. Kagome, using Aru as her medium, asks Sunao one simple question: did all the girls who defected from the tribe make their wishes via the village's Diviner ceremony? After some thought, Sunao realizes yes, and wonders how Kagome deduced that. Aru reasons that magical girls who make their own wishes, however unreasonable, get what they ask for, by their own decision. From there, a meguca can muster up the will to fight and live on if she's satisfied with her situation, wanting to protect what she has and earned with her own free will. But those who are made to serve the desires of others, who were forced to make wishes they didn't choose to make - those are the ones who need a cause to fight for.

Kagome apologizes for speaking out of turn, given she's not a member of the tribe, but Sunao says there's no need - if anything, she's shocked she never connected the dots herself. The girls who left the tribe were all people trying to find meaning in a gaping, empty void...and those kinds of people are most subject to radicalization. Charu adds that given the tribe's ideals, if megucas can't trust or believe in other people, especially after having been manipulated by others, they'll feel lost and alone. And as Kouichi Todoroki says, to solve a case and uncover the truth, you must trust in other people; to solve every case, you must trust everyone. Sunao, smiling, realizes that it’s been Kouichi Todoroki's ideals that have kept Charu mentally secure and confident.

Their rumination gets interrupted with a phone call from Shizuka's mom. As Charu fusses over it, Kagome reflects on how Shizuka - having not granted her own wish - had no cause to fight for beyond her pride as a Diviner and as leader of the tribe, unable to perceive any paths that could take her from the road to her downfall. Charu's observations are true - that Shizuka can't trust other people anymore, not even her closest allies. Thus her entire purpose in life is collapsing; perhaps she turned to extremism because there was no other way to salvage her understanding of being a Diviner. Kagome mulls over the flux between hope and despair, and how, given all our influences constantly pushing and pulling us, our lives are not entirely self-determined. Magical girls, too, are influenced by the forces around them, even the ones they're entirely unaware of...

Chiharu waffles on answering the call, given that she hasn't explained Shizuka's defection yet, but Sunao figures it's best they pull the trigger anyway. As it turns out, Shizumom's intuition told her that something is very wrong in Kamihama, and her calls to Shizuka weren't answered. Charu gets choked up, and Shizumom tells her to get her chin up - she's a Tokime Tribe Diviner, after all - but Charu admits she was just relieved to hear Shizumom's voice.

Shizumom prods a bit - she knows that the Tokime Tribe was meeting with the other magical girls in Kamihama, so what exactly happened with that? Did someone die? Charu admits that Shizuka defected with some of the tribemates, with the whole "Diviners must lead the people to stop them from turning evil" spiel; Shizuka's mom seems to recall her last conversation with Shizuka before Shizuka left for Yukuni (see Chapter 8). When Charu, still with tears in her eyes, asks what they're supposed to do next, Shizumom says if they can't join Shizuka, then they'll have to beat her and change the tribe themselves. Shizumom says it’s all the same to her no matter who wins - but she's taught Shizuka to be prepared for anything, so if they want to put a stop to all this, they must change Shizuka's mind - and failing that, kill her instead!

At this, Charumom wrestles the phone from Shizumom and takes over the wise motherly advice-giving portion - she asks that Charu put herself in Shizuka's shoes. Charu and Shizuka are around the same age, so they’re at about the same level of development. Shizuka was only able to survive the overwhelming burden placed upon her by her tribe because she had her friends helping her carry it. The Tokime girls are not meant to go about their duty alone, but together - she implores Charu to keep that in the forefront of her mind, and Charu says she will.

Then off the phone, to Shizumom, Charumom is like "Shizuka is your daughter, how can you jump to her being murdered so easily?" Shizumom says that the members of the tribe - especially the Diviners - must always be prepared to fight and die for their cause. But Charumom perhaps seems to get that Shizumom is trying to keep strong and duty-bound in spite of everything (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, after all), and yells that try as Shizumom might to rationalize away death with theories and philosophies, death is death and loss is loss all the same - she knows Shizumom loves her daughter and is terrified for her sake, and asks that Shizumom be more true to her feelings. Shizumom takes these words to heart and apologizes.

In a Kamihama suburb, Shizuka contemplates her motivations. While destroying Kamihama goes against Shizuka's duty to protect her homeland, the ends may justify the means if it does allow them to change people once and for all. That aligns with Mitama and Kanagi's motivations...but Himena is different. Himena would harm, control, and kill people - anything to further her own goals. So she tells herself that if Himena goes too far, Shizuka will dispose of Himena herself, and show the people that they will be led a just and compassionate Diviner... She tells herself all that, but even so, Sunao comparing her to Mikoshiba has cut her to her core, and asks a mook for her opinion. The mook says it makes no sense - they're not being selfish, after all; they're trying to save everyone! Shizuka tries to convince herself of this... Until she gets startled by...a little bird.

