Tart Magica Chapter 9

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Melissa kneels before the unconscious figures of Tart and her father, both mortally wounded by Corbeau's attacks. Kyubey walks over, stating this was not an outcome he expected as it seems the enemy magical girl has matured quite beyond anything he could have imagined. Melissa asks if Kyubey can save both Tart and her father. Kyubey tells Melissa that Tart has been gravely wounded and has also lost a lot of magic power and nothing more can be done since Riz has already tried and failed to revive her. As for her father, who is only human, his life functions will soon shut down permanently. Kyubey explains to Melissa that she will be granted any one wish in exchange for contracting with him, but she would have to become like Tart and would have to fight from now on. Kyubey suspects that is the reason Tart has tried to prevent her from becoming a magical girl all this time. While he can't make a decision for her either, he knows that Melissa is the only thing standing between life and death for both of them and asks her what she will do.

The chapter shifts to a flashback. It is 1418 in the Gascony region of southwest France. La Hire and a fellow mercenary by the name of Jean Poton de Xaintrailles are riding horseback on their way home. La Hire comments that it's been four or five years since he last visited his homeland. Jean asks him why he had the sudden urge to return since he severed all ties to home when he left to become a mercenary. La Hire scoffs and tells him he never actually cut ties to home, he was simply too busy to make it back. Jean looks aside and tells him that he dashed off with him and left his whole family behind. He doesn't know what they'll see if they see him back there again. He leans back and comments on how, despite the years, nothing has changed and wonders how his sister Milene is doing. He suddenly changes attitude and tells La Hire that he feels like a run and is going to go on ahead of him before taking off full gallop. La Hire sighs and says Milene's name. La Hire remembers how Milene looked when he told her that he was going to take Jean with him to leave town. La Hire had told her they had proven themselves in battle more than a few times and were naturals for mercenary work. If he does really well then he'll make more money than he would have as a farmer and may possibly become a noble as well. He promises to come back for her the minute that happens but Milene looks away and tells him to not bother coming back, and that it would be better if him and Jean go fight their precious battles and die in some field somewhere for all she cares. Jean holds La Hire back as he yells at Milene, angry at her response to his marriage proposal. Milene calls him a grown man with the mind of a child and to leave now. La Hire storms out, telling her to not come crawling to him when he's rich because he won't take her back. As the two leave, Milene holds her belly and thinks to herself that she would never want to be a burden to him.

As La Hire arrives at the town, Jean is there talking to the parish priest and looking distraught. It seems that not only has his father and mother died, but Milene as well. The priest explains that plague struck the town last year and everyone in the household fell to the illness. As La Hire and Jean curse themselves for not having returned sooner, the priest continues to explain that the only survivor was Milene's baby who was taken in by the church with all the other plague orphans. La Hire grabs the priest by the soldiers and demands to know where she is. The priest tells him that she is a very pious girl and most likely will be found praying over her family in the graveyard. A very young Melissa is shown kneeling in prayer over a simple wooden cross marking a grave with a few flowers strewn over the earthen mound. La Hire stands there, out of breathe from having ran over. Melissa turns her head and asks if he needs something of her. Her appearance is identical to that of her mother, Milene. He tells her that he was born in this village and had known Milene since they were kids. Melissa assumes he is there to pray over her grave as well and steps to one side but La Hire doesn't believe he has the right to do so. He asks her her name and who her father is, but to that she has no clue. She begins to tell him that her father hasn't been around since she was born but she's interrupted by the arrival of Jean calling out La Hire's real name of Eti. He introduces himself to Melissa and explains he's Milene's little brother and therefore her uncle. Melissa stares at La Hire and says that before she died, her mother was delirious with pain and kept saying "Eti, don't leave me...". Jean confirms what he heard in the village, saying Melissa was born only six months after they left. La Hire puts two and two together and angrily lashes out, yelling at Milene for not trying to stop them from leaving when she knew she was pregnant, much less not even writing a letter to them once. He accuses her of sneaking around with someone else and getting pregnant and then selfishly dying. Melissa has had enough and begins to pound her fists on La Hire, demanding he stop badmouthing her mother. He turns to her angrily but realizes she looks exactly like Milene did when she mocked his self-titled nickname of La Hire. Jean tells La Hire that Melissa is indeed his daughter and he relents, knowing that Milene had driven him off because she had wanted him to have his freedom. He slumps to the ground and apologizes to Melissa. He tells her that he is her father and promises to never leave her behind. He reaches out a hand and Melissa grabs it, both of them in tears.

