Tart Magica Chapter 8
It is April 29th, 1429 and the French army are in Orleans before the Burgundy Gate. Tart is showing off her banner to Riz, Melissa and La Hire. The banner shows two angels holding flowers, kneeling on clouds on either side of a sitting Kyubey with an additional angel's halo floating above his head. Riz thinks it looks ugly while Melissa thinks it looks wonderful. Tart explains she was allowed to choose any pattern for her banner and embroidered this one herself. La Hire asks her if she couldn't have made a banner that would strike fear into the English instead before turning to the army and telling them to move out.
As Tart rallies the soldiers with her banner, La Hire turns to Batard and asks if the leg he injured in the last battle of Orleans is better. Batard replies that while it may not be perfect, with all this excitement he feels no pain at all. He watches Tart and tells La Hire that she feels like hope personified since she's brought the demoralized Orleans soldiers back to life again. England's siege of Orleans began the prior year, on October 17th, 1428, so by this time, nearly all of the surrounding fortresses and strategic locations around the city had been taken by the English. On April 28th, Tart and her forces met the Batard Jean outside of Orleans. And on the next day, the 29th, under cover of night to keep from alerting the watching English, she and a small guard of soldiers entered the city with supplies. Meanwhile, the leader of the relief forces, Gilles de Rais, awaited his chance to combine all their forces. Then on May 4th, they managed to form up Orleans guard with the main relief forces, and headed by Gilles de Rais, the French army began their counterattack against the English. Scenes of battle and of wounded soldiers being tended to their injuries cover the pages. On May 4th, they retook the Saint-Loup fortress. On May 6th, the Saint-Jean-Le-Blanc fortress. Then, they took back the Saint-Augustine Fort.
The chapter shifts scenes and shows the French army's camp at night. Insider her tent, Melissa hands Tart a drink and congratulates her on the wonderful work she did that day. Though she saw it only from a distance, Melissa believes that Tart cut a dashing figure as she stood at the head of the French Army. Tart blushes and tells Melissa she too was brave, since she was in charge of supplies and nursing the wounded men back to health. Melissa sighs and says that's all she can do even though she wishes she could fight alongside Tart and her father. She tells Tart that she's been thinking for a long time about becoming a magical girl since Kyubey said she had the talent for it. If she did, then she could save far more people than she can now. Tart pounces on Melissa, pinning her down and telling her not to put herself in danger now that they've become friends. Melissa asks if Tart if she's drunk as Kyubey wonders if the drink she had was wine.
Outside, La Hire, Gilles and Batard Jean toast their wine glasses as they talk about the success of their most recent battles. It seems that the "divine protection of La Pucelle" is real and the men feel confident in waging a two-pronged attack from both Orleans and St. Augustine Fort. Batard Jean would rather wait until more reinforcement arrive before they attempt to take back Les Tourelles, the most important fort in the area. Gilles is surprised he would rather take the passive route but La Hire guesses correctly that Batard would rather not face those powerful masked girls again without the necessary forces. Riz walks over, having overheard part of their conversation, and tells them that while it is very probable that they are the only ones who can face them, it will be she who will fight them. La Hire smiles at Riz and guesses correctly once more that she means to protect Tart. At this point Melissa stumbles into view as she tries to dislodge an inebriated Tart who is tied tightly around her waist. Once Tart notices Riz, she unlatches herself from Melissa's waist and latches onto Riz's instead, calling her Big Sister Riz. As Riz ponders what to do with Tart, Melissa notes that she's a hugger when she gets drunk and is liable to clamp onto anyone. Gilles overhears and attempts to sashay over to Tart but Riz is onto his plan and tells him not to step any closer. Batard smiles and says he was a fool for giving in to fear and agrees to attempt to take back Les Tourelles as planned. By this point Tart has fallen asleep standing up while holding onto Riz.