Yeah, just a bird...who just so happens to be one of Chika's pals. The bird returns to Suitoku and cheeps at Chika, giving her Shizuka's location; that settled, Charu rallies the tribe to battle!

The Charu squad encounters Shizuka's in a deserted park. But Shizuka, having been raised in a rural village, is very observant of animals and quickly figured out that the bird was Chika's spy. Having been prepared, Shizuka casts her personal magic to keep Charu and friends from moving until NM fulfills their plans, and with Shizuka's soul gem being kept pure with her squad's supply of grief seeds, she can keep this up as long as she needs to. There's no way they can fight...but Charu thinks back to her mom's words, and decides they need to persuade the mooks first, not Shizuka - take away Shizuka's support, and she'll collapse on her own.

Ryouko gets it, and casts her personal magic: Sermoning, which throws them all into an illusionary Suitoku Temple, "a place for discussion, not violence," as Ryouko puts it. Her magic forces everyone present to focus on her words, so Ryouko gets talking, even though the mooks all insist they won't change their minds - she explains that all these girls know nothing about the world. They've been blinded by Mikoshiba for all their lives, but in the past (as explained in GJD), members of the tribe were encouraged to leave the village and explore the world for themselves once they came of age. They came to know and love the world and its people, its lights and shadows, its good and evil - and protected it all. Without darkness, there cannot be light; likewise, in seeking to keep the people pure and untarnished, in seeking to be brilliant guiding lights for good, they cast long, dark shadows that guide evil as well. Ryouko ends the sermon simply: one cannot be good without also knowing evil.

After silence, one by one, the mooks back down. Now understanding the tribe's history and how Mikoshiba corrupted it, they're in doubt of their mission, and ask Shizuka to stop as well. Shizuka insists that the world today is far different from the olden days, and they need to approach this completely differently, but the mooks aren't convinced. They're coming to accept that there's no such thing as pure good or pure evil, that light creates shadows, but Shizuka denies it all - they can make the people pure; they'll just make sure the people never turn back to see the shadows in their wake.

The mooks, feeling they have no choice, attack Shizuka, forcing her to cut off her magic and freeing Charu and friends. Shizuka, desperate, insists that everyone must get what she's talking about, and Sunao says yes, they do - but doing things Shizuka's way is not leadership, but tyranny. Charu asks if Shizuka really wants to be a god, to which, after a pause Shizuka responds with "If I must." When Charu protests again, Shizuka snaps and cuts her off with the Tokime Eye Laser technique, which makes Sunao snap in turn - she's about to use her assassination martial arts go for the kill on Shizuka - until Charu stops her. Charu now completely, 100% gets how her mom must have felt during the phone call just then, and yells at her friends that life is so short and fragile - she wishes the three of them could go back to the old days! And if their ancestors could love humanity unconditionally, for all its good and evil, then she will love Shizuka and Sunao in all their entirety, too.

Shizuka is left in stunned silence, which gives Charu her opening to continue - talking about how much she admired Shizuka since she first arrived at the village, to the point she became a Diviner because of it; she talks about how Sunao is the one who kept them all together, serving as the bridge between the different cultures of the city (like Charu) and the village. If any one piece were missing, the whole tribe would collapse; she reiterates that it is through all their mutual support that they are strong. She yells at Shizuka to come back - to pull herself out of extremism, to stop making everyone and herself suffer, to start the Tokime Tribe back from page one. Shizuka pauses, turns sad, and says it's too late. And...

And we cut to Iroha trying to call Charu. Rena scolds Iroha for playing around on her phone at a time like this, but Iroha explains she was trying to check on the Tribe's well-being given all the chaos. The mention of the Tokimes makes Tsuruno remark that she sees her old self in Shizuka - the self that had merged with Chelation Land. Tsuruno, too, had been isolated and alone, trying to carry her loved ones all by herself; in her selflessness, she lost sight of everything around her. Iroha realizes, then, that Shizuka needs a similar realization that Tsuruno had, too - that Shizuka needs to truly feel her friends' love and support...

Via a narrative overlay, Kagome ruminates on the Tokime Tribe some more - perhaps the divide between Shizuka and Charu is because of their wildly different upbringings, from the big city to the sheltered country. Shizuka and the other villagers are 100% committed to their mission of protecting their homeland, to the point it has become a core aspect of their identities. This needs to change - so if Shizuka and her comrades could break free from the chains of their history, too...wouldn't that be a good sign for magical girls breaking free from their fates at large? She makes her decision: she asks Rii-chan to pass on her idea to use the Kimochi stones to have an IroYuna-style heart-to-heart with Shizuka!

