Tart Magica Chapter 7
It is April 1429 and La Hire and Lord Gilles are standing before the gate of the palace of Chinon. La Hire wonders at how quickly the dark mood that was recently spreading among the Dauphin's supporters has disappeared so quickly in the last month alone. Gilles comments on how their defeat at Orleans would naturally bring people down but now all that has changed since they now have La Pucelle on their side. After her audience with the Dauphin, Tart endured many tests conducted by theologians and church officials in the town of Poitiers, south of Chinon. It took three weeks, and afterward, the theologians released a statement summarizing their results: "We could find no evil within the heart of this girl who is called La Pucelle. On the contrary, we found humility, virginity, honesty, and simplicity. We found only good in this girl." Concurring with the Dauphin, the theologians confirmed La Pucelle was a true messenger from God. With this declaration, Tart's fame spread far and wide, and more soldiers came to serve under her lead than the Dauphin's army had been able to rally before.
As Tart and Riz finish their preparations for their upcoming journey, Melissa walks up to Tart and introduces herself, informing Tart that she has been assigned to serve her hereafter. She bows and tells "Mistress Jean" and "Mistress Riz" that she would be honored. Flustered, Tart bows before "Mistress Melissa" and tells her she too would be honored to serve her. Melissa bows again and as the two argue over who is to be called mistress, Riz interrupts the girls. Since they're so close in age and Tart would rather have a friend than a servant, Tart tells Melissa to call her "Tart" since it's the name the angel gave her and only her friends are allowed to use it. Riz also insists on dispensing with the formalities and Melissa beams happily as she too insists on being called just "Melissa". At this point the Dauphin appears and tells Tart that the time has come for her to break the siege of Orleans. He informs Gilles and La Hire that they are in charge of the troops from here to Orleans. Gilles stands before the troops, commanding their attention as he launches into a speech about the severity of their situation and the importance of not allowing Orleans to be captured. However, this time Charles himself and the one he has confirmed as a messenger of God are sending them to Orleans so the soldiers must not fear as the will of Heaven goes with them. The soldiers rally a heartfelt cry as they cheer for victory in the upcoming battle. The chapter details their plans for resupplying and gathering more armor and soldiers on their way from Chinon to Orleans and with that plan, the march to free Orleans was underway.
As they begin their journey, Tart asks Melissa if she's not afraid to be heading into a battlefield. Melissa smiles and tells Tart that she has been with her father since she was little and since he's a mercenary, she has been traveling all of France ever since. At this point she figures she's spent more time on the battlefield than in a regular house. La Hire reminds Melissa that he would rather she not be working with the army and could still stay in Chinon if she'd like, but Melissa wants to be of help to Tart ever since she saw her miracle at the palace. As Tart blushes, La Hire is hurt to realize that he is only an afterthought and that Melissa would rather care for Tart than him. However he warns the girls that this battle will be bigger than anything they've seen before and they better be prepared for it. As the sun begins to sink, La Hire points this out to Gilles and asks if it wouldn't be better to break for the night. Gilles recalls of a small village not too far off and sends La Hire, Tart and her group on ahead to see if they can procure a good campsite. La Hire is shocked at what he finds when they arrive to the village. All of it has been burned to the ground and not a person is to be found. He doesn't believe it to be as a result of an attack from the English since the area was still under the protection of French troops and no report was received concerning an attack. Riz's soul gem glows and her and Tart head out to find a witch as they tell La Hire to not follow after them. La Hire realizes he must report this back to Gilles as soon as possible and, considering the lack of people, tells Melissa to stay put and stay safe until he gets back. He takes off as fast as his horse will carry him as Melissa surveys the ruins. Kyubey appears, startling Melissa with his presence and ability to talk, and introduces himself as Tart's "angel". He tells Melissa to come with him and he'll show her another miracle.