It is May 7th and inside Les Tourelles the supreme English commander of the invasion of Orleans, William de la Pole, is furious with the report he has just received. The soldiers have informed him they have lost as many forts in only three days ever since La Pucelle joined the French Forces. He yells at them, asking if they know how many months it took before they finally had Orleans surrounded but is then interrupted by Corbeau, who reminds him that is was her and her sister's power that allowed them to do it. Corbeau sits in elegant apparel as the mysterious magical girl that was left with her stands by her side. As the English military commander, John Talbot, appeases Corbeau and agrees with her, Corbeau tells the men if worse comes to worst, they can give them the fort at Les Tourelles and if need be she will murder the french army, the people of Orelans and La Pucelle all at once. While La Pole may be pleased with this, the English Captain William Glasdale is less than pleased with having given up so much to the French army so far and doesn't see why they should listen to some mystery masked woman, preferring to not take another order from her as his pride as an English soldier won't allow it. Corbeau smirks at the words "pride of England" and snaps her fingers. Instantly several holes tear into Glasdale as the mysterious magical girl named Fleche fires her bow at him. Corbeau tells Fleche to take his corpse and dump it into the Loire and questions if anyone else has an opinion to share. The men sit silently. A soldier bursts through the door and announces that a report has come in stating the French are attacking in force with La Pucelle leading the charge. Corbeau stands and transforms into her magical girl state, telling La Pole to leave and take all his soldiers with him as Corbeau wants La Pucelle all to herself.
Corbeau looks out through a large stone window and sees the French soldiers coming at the fortress walls while carrying ladders. As they lean the ladders against the stone walls, hundreds of black feathers fly down and impale several of the soldiers. As Corbeau leaps down to the ground, Riz is standing there waiting for her with Tart by her side. Corbeau bows and introduces herself and when asked by Tart if she's from England, Corbeau tells her she understands nothing. She picks up an injured soldier from the ground by his head before crushing his skull with her bare hand and declares herself to be their enemy. Tart is upset and before she can respond Corbeau has already rushed forward, placing her hand on Tart's face and throwing her several yards backwards. Riz calls out Tart's name but Corbeau has already leaped upward and is coming down at Riz. Riz leaps back before leaping once more at Corbeau, the two of them slashing wildly at each other. Corbeau has taken a wound to her right shoulder. A magic circle appears at her shoulder and Corbeau laughs as she tells Riz that she's a better fighter than that timid holy maiden. As the two continue to fight, Riz notes that Corbeau has no interest in protecting herself. She wonders if she doesn't have healing abilities but figures no one could hold out long fighting this way. Riz stops suddenly as she notices how dark her soul gem has become. Riz knows it shouldn't have become so impure so quickly and Corbeau tells her she noticed it so quickly. As more magical circles appear around Corbeau's wounds, Riz surmises that she has magic that pushes her wounds onto others so she can recover. Corbeau tells her she's close but just off the mark: her magic encompasses everything. From attack strength, defense, and healing to even the normal acts that reduce magical power are all pushed onto the magical girls in the vicinity, meaning her soul gem has never once been afflicted with even the slightest bit of impurity.
Tart has managed to struggle her way back to where Riz and Corbeau are and offers to help. Riz tells her to stay back and Corbeau agrees, snapping her finger which causes Fleche to aim several arrows at Tart, a few of which find their mark. Riz looks up to see Fleche watching them from one of the fortress' towers. Corbeau charges at Riz with another attack but Riz still has a trick up her sleeve and reaches for Corbeau's soul gem. However, Corbeau grabs her by the wrist and tells her she's trying to same thing everyone else does once they learn the secret of her power and slashes at Riz, grabbing her by the head and throwing her down to the ground. She calls out to Fleche, who aims several more arrows at Tart. Corbeau then notices Riz has survived the attack and is struggling to stand so she conjures several black feathers and throws them at Riz, pinning her shadow. She walks towards Tart and tells Riz to watch the show as she dispatches Tart. Riz is unable to move thanks to the black feathers Corbeau threw.
From behind, La Hire strikes at Corbeau with his sword in an attempt to defend Tart, but the attack does nothing to Corbeau, who merely blocks a second sword attack with the back of her arm and throws La Hire face first into the ground essentially knocking him unconscious. Melissa rushes to her father's side and Riz calls out to her, telling her to get away from the front lines as soon as possible. Corbeau tells Fleche to make sure nothing is left of La Hire and Fleche conjures a large spear-like arrow and fits it to her bow. As she unleashes the arrow aimed at Melissa and her father, Tart suddenly stands before them and takes the full brunt of the attack, sparing the two humans. As the dust settles, Tart asks Melissa if she's alright, and thanks heaven she is as Tart stands there with a large hole the size of her fist in her right shoulder. Tart collapses face first as Melissa calls out her name and gives a sob realizing that no one will be able to help her. Corbeau laughs as she says that the magic of La Pucelle is growing steadily weaker and weaker. She tells Riz and Melissa that this holy maiden is leaving on a journey to death but they will soon be following after her. She turns and Melissa is standing there, now a magical girl as she declares that, whatever the future and whatever fate may await them, she too will fight alongside them as a magical girl.