We move onto PB's side of things next - last we heard, Juri and Ranka were still stationed in Kamihama, so we take up their POV. They had previously spotted some Feathers and tracked them down to a lake/mountain-ish community in north Kamihama (probably around the outlook where NM had gathered to kick off the plan). Juri's rarin' to make BBQ out of NM, but Ranka attempts to be the voice of reason and says given the abolishment of the Kimochi rules, they'd have to fight every last Feather in their way. Juri's like "No shit they are", and they have some fun bickering where Ranka is like "We can't fight all of them by ourselves!!" and Juri's like "Not with that attitude!" and besides, the latter points out, the Tokimes and KMU are stuck in a corner right now, yeah?

Ranka puts her foot down and says they're up a creek, too, with Yuna and the literal entire rest of the gang in Futatsugi, so if Juri wants to sign her death warrant, Ranka's just gonna go home, too. Juri grumbles but heels all the same. She notes that NM has been winning pretty handily so far - they had a very well-greased plan, down to the Witches distracting all the KMU girls in town. They mull over their next battlefront until Juri gets a call from Yuna, ordering her to meet with the Tokime Tribe. Juri assumes it's to join the battle, but Yuna says actually, she wants Juri to pass her stone onto Charu and Sunao.

Next, we're back to ShiguHagu - we get a quick recap on Himena's plan to round up Mitsune so Himena can use her magic to break the telescope's security, and how Mitsune's has been left paralyzed for the most part due to what NM can only guess is doppel abuse, a la Nemu. But Shigure notes aloud that Mitsune has hardly used her doppel, not remotely to the amount of times Nemu used hers. Roughly Chapter 7 or 8, ShiguHagu wondered if the symptoms actually correlate to despair instead...

Anyway, Hagumu notes that it's not just her and Shigure who are on edge, but Himena, too - they suppose Himena's case has to do with her breakup with Sasha. They, too, observe how Himena's been taking more extremes since then. While Shigure's nervous by the whole thing, she says if Hagumu had left her, Shigure would be just as devastated, too.

Passing by a park on their way to the hospital, they notice San and Miyuri are heading the same way, too; Hagumu tells Shigure's it's for getting Touka's eye photos. They group up and head down the path to their destination, with San saying she knows ShiguHagu are here for Mitsune. Shigure notices a bag of powder in San's possession; just as Miyuri is about to blab out what it's for, San quiets her down, but Shigure can tell this is a blatant secret. Still, Miyuri dodges by saying that it's something that'll help avoid a fight down the road; San takes the save and says yeah, prudence is always important. That settled, Hagumu hesitantly asks San about the radio telescope plan - it all sounds well and good in the broad strokes, especially if they can shut down the opposition without killing them, and San smiles and nods along, but...Hagumu and Shigure feel like there's something they're not being told...

San chooses silence. Miyuri looks worrying at San, and who just remarks that Himena is truly aiming to become a god and control people's is San herself.

In any case, Shigure and Hagumu arrive at Mitsune's room! They all greet each other brightly, with Hagumu asking how Mitsune's doing; Mitsune says if the doctors can't figure out what's wrong with her legs in the next round of tests, they'll release her from the hospital. While it's not an ideal conclusion, freedom is freedom all the same; and besides, Mitsune's been feeling bad about ShiguHagu always traveling to the other side of town to visit her. But today, there's more on their plate than just visiting Mitsune: Shigure says they need Mitsune's help for the mission. Mitsune, a bit wide-eyed at first, just lols it off, saying there's nothing she can do lmaoroflcopter! Shigure persists, explaining that they need to borrow Mitsune's magic to hack into the telescope. Mitsune goes quiet and sags a little, and still says no, she can't help.

Hagumu assumes why Mitsune's so reluctant, and tries reassuring her that Himena will be the one actually using the magic, thanks to synthesis, so there's nothing to worry about on that front! And Shigure adds that that since they've added the Tokimes and Janomiya and KanaMita to their ranks, there's nothing that can stop NM's rise now! Megucas will be soon be seen as heroes, just like Mitsune wanted for herself!

