Magia Record Story Winter Recollection ~From us who are still transparent~

From Puella Magi Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page or section is a stub, and needs expansion. You can help Puella Magi Wiki by expanding it.

Part 1: An old story

Winter recollection 1.jpg

Summary by bigscarythings
In the midst of Arc 2, the winter holidays approach! Mitama, all too familiar with how hard things are for the megucas of Kamihama right now, wants to host a Christmas party at her shop...but she doesn't have much funds to work with. Fortunately, though, she persuades Yachiyo with her frugality skills to help with shopping.

While Mitama is still struggling with a theme to tie the party together - just locking down on a "traditional yet unusual" event - for now, she has Yachiyo help hunt for the basic goods as they try to come up with a more definitive theme. Yachiyo wonders if it's a good idea to go forward with the basic cliche Christmas stuff without a unifying theme in mind, but Mitama is assured - it's a tough time for everyone right now, so going back to the essentials of Christmas - or back to the "origin", one could say - is a good place to start.

That takes us to the present day, where Mifuyu is helping Yachiyo out. As they reflect on what Mitama said to Yachiyo, Yachiyo supposes the event could at least be fun for the kids in their number. As the conversation comes to a lull, the girls spot a plume of dust in the distance, coming from the park - their concerns are quickly alleviated when they meet Hinano, Sae, and Maria there; Hinano's botched another experiment involving ways to make mud dumplings for a Christmas event for the kid's chemistry club (see "dorodango" for more details; I'd include a link but Pastebin doesn't like it :') ).

Still, as they all clean up the aftermath, the Minaminagi trio want to make an event that the kids will like, and they're not sure if this mud dumpling stuff will do it. Yachiyo says they ought to go ask the kids for their opinions; Mifuyu remarks that if only they were kids themselves, they could have this solved in an instant... Sae sighs, saying they'd wanted this event to be a cool surprise for the kids, but they've run out of time - Hinano agrees, saying they'll ask the kids - part of growing up is that you lose touch with what kids enjoy.

That brings them to the upcoming Christmas event, and the ideas of "orthodox and unusual" and "returning to the origins" - Yachiyo asks if they have any themes in mind that could suit these two requirements, but the girls are as stumped as she is. But they'll think n it, and Hinano offers to help with the party if they do come up with an idea. As Yachimifu make their way to Mitama's shop, Mifuyu volunteers to help Yachiyo as well. Yachiyo pokes at Mifuyu - after all, shouldn't she ought to be studying with Touka right now? Mifuyu pleads for Yachiyo to keep this secret from Yachiyo, prompting a giggle from the latter - but yes, her lips are sealed.

At the Coordinator's shop, Yachimifu meet with the History Club trio; the latter are making a Christmas short film for a local kid's party, except they have no idea what to do for the movie. Seira, after all, is all about super cool special effects and bedazzle and kaboom wham pow flicks; if this movie were up to her alone, it'd be about kaiju on a rampage on Christmas Eve (Rui is like "Well...*I* think that'd be a good movie...") But the question remains - what would an actual kid like to watch?

Yachimifu note everyone's problems are connected in this same way - Mitama's party, Hinano's experiment, and now this movie... To this, Mitama asks Yachimifu how did they spend Christmases growing up? Mifuyu says every year, they hosted Christmas parties at Mikazuki with Yachigrandma and the college girls at the boarding house. Mikura fittingly likes this idea of tradition and history. And that reminds Mifuyu - they put on a play together for the house, didn't they? She quickly digs up a photo on her phone, and sure enough, you have baby Ice Queen Yachiyo and li'l Demon King Mifuyu!

That jogs Yachiyo's memories - they worked with the older girls at the house to make the script and costumes together. And things start clicking together from there - couldn't their old script help Seira with her movie? Seira is eager to see it; while she'd especially like videos, Mifuyu doubts they recorded it, but she thinks she may still have a script in a time capsule she has in storage; Yachiyo, too, recalls having a time capsule that was intended to be opened when she turned eighteen. Time capsules are right up the History Club's alley and gets their imaginations running, while Yachimifu head back to Mikazuki to get searching.

Yachimifu spend quite some time digging through Mikazuki's storage, but to no avail, taking so long that Tsuruno, Felicia, and Sana come home before they're done. After explaining things (Iroha and Ui had something to attend to, but will be home for dinner), Yachimifu rally the Mikazuki girls into helping search. They finally find the time capsules, which were kept in Yachigrandma's old candy tins - the time capsules were made back when Mifuyu had first contracted! Everyone's eager to see the contents, so Mifuyu cracks hers open with various goodies (such as an embarrassing kid picture, as is customary), but most importantly, the script!

