Wraith Arc: Chapter 9
The chapter opens with a landscape scene of the city. Wraiths swarm the streets as Homura sits on the edge of a building. Her soul gem glows and her time shield appears in her hands. She tries to activate it, but the shield only makes a noise and nothing more. Homura considers the shield, wondering why it was left behind since she has no need to rewind time anymore. In the previous world, she used her time manipulation magic to attempt to save Madoka countless number of times. Once the new world came into being, her shield and the power to rewind time became a thing of the past. Homura is reluctant to part with it, but sees no reason to keep it around and drops the shield into the streets below. As the shield hits the ground, a blast of magic bursts forth from the center of the shield temporarily blinding Homura. A blackhole appears where the shield was. Homura enters and finds herself wandering a vast world, black ‘pins’ dotting the otherwise empty landscape. Homura is uneasy since this place feels like somewhere she’s seen before. She hears a voice calling her name and she begins running and calling out. She hears the voice calling her name once more and Homura is almost certain it is Madoka calling. The floor beneath her gives way into strands of hair and she turns, ready to fire her bow at any enemy that may come at her. Instead she finds herself staring into the right eye of Kriemhild Gretchen.
Back in the city, Homura sits on the ground gasping for breath as the shield quietly lays on the ground beside her. She can’t comprehend what the thing inside her shield is but the feeling it gives her leaves her little doubt as to its nature: that thing is a witch. Now that the shield has accomplished its purpose as a time manipulation device, another dimension was constructed inside it. And in it, the memory of that ‘thing’ still haunts it. There should be no more witches in this new world because Madoka rewrote the universe so she would be the one to fight them for all eternity. Homura raises the shield above her head, ready to smash it, but stops. She realizes if what she saw was really a witch, then the Madoka that must fight witches for eternity must be inside as well. Homura decides it would be better to forget about this completely and proceeds to rewrite her own memories with her magic, burying the memory of the shield and the creature within to the deepest part of her memories. She strongly feels her duty to protect the world Madoka protected no matter how much the world or her magic may change because she is the shield that protects Madoka.
In the present, Homura awakens, a piece of building debris pinning her to the ground. She looks up at the transformed wraith towering above her. Homura has finally remembered everything and realizes that it was the power of the shield that they absorbed that caused the wraiths to mutate and go rogue. However, she is bleeding profusely and doesn’t have her magic back yet in order to heal herself. Close by, Wraith-Madoka lays heavily injured but her hands still hold the ribbon she took from Homura. As she reaches for the ribbon, Homura berates herself for altering her memories so much she doubted the existence of Madoka. Rather than protect her world she ended up causing this horrible disaster instead. She reaches out once more and begs Madoka “please lend me -”, but before she can finish her thought, Madoka takes her hand and holds it. Madoka smiles warmly at Homura and tells her it’s alright now. She told Homura before that she is someone that exists for her. Madoka holds her hands out and Homura is enveloped in light. Homura gasps as she stares at an unknown figure, her looks changed to that of her previous self with braids and glasses. Flower petals swarm around them both. Homura walks closer to the figure and sees that it is herself but different: her twin wears a long white dress, loose hair, and a hollow core with an orb of light in the center. Homura asks her twin what this place is. A hite bird lands on the white-dressed Homura’s hand as she explains that Homura’s consciousness has been temporarily separated and is now in this place, which is the inside of Homura’s soul gem. She reassures her that she is not her enemy and is actually a piece of the power that was stolen by the wraiths. When her magic power was stolen, her power continued to watch from inside the wraiths as Wraith-Madoka. Once Wraith-Madoka’s body fell apart, the magic power was freed and was able to return to Homura. While her magic power was inside the wraiths, it was able to meddle with a small part of them in order to go to Homura’s side and help guide her. However, she could not take total control over the wraith she overpowered and had to take drastic measures in order to return to Homura. The emotions that were stolen by the wraiths were used as a guide for Homura’s magical power to find a way to oppose the mutant wraiths. When Wraith-Madoka took Homura’s soul gem and Homura with her, she was able to temporarily acquire the rest of Homura’s powers in order to aid Kyoko and Mami in fighting off the rogue wraiths. After the body was destroyed, Homura’s magical power thought it wouldn’t be possible for the magical energy to return to her true body. While there were no guarantees it would work, there wasn’t any other way for her to proceed. Braided Homura asks what was in the shield that made the wraiths mutate and go rogue, and if it was that magic that caused this white-dressed Homura to come into existence. The white-dressed Homura, her magical power, explains that the origin of her time magic and her current magic differ from one another. In Homura’s soul gem there exists two kinds of magic, the shield of time manipulation and the bow of memory manipulation. White-dressed Homura causes the landscape to shift in order to better show how this second magic came to be. The two Homuras are transported to the same cosmic realm in which Homura bid farewell to Madoka. When Madoka’s wish changed the laws of the universe, Homura should have lost all memories of her. The flashback plays before their eyes as Madoka bids farewell to Homura and