Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle (Part 5)
Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle
|←Chapter 49, "Operation Capture Baga Yaga Castle (Part 4)||Chapter 51, "Operation Capture Baga Yaga Castle (Part 6) →|
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|While Black☆Star and Mifune's battle persists, Maka Albarn and Soul Eater discuss their distrust of Medusa's leadership in seizing Baba Yaga Castle. As Kilik Rung discovers the Demon Tool Soldiers, Harvar D. Éclair steps up to save Ox Ford's life--even if that means killing Kim Diehl and Jacqueline O'Lantern Dupré.|
Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle (Part 5) is the fiftieth serialized chapter of the manga Soul Eater. It was reprinted in tankōbon form in Volume 13.
A narrator with a healthy amount of sarcasm summarizes the story up to this point: because Arachnophobia does not bother to check under members' masks, Maka Albarn and her peers were able to circumvent Arachnophobia's security network. But to reach Arachne's room, they must destroy the Demon Tool Locks located in eight separate locations of the spider-shaped Baba Yaga Castle.
Baba Yaga Castle, Outside
As swords fly from the ground up to the sky, Mifune takes each one in his hand as he dashes towards Black☆Star. Before he can swipe down at the ninja, Mifune's attack is blocked by Tsubaki's Shadow☆Star form. Tsubaki calls to Black☆Star to watch for Mifune's left attack, but Black☆Star refuses to budge: he moves forward with an attempted Soul Menace, only for three of Mifune's swords to descend between Black☆Star and his weapon, as his fourth sword holds Tsubaki down to the ground.
With a swing of the fourth sword, Mifune knocks the three upward at Black☆Star to perform Sword Fang, cutting at the ninja like an animal's teeth. Black☆Star falls back, but Mifune is not done: with the three swords now in Vertical Lineup, Mifune propels each sword forward with one swipe each of his fourth sword. Black☆Star attempts to block, but even as Mifune realizes Black☆Star dodged each attack within a paper's width, the three swords still shed the ninja's blood.
Mifune says Black☆Star cannot stand much longer. Black☆Star agrees, performing Soul Resonance to unleash Shadow☆Star Third Form: Severed Shadow, transforming Tsubaki into a kunai. Within the blink of an eye, Black☆Star vanishes, save for numerous points of impact he makes along the ground. Even with this ninja's speed, Mifune is not impressed: one deft slice cuts away Black☆Star's right arm, downing the ninja. Mifune pauses to lecture the injured ninja not to come head-on—but fails to notice Black☆Star, still in whole, is behind him. Mifune turns in time to slice through Black☆Star at his waist, but two more images of Black☆Star appear, one kicking hard into Mifune's gut then sweeping at the feet to knock the samurai down. Despite one more kick at Mifune, Black☆Star does not kick the samurai down, vanishing into thin air.
Mifune assesses what just happened: he felt his blade cut into Black☆Star, yet these iterations were only after-images of Black☆Star. Tsubaki explains that Severed Shadow allows Black☆Star to move so quickly that the after-images retain some real matter, effectively turning Black☆Star from one opponent into multiple opponents. Mifune is not quite convinced, however, remembering that only one Black☆Star is literally present, so even if the shadows have substance, he need only follow the movements of those after-images to find a pattern to Black☆Star's movement, anticipate that pattern, then attack. Sure enough, he blocks Black☆Star's attack, kicking him back. Even as blood falls down Black☆Star's face, the ninja smirks, having bounced far away from Mifune—as a second Black☆Star appears behind Mifune, kicking the samurai in the head. Mifune is so shocked that the first Black☆Star attacks with Soul Menace—before changing the attack to World Destruction Cannon.
Mifune dashes away, seeing two iterations of Black☆Star standing still away from him. The two Black☆Stars explain that they have performed Shadow☆Star Fourth Form: Branched Darkness. This transformation allows Tsubaki to assume the appearance of Black☆Star, while allowing their resonance to grant some of Black☆Star's strength to her. As Black☆Star realizes even this