In front of a dilapidated church, the entrance to a witch's barrier can be seen glowing. Riz slashes open the entrance with one of her daggers and they enter the witch's barrier. Inside, familiars posing as flower blossoms with arms in lieu of stems appear and the witch looms over them, appearing like a flower but with a human jaw at the center of its blossom, a braid for a stem and multiple human arms for roots. Two of its root arms hold an unconscious girl aloft. Riz jumps at the witch and makes quick work of its root-arms, freeing the girl from their grasp. The witch slams its fist down on the spot where Riz stood moments ago, but using her shadow magic she is able to materialize to where Tart is standing. Riz tells Tart to keep an eye on the girl as she goes to take care of the witch. Huge arms pop out of the ground around Riz as the witch attempts to attack her. Meanwhile, smaller familiars turn their attention to Tart as she stands defending the girl. They reach out with their stem-arms but Tart grabs hold of them and slams them down into the ground. She turns to kill more familiars and is surprised to find Melissa and Kyubey standing and watching. Kyubey tells Tart and Melissa that Melissa has the talent necessary to become a magical girl, explaining that a third magical girl would certainly not hurt the situation for both France, Tart, and Riz. But only Melissa can determine if she is willing to become a magical girl and so he brought her here to determine that. As Riz notices Melissa in the distance, the ground beneath her ruptures and a large maw covered in eyes and arms erupts from the ground. But the true form of the witch sets its sights on Tart and Melissa and barrels at them. Riz cries out a warning, and as the dust clears an unknown magical girl wearing an outfit like a scholar has placed a barrier between themselves and the witch. She chastises Kyubey for bringing outside interference when a magical girl is in a fight. The magical girl turns and smiles at them, saying she had hoped to use this opportunity to see how powerful La Pucelle truly is. Riz appears from a nearby shadow and points her dagger at this newcomer demanding to know if she was using the witch and what became of the villagers. The mystery magical girl tells Riz that the villagers were evacuated and call her the granddaughter of the white mercenary, causing Riz to glare at her. She assures Riz they share the same objectives and enemies and conjures a sword from thin air with her magic. She hands the sword to Tart and tells her to swing it, adding just a bit of magic to it. Tart swings the sword and the witch is torn apart by its power. Tart is amazed since she gave it only a light swing and can feel that she used less magic than she normally would. The scholarly magical girl tells Tart that girls with her large amount of power often find they have trouble controlling it and this sword, known as the Epee de Clovis, originally lay within the church of Saint Catherine and has been blended with magic. She notices that Catherine was also the name of Tart's sister and when Tart asks how she knew this, the scholarly magical girl replies that the entire nation is focused on her right now. Tart's sister was named after Saint Catherine and this sword was found in a place closely tied to her fate. She asks if Kyubey was the one to choose Tart to which Kyubey replies that Tart is the single most vital person and can turn the whole country upside down. The scholarly magical girl tells Tart that it is her fate to drive off those who wait for her at Orleans, but it is a very dangerous path and she prays it's not too painful for her. With these last words, the magical girl vanishes before their eyes.
Tart asks Kyubey who that girl was. Kyubey tells Tart that she too is a magical girl who seems to be working on the side of France. He imagines that they will no doubt meet up again in the future. Riz tells everyone they should meet back up with the army now that the witch has been defeated and also provide an explanation to Melissa, who all this time has been watching the others without the slightest idea of what's been going on. Riz is suspicious of Orleans, especially in ligh tof the fact that several reports state that it was several young girls that routed the French army.
Back at the outskirts of Orleans, at the fort of Saint-Loup, Lapin is busy singing as she walks along the edge of the outermost wall, kicking the dismembered limbs of dead soldiers out into the distance. Corbeau asks her to go easy with the gore, claiming she's making a huge mess. Lapin laughs and tells her if she gets messy that Corbeau will have to scrub her down later. A magical portal appears and Minou and a heretofore unseen girl walk through it. Minou relays the orders she was given, telling Lapin that she and herself are to return for a short time and leaving Corbeau and the girl she brought here. Lapin is upset that Corbeau "get(s) all the fun!" but Minou settles her down and explains that it would be difficult for Corbeau to fight all out if they are around. Minou tells Corbeau that her orders are to avoid dealing the final blow to Orleans so that it can serve as bait for this girl that was born to bring the light and that she may do as she wishes with said girl. As Minou and Lapin turn to leave through the portal, Corbeau tells Lapin that her scrub down will have to wait. Corbeau laughs to herself and sings out an old French poem, as she thinks of the fun she'll have now that Minou and Lapin are gone and she can unleash her power as much as she wishes.