Mitsune, looking utterly defeated, says "yeah..." But in a monologue, she thinks about how for the longest time, she wasn't a hero no matter how much she pretended to be - when you took off the mask, she was nothing more than a loser playing video games in a pitch-black room. She didn't like living a lie and the fakeness of it all - but lo and behold, Jun came back to Kamihama, so they got to work together in hopes Mitsune could make her hero facade into a reality! Then Jun had to abruptly "go overseas" (in her perception), but even so, Mitsune determined to keep steady until Jun returned...

But then, after following Himena's orders to manipulate the election, Mitsune came to realize the gravity of what she had done - and now the genie was out of the bottle, and it could not be put back. And so...

Back in the present, Mitsune can't keep this genie in the bottle, either. She says she cannot be a hero now, not even if Himena actually succeeds in her goals. What she has done is so awful that it is irredeemable - she doesn't think she can even face Jun...and Mitsune reveals that she knows now that Jun is *dead.*

Shigure and Hagumu choke, and Mitsune confirms yes, she remembers what really happened now. Once she admitted herself that what she had done was anathema of being a hero, the illusions she had cast on her self were all shattered. The fact that Himena has no regrets confirmed Mitsune's feeling that what they did was unforgivable. Shigure and Hagumu think back and connect the dots: Nemu had become paralyzed because of using her doppel too much, which overtaxed her soul... Mitsune now has similar symptoms, but without having used her doppel as much... So perhaps Mitsune has been carrying a similar, profound sense of despair and guilt that's been slowly eating away at her soul without pushing her into doppeling/witching out... Which leaves the question: what exactly did Mitsune *do?*

Mitsune, after a long pause, finally admits it: She used her magic to manipulate the western mayoral candidate. Shigure is shocked and Hagumu looks devastated, hoping beyond hope that it's all a lie.. But it isn't. Shadows surround Mitsune (like when a girl is about to witch/doppel out) and she explains everything, that she says stupidly thought doing so would be for the greater good. For NM to have succeeded in their goals, they needed a catalyst that would push the Kamihama east side girls and Shizuka down the road they're on now. But Mitsune lighting the proverbial match seems to have created a blaze beyond her reckoning, plunging Kamihama into chaos and suffering and trampling over countless lives - all to ensure NM would be the sole winners of this hot mess.

Shigure flashes back to when Mitsune first became paralyzed at the end of Chapter 5, and in the present, realizes her suspicions back then about Mitsune's real condition had been true. Mitsune said she couldn't bring herself to confess the truth; that if she'd had her way, NM would have failed somewhere along the way and this secret would die with her. But no - Himena kept on forging ahead. By Mitsune's reckoning, Himena must believe everyone around her are monsters unworthy of guilt - hence why Himena will resort to every last measure, no matter how inconceivably wrong, in order to get her way.

All this spilling out, Mitsune drags herself closer to Shigure and Hagumu, saying that she know she's going to hell for all she's done - but begs them all the same to please stop Himena before it's too late! Hagumu applies a well-timed grief seed to save Mitsune's soul, and Mitsune settles down with a quiet "sorry." But Hagumu agrees - she realizes that San and Miyuri must have been in on this all along and keeping it a secret, and decides that they need to get in contact with Sasha - the last NM associate they can trust.

On San and Miyuri's end, their mission ends...quite unceremoniously: They're completely barred from entering Touka and Nemu's unit. Nothing can get inside. Miyuri is crushed, and San figures this means they had better get Mitsune rounded up. Still, she figures they can at least complete their other objective, and they head over to Touka's room...only to find themselves foiled there as well. Mifuyu enters the scene, them, informing them that the password's changed, and that even if they broke in, they *still* wouldn't be able to shatter Touka and Nemu's soul gems - Sakurako is in that room, ready to strike.

Mifuyu tells them to leave, but Miyuri says actually, there was something else they needed to do, and San says yes, actually, they want to talk to Mifuyu about something. Given that Mifuyu wants to talk to them, too, they head down to the lobby for some tea together, which San fetches. Mifuyu asks that they cut to the quick, so San explains that Tsukasa was the traitor who leaked the info about PB leaving Kamihama. That means Mifuyu's close friend, Tsukasa, is now with NM...and Mifuyu very clearly owes some kind of significant debt to Touka and Nemu, given her constant vigil over them at the hospital. And Touka and Nemu were the founders of meguca supremacy, the ideal that NM seeks to uphold and spread...therefore, Mifuyu should join NM to honor Touka and Nemu.

Mifuyu shuts San down off the bat, adding that her loyalty is towards Touka and Nemu themselves - not the Magius at large. She explains how Touka and Nemu helped Mifuyu get into pharmaceutical studies, saying it was simply to compensate her for her service under the Magius. In actuality, however, Mifuyu thinks it went far beyond quid pro quo: it's helped Mifuyu return to the life of an ordinary woman once more; considering her struggle for all this time, it has given her hope beyond imagining. Repaying her gratitude for that seems impossible, but she's been trying nevertheless.

