Tart Magica Chapter 12
Elisa stands before Tart and asks if she's ready. As Tart nods, the two transform into their magical girl states. The two face each other in a small field outside of the castle walls and Elisa notes that out here they can test themselves without constraint. She tells Tart that their audience is waiting so she should go ahead and do her worst. Tart charges at Elisa with her sword drawn and ready, but Elisa has already blocked the attack with the side of her rifle. As Tart pushes against her weapon, she begins to swing it wildly at Elisa, who steps back to dodge the blows. She pauses long enough to fire several shots from her gun at Tart, noting that Tart's attacks have some serious power just as she suspected. Tart takes the shots head on and remains completely unscathed as the dust settles. Elisa is surprised that Tart took no damage and readies herself for the counterattack. Melissa cheers for Tart from the sidelines as Riz watches and wonders what Elisa could be thinking. The chapter flashes back to earlier when Charles and the chamberlain left for the castle. Tart approaches Elisa and asks if she could ask her a question. Tart asks her if she was the one who helped them earlier with the witch in Orleans. Elisa responds that Tart looked like she was struggling a bit, and Tart thanks her profusely for her help. She then asks Elisa if there's anything she can do for her now that she'll be helping them out. Elisa smiles and tells her that she does have one request. Her Uncle Oswald has accepted that Tart is powerful but she herself has yet to see proof of it and asks if Tart would be willing to allow her to witness the power of La Pucelle in person.
The chapter shifts back to the present as Elisa fires repeatedly at Tart point-blank as she tells her she's a sitting duck if she doesn't close the distance. Elisa runs in close to Tart and tells her she's doing her a favor by coming in so close. She fires once more at Tart's chest, and as Tart uses her sword to block the blade on her rifle, Elisa twists the rifle, causing Tart's blade to come flying out of her hand. Elisa swings her foot at Tart's feet, causing her to fall backwards and Elisa points the blade of her rifle right at Tart's soul gem, announcing an end to their match. Elisa walks off and laughs triumphantly as Oswald applauds her performance. Gilles sheds a tear that their maiden was defeated and Jean Batard is thankful she's here to help them out. Elisa announces that the rumors called her a messenger of God but the match today proves you cannot put all your faith into rumors. She had assumed the rumors were exaggerated but even so she would consider La Pucelle a disappointment. La Hire thinks Elisa's words were a bit harsh but Tart only bows her head in apology for not being what she expected. Elisa thinks Tart is rather simple and had thought she had enough wit for a comeback. Riz shakes with rage slightly as she stalks her way to where Elisa is standing. La Hire holds Riz back, reminding her it was nothing more than a sparring match and not to do anything rash against someone who is higher than mere nobility. Melissa however has already approached Elisa and transformed into her magical girl state, asking if she too can spar with her. La Hire panics and asks Riz to try to stop Melissa somehow. Elisa, meanwhile, smiles and asks if it is revenge for La Pucelle. She agrees and comments on how red Melissa's ears have become, telling her not to be so nervous. Before she can react, Melissa grabs Elisa by the cuff of her cape with one arm and throws her high and far into the sky until she is nothing more than a speck. Riz is shocked and La Hire tells her that there's nothing he can do to stop her once she gets truly angry. Riz sighs and says to herself that things are going to get pretty noisy.
Up in the castle, Elisa is lying in bed in her nightgown and is sulking to herself at how easily she defeated La Pucelle in battle despite sensing more power from Tart than even she realizes. She thinks about how powerful and experienced Riz seem to be before conjuring a dark silhouette of Melissa with glowing eyes and thinks to herself that she's the worst one. She buries her face in her pillow once more as she chides herself for her unseemly behavior. Oswald knocks at the door before going in and asks if Elisa is feeling any better. Elisa stands and tells Oswald that she wasn't feeling bad, physically or otherwise. Oswald is relieved to hear it and reminds Elisa that despite her power, all too often her greatest weakness is her pride. At first Elisa yells at Oswald telling him she resents that, before acquiescing and admitting that he's right. She vows to stake her honor on reviving her reputation just as Melissa enters the room in her maid outfit. Elisa tells Oswald to summon the girl from earlier so she can deliver the punishment she deserves but before she can finish she shrieks out in terror at noticing Melissa was standing behind her the entire time. Melissa bows and asks for forgiveness on intruding despite announcing herself when she first came into the room. She offers a tray of refreshments for Elisa and Oswald. Melissa looks down and bows, asking for forgiveness from Elisa for her shameful behavior earlier during their bout. Elisa looks away and tells her there's nothing to forgive since that was the very essence of sparring. Melissa looks relieved and thanks Elisa who admits she had a very different impression of her before their match. Melissa is humbled and admits that she allowed her anger to control her actions. She blushes and smiles warmly as she mentions that when it comes to Tart she loses all perspective. Elisa notes she won't be able to taunt her anymore and asks Melissa what Tart is doing right now. She responds that Tart was called to court and Oswald figures they're probably having a strategy meeting about where to send their army to next. Both Elisa and Oswald are surprised they weren't informed of this meeting, but Oswald assumes it is because they're still considered outsiders and that the chamberlain will want to push his own opinion forward first. Elisa demands that Melissa guide her to court at once but Melissa reminds her she's still in her nightgown and probably won't be allowed in dressed like that. Embarrassed, Elisa turns to get dressed while Oswald tells Melissa that there is someone in town he wished to pay respects to before they proceed to the council meeting.
