This never happened...
Ohtori Kanae was fragile. There was no other word for her. Fragile and timid, the sort of girl who faded into the background. But she had such potential.
“I don’t think I’m the kind of girl who’s made for incredible power,” Kanae said to Kyubey.
“You’re just saying that because you need confidence!” Kyubey replied cheerfully. “There’s nothing unladylike about being a magical girl, you know.”
Kanae blushed. “I’m still not sure my fiance would approve.” She looked down, a demure smile on her face.
Kyubey’s ear’s twitched. “Fiance, huh? What’s he like?”
“He’s very kind and very grown up.” Kanae twisted her fingers. “I feel like a child next to him.”
“You want to grow up?”
Kanea shook her head. “I shouldn’t tell any of this to a stranger.”
“I’m not a stranger! We’re friends, aren’t we?”
Kanae thought for several moments, then nodded. “I suppose we are.” She was quiet again. “He’s very kind,” she said finally, “but I don’t think he loves me.” She paused, taking in the weight of that admission. “Could… could a wish make him love me?”
“A wish can do anything.”
Kanae twisted her fingers even tighter. “But I think he would love me, if not for… someone else. Could I make someone disappear with my wish?”
“No!” Kanae exclaimed, horrified. “I… don’t want to kill her. I just want her… gone.”
“Seems like a technical distinction to me,” Kyubey remarked. “But, again, a wish can do anything. You can make someone disappear if you want.”
Kanae nodded slowly. “Can I think about it?”
“Of course. But there are a lot of other girls here who will want to make contracts. I can’t say no to one of them if you take too long.”
Kanae hurried off. She hadn’t said yes. But Kyubey could tell it was only a matter of time. She had so much potential.
This didn’t happen either...
“This is insane,” Shiori said. But it didn’t feel insane. Surely, talking to a living stuffed animal about magical powers was the craziest thing that had ever happened to her. (Flashes. A sword. A coffin. Juri screaming.) But here she was.
“It’s real,” the creature, Kyubey, said. “I promise you that.”
“Why would I want anything to do with this? Fighting monsters? I’m not cut out for that sort of thing. I’m just ordinary.” She completely failed to keep the bitterness out of her voice on the last word.
“You’re really not. You have the potential to be an extremely powerful magical girl. You’re the first person here I’ve made an offer to.”
“Really?” Shiori’s eyes widened slightly. “Me? I’d assumed you’d asked… other people.”
“Not yet. Should I?”
“No,” Shiori said quickly. “Well, I don’t care.”
“I asked you first, because I can see you’re special. Being a magical girl is a very special thing. I can’t ask just anyone. Ordinary people can’t really understand.”
“No, of course they couldn’t,” Shiori said thoughtfully.
“And of course you get your wish.”
“My wish,” Shiori murmured. “My wish is to be better than her. I want something she doesn’t have. I want her to be chasing after me for once.”
Kyubey made a little shrugging motion. “Well, you won’t even need your wish for that. But you can use the wish that way. Decide quickly though. I need to make a contract soon to start fighting witches.”
“And if it isn’t me, it will be someone else.”
“I’m afraid so. But you’re going to make a contract with me, right? So it doesn’t matter.”
“Right.” Shiori said. She took a deep breath. “I accept your contract.”
A flash of light, and Shiori had never felt so powerful.
So this is clearly impossible...
“Bullshit,” Juri bit out.
“I don’t lie,” Kyubey insisted.
“Magical wishes? Those are just other words for miracles. And I don’t believe in miracles.”
“So, your answer is no?”
“My answer is absolutely no.”
“That’s understandable,” Kyubey said with a reasonableness that Juri found suspicious. “It’s really dangerous, being a magical girl. Witches are fierce, and while magical girls are powerful, things can still go wrong.”
“Is this still your sales pitch?” Juri asked sardonically.
“For that reason,” Kyubey continued as if Juri hadn’t spoken, “it’s safest to have a team of magical girls. Right now I only have one.”
Juri didn’t want to ask. She didn’t want him to think he could get to her. She couldn’t stop herself though. Another damn game for her to be caught up in. “Who?”
Of course. Some part of Juri had known it would be her. “And you think that changes things for me?”
“I thought it might. I confess I don’t always understand you humans.”
Shiori was in danger. Shiori needed Juri’s help. And wasn’t this what she had always wanted, a small unpleasant voice whispered? The opportunity to ride to Shiori’s rescue, to be someone Shiori truly needed. Shiori’s knight in shining armor. Her prince.