San concludes that Mifuyu joining NM is a lost cause. And this takes us to what Mifuyu wanted to talk about, and she asks if San could switch sides, too, but San's answer is no different. San says the only way that could happen is if KMU adopted NM's goals, but by that point, KMU is just NM under a different name. So negotiations are out the window...which has Mifuyu ask, what exactly is NM up to now? San checks with Miyuri if they're good on time, and once Miyuri confirms such with a smile and a giggle, San smirks and begins to explain...

We *still* don't hear the plan, but Mifuyu is left gaping nevertheless, asking if San is joking. San smiles bilthely on and says she's not. Mifuyu screams at her to stop being ridiculous; Miyuri tries to tell her to please calm down, they're in the hospital, but Mifuyu can't be calm given what she's been told! She rounds back onto San with "Have you gone *mad?!*" but no, San is perfectly sane as far as she's concerned. Mifuyu says if their plan goes wrong, everyone will die - and then...the screen flashes red. She gets dizzy, and collapses. San smiles like the cat that's caught the cream, and we're taken back to Hinano's stunt in NM's fight with the mafia earlier, and how vulnerable our bodies are on the inside... That incident gave San the idea to do something similar. Tapping into some Feathers for assistance, San was able to procure some knockout drugs (the powder in the bag she was carrying), and just had to spike Mifuyu's tea and let it take care of the rest. With Mifuyu in their grip, all that's left is to round up Mitsune and ShiguHagu...

In the meantime, ShiguHagu hear back from Sasha about the plan, too, and the duo look *morose.* They don't want to believe it, but there's no doubting it's true. Shigure just doesn't understand *why* they're doing this - yes, they want everyone's respect, but this is *not* the way to go about getting it! And while they might not be all that fond of their classmates, they don't want to *kill* them... Mitsune explains that San forbade people in the know from telling ShiguHagu the truth. Hagumu flashes back to their last supper with Juri in Chapter 7, when Juri talks about how deep down, despite her sickness, she believes one must take responsibility for the mistakes they make or the misfortunes that befall them; that the people who act nicest are the ones that are most dangerous...

Hagumu immediately bucks up and transforms, saying they need to get out of here and *run*. Shigure snaps into her meguca form, too, and tells Mitsune to join them. While Mitsune still looks dour, she transforms as well - just in time to sense the spike of San and Miyuri's magic. Mitsune points ShiguHagu to the fire escape exit in the back, and the trio goes Mission Impossible and jump off! As they go down, Shigure decides that while it might be pathetic of them to come crawling back to Iroha again, she knows she's the only shot they've got right now to set things right - so off they go.

At the hospital, San and Miyuri realize the trio are gone, their magic too far to track. Miyuri figures they all must have run back to Himena...San looks consternated, and sure hopes the three of the m did.

Meanwhile, try as Himena might to bypass the eye scanner, she fails with a pre-recorded clip of Touka being her trolliest self, anticipating various means someone might use to break her security, and explaining that they'd all fail. Himena is more annoyed than she's ever been, but just tells herself that Mitsune's powers will get this solved, and settles down to wait, looking anxious...

Back to the Mikazuki bunker, Iroha gets another text - this time from Tsukuyo, who says Tsukasa has vanished from her home. It's all too similar to what happened with Mitama...and considering the PB leaks, they grimly conclude that Tsukasa has defected as well. Just then, Felicia shouts from the basement - she' found what NM broke into the house for! The power supply to Touka's computer has been destroyed, carefully hidden so it took longer for them to find the problem. They think to what Touka's computer controlled, and realize that Tsuruno's hunch was right - if they wanted to spread meguca supremacy across the populace, you could do it with the radio telescope - just as the OG Magius did with broadcasting the "come to Kamihama" message...just as they did with summoning Walpurgisnacht... They get it now: their aim was to spread the gospel with Meiyui's magic.

The episode closes with a short interview with none other than Shigure! Shigure is clearly reluctant to have the interview, but Kagome seems to tell her that she doesn't need to talk much - just instill her magic in Kagome's notebook. Shigure's still feeling mighty awkward, and asks that Kagome not reveal too much about what she says - it's embarrassing. Still, Shigure explains that through meguca supremacy, she wants to win respect and admiration from people. She's teased so much at school, even though she risks her life to save people. All she really wants is people to praise her for what she does...and for people to stop making fun of her for being a loner, too.