The girls want to know the story of the play, and Yachiyo unfurls a quick synopsis - basically, once upon a time, there's a fantasy kingdom ruled by the Fire Demon King and the Ice Queen. Every Christmas, per tradition, the kingdom would host a festival so that there would be a white Christmas, which would come if the Demon King solved everyone's problems for the winter. But then one year, to thank the Demon King, the people of the kingdom decided they would be the one solving the King's problems...

And with that, the box lights aglow and magic reverberates from the container - when the light fades, Mifuyu has changed into her demon form! Everyone boggles over the mystery of how this happened (except Felicia, who's hyped over how strong Mifuyu looks now), but a huge problem presents itself...starting when Mifuyu starts crying about how mad her mom will be if she goes home like this. Yachiyo tries to get her to calm down, remarking how Mifuyu is acting just like her little kid self again. Mifuyu, however, is confused when she hears this - she is a kid, after all! And poor Yachiyo realizes all this just got way more complicated than she'd expected.

Indeed, it seems like since the demon form was conceived when Mifuyu was a kid, that means Mifuyu's mind has reverted back to her childhood self as well. It's tough for Mifuyu to wrap her head around, too - she knows she's nineteen; she has her memories of adulthood; she knows who everyone is, but...her mindstate is distinctly that of her childhood self. Yachiyo says they need to find a way to get Mifuyu back to normal. Mifuyu pleads for Yachiyo to help, and Yachiyo says not to worry - of course she'll help! That delights little Mifuyu, and it's so adorable that Tsuruno's like "You know, maybe she's fine just the way she is now..."

But no, they gotta fix Mifuyu, so from there, the girls contemplate on the magic that came out of the box, and figure that Mifuyu's transformation stems from the traces of magic they'd infused into the time capsule's contents as kids (it seems like they speculate that maybe the magic was infused into the script in order to help them play their roles or something) They ultimately guess that in order to bring Mifuyu back to normal, they have to reenact the story of the script: namely, that the Demon King solves everyone's problems, and everyone solves the Demon King's problems in turn.

And there's plenty of problems that Mifuyu, in her kid state, is now equipped to solve. They also try to flip to the end of the script, but oddly, the ending of the story has turned completely blank - so no cheating, alas. So while this might not be the solution to changing Mifuyu back, they've got no other leads - so Yachimifu sally forth to solve the problems around them, leaving Tsuruno and company to hold the fort.

Yachimifu visit the history club again and explain what's up; Rui's like "dude your demon form is so cool!!" So they'll have Mifuyu help solve Seira's movie problem, and Seira's idea is to have Mifuyu decide what Seira's Christmas movie will be about. Mifuyu does some thinking, and eagerly proposes a "henshin heroine" movie - shining, cool, and cute; something that has the kids cheering the heroine on, etc.

Which is all well and good, but...Yachiyo says that doesn't have a lot to do with Christmas, does it? It punctures a hole in Mifuyu's mood, but Seira pounces on this idea - a heroine of light and a heroine of darkness teaming up to save the world on Christmas Eve! And since Mifuyu obviously wants to play the heroine of light, who else to play the dark heroine but Rui Mizuki herself?!

After a lot of hesitancy, Mifuyu agrees she'll play the role - she's always admired heroines like the ones she's described and dreamed of being one just like them, and with Seira saying she'd be perfect for the role, Mifuyu wants to do it!

Seira and Mifuyu get to doing some work on the film; Mifuyu shows great passion for the role. Meanwhile, to herself, Yachiyo reflects that this seems to be of great significance to Mifuyu - and given that their goal here is to fulfill Mifuyu's dreams as well, they should let her do this. Perhaps Mifuyu's innermost dream is to be a heroine...but there might be more to it than that, so they'll wait and see. But still...Yachiyo never imagined that Mifuyu could be so passionate. Even though they're childhood friends, it turns out there are still things they don't know about each other.

Seira and Mifuyu manage to get the basic arc of the movie all set, and decide to film some sample shots for the movie. Rui expresses apprehension about going out in full meguca gear, but Seira thinks nothing of it - people dressed in all sorts of costumes at Kamiket, for one, and coupled with filming equipment, everyone will just assume (and rightly so!) that it's all for a movie. And Yachiyo says she'll be the adult chaperone in charge if things get dicey, so they're all set.

The girls shoot a demo scene where the light and dark heroines meet. When it's over, Yachiyo is impressed with how well Rui acted, and Mifuyu fangirls all over Rui, clamoring for acting tricks and leaving poor Rui stammering and stuttering in disbelief. From there, they film a demo for the team-up scene between the two heroines, including a bit where Mifuyu breaks the fourth wall to ask the audience to lend them her strength - an idea she herself came up with! As the filming proceeds, Mifuyu is over the moon, happy to be the heroine she'd always dreamed to be...and Yachiyo realizes to herself that yes, acting alone hasn't resolved Mifuyu's wish. There has to be something more that Mifuyu wants...but what?

