Tart Magica Chapter 19
La Pucelle had been captured, and reports of her capture spread rapidly throughout France. In those days, the normal procedure for important prisoners was for one side to pay a ransom to the captors on the other side, and the prisoner would be released. At the time, this was simply common sense. However, ever since his coronation, Charles's attitude toward La Pucelle had turned cold. Even so, it was expected that the new king would naturally pay for her ransom. And yet, for some reason, Charles never made an offer for her release. As a result, her captors hastily decided to sell La Pucelle to England and sent her there. Thus, La Pucelle was moved from where she was captured in Compiegne to the town of Rouen near the border channel between England and France.
Charles sits on a throne in his bedchamber with the grand chamberlain La Tremoille standing beside him. Charles questions if this is what he should be doing, and when Tremoille asks for clarification, Charles looks haggardly at him and wonders if it's right that they should be sitting there while she is sold off to England. He wonders aloud if he's merely allowing his fear of his mother to cloud his judgement since it was thanks to Tart's efforts that he was able to become king. As Charles begins to shake, Tremoille attempts to pacify him by reminding him that his divine right to kingship was preordained and would have happened without her help. Besides that, France doesn't need a light that would outshine its king and she's been nothing but trouble lately. He advises that they allow La Pucelle to be sold off to England and use this to their advantage as part of the cease-fire negotiations. Charles begins to protest but the chamberlain shushes him and walks him to his bed, urging him to rest. As the chamberlain leaves the bedchamber, Minou appears from behind him and congratulates him on a job well done. Tremoille kneels before her and thanks her for her praise, uttering his loyalty to the true royal family of France and assuring her that Minou's commands come first before all except Isabeau's. Minou smiles and informs Tremoille that Isabeau has made her wish for the death of La Pucelle known. Minou intends for the hero who saved her country to be tried not simply as a heretic but as a witch and seen to a fitting end.
The new year dawned, and on February 21, 1431 La Pucelle, who should have been a prisoner of war, was put on trial for heresy. To the English, this was a propaganda move, an effort to undermine the power of the new king of France by proving that the one who put him on the throne, La Pucelle, was a heretic. The trial was also a chance for them to take revenge for the bitter losses they had endured up to that point. The chief judge of the heresy trial was Cauchon, a Frenchman who had supported the French-English alliance and had risen in the world because of it. Cauchon was one of the chief architects of the treaty of Troyes that had stripped Charles of the right to rule. He also bore a personal grudge against La Pucelle for, from his point of view, having interfered with his further rise in the world. Despite the fact that she was on trial, she was allowed no defense counsel. She was forced to defend herself unsupported and alone. And as the trial began, in an unprecedented move, Cauchon was not only chief judge, but also prosecutor. The trial continued for three months, and the proceedings bent inexorably toward the predetermined guilty verdict. Of the original seventy charges, Cauchon and the other judges boiled it down to twelve articles of accusation of heresy that were upheld by the church. The twelve articles were presented to La Pucelle, commanding her to "never hold a weapon again" and "never wear armor or any other clothing of men," among other directives. These were presented to La Pucelle to affirm, but she steadfastly refused.
Tart lays on the barren ground of her prison cell, her arms and legs shackled with chains to a large wooden beam on the floor. As she lays there staring blankly in front of her, Kyubey appears and walks up to her. Kyubey didn't expect for her to be tried for heresy after her faith in God led her to fight for France in the first place and notes that Isabeau and her allies do not fight fairly. He asks Tart why she would endure this trial when she knows it's all a sham and whether or not she intends to die without putting up a fight. Tart buries her face in her arms and tells Kyubey that she fought for her country so no one would feel that sorrow again and now that she's lost Riz how can people still expect her to keep fighting. Kyubey turns and mentions that Riz's wish couldn't be granted. Tart asks what he meant by that. Kyubey elaborates, stating that Riz was the grandchild of an Italian hero who had turned traitor. Her grandfather was named John Harkwood, and he was the leader of the White Company Mercenaries. He tended to work for various landowners and nobles and would work for the enemy of a former employer so long as the price was right. The Visconti family had arranged for their daughter to marry Harkwood, and that's how the Viscontis gained control of the White Company. But later, Harkwood betrayed the Viscontis and brought them to ruin. Riz was born into the Visconti family as the granddaughter of a traitor and thus endured a harsh childhood. As part of her agreement to become a magical girl, she wished to be the one from whom a new, true hero would spring. For her, this was a wish that could not be granted until that condition was fulfilled. But since this was the price of her contract, it should have actually come true. So Kyubey set out with Riz in search of her hero and while they met many girls with talent, in the end none of them turned out to be a true hero. Despite all those failures and endless repeated despair, she finally met a certain young girl: Tart. But that is as far as this story goes, for even though the true enemy Isabeau revealed herself for only a moment, it sent everything plunging into a world of despair. It made the king abandon Tart, Riz vanish, and has landed Tart in prison. Isabeau's powers are so great it's possible they may be able to overcome both Riz and Tart's wishes. Kyubey looks at Tart once more and asks her if she won't try again to defeat Isabeau, who brings so much unhappiness to everyone including Kyubey himself.