As the flashback ends, La Hire thinks to himself about how he had promised to protect this girl even at the cost of his own life. As he lays on the ground teetering on unconsciousness, he sees Melissa stand before him with her back to him, dressed as a magical girl. He wonders why Melissa would choose to become like La Pucelle before passing out. Kyubey sits watching La Hire and suspects that his mind couldn't keep up with his sudden recovery. He tells Tart that both their grave wounds were healed by the wish Melissa made. Tart is dismayed to hear this. Meanwhile, Melissa stands holding her spear-like polearm defiantly and yelling at Corbeau for having dared to hurt Tart and her father. She swings her polearm in a wide circle and a cone-like object magically linked to her weapon arches through the air, lightning crackling in its wake. She aims it at Corbeau, who leaps into the air. Melissa swings her polearm upwards, causing her projectile to change course and launch itself at Corbeau once more. As Corbeau lands, the projectile remains hovering in the air until Melissa swings her polearm down once more and aims it directly at Corbeau. Corbeau dodges, and pauses to question the cone-like projectile that is part of Melissa's weapon. Suddenly, Riz appears from behind Corbeau and aims several daggers at her which Corbeau narrowly blocks. She realizes now that Melissa was aiming her attacks wide in order to target the feathers that were preventing Riz from fighting. Melissa charges her projectile, which begins to emit a bright light from its center. She warns Riz to get back as a huge orb of light envelopes the projectile. In its wake, only a large hole spanning the width of the bridge is left. Corbeau wonders what kind of magic it is as Melissa curses herself for having missed her. Corbeau is impressed with the new magical girl and tells Melissa that with her kind of power she may be able to take her down, assuming she can get close enough to hit her.

Tart by this time has raced over and is surprised to find Melissa is now a magical girl. Tart tells her that Kyubey explained everything and how Melissa used her one wish for her sake. Melissa says she has no regrets since it was what she wanted and was able to save both her and her father's lives. Corbeau, having thought Tart was finished off earlier, laughs to herself now that she can have her fun again. She had been hoping to have the pleasure of killing all of them off herself. She turns to the girls, who are poised and ready for anything, and asks if they can tell her something. She knows Melissa made her wish to save the life of Tart, but she doesn't know how she became a magical girl in the first place and who granted her wish. Melissa turns to where Kyubey is sitting and watching everything unfold but Corbeau does not recognize nor know what kind of creature he is and what he has to do with anything. Riz is surprised to find that Corbeau does not know who Kyubey is. Corbeau shrugs and says that as long as she leaves one of them alive then Minou can "extract" all the information she needs from her. She calls out to Fleche once more to back her up but Riz has already grabbed Melissa and Tart and pulled her into her shadow realm just as once of Fleche's magic arrows lands where they stood. Riz pops out of a shadow behind Corbeau, throwing her off as she realizes that Riz can jump from shadow to shadow. As she throws a feather dagger at her, Riz disappears into a shadow once more before reappearing at Corbeau's feet behind her. Corbeau is beginning to get irritated and demands to know if Riz thinks she can really defeat her with such cowardly attacks while running around. Riz tells her that what she was really doing was testing the limits of Corbeau's power by determining whether Corbeau would dodge or take the hit from such weak attacks. After dancing around her, Riz has determined that Corbeau's magic only extends to about 50 meters from her. Now that Riz knows her secret, she declares it's the end for Corbeau.

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