Wraith Arc: Chapter 6
Homura stands in a park at night, staring at what appears to be Madoka. 'Madoka' is glad that she was able to make it in time and tells Homura that she was the voice that called out to her during the fight. Homura says she isn't Madoka and 'Madoka' agrees. She is what they would call a wraith. Homura transforms into a magical girl but the Wraith-Madoka begs her to wait since she's not here to fight. Homura won't be tricked to easily and prepares to attack anyways but the Wraith-Madoka cries out and points to the ribbon on her neck. She unties it and hands it back to Homura, apologizing for taking it from her. It seems the wraiths could feel a strong power inside it and misunderstood what it was. She asks Homura to if she would be willing to defeat the wraith that stole her powers and goes on to explain what wraiths really are: they were born to prevent the 'dangerous thing' from humans from increasing in the world. The 'dangerous thing' they collect from humans is also the same thing that magical girls use when they use their magic. Homura deduces that this 'dangerous thing' is in fact emotional energy. Were this emotional energy to overflow in large amounts, Wraith-Madoka continues, it could be very dangerous for everyone and the world. This is why wraiths bottle up this emotional energy from humans. One day they sensed the presence of an exceptionally strong power and the wraiths began searching for that power only to find it came from Homura. For the sake of keeping the world safe, the wraiths sent the largest among them to obtain Homura's power, though it was nothing personal. Homura asks the Wraith-Madoka what it is about emotional energy that they fear so much they would go after normal people. Is it the power of curses and hopes that threatens them? But such a question only confuses the Wraith-Madoka who had never heard the words curses or hope. All she knows is that emotional energy is not something that can be overlooked or else it can possibly overturn the universe. Homura then asks her why they wraiths began taking the appearance of humans since they never had before. Wraith-Madoka becomes excited and continues with her explanation: wraiths turn the emotional energy they collect and convert it into a safe form, the grief cubes. But the energy they absorbed from Homura was different, and couldn't be converted into grief cubes. Instead, the energy swelled within the giant wraith and changed it into something different. The smaller wraiths tried to help digest the energy but were swallowed by the overflowing emotional energy and these were transformed into the wraiths in human form. For now, the giant wraith is still trying to digest this energy and hid somewhere even the other wraiths don't know about but it's only a matter of time before it too is consumed by this energy. It's for this reason the wraiths want Homura to defeat the giant wraith and take back her power from it. Wraith-Madoka clasps Homura's hands in her own and tells her if Mami and Kyoko also help then surely they'll be able to protect this world. Instead Homura takes her hand back and tosses her hair, telling the wraith the only reason she is asking for help is because the situation turned out bad and the wraiths are expecting someone else to fix their mess. After being deceived and attacked by mutant wraiths, why should she believe the story of a mutant wraith also? Wraith-Madoka looks down sheepishly and says she's a bit different from other wraiths. Homura takes a moment, then walks away while telling Wraith-Madoka she can stay at her house for now until Homura can decide whether or not to believe her story.
Back at Homura's apartment, Kyubey sits on Wraith-Madoka's lap, examining her. According to Kyubey, he can sense Homura's magical power coming from the wraith. As far as Kyubey can surmise, the wraiths most likely fused with Homura's memory-manipulation magic which is what allowed them to create illusions of their friends and take on a human form. But Kyubey cannot see Wraith-Madoka's human form since she's not a friend of his. As Homura thinks back on the fight with the wraith-Kyoko from earlier, she realizes that the wraiths were able to use time-manipulation magic as well. But in this universe, Homura has never used time magic and her weapon is a bow instead. Kyubey points out he can also sense curses mixed up with Homura's magic inside of Wraith-Madoka. While wraiths would normally neutralize this energy, much of it remains undigested within her which may be the cause of the wraiths mutating. Homura asks Kyubey not to let the others know about the wraith that is staying in her home, and while Kyubey doesn't mind not telling them he does question letting her stay. Wraith-Madoka promises she would never harm Homura and would be willing to fight alongside her against the giant wraith. Homura vouches for Wraith-Madoka much to her delight. Kyubey watches Wraith-Madoka, contemplating the concentration of curses that stem from her. It seems her impurity is on the same level that a soul gem would generate from using magic.