As the film sampling wraps up, Seira explains from here, she'll lock down the script before they record the movie for real. She assumes that by the time filming starts, Mifuyu will be back to her normal self...which clearly disappoints Mifuyu as she realizes she won't be in the final movie itself. But Seira and Rui agree that Mifuyu would still be perfect for the role; Mifuyu turns to Yachiyo for permission, but the latter says the decision will be up to Mifuyu once she's normal again (though Yachiyo thinks grown Mifuyu will be embarrassed by the movie when she sees it!)

So Yachimifu explains what's up to the chemistry club while Mifuyu oohs and ahhs over Hinano's colorful soap bubble experiments. Hinano in turn explains her problem, that she needs to make a Christmas class good for kids, but doesn't really know where to start - she tried asking Riko, but the kid couldn't really help out, and she hasn't had the chance to ask Ui or Mikage either...

Mifuyu first says they should rule out hard experiments - this event should be fun for the kids. Maria asks what experiments Mifuyu would like; Mifuyu talks about the elephant toothpaste experiment - a classic and flashy one, but Hinano gripes how it's a cliche... So Mifuyu suggests something to do with combination - the henshin superheroine she so admires has a transforming mecha made out of various combining parts and has cool explosive special moves...

And Hinano has a eureka moment: they'll make a chemistry superhero show! They'll use chemistry tricks for cool special effects as the heroine attacks. And of course, Mifuyu gets roped into performing for this one, too - with Sae as the villain this time (Hinano jokes that Sae somehow seems suited for those kinds of roles). As the girls figure out the show, Yachiyo reflects and gets a better understanding of Mifuyu's desire to be a true hero.

Just then, Mifuyu realizes what time she is - she has to get home before curfew, or her mom will be upset! Yachiyo has to remind Mifuyu that she lives alone now, and she's nineteen, anyway - she can do as she pleases. As she pleases, huh...? In that case, Mifuyu wants to spend the night at Mikazuki - it was always so hard for her as a kid to stay over at Yachiyo's, but as an adult, she wants to do that now.

At first, dinner is set to be a funky affair, with Iroha and Ui caught up on the situation - but the Mikazuki squad agrees to work together to get dinner ready anyway. It goes off without a hitch, and Mifuyu is proud to have helped make a great dinner for everyone - she says at home, she always wanted to help make dinner, but her mom would always snap at her if she tried to help. It strikes Tsuruno then that this might be why Mifuyu can't cook now - because she was never allowed to learn to begin with. Mifuyu brushes this off, though, saying she'd probably just have been a nuisance anyway.

After dinner, the gang works on homework together, with Mifuyu helping Ui with some hard problems. This prompts Ui to ask if Mifuyu had always been good at studying, but Mifuyu says she wasn't - she needed Yachiyo to help her out. She explains that her mom would wring her out whenever she did poorly on exams, which gave her terrible anxiety and crying fits when it came to tests. Ui is pained to hear this, but Mifuyu says it's all in the past.

As homework wraps up, the girls take turns washing up for the night, andSana catches Mifuyu's eye. Mifuyu asks what's up, and after some prying, Sana admits that Mifuyu talking about her family brought up memories of Sana's own - but tells Mifuyu not to worry about it. But no, Mifuyu sympathizes more - she knows just how Sana feels. That no matter how far way she is from her mom, it always feels like her mom is hovering right over her shoulder, watching her, like she's always on the verge of being yelled at again... It's so frightening and unpleasant.

After some silence, Sana asks what Mifuyu does when she has those feelings. Mifuyu says she would fall into dreams and fantasies...but the thing that really helped was having good days with Yachiyo and her friends - days filled with smiles and joy. It took her such a long time to realize it, but those days were when she didn't have to be the daughter of the Azusa family - she was simply Mifuyu, and that was enough. Sana smiles at this, and realizes she and Mifuyu really are a lot alike. Yachiyo overhears this, and now having seen Mifuyu helping others with their worries, she feels more confident that Mifuyu will be back to normal soon.

Soon enough, the big day comes - it's time for the chemistry class Christmas event, and Seira has finished her script! Mifuyu has jitters about performing live, but she's eager, too - she wants the club show and the movie to be successful! (Yachiyo wonders if Mifuyu had been this gung ho in the past...)

But more troubles arise when Yukika and HotoRion show up, bickering - Yukika spots Azusa-senpai and decides to pitch their problem to them. Basically, the twins want to go see the chemistry club show, but Yukika is dragging her feet, convinced that her magic will kick in and cause a disaster at the show. Mifuyu assures Yukika by saying that she'll be performing in the show, actually - and as the hero of the show, she'll definitely protect everyone, no matter what bad things happen! That's enough to convince the wonder twins, but Yukika is still very reluctant...but against Rion, she feels she has no choice but to go and pray that things work out somehow...