“She won’t want me there,” Juri said, showing little emotion. “I know her.”
“Does that matter?” Kyubey asked, appearing genuinely curious.
“Of course it matters!” But did it matter more than Shiori’s safety? She could hate Juri forever, as long as she was alive to do it. She sighed. “She’s going to hate me.” She looked hard at Kyubey. “Shiori stays safe. Anything that tries to hurt her goes through me first. That’s my wish.”
“Agreed. We have a contract.”
Juri felt an enormous rush of something strange and terrible. She hated miracles.
This also didn’t happen...
Kozue’s laughter rang out mockingly. “I don’t think so,” she told Kyubey. “I don’t belong on anyone’s good girl squad.”
“It isn’t like that,” Kyubey told her. “We need fierce warriors.”
“So what? Why should I care what you need?”
“You get a wish.”
Kozue bared her teeth. “I don’t need wishes. I take what I want.”
Kyubey cocked his head. “There are still lots of things I don’t understand about humans, but I know there’s always something you want.” Kozue’s jaw clenched. “The wish isn’t free,” Kyubey went on. “It’s not handed to you. You only get it by becoming a magical girl. Not everyone’s strong enough for that.”
Kozue snorted. “There are certainly plenty of weak people around.”
“But you’re not one of them.”
“Hell no. But other people...” She tightened her fists. “I’m trying to make him strong enough to survive this place, but he refuses to see that. If it were up to him, we’d find ourselves devoured.”
“That could be your wish, to make him see.”
“You could really do that?”
“The wish can do anything.”
“And all I have to do is fight these big, scary witches?”
Kozue laughed sharply. “There’s nothing as scary as I am.” She didn’t think for a second that this Kyubey had noble motives, or that he cared about helping her. No one was selfless like that. But that was fine with her. She could use this strange creature just like she’d used the chairman, and they could all use her in return. What did it matter as long as she got what she wanted?
Kozue smiled a wild, terrible grin. “What are we waiting for?” she asked.
This... this might have happened.
It was a shift in the wind that told Anthy something had changed on her campus. There was a new presence here, a powerful one. From the way the shadows whispered, she knew she had to find it fast before something that would very much displease her occurred.
“Being a magical girl is actually a lot like being a prince!”
The wind carried voices to Anthy, and she quickened her steps, taking the secret twists and turns across the campus that only existed for those who knew where to find them.
“Huh, I guess I never thought about it like that.”
Walking even faster, Anthy stepped out of the-behind-the-scenes-place onto the grassy hill and trod quite firmly on the creature who had been talking to Utena.
“Oh my!” she cried out in a tone of pure, innocent horror. “Utena-sama, I’ve hurt this poor animal.” She dropped to the ground and cradled it in her hands.
Utena looked at her kindly. “It’s all right, Himemiya. See, he’s still breathing just fine. You probably just startled him.”
Anthy looked at Utena, bringing up tears to wet her eyes. “Oh, thank goodness.”
Utena smiled. “Himemiya, you’re so tender with animals.” She looked up as the bell rang throughout campus. “Oh man, we’re going to be late.”
“Please go on ahead, Utena-sama,” Anthy entreated. “I’d hate for you to be late, but I can’t leave this poor little thing.”
Utena looked unsure, but she relented. “Okay. Catch up when you can.”
Anthy beamed. “Thank you so much, Utena-sama.” She waited until Utena was completely out of sight before she grabbed the thing by the neck. “You are not welcome here, Incubator,” she hissed. “This is not your kingdom, and the people here do not belong to you.” She tightened her grip. Strangling the Incubator wouldn’t end it anymore than such a thing would end her, but it felt good. “Especially not her. She is mine.”
“Does your other half know that?”
Anthy refused to let the barb hit home. “He isn’t any of your concern. He certainly won’t show you any mercy.” She released her grip on the Incubator. “Get out of here.”
The Incubator stared at her with its unblinking eyes. “And if I don’t?”
“Then,” Anthy said, very softly, with a hatred of aeons, “I will show you what a witch really is.” She stood. “Run away, little Incubator. Find your prey somewhere else. There will never be a shortage of it.”
The Incubator kept staring a few moments longer. Then it turned around and hurried away, out of Ohtori and into another place.
The light glinted strangely off of Anthy’s glasses, obscuring her eyes. Then she heard Utena’s voice. “Himemiya! Hurry!”
“I’m coming Utena-sama!” she called brightly. She turned and ran towards Utena’s voice without looking back.