Later at Mami's apartment, Homura reveals to Kyoko and Mami how the wraiths used her memory-manipulation magic to alter their form. They consider using a password to counter-plan against the mutant wraiths, but because the wraiths use memory magic they could simply read the password from their memory. Instead the girls set up some rules to keep themselves from being deceived as they hunt for the giant wraith: each magical girl will search in a specific area and wont' interfere with the others as well as meeting at an appointed time and place. Should anything happen, they are to call Homura rather than meet with her directly. Mami is impressed with how much Homura has uncovered about the mutant wraiths but Homura gives the credit to Kyubey instead. Mami and Kyoko decide to continue their search while Homura remains on standby and investigates the mutant wraiths further so as not to worry Mami. Hearing this Mami beams pleased to hear that Homura has taken her advice and happy to take on the challenge of regaining Homura's powers.
Homura walks down the street until she runs into Wraith-Madoka, who had been waiting outside for her too eager and excited to wait for when Homura returned. Homura is initially worried she'll be seen by Mami and Kyoko, but Wraith-Madoka isn't as long as they avoid the areas that Mami and Kyoko are searching in and thanks to Homura's memory-manipulation magic. She grabs Homura's hand, pulling her along to hurry in their search for the giant wraith and alters her form to look like Madoka in her school uniform. The four girls comb the city every day for a week but still not a single clue as to the giant wraith's whereabouts. Since the giant wraith can move about and change its location, Homura decides to start their search over again from the beginning. As they sit resting on a park bench, Wraith-Madoka leans over Homura and asks her what she honestly thinks of her. Homura avoids the question by responding that Wraith-Madoka's story certainly helped her to understand wraiths better but Wraith-Madoka tells her that's not what she asked. Despite not being the real one, she is still 'Madoka' and has been spending time together alone with Homura. Does Homura not really think about her at all? Homura pushes Wraith-Madoka away, telling her she has no feelings at all for a fake Madoka. Even now she hasn't decided whether or not to trust her. Wraith-Madoka laughs and tells Homura the reason she doesn't feel anything when she looks at her is because her heart is broken. When they first met, Homura wondered why she wasn't happy when she first saw her and Wraith-Madoka knows it was because Homura's heart had almost been taken already by the wraiths earlier. No matter what she may do with Wraith-Madoka, Homura won't feel anything because she lacks emotions. Homura slams her fist on the wall, declaring her feelings for Madoka will never change even if her emotions are stolen. She stands defiantly, yelling how she is here to fight for this world Madoka once tried to protect and for this reason she must regain her powers as quickly as possible and kill every last wraith off. Homura is only using Wraith-Madoka which doesn't change the fact that she is still her enemy. Wraith-Madoka scoffs at Homura's outburst, calling her dishonest with herself. She asks if Homura is afraid of losing her feelings for her only friend but Homura tells her not to underestimate her since she will never lose her feelings for Madoka just because she lost her powers. Wraith-Madoka goes on to say that Homura is stubbornly avoiding not only her friends but everyone in this new world. She tells her she's afraid that someday she will admit Madoka no longer exists and will forget her. Even in this new world where magical girls can obtain salvation and witches are no more, for Homura it is a much emptier and lonelier world. Even now her heart is living in a different world than everyone else. Wraith-Madoka leans in close to Homura and asks her if she preferred the old world of witches no matter how painful it was if only because her beloved Madoka was there. Homura presses a bomb to Wraith-Madoka's torso, threatening her if she continues to insult Madoka's witch. Now Homura sees that even though she may take Madoka's form, she is truly nothing more than a wraith, one of her enemies. Wraith-Madoka laughs and tells her she is also Homura's heart. Homura runs off as fast as she can, pausing several blocks later outside a church to catch her breath. She wonders if her feelings for Madoka are lacking, since Madoka is her only hope for her own existence. She crumples as she realizes something.