As the show kicks off, Yachiyo contemplates further on Mifuyu's condition, and concludes, no, the OG kid Mifuyu wasn't gung ho - she was pretty timid and skittish. But this gung ho side of Mifuyu seems to be a result of her adult and kid selves meshing together - her adult sense of responsibility, and her childhood sense of purity and righteousness.

Before the curtain comes up, Maria gives the audience safety rules like to stay away from the front of the stage and so on - and with that, the curtain rises! Our hero is Mifuyu the Chemical Lady, going up against Sae the chemistry hater - "I hate chemistry because it's hard! I don't want a show like this! I'll destroy everything with my ~~anti-magical girl gas g.u.n~~ air g.u.n!!!") The kids light up over Sae's cool g.u.n while Hinano explains the basics of how the g.u.n works.

Yukika braces herself for things to go wrong...and they do - Mifuyu's smoke attack fails to set off the colorful clouds they'd expected, and Yachiyo worries that this will lead to a setback in getting Mifuyu back to normal... Fortunately, Mifuyu's final Elephant Toothpaste attack works, bringing excitement back to the show! Perhaps a little too much, however - Yachiyo gets a start when she sees a kid running up to the stage while Hinano is distracted by explaining the show, and the toothpaste experiment suddenly starts going out of control...

But Mifuyu dives in just in time to save the kid, winning the awe and admiration of the crowd. Ultimately, the show works out great! Still, Hinano frets over all the accidents along the way - she's sure that she did everything right, and that she used safe materials for the toothpaste experiment...Yukika takes the blame for everything that went wrong, and Rion apologizes for forcing Yukika to attend the show despite the known risks. Still, Yukika wants to make it up to them somehow, and asks Mifuyu to join her for a meal at Walnut's!

The girls settle down at Walnut's (Tsumugi's at the restaurant, tucking into her omurice dish, as expected), but Yachiyo is conerned over the fact that Mifuyu is still not back to her usual self... There, Yachiyo orders her omurice, while Rion introduces Mifuyu to the new children's lunch box that Walnut's is trying out - hamburger steak, omurice, and pudding!

Mifuyu is heartbroken that she can't try the dish, but Manaka, having been caught up on all the kerfuffle so far, assures Mifuyu that she can have a special treat! And now Tsumugi wants that lunch, too, but Manaka tells her no - Tsumugi's already had her share after all the testing Manaka did for the dish! But Mifuyu asks that everyone should get to try out the lunch, and Manaka gives in.

Lunch goes smoothly - even Rion is chill and happily shares her food with Mifuyu! The older girls smile fondly over the proceedings, and eventually, Hotori pipes up, asking Mifuyu if she's a fan of superheroes as well. Mifuyu says she specifically prefers heroines, actually, but otherwise, yes - she'd always admired those dazzling fighters, those girls who could be both cool and cute - always wanted to be able to protect others just like them. Her mom would never let her watch TV, though... But as Hotori points out, Mifuyu can watch whatever she wants now! Mifuyu giggles at the realization, remarking that she's much more free than she had previously thought.

That gets them onto having Hotori recommend the Drarangers show to Mifuyu, until Hinano remarks that she didn't expect Mifuyu to be into superheroes like that. Mifuyu gets a little insecure, but that's resolved when Hinano elaborates, explaining she's only ever really known Mifuyu as an adult - seeing her in this kid-like mode puts a new spin on things. On that note, Maria wants to hear more about Mifuyu - her favorite food, any crushes she's had, the works. Mifuyu thinks and says it's still too early for her to fall in love, but she does dream of falling in love with someone wonderful...though she recalls offhand that she does have a fiance right now. And then a bigger question comes up - does Maria have a special someone, too? Maria gets flustered, and Sae chuckles at the sudden counterattack.

While everyone else is joyful and laughing, Yachiyo is very concerned now - Mifuyu still isn't back to normal... At this point, all they can do is just ask for what Mifuyu wants and hope that'll do the trick, and so...Yachiyo asks just that: Does Mifuyu have anything else she wants right now? Mifuyu realizes why Yachiyo is asking, and she thinks aloud - she's full of good food, she's having a wonderful conversation with everyone, and having such a fun time...yes, she's happy - happy beyond words. And things seem to fall in place for Mifuyu - this is what she's always wanted to do. And with that...Mifuyu is back to normal!

Now back to her usual self, Mifuyu explains - at the heart of the matter, she's always just wanted to be a normal girl. That's where all of this started - and being aware of that desire once more, and realizing it'd been fulfilled, seemed to be the last condition she needed to go back to normal. Yachiyo thinks over the Demon King story, and recalls that's how it ended, too - the people wanted to make the Demon King's dreams come true, but no matter what they did, they couldn't solve what he wanted - it seems like even the king didn't know what he wanted. But eventually, the kingdom's wizard was asked to help uncover the Demon King's childhood wish, and it was simply: to get along with everyone. So the wish had been granted all along - and with that, the kingdom's white Chrismtas, comes, and they all live happily ever after.