tells her it may be possible that she will return to her world with her memories of Madoka still, even if it’s a small chance a true miracle may still happen. Braided Homura asks why she managed to keep her memories of her even if the rest of the world forgot about her. White-dressed Homura responds that a true miracle did occur. When a magical girl makes a miracle happen, it gives birth to the crystallization of her soul . Homura and Madoka transcended the laws of the universe and their strong reciprocral feelings for each oher took form and became the memento that was passed from Madoka to Homura. From this the power to manipulate memories and the power to destroy wraiths was born, becoming Homura’s newfound powers. Braided Homura then asks if White-dressed Homura is the result of that wish and magic which she replies is correct. Because Homura’s second miracle was granted without a normal exchange, separated from the laws of the universe, it was considered an incomplete magic. Neither of the girls noticed this new miracle and the newfound power took temporary residence inside Homura’s soul gem. After some time, it began to interfere with Homura’s original magic which caused the shield, which was the path to an obsolete timeline, to suddenly link up with Madoka. Braided Homura looks uncertain and asks if what she saw inside the shield was no different than a witch. White-dressed Homura finishes her sentence for her and says that while she had no way to be sure if Madoka was indeed inside the shield fighting that witch, she just knew it to be true and had no choice but to erase her memories of the shield. Inside the vastness of the shield there lies a witch and wherever a witch exists then Madoka is sure to be there as well. But she chose to continue her mission with unshakeable conviction because she knew that someday, she would be freed from the burden that is the shield and be with Madoka once more. Forgetting about the shield in order to protect Madoka’s world became a miscalculation and when the shield was stolen by the wraiths, the magic of the shield got out of their hands and caused them to decompose. The innumerable curses contained inside came gushing forth and consumed the wraith that absorbed the magic and curses of the shield, causing it to consume the other wraiths around it until before long the uncontrolled curses transformed the bodies of the wraiths into that giant grotesque form as well as the mutant wraiths. The hopes and curses of humans are no something that the cause and effect laws of this world could assimiliate. Now the giant transformed wraith has begun its countdown on the annihilation of this world. Right now there isn’t a single wraith left that still carries its true purpose anymore, only the manifestation of a ‘true witch’ whose sole reason for existence is to bring calamity to the world. Should it not be stopped, this world will follow the same fate as the former world of witches. Braided Homura squeezes her fist and stands. She tells the white-dressed Homura if she really is her magic, to lend her power to take back the shield from the wraith’s hands before that thing destroys the world. Desperate, she tells her magic if she still has the power to manipulate time, she’ll rewind time until she can steal back her magic from the wraiths. Suddenly, Sayaka stands before her and asks her if she has the determination to kill that wraith since doing so may cause her to lose the time manipulation shield forever. Mami appears and warns Homura there's no guarantee her magic will return even if she does defeat the wraith. Kyoko also appears from nowhere and asks Homura if the shield is the proof that Madoka exists, didn't she doubt her existence just by tampering with her own memories. If she loses the shield, won't she suffer again the way she did when she doubted her own memories earlier, they ask. Sayaka steps forward, unsheathing her saber and taunts Homura, asking her if the reason she didn't destroy the shield when she realized Madoka could be inside it as well was because she wanted to meet with her. The three magical girls turn into the wraith versions of themselves and ask Homura if she wouldn't rather throw away this world and run away to the world of the shield where Madoka is. The Wraith-Madoka walks up to Homura and reminds her that she is a special power not bound by the laws of this world because she is a magical power born from her feelings for Madoka. Should Homura wish for it, a miracle could happen once more, even the power necessary to meet Madoka. Homura looks down, then decides she won't see her until she's defeated all the wraiths because it's her wish to protect Madoka. New powers or losing the shield won't change her wish and she couldn't let the world Madoka gave her life for be destroyed. Homura tried to run away from the pain of loneliness, and she still doubted the existence of the person who was more precious than anyone or anything and because of that people who had nothing to do with it were involved. But if she were to abandon this world and meet Madoka again, Homura doubts she would shower her with her smile. Wraith-Madoka holds Homura and tells her she did the best she could until the end. She looks at her and warns her she may doubt her memories again if she loses the shield, which is the thing that ties them together. Homura takes off her glasses and undoes her braids as she tells Wraith-Madoka that as long as the shield exists, she will never be able to meet Madoka again. Wraith-Madoka closes her eyes and becomes the White-dressed Homura once more as Homura turns to her and declares her words to be her feelings towards Madoka. She asks her magic to lend her power once more, not as the shield that protects Madoka but as the power that smites anyone who threatens Madoka. The Homura in the white dress glows and transforms into Homura's diamond-shaped soul gem, the same magic symbol that once adorned Wraith-Madoka in the center of the gem. The gem tells her it is the crystallization of her feelings for Madoka and to remember her precious unforgettable emotions for her. This is the miracle that was granted to Homura.