The scene shifts to the Great Hall of the Chateau de Loches where Tart argues that the Dauphin should be escorted to Reims as soon as possible for his coronation. Gilles agrees and says that should he be sanctified as king it will stem the support for England. Jean Batard also adds that more and more soldiers have been flocking to their banner ever since their recent victory thanks to La Pucelle. The chamberlain speaks up, commenting that these are the words of soldiers and thanks to the extra soldiers, they should instead tighten their borders and defenses. He asks the other officials for their opinion and they all concur with the wise words of the chamberlain. As the chamberlain asks for the Dauphin to make a decision, Gilles and Jean Batard think to themselves that the clergy and other nobles are independent only in name as they are ruled by the chamberlain with an iron fist and have never once seen the Dauphin take a stand against him. Charles bows his head into his hands, his mind heavy with the weight of his decisions when a small boy enters the room. It is Louis de Valouis, his eldest son. His mother, Marie D'Anjou rushes in after him and apologizes for the interruption as young Louis had insisted on meeting La Pucelle. Louis approaches Tart and thanks her for bringing victory to Orleans. Tart tells him she's not worthy of such praise from the prince and Louis begs her to see his father rightfully crowned as King of France. Tart hugs him and tells him to count on her to see to it that he is crowned for his sake and for Louis'. Charles stands tall, though trembling a bit at first, and announces his decision to go to Reims under the guidance of La Pucelle and be crowned King of France as this would be the quickest way to bring peace to the country. Shocked beyond belief, the chamberlain can't believe that his son would choose this exact moment to come in and notices Oswald speaking with Charles' wife as Elisa stands nearby. The chamberlain grits his teeth at the realization as Elisa smiles back at him smugly.
And so it was decided that the French army would start its advance toward the town of Reims. This movement of military forces was dubbed the Loire campaign. The head strategist for the mission was the Duke of Alencon, and Tart was ordered to be his aide-de-camp. Empowered by the Dauphin's command and the troops that had gathered to the name of La Pucelle, the French forces began to flush out the English who were entrenched in the Loire River region. Although France enjoyed victories in Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency, the most difficult battle of the Loire campaign still awaited them.
It is June 18th, 1429 at the city of Patay. Minou, Corbeau and Lapin stand at the head of the English forces as Lapin jumps up and down in joy at the thought of finally being able to play after waiting for so long. At the head of the French forces stand Tart, Elisa, Melissa and Riz as they note the three magical girls facing them but not recognizing Lapin as they hadn't met her before now. Corbeau turns to John Talbot and tells him they'll be acting as they please. Talbot normally wouldn't mind but he has someone he cannot lose to fighting against him and Corbeau claps him on the back as she notes that she too has someone like that. She tells him they have no interest in the humans and want only to make sport of La Pucelle and her darkly dressed companion. Minou turns to her sisters to begin the fight but notices that Lapin is missing. The soldiers cry out at the sight of Lapin running at incredible speeds and Tart and Riz are surprised that she would come at them alone. Lapin, having found Tart, leaps high into the ear and summons several rabbit shaped disks. Corbeau calls out to Lapin, telling her it's suicide to go in alone. Before Lapin can use her magic eyes, Elisa shoots down several of her rabbit disks as well as Lapin, causing her to fall hard to the ground. Before she can get up, Melissa charges at her and striking her with her pole-arm causing her to soar into the sky. As Lapin spins in the air, Tart has already leaped up with her sword in her hand and strikes Lapin back down. Elisa laughs at how easy it was and turns her bladed rifle to Minou and Corbeau, warning them they'll be next. Minou laughs in response and says her sister Lapin has not begun her attack as Lapin lays in pain on the ground, her soul gem dark and corrupting. Suddenly, electricity crackles as Lapin's soul gem becomes a grief seed and all of the nearby weapons, soldiers' and magical girls' alike, begin to float in the air. Lapin floats in the air, now transformed into a rabbit-like witch complete with a small crown and a royal cape covered in eyes. All of the weapons float around Lapin as Minou comments that their tale of hope has now ended and their saga of despair has begun.