Mifuyu explains more - as a child, she'd never had a happy Christmas, never had friends she could play with aside from Yachiyo. Having a fun holiday now, where she could enjoy spending tie with her friends - it gives her closure to her past, releasing her, setting her free. Sae seems to understand just where Mifuyu is coming from.

And that leaves the most concerning question - how much of today's events does Mifuyu remember? Everything, much to Mifuyu's embarrassment - but the other girls cheer her up, thankful for all the help she did. She in turn thanks all the girls for letting her have a good time. And privately, she reflects on her inner kid self as well - she'd always wanted to have a happy time like this, and finally got it. Still, the experience of her kid self coming back again has dredged up old, bad memories...and also like she forgot something important.

And what a coincidence, Yachiyo's forgotten something important, too - the party! They still need to come up with a theme! But Mifuyu gets the feeling Yachiyo knows just what the event should be about, and they both say it at once: "Return to Childhood"! While literally turning back into a little kid might be too much, it'd be nice for others to be able to reflect on their childhoods and the present day. Yachiyo agrees - the whole experience of Mifuyu mentally fusing with her kid self was a lot of work to wrangle through, and she remarks how Mifuyu was actually quite different from her childhood self - less of a timid crybaby, and more aggressive and gung ho...

Mifuyu supposes that might have been the Demon King's power coming through...and just when it seems like she's been possessed by the personality of the Demon King now...she reveals it's all a joke, and has to reassure Yachiyo that yes, she really is Mifuyu and that they're not in another magical mishap.

The event closes with Yachimifu returning to Mikazuki (Felicia complains that Mifuyu was more fun as a kid, but Tsuruno is glad she's back) They recap on what happened, though the mechanics of how Mifuyu was transformed are still a bit of a mystery (perhaps to be explored in Icechiyo's event?) - though Tsuruno notes that since Mifuyu got to be the Demon King, it'd be fair to have Yachiyo transform into the Ice Queen, too... More seriously, Sana remarks that it is strange - why would the magic only affect Mifuyu? For the moment, however, the girls dismiss it as a Christmas miracle to be done with it.

They're distracted when Yachiyo gets a message from Seira - she's put together the sample clips from the movie they'd recorded earlier! And Yachiyo, great friend she is, instantly subjects poor Mifuyu to them (cue that CG with Yachiyo sharing her phone with Mifuyu) - as they goof around together, the other Mikazuki girls are surprised to see Yachiyo and Mifuyu acting like little kids again - Tsuruno smiles, saying maybe that's what childhood friends are all about.

But we suddenly transition into the History Club hanging out - the movie sample has been sent to Yachiyo, but Temari frowns over the script Yachiyo had sent... Mikura asks what's up, but Temari simply remarks that she senses something...strange...about the script...

Alas, that'll be saved for next event - for now, the Mikazuki girls go back to joking around, when Yachiyo suddenly gets a strange chill as well... She feels like this winter is about to get even colder. It hasn't snowed yet this year, after all...

Part 2: A phantom story

Winter recollection 2.jpg

Sequel of the last event, Yachiyo suddenly transforms into the ice Queen that she played when she was young.

First Half

Summary by bigscarythings
Continuing from Part 1 of Winter Recollection, we open with Mitama setting up the hsop for her Christmas party when Momoko walks in and asks how things are going. Mitama says they're waiting for Konomi to bring the wreath over, and we get a little montage of all the girls present - Kushu is snoozing, while Seira and Rui are working on editing their Mifuyu movie, and show Momoko a clip. Momoko is shocked to see Mifuyu performed in the movie, and recalls overhearing stories about Mifuyu being turned into a demon king or a kid or something - she doesn't really get what it was all about, just that it happened. Mitama says hoo boy, there's a *lot* to explain, and crashes Momoko through a summary of the first event.

All that's been settled, though, and Mifuyu is back to normal again! ...For just a moment, anyway - the girls overhear Tsuruno barreling into the Coordinator's shop, and they know life is about to get very exciting again. Momoko has to step out again, and Mitama tries to reassure her that everything will be fine over here, but Momoko knows how these things go by now, so she insists - if Mitama needs anything, contact Momoko ASAP!

The Mikazuki girls, looking glum, arrive with Mifuyu - who's in full Demon King regalia. Mifuyu explains to Rui that no, she's not stuck in little kid mode again - she's free to detransform this time! But still, they'd like to iron this out sooner rather than later, and are trying different avenues for solutions - Iroha and Ui are consulting with Touka and Nemu (Touka has some choice words for Mifuyu (possibly to do with skipping her studies), it seems), while the rest of Mikazuki is taking the matter up with Mitama.