At the appointed meeting place, Mami, Kyoko and Homura discuss their lack of findings and whether or not to restart their search from the beginning. Mami asks if something is wrong with Homura, but Homura brushes her aside. Mami says if nothing were wrong, she wouldn't look the way she does and asks her if she had been searching for the giant wraith on her own. Homura looks away and doesn't respond. Mami then asks if Homura doesn't trust them and tells her they don't want her to push herself too hard. She tells her when Homura first arrived to the city, her fighting style was too self-sufficient and she wouldn't allow herself to get close to anyone or anything as if she were carrying a heavy burden on her own. Homura needs to take care of herself first or else it'll be no good. Homura cuts Mami off and yells at her, telling her to stop being ambiguous and if Mami wants to call her a nuisance then she should just say so. Kyoko is taken aback by the outburst but Mami apologizes to Homura and tells her to please let them know if something is worrying her since they are all friends after all and not enemies. Homura apologizes for her outburst and leaves. Kyubey follows after Homura and Homura tells him there's one thing she noticed but was too afraid to ask about for fear of the answer until now. She asks Kyubey what she wished for in this world when she became a magical girl. Kyubey tells Homura that although she is certainly a magical girl, he absolutely does not know what it is she wished for. She tells Kyubey that a long time ago he had told her that her memories about fighting against witches was nothing more than a dream and asks if it's possible for her dream to come true with her magic. Kyubey finds it absurd to think that Homura was able to manipulate the memory of each and every person on the planet with her truth about Madoka. Homura agrees that's impossible but it is not impossible that she rewrote only one person's memories: her own. She feels like her feelings for Madoka are fading and the suspicion that she is risking her life by continuing to believe in a friend that only exists in her memories is nonsense. Homura comes to the damning realization that Madoka and the world of witches she remembers were all conveniently created with her magic and that they are nothing more than memories she had of a dream. She takes off running in the rain, all the while her thoughts racing through her head. If Madoka never existed and her memories are actually fake, then why is she fighting for this world alone, without being rewarded and then only to vanish away. She stops and stands there in the rain, looking down. Wraith-Madoka appears and tells her she will catch a cold standing around a place like this. She holds out her hands and asks Homura if she'd like to walk home together but Homura merely walks past her without saying a word. Wraith-Madoka turns to catch up with her but Mami and Kyoko appear at the end of the street, holding umbrellas and walking up to them. Mami and Kyoko stare at Homura and Wraith-Madoka. Mami tells Homura that they were worried about her and thought they should follow after her but Homura walks past her without saying a word, Wraith-Madoka clinging nervously to her arm. Kyoko grabs Homura by the arm and tells her she can't leave without explaining herself. Homura says nothing. Kyoko tells her she knew she was hiding something and asks her if she understands what that thing is. Homura tells her to leave it alone and that it's none of their business. She tells Mami and Kyoko that their faces look terrible and asks if it's beause of the weird shape of the wraith. Kyoko transforms into a magical girl and tells Homura that she should look in the mirror since the weird one around here is her. The panel spreads out and shows Wraith-Madoka in full wraith form, her mists spiraling around Homura and her pencil-thin wraith legs spread out around them like a spider's legs despite still having Madoka's face. Mami also transforms into a magical girl and points a musket at Homura, asking for forgiveness and promising to save her from the wraith that is imprisoning her. Wraith-Madoka tells Homura they should run away using her memory-manipulation magic but Homura looks up at Mami and tells her it's not the wraith that's imprisoning her but Madoka. Homura explains to Mami and Kyoko how Madoka gave up her life to become a goddess that will save magical girls from their cruel fate. If Sayaka had not been taken away by her, she would have been swallowed by despair and died a cruel death rather than dying in the beautiful way she did. Kyoko is furious, taking Homura's words as an insult to Sayak's death and demanding she return to her senses. She tells her that Sayaka was imprisoned by a wraith and died but didn't let her hope or heart be taken. Doesn't Homura also have a wish so important she doesn't want it to be eaten? Homura screams back she doesn't have any memories of making a contract with Kyubey. Mami asks how it's possible she became a magical girl if she has no memories of making a contract but Homura tells her to ask her past self since she rewrote her own memories and left no clue to her present self. She asks Mami if she thought Madoka was just some funny delusion and tells her because she had to fight countless things like wraiths for the sake of a person she isn't even certain really existed. The law of cycles and the salvation of magical girls doesn't guarantee that those are Madoka and therefore she cannot be guaranteed the peace of any other magical girl. She falls to her knees and buries her face in her hand, asking forgiveness of Madoka as she can no longer tell which is the real or fake memory and can't believe in anything anymore. She asks Wraith-Madoka to save her from being a magical girl. Mami aims her musket at them and fires, but Wraith-Madoka uses her abilities and slices the musket in half from afar. She turns to Homura and slips her ring off her finger, changing it into its soul gem form. She whispers in her ear that she will protect Homura's heart and kisses her soul gem, transforming into her wraith form and unleashing a burst of energy. Homuras soul gem glows and a symbol appears on Wraith-Madoka's upper chest where the real Madoka's soul gem would be. She holds an unconscious Homura suspended in front of her with Homura's soul gem also floating just above Homura's form. She aplogiez to Mami and Kyoko then disappears.