The Experiment (Part 2)
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|The immortal werewolf Free is unstoppable, especially when Maka Albarn and Soul Eater are unable to resonate. With backup and encouragement from Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, Maka determines to bear the injuries of resonating while Soul risks his sanity by tapping into the power of the Black Blood.|
Free growls while Maka Albarn, unable to resonate with Soul Eater's soul wavelength struggles to catch her breath, in fact so overwhelmed wondering how to breath. Soul remains in his weapon form, lying in the snow and shocked that his and his meister's wavelengths are not resonating. Tsubaki Nakatsukasa is stunned silent. Black Star is still unconscious. Eruka Frog, in her frog form, sits far away, observing this fight. Through the snakes in Eruka's body, Medusa Gorgon watches this battle on her crystal ball.
Free shouts to the three Shibusen students who still stand, claiming Death's academy has such rules that frustrate him so much that he will kill these students. He prepares Fighting Wolf Fist with a howl. Before Maka can move, Free is already in front of her, piercing her shoulder with the tips of his fingers but with such force that she is knocked back. Before Maka can cushion her inevitable landing, Free pinches his fingers, forming an Ice Pillar behind her, into which she slams. Free then rushes towards Maka, swinging his left leg at her, the ball and chain on it swinging towards Maka's head. She slinks down against the Ice Pillar, dodging the attack. But the shattering Ice Pillar sprays sharp and heavy ice that crashes into Soul and Tsubaki.
Free then prepares his Demon Eye Cannon, aiming it at Maka. The student stares in horror—until she sees an Ice Spindle form to Free's side, stabbing through one of his hips and out the other. Free curses himself, realizing he has summoned this ice attack on the wrong part of the bridge. He falls back to the street, calming himself with a reminder that he will survive this attack because he is an Immortal. Maka and Eruka are less than impressed. While Free recovers, he rights himself, reminding himself that 200 years in prison has made him "rusty."
Meanwhile, Tsubaki approaches Maka, urging her that, if she cannot resonate with Soul, then she must use her as a weapon. Maka protests that even if she could be a Shadow Weapon meister, she could not defeat Free. Tsubaki reminds her that the goal is not to defeat Free but to manage this situation first. Soul offers to use his blade as well in this fight. Maka is silent as Tsubaki transforms and lands in Maka's hands. "Let's go, Tsubaki-chan!! Soul!!" Maka orders.
Maka throws Tsubaki's blade at Free—and it embeds in the werewolf's forehead. But Free does not seem intimidated: even with a blade through his forehead, he howls and leaps at Maka. As Free's fist approaches her again, Maka realizes this werewolf's immortal body allows him to take "an aggressive offense."
Maka attempts to shield herself with Tsubaki's blade, but she also realizes that at this rate, Free's strong attacks and healing body will eventually defeat her. Despite blocking with Tsubaki, Free's attack knocks her over the bridge, her descent stopped by using Tsubaki's blade to latch onto one of the bridge's suspension cables. While Maka looks at the Thames below, Free conjures an Ice Spindle in his hand and hurls it at Maka. Before the Spindle lands, Soul leaps in front of Maka and knocks the Spindle away with his blade.
As Free chants again to prepare another attack, Maka swings Tsubaki's blade form to the scaffolding above, swinging herself towards Free and using the speed of her attack to knock him down. But before she lands, Free spins around, causing Maka to crash into his tail. He then twirls on his right foot so his tail spins Maka around and slams her onto the snow-covered street. With Maka supine, Free forms an Ice Sphere around his ball and chain, lifts his leg, and brings it down towards Maka. While shocked at Free's strength, such that it looks like he lifted the Ice Sphere with no effort, Maka rolls along the street and dodges the attack. But Free maintains the Sphere and spins around to bring the Ice Sphere around to slam into Maka. Soul calls out to her, but the Ice Shackle Bullet slams into Maka, knocking her back until she lands in the snow, her blood-covered face planted face down onto the street.
Tsubaki reverts to her human form while Soul rushes to his supine meister. Free uses this pause in the fight to gloat: "The rules that DWMA...that Shinigami makes up...they just use them to judge what they see as evil." Soul is confused, so Free elaborates: "The fates of all of the wolves in the entire world are controlled by human rules." Free explains that wolves have been demonized, and if any wolf ever injures a human, then so many wolves are killed, and the rest are taken into custody. Free refuses either fate: "It's my turn to judge! My anger is the anger of Nature!"