Mitama chews on things for a bit, confirming that this incident was caused by opening the time capsule and reading the script. Yachiyo's brought the time capsule for that purpose, but is understandably wary about opening it up again in case something happens. But there's nothing they can really do unless they crack open the box again - Felicia pops it right open, saying hey, things can't get any worse than they are right now! Yachiyo fusses, but Felicia opens the script, showing that it's all back to normal again, where in the Mifuyu event, it was blank. Since disaster hasn't struck (yet), the girls figure they ought to read it and see if it offers any hints as to what's going on - only for the box to glow again, engulfing the room in white light once more...

...And indeed, when it fades, Yachiyo is now in her Ice Queen form, just like her costume from when she was a kid! And Mifuyu's been forcibly transformed into her Demon King self as well. And, like Mifuyu, it quickly becomes evident that Yachiyo has her kid mindset again as well. Even after Yachiyo detransforms, she's still a kid at heart...

Given all the fuss over Yachiyo, it takes a moment for the other girls to notice Mifuyu's predicament as well - an anguished look tearing across her face, Mifuyu apologizes to everyone, and her illusion magic abruptly activates, casting everyone present into a recreation of the world of the Demon King and Ice Queen fairy tale! Yachiyo and Mifuyu are the queen and king, while all the other girls are now in their winter or Christmas outfits. Yachiyo marvels over how the fairy tale world is real now, while poor Tsuruno can only freak out over what on earth is going on here.

The girls regroup, with Mifuyu herself nowhere to be found. All the while, Mitama is oddly silent, but at Felicia's prompting, she abruptly starts narrating, as if in a trance, the tale of the Ice Queen and Demon King. It all goes normal at first - everyone wanted to work together to help the Demon King's wish come true, but couldn't figure out what she wanted until they dug up the memories of her past, which revealed she had wanted to get along with everyone. So all they had to do was wait for the white Christmas to come...but this is where things diverge.

This time, Mitama says that in remembering her past, the Demon King unlocked memories that had been sealed by the Ice Queen - that previous Demon King had destroyed the kingdom, and the current king is fated to do so again. In light of this, the Demon King withdrew from society and disappeared. In order to save her, the Ice Queen traveled to the Wandering Forest, seeking out the "fragments of anguish" in order to understand the King's pain - only to find that many trials would await her...

The atmosphere suddenly takes on a more foreboding weight. Still, Yachiyo reasons that to cure Mifuyu, they had to follow the story of the old script; so to get Yachiyo fixed up, they likely need to do the same thing here. The girls contemplate the situation further, concluding that the world they're in must be born from Mifuyu's magic (Rui is privately impressed by how quickly they're all rolling with getting isekaied!)

Soon enough, Mitama snaps out of her trance - she intuits she must be playing the role of the "elder" character in this story (hence the Santa beard!). So everyone present must be playing a particular role in this tale, such as the soldier, merchant, and reindeer (Tsuruno's like "Hey, why do I have to be the reindeer?!"). Speaking of which, what's with this story, anyway? Yachiyo ponders on it, and thinks - perhaps this was a continuation of the original play?

At this, Temari and Mikura enter the scene. Temari speaks up, saying she shares Yachiyo's suspicion as well, explaining the OG script the club had received been given wasn't structurally sound. For example, while there was a King and Queen established, only the King had any major role in the story. More importantly, Temari felt the story as it stood had no theme - the ending wasn't much of a conclusion. Temari had a feeling that perhaps the original story had a different ending, and while Yachiyo can't recall how the whole story went went, she's more certain now that they had written a sequel. With that, Temari senses some odd magic...

Seira cuts in, asking when Mikura and Temari showed it? As it turns out, they'd just now entered the Coordinator's shop and got sucked into this world as well - which is a big cause for concern, since it sounds like anyone who tries entering Mitama's shop in the real world will get trapped in this one.

Here, we get some lore stuff about how Mifuyu's magic work. To cut to the quick, while Tsuruno explains they'd dubbed Mifuyu's magic "Hallucination," the things in the dream worlds she conjures do impact the real world - basically, "you die in the dream, you die in real life." And that introduces yet another problem besides - if this world is running on Mifuyu's magic, what happens if Mifuyu runs out? Sure, she won't witch out, but her doppeling out could be dangerous for everyone involved. So they gotta get going and solve this story!

To that end, after Mitama helps recap the second half of the story, Yachiyo strives to remember more specific details on how this story played out, and quickly unveils another sticking point, the thing Temari had sensed earlier: the more of the story that Yachiyo remembers, the more magic activates to rewrite her surroundings to recreate the narrative. Sana, for example, enters a trance and takes on the role of the Merchant, while Tsuruno is locked into the Reindeer. The thing is, though...Yachiyo knew this would happen. But she has to do this in order to make the story happen, so she can understand Mifuyu, save her, and earn their happy ending. She apologizes to them all, and asks them to play their part - and so, they're off to save the King!