Minou walks into the prison cell, followed by Isabeau and two maidens who hold the train of Isabeau's gown. She walks up to Tart and begins lashing at her with her whip, mocking her and telling her that mankind has judged her a heretic and deems her unclean. She asks her if it's them she hates or the people who have abandoned her. Minou turns to Kyubey and accuses him of being the source of their trouble as she lashes him with her whip as well. Tart attempts to crawl towards Kyubey, who lays injured on the prison floor, as she feebly calls out for "Monsieur Angel". Minou grinds her boot down onto Tart, asking her if she still thinks she can point her sword at them and in doing so give them the excuse to officially execute her. Before she can continue to torture them, a large booming noise rings out causing the walls to shake. A soldier opens the door to the cell, informing Minou of reports of a French attack. She orders him to get rid of them, but the soldier informs her that it was a larger assault than they had expected since it seems there is a concerted effort throughout France to recapture La Pucelle. She apologizes to Queen Isabeau for the disturbance and vows to go forth herself and decorate the last moments of La Pucelle with the blood of the French.
Outside, Lord Richemont orders his soldiers to fire their cannons. La Hire is surprised and pleased to have found that Lord Richemont himself has come down to aid in their efforts despite the trouble he'd find if King Charles were to find out. Richemont doubts the king could hate him any more than he does already. If anything, he's more surprised to see La Hire here rather than leading the effort to occupy Normandy like he'd been tasked to do. La Hire smirks and tells Richemont he made Batard do the work instead. Gilles slashes at a soldier, eyes aflame as he demands they return Tart back to him personally. Elsewhere on the battlefield, Lord Baudricourt, Bertrand and Jean are also fighting to rescue their comrade in arms, Tart. As the soldiers battle on, Minou appears before them promising they'll be no match for her. Gilles wonders if they'll be able to take her on themselves as he would rather die than live in a world without Tart, and Oswald assures them that all they can do now is sow doubt into the enemy's mind. La Hire for his part knows they have to and will win this fight.
As Tart crawls towards the injured Kyubey, Elisa and Melissa fight their way towards her prison cell, disarming soldiers and sentries along the way. Finally they make their way to where Tart lays, thanks in no small part to the diversion created by the soldiers outside. Both Melissa and Elisa embrace Tart, tears streaming down their faces. Tart is glad to see they're alright but Pernelle, who accompanied them, assures Tart that Minou had been searching everywhere for them while Pernelle hid them until they could be healed. Despite wanting to rescue Tart right away, Pernelle couldn't do so until they had recovered due to the extremely close guard Isabeau had placed around Tart. Tart thanks them for coming to her rescue, but insists they leave her there. She asks them to call the troops off since she doesn't want anyone to lose their life over someone like her, who isn't even worth it. As Melissa tears up, Elisa slaps Tart across the face. She demands to know if Tart has any idea of why all those people out there would risk their lives for her. Even Elisa wishes she were more like her. Tart wonders why a princess would rather be like her. Elisa claims she isn't a princess. Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor, isn't her father. The Empress had a harem of lovers of whom Elisa's father was a part of. Despite being hidden since birth, the Emperor found out about Elisa and exiled both her and her mother from court. Only her Uncle Oswald would have anything to do with her until the day Pernelle and Kyubey came into her life. So she wished to be accepted by the world and just like that her mother was forgiven and both were called back to court. Despite this, Elisa could never shake the feeling that one day she would be thought of as a burden. That is when she began to use her powers for the good of her country, the Emperor and her mother, working herself as hard as she could all in the hopes of being accepted. Tart however, always fought nobly for someone other than herself, never giving up. She asks Tart once more why she thinks all those people out there would risk their lives in order to save her. She holds Tart head in her hands and tells her it's because they love her, they revere her, and they are grateful to their friend. No amount of words could move the hearts of so many people. These people have been inspired by her to go beyond their own personal wants and fears and have united together in their love for her. Elisa asks Tart if she can hear their voices as outside, every soldier cries out the name of La Pucelle. Tart wipes away her tears as she thanks them all for having fought for her. She stands up as she transforms into her magical girl state and promises Riz that she will go forth once more to bring light not only to this country, but to the world.