Maka lifts her head. Despite how dizzy she feels, she orders Soul to transform into his scythe form. Tsubaki promises to back up Maka, confident in her friend yet worried that diverging Soul Wavelengths can damage Maka physically and mentally. Yet Maka thinks that she "will get strong!" Soul warns Maka that her hands are burning, but despite the injury, she swings her weapon at Free, stabbing Soul's blade through the werewolf's chest. Free is undeterred, reminding Maka that he is immortal as his fist collides into her face.
Maka is knocked back but lands on her knees. Soul urges Maka to calm herself, but she shouts at him: "I will get strong!! I won't let myself be beaten now!!" Soul responds angrily that just screaming will not make her stronger. Tsubaki looks concerned. Maka screams back at her weapon, claiming that their Soul Wavelengths have diverged because Soul is such "a sissy" who always says "stuff like that!!" Within Soul's soul, the Little Ogre interrupts to chide him that he can grow stronger if Soul lets him lead. Soul screams again at Maka that she should shut up when she does not know what she is discussing.
Tsubaki clenches her fist. "Give it a rest!!!" the usually polite weapon shouts at both of her classmates. The yell shocks both meister and weapon—giving Free an opening to again knock Maka back. Even as Maka tumbles through the snow, she is able to sit up again as Tsubaki explains to her and Soul: "Listen to what the other person has to say before you make your own argument!!" Maka is silent, but Soul cannot resist reminding Tsubaki that she is hardly in a position to advise when Black Star "just did exactly what you said not to do." Tsubaki is quiet as her meister still lies unconscious in the street, his head still buried in the snow. She then explains with a laugh, "Black Star's an idiot by nature. But I like him that way. That's just our team's style."
Maka and Soul become silent. Maka reflects on Tsubaki's remark about a team's style, and Stein's remark that she has to find her "own way." She considers that this style and this way cannot be only for herself: she can find a way to make her soul strong while also making both her and Soul strong, too. Ever since Soul's injury, Maka thinks, "all I've been thinking about is catching up to Soul." Maka grips Soul's handle, and even as it singes her gloves and hands, she will hold onto her weapon "even if my hands melt." As her soul enlarges, revealing an almost winged shape, she vows to grow stronger with Soul.
Soul seems to hear Maka's thoughts, as he thinks his meister is behaving foolishly to think she has to catch up to his strength: "I'm not even all that strong!" But he could be stronger. He appears in his black pinstripe suit and stands before the Little Ogre, telling him, "Take me wherever you want," but with a promise that he will disrupt this Ogre's plans. The Ogre welcomes Soul to the "madness and joy" awaiting him. Soul grins and says, "Great!"
Maka and Soul initiate Soul Resonance, their increased resonance rate shocking Tsubaki.
Through her crystal ball, Medusa watches the Black Blood begin to take control of Soul. She smirks, realizing that a weapon with Black Blood will each away at their meister's mind. She encourages Maka and Soul to increase their resonance rate.
Under the influence of the Black Blood, within his own soul, Soul looks monstrous, his already sharp teeth elongated, his eyes without pupils, and his speech devolved into a howl. Maka feels something is wrong, as if she is being swallowed by Soul.
But Soul tugs at his mouth, forcing himself to retain some sanity. As such, Maka is able to retain a grip on her weapon, which surprises the observing Medusa. Free also looks with surprise as Maka is able to form Witch-Hunt Slash with Soul. Soul shouts for his meister to dash at Free, which she does. Free recognizes Maka's technique as her Anti-Demon Wavelength, yet he is undeterred. He chants to form Wolf-Tail Wall, again blocking Maka with his now enlarged tail. But Maka persists, swinging her weapon at Free's tail despite the heat of her weapon's staff burning through her hands, even colliding with her forehead. With the memory of Soul shielding her from Crona's attack still on her mind, she refuses to let her weapon be hurt again: "I will become strong!!"
With such determination, Maka changes Witch-Hunt Slash into a 6-Hunt Slash, slicing through Free's tail. While the swing throws back Free, it has not disabled him, and Maka's slice hurled her weapon back onto the snow-covered street. As Soul lands in his weapon form on the street, he asks whether the attack was enough. Maka says it was not—and she charges at Free, without her weapon, and grabs him by his leg. Free, as well as Maka's classmates, are shocked that she is throwing away her weapon to attack herself. She tackles Free to the edge of the bridge—and off it, as both descend into the Thames below.