Our dramatis personae:

Yachiyo = Ice Queen Felicia = Soldier Tsuruno = Reindeer Sana = Merchant Mitama = Elder Konomi = Demon King's attendant History Club Quartet = Fragment Guardians Kushu = Ice Queen's retainer

The characters, all locked into the roles, start acting out the story - the citizens are all shocked upon learning the truth of the Demon King and the kingdom's past. The soldier is raring to fight the king, but the Ice Queen helps cool her head - yes, the Demon King is fated to destroy the land, but the King is not evil. She believes the King can defy her fate. After all, she asks the people, how has the Demon King treated them all? They recall all the ways the Demon King has helped them survive the winter, giving them food and lighting their hearths. The soldier soon stands down, saying yes, she does want to save the King, too. Their love for the king hasn't changed a bit - so they all agree to go out and find her!

To do that, the queen and her friends embark into the dark, snowy Wandering Forest. The elder warns, however, that people often lose themselves in the forest - in the way people can get lost in thought, they can find themselves traveling in circles in that forest. But if they can find the Fragments of Anguish, understand people's woes and grief, and help others resolve their emotional turmoil, the path out of the forest will reveal itself.

As they start their hunt for the Fragments, they shortly encounter an attendant of the Demon King - a girl who resents the Queen and wishes to save the King herself. While the Queen wants them to work together, the servant resents the Queen for keeping the King's past a secret and causing this trouble. While the servant understand the queen was well-intended, she's unimpressed with the Queen's logic - if she really did believe the king could overcome her fate, why not equip her with the truth?

In the end, they decide that if the Queen can collect the Fragments of Anguish first, then the servant will concede and travel with the Queen from now on. To make things fair, the Queen offers to search for the Fragments alone, but the servant seems confident that she can find it even if she's outnumbered. She gets going while the Queen and her friends regroup, talking about why the servant values the King so much, then onto how to find a Fragment. At this, the queen senses the shard, and the party gets a move on!

Each Fragment (taking on the form of the time capsule) is protected by a guardian, and soon enough, the Queen and her crew encounter the first (Seira). They must earn the Fragment through various trials, and this first one is a test of wits: the Queen must ensure the guardian cannot move without hurting her, and must escape the guardian's own trap when the latter does the same. The Queen goes first and makes short order of the trial by using her ice powers to freeze the guardian's shoes to the ground and numbing her limbs. But the guardian steps things up with the next trial - she balances a glass of water on the back of the queen's hand; the queen realizes that if she moves, she'll spill the glass. And the queen outwits the guardian's trap by...simply freezing the water. With that, no spill, and the guardian admits defeat!

Still, the guardian asks how the queen would have foiled her trap without ice powers. The queen wracks her brain, but the guardian hints that the solution is quite simple: the queen was so caught up in the idea of not spilling the glass that she forgot the rule was simply, "prevent the other from moving without hurting her." It didn't matter whether she spilled the glass or not! The soldier grumbles that it's cheating. The guardian doesn't deny that, but says humans really ought to rely on their wits more.

In any case, the guardian hands over the first Fragment, and a memory rushes into the Queen's mind - in a sick awesome flaming volcano setting, the demon anguishes over her evil bloodline, and despairs over being fated to destroy the kingdom once more... In the memory, the Queen insists the king isn't anything like her ancestors - when they're together, she's not an evil demon king, but simply the queen's best friend.

The Queen recognizes this event as a memory from before the King was sealed. She takes the servant's words to heart - she had cheated by sealing away the king's memories without allowing for the king to try overcoming her fate.

The next trial (which the Seira guardian accompanies them to) involves playing a card game, Revolution (I think the Mitch Gunzler game), against two guardians (Mikura and Temari). If the Queen wins the game, she wins the Fragment as well. I couldn't quite follow the rules here, but it sounds like in the game, if a Revolution is attained, then the lowest-scoring cards become the highest and vice versa; despite starting with a bad hand, the Queen executes such and wins the game. The guardians enjoyed the game and congratulate the queen, asking if she'd been gunning for a Revolution all along. The Queen admits no - she just refused to give up and kept looking for opportunities to turn the game around. The guardians sagely agree - while one cannot change her starting point, her decisions can change the future.

With that, the queen receives her next Fragment, which combines with the first to fill out more of the time capsule. Just as well, another memories unfolds, continuing from the last. Still in the sick flaming death volcano, the King is freaking out, insisting she can't escape her past, and has no choice but to give up, and goes berserk. When the memory ends, the Queen recalls what happened next - she put a stop to the King's demonic rampage, sealed the King's memory, and...gave up on being able to avert the King's fate otherwise. The Queen gets melancholy, but the Guardians encourage her, assuring her that she has the power to change the future.

