Tart Magica Chapter 17

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Tart, Riz, Melissa and Elisa stand ready as they face down an army of witches that Minou has summoned to destroy them. The first witch, who appears like a gigantic woman in a dress with a tassel for a head, brings her arm down on our heroes who are just barely able to leap out of harms way. Tart blocks the witch's arm with her bare strength and slashes at it with her sword. The cleaved half of the arm falls heavily on the ground behind her but before she can react, the hand of another witch reaches for Tart. However Melissa is able to block the attack on Tart with her polearm just in time, warning Tart to not overdo it. Riz calls out to the others, advising them to stay together as there are a vast number of witches they must face. Tart summons her strength as she prepares to take out all of the witches at once but Riz warns her not to do so, knowing Minou's strategy is to deplete their magic as much as possible. As Elisa fires left and right with her rifle, she tells Tart she won't have to use her magic since she'll take out all the witches for her. Minou watches the battle rage on before her and decides that this small contingency of witches won't be enough to stop them and turns to where Lapin now stands. She tells her this is her chance to avenge the death of their sister Corbeau as Lapin stands there seething, promising to tear them limb from limb. She races down to the fight, summoning her rabbit-shaped discs as she goes. As Melissa turns to see what's happening, she transforms back into a regular human and just narrowly dodges an attack from a witch. Elisa turns to face Lapin as she threatens to kill them, but her rabbit-shaped discs shatter in midair. Both Tart and Melissa transform back into magical girls as it was Riz who had shot the discs down with her daggers, figuring out it's her eyes and those discs that cause them to lose their transformations. Lapin turns her eyes towards Riz who detransforms, but Riz warns her if she really wants to use her power on her since she'll be playing right into her hands. Lapin won't listen and tells her to shut up as she begins to slash at a depowered Riz with her scythe. Despite this, Riz is easily able to dodge her attacks and slashes at more of her rabbit-shaped discs with her sword, realizing that Lapin is not as used to battle as Corbeau was, and thus Riz will not need to be transformed in order to defeat her. Lapin acknowledges that it was always Corbeau who did the fighting for them and accuses Riz of murdering her. Riz informs her that it was actually Minou that took her life. At these words, Lapin snaps and tells her that's a lie as her soul gem begins to grow dark with despair and impurities. She slashes at Riz wildly, angry that Riz would dare to utter such words. As Riz dodges and blocks her attacks, she notices Lapin's soul gem growing steadily darker and knows she must end the fight quickly lest Lapin transforms into a witch again. She aims the hilt of her sword directly at her soul gem, aiming to shatter it, but she's too late as at that moment Lapin transforms into a witch. The girls know if they defeat Lapin, she will simply transform back into a magical girl so they plan on having Melissa hit her with her anti-matter magic and eliminate her completely. Melissa runs towards Lapin in order to retrieve her weapon as Tart goes with her to defend against any possible attacks. Elisa also defends against the witches as Melissa moves closer to Lapin. Just as Lapin flashes her eyes at Melissa, she sinks into her shadow thanks to Riz and reappears behind Lapin, polearm in hand. She brings her polearm down directly onto Lapin with all the strength she can muster and detonates her conical attachment. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to destroy her completely, as a now human Lapin emerges from the bottom of the crater formed by the explosion. Lapin threatens them once more as she staggers to her feet, her soul gem now cleansed. The girls wonder if it's even possible to stop her since she is effectively immortal.

Minou laughs to herself, as this is just the outcome she had hoped for. Minou recalls when she and her sisters stood against a witch (whose imaged is blurred from view) back when Corbeau was the only one who was a magical girl. Lapin and Minou are crying to one side as Lapin cries out that she didn't want it to end like this. She promises to become a magical girl too and wishes for someone to return to how she was. Melissa prepares to use her magic once more to attack Lapin again, but Riz reminds her that there are still too many other witches for her to waste her magic like that and tosses her a grief seed. Before it can reach Melissa, Minou lashes with her whip and knocks the grief seed away. She then summons a portal beneath Melissa as Elisa races to protect her. Minou smiles and transports both of them away to an unknown location. As Tart calls out for her friends, a worm-like witch lashes at her with its tongue but Riz cuts it down with one of her daggers. She warns Tart not to lose focus as they try to cut their way out of the throng.

Melissa and Elisa look around for Tart and Riz as they stand inside a witch's barrier. Minou appears behind them as she promises they won't be bored here and summons several more magical girls from her portals. Once more, she raises her hand and several seals burn despair into the magical girls, causing them to transform into witches. The two girls begin to fight off the witches, Elisa firing her gun at a giant snail-like witch and Melissa swings her polearm heavily into it from behind. Melissa calls out to Elisa to hurry so they can go and find Tart and Riz, but an octopus witch with a mushroom for a head sneaks up behind her and slams a tentacle at Melissa. Back at the first battlefield, Tart is knocked aside heavily by the the claw of a witch as she struggles to stand. Riz continues to fight with Lapin, but was distracted by Tart getting hit and Lapin takes advantage of this distraction to slice at her with her scythe. Riz stands in front of Tart to defend her as she tries to think of some way to finish this battle off. Tart is nearing her limit and even though they've significantly thinned out the herd of witches, Lapin is sure to repeat the same cycle of rebirth once she's defeated. Lapin smiles maliciously as she realizes the girls are beginning to wear out and runs at them again, black energy swirling out of her as she charges her scythe and swings it at Riz. Both Riz and Tart are thrown back by the attack as Riz struggles to stand. Tart insists she can still fight defeat, straining heavily to stand on her feet as well. Riz promises she will protect her as she picks up Tart in her arms, and Tart looks up at her and smiles. Tart knows that now is not the time to be reminiscing, but before they met Melissa and Elisa she remembers how Riz and her would always fight every battle together and even then Riz was always by her side protecting her. Riz insists Tart was saving her as well but Tart protests that it was always her being saved, even as far back as Domremy village. The two girls smile and laugh. Lapin stamps her foot angrily, demanding to know what's so funny and promising to kill the two of them right then and there. The two girls stand, declaring they will never give up as Tart grips the hilt of her sword. Riz puts her hand over Tart's hand on her sword and declares, "Tart is my...our light of Hope!!". Riz is the shadow drawn to the light and while shadows may be banished, she will never allow this light to be snuffed out.