Before Maka can fall below, her right ankle is held by someone: Soul, who reverted to his human form, clutching the suspension cable with his right hand while holding Maka's ankle by his left hand. Maka hangs over the edge of the bridge, upside down, while Soul, remembering his earlier insult about her fat ankles, says her legs are skinnier than expected. Nails then claw into Maka, slicing through her coat and into her ribs. It is Free, who has embedded his nails into her flesh so he will not fall. He threatens to bring her down with him. Soul struggles to hold onto this extra weight, telling himself he will not let go.
Then Free's paw is severed at the wrist, and his body falls towards the Thames. A shuriken sails through the air, having severed Free: it is Tsubaki, wielded by the reawakened Black Star. Even as the ninja brags that he saved his classmates, he is wheezing and huffing to catch his breath.
As he descends, Free is still confident, laughing as he prepares an incantation to form an Ice Pillar in midair by which he may leap back to the bridge. Soul looks at Free, realizing the werewolf's plan. Free conjures his Ice Pillar—around himself rather than under himself, precipitating his fall into the Thames. From the bridge, Eruka looks down, surprised Free messed up at the very end of this battle.
Watching through Eruka's eyes, Medusa is hardly frustrated by Free's failure: rather, she is laughing, as this experiment shows she is close to perfecting the Black Blood to make the Kishin "evolve."
The ice-encased Free has sunk to the bottom of the Thames. Inside, he chastises himself and plans to "rehabilitate" so he can get his magic back to its peak condition.
Atop the bridge, Soul is tending to Maka. Seeing her hands are burned, Soul says he will have to do the cooking for a while. Maka laughs and asks that Soul make something good, and he replies, "Just nori, of course!"
Maka then coughs into her gloved hands, and she is shocked to see what she has coughed up: Black Blood.
A City Square
Around Crona are civilians, who are surprised at Crona's presence, as if they have come from nowhere. Crona initiates Black Sword Screech Alpha, which produces a towering blast of energy that sweeps through the square—and has converted all of the civilians' bodies into just their souls. Crona collapses as the Screech Alpha surrounds them. Crona lets out a sound as if inhaling those souls and says, "Now I don't have to deal with anyone."
Manga and Anime Differences
- In Chapter 11, initially unable to resonate with Soul and with Black☆Star unconscious, Maka uses Tsubaki as her weapon. In the anime, Maka never uses Tsubaki, or any other weapon, in combat, thereby suggesting that while she is a Utility Meister in the manga, she is not in the anime.
- In Chapter 11, an epilogue is included in which Crona uses Screech Alpha on persons in a city square in order to claim their souls. This scene does not occur at any point in the anime.
- Maka claims her Witch-Hunt Slash is strong enough to work on demons. As she up to this point has been shown using Witch-Hunt Slash against Sid Barrett, which failed, and Stein, who defeated the attack, it is unclear which, if any demons, Maka has fought with this technique. Because Witch-Hunt Slash is referred to as a traditional attack used by Scythe-Meisters, it is likely that Maka is referring to the Witch-Hunt Slash overall, not to only her experience with it.
- The werewolf Free battles Maka in London, which may allude to a number of works in popular culture:
- As Free chides the students, he alludes to two children's stories.
- Free asks whether the students will "hide in your house" before saying, "I don't care if it's made out of bricks, sticks, or straw! I'll blow it all down!" Free's remarks allude to the children's tale of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, in which the Wolf attacks the homes of two less responsible pigs, who built their homes out of straw and sticks, that could not withstand the Wolf's intense blowing, while the pig who built their house of bricks protected themselves against the Wolf's attack.
- Free also says Maka looks good with a "red hood," referring to her bloody face. He is alluding to the children's tale of Little Red Riding Hood, in which a child walks through the woods to her grandmother's house. However, the Wolf has already come to her grandmother's house to impersonate the grandmother and attempt to eat Little Red Riding Hood.
- Maka's soul enlarges as she prepares her Soul Resonance with Soul, revealing it to have winglike appendages. This image foreshadows that Maka possesses a Grigori Soul, which will be significant during the Grigori Arc later in the manga.
- Medusa claims the Black Blood inside a weapon affects the mind not only of that weapon but, in Soul Resonance, of the meister as well. Maka is able to overcome these effects of the Black Blood in this chapter, which is due to her Anti-Demon Wavelength, also named by Free in this chapter.