Back in the city a light glows brightly as the transformed giant-wraith's familiars hover in the city. Homura is suspended momentarily as she transforms into a magical girl, this time with her black bow in her hands and magic wings swirling from her back. She readies her bow for battle and a black rose sprouts from the end. She draws back an arrow as the familiars begin to swarm in her direction and throw black bolts of energy of their own. Homura unleashes a blinding arc of magic which completely disintegrates the hoard of familiars. As Homura prepares a giant crossbow of black swirling magic and aims it at the giant wraith, she realizes that the magic overflowing her body are her feelings for Madoka. She launches the arrow down straight at the core of the giant wraith which causes it to crack and burns the smaller wraiths on the ground. As Homura drives the arrow in further by hand, the wraith cracks open and the terrible eye of Kriemhild Gretchen stares back, the time shield where its pupil would be. Homura's soul gem tells her that this world and the previous world where she rewound time are different. Even if she were to activate the shield for example, it might not withstand the burden and she won't be able to rewind this horrible fate. Her soul gem asks if she's prepared for that. Homura passionately declares she's prepared to again and again make a miracle happen. She reaches for the time shield as in her head she asks Madoka to wait for her because one day she believes she'll come for her. But before she can reach it, several pins of black wraith magic pierce Homura's ribs in every direction, preventing her from reaching the shield. As she yells out in protest, her soul gem shines brightly and her magic wings flare back out. She uses them to push her even closer to the shield and strains to reach past the last few inches. Ultimate Madoka grasps Homura by the hand and tells her to give it her best, her silhouette reflected in Homura's eye. Homura touches the shield and it shatters, unleashing a blinding blast of light that envelopes the city and decimates the giant wraith.
Homura floats in an unknown realm where clock gears appear in the background. The White-dressed Homura is there and reaches her hand out to the real Homura. She explains how Madoka came to their help and thanks to her time is rewinding since the curses that shouldn't exist in this world was to change the fate of humanity. As the falling Homura lands in her giant hand, the White-Dressed Homura tells her that their memories will be erased as well this time but she will be here should Homura's resolve waver once more. The scene zooms out to show the White-dressed Homura crouching inside her soul gem.
Homura wakes up back at the station, where Mami and Kyoko stand looking saddened by Sayaka's unexpected departure. Madoka's ribbon remains in her hand. She holds the ribbon to her chest and says Madoka's name, but Mami and Kyoko can only ask who that is. Some time later, Homura sits on a construction rafter looking down on the city. Kyubey tells her that her story is nothing more than hypothesis with no way to prove it. Since Homura is the only one with memories of another world, to him it could be nothing more than a dream she had. Homura throws a handful of used up grief cubes at Kyubey as she watches the parade of wraiths walking the city streets. Kyubey warns her that the miasma is especially thick tonight with no end in sight of the wraiths she must destroy. Homura summons her bow and tells Kyubey not to complain as she drops down to battle the wraiths. Back up on the rafter, Kyubey pops the panel on his back open, revealing a fragment of something. It seems he is the only one to remember anything of the previous timeline of this world and he describes how touching the weapon or body of someone who manipulates time can cause you to share the same time as them. He reveals the fragment to be a piece of the broken time shield of Homura. Kyubey was able to personally witness the phenomenon of the law of cycles and remember everything thanks to this small sample of her weapon. Kyubey knows that one day her soul gem will fill with the color of curses and when that time comes Homura will surely cooperate with him for the sake of this universe. All for the sake of taking possession of the law of cycles, or as Homura called it Kaname Madoka. Homura walks into a dessert filled with wraiths, her wings of black magic stretching out behind her as hundreds of Incubators watch from atop some nearby ruins.