There's just one last Fragment to go! This time, the guardian (Rui) lays down a trial to catch a certain adorable white critter. She gloats about how her familiar is a timid scaredy-cat who will never allow itself to be caught...meanwhile, Mokyu happily scampers up to the Queen and jumps right into her arms, ending the trial as soon as it began. The guardian is floored, but whips up another trial by summoning a wicked monster the queen must defeat! The soldier smirks, thinking he's weak because he's small, but he suddenly vanishes out of sight, reappearing to attack the Queen!

But that's swiftly dealt with when the Queen's retainer finally wakes up to serve the queen - together, they overcome the wicked beast! After some more banter, the gang can now receive the final Fragment...except the King's attendant had already acquired it first. The attendant and the queen have a heart-to-heart and manage to make up, both understanding that the other really did have the King's best interests at heart, and they agree to combine their Fragments to complete the memories, and the time capsule glows in light again - and Yachiyo, fully self-aware, realizes their true nature.

All sorts of reali life memories flood in, each mapping onto a memory of the Demon King - for example, where the King was crushed by the weight of her legacy, it correlates to Mifuyu being crushed under the pressure of the Azusa family. As the King found refuge in her friendship with the Queen, where they weren't demon king and ice queen but two best friends - so did Mifuyu and Yachiyo: "When you're with me, you're not the heir of the Azusa family - you're just Mifuyu." In a montage, the whole of Mifuyu's life marches before Yachiyo, from when they first became magical girls, to meeting and losing Kanae and then Mel, to Mifuyu's time in the Magius - everything, everything is unveiled to Yachiyo.

And for the final memory...Yachiyo and Mifuyu, seemingly after Arc 1, speak to each other at a park in the dead of the night. Mifuyu talks about how she really shouldn't have anything to complain about - she and her fiance meet up now and then, and the relationship is solid. Her wishes for the future are on track to come true, but...even so, Mifuyu feels frozen in place. Every time she wants to move forward...every time she tries to change herself...her mom comes screaming back into her head and she locks up. She cannot break the yoke of being the Azusa family heiress. Yachiyo tried imploring her, saying she's moved out now, she's independent, she's not a kid anymore - but it's changed nothing for Mifuyu; she still calls herself a coward - that her desires will remain impossible to achieve, forever out of reach.

Back in the present (well, in the storybook world), Yachiyo realizes Mifuyu must be isolating herself in this dream world, crying and alone. And there's more, too - rummaging through the recompleted time capsule, Yachiyo digs up some souvenirs within, and remembers what became of their Chrismas play. Cueing that cute CG of Yachiyo and Mifuyu making sketches for the play, Yachiyo remembers how they'd wanted to do the two halves of the Demon King and Ice Queen story, with the ambition to have the Ice Queen's half end on an ambiguous note, a "Merry Unmerry Christmas" - an ending that's happy or sad depending on the eye of the beholder.

But in the end, just before the Christmas party where the play would make its debut, Yachiyo walked in on Yachigrandma comforting the sobbing Mifuyu. Grandma explains that Mifuyu was filling out her diary/profile book, on a section of what she wanted to be when she grew up - she had written down how she wanted to be a henshin heroine/superhero, but got wrung out by her mom and was forced to erase it. Mifuyu is breaking down completely, crying about how she knows it's all fantasy, but she just wants to dream anyway - she knows she can't escape, but she wants to forget htat for a little while. She knows her future is written in stone, that she can't escape her awful family, that she has no hope for the future to come - her life is going to be just like the Demon King's.

And so there's no doubt about it - they *have* to nix the tragic ending and end on a high note. They have to give Mifuyu hope. And that's why their play ended at the awkward point where it did.

Unfortunately, Yachiyo realizes...they're all trapped in the Merry Unmerry Christmas half of the play. In the time capsule, Yachiyo digs up the notes on the play and reads to the end of the synopsis - the queen and her friends pass through the forest and arrive at the king's castle, only to find it empty. The whole party calls out the King, eventually convincing the King that the people really do love her.

But fate could not be overturned: the King loses control, and the mountain threatens to explode, while monsters go berserk and ravage the kingdom. The Queen, however, knows this King doesn't want this, and tries to stop the King - but alas, she melts within the King's burning flames, and when the ashes die down, neither the King nor Queen are to be found. While they were both opposites, in the end, they both wanted to be happy together - and perhaps because of that, even though they are absent, peace and a white Christmas finally settle over the land. So every year, the people pray - for this land the king and queen left behind find happiness, and for a beautiful white Christmas.

That's all well and good, but...Yachiyo doesn't want to know what will happen if that ending plays out for real. Yachiyo flashes back to what Rui had concluded about dying in the dream = dying in the real world... The problem now is that Yachiyo is the only one who's self-aware of her role in the story. And now she has to figure out how to get them all out of here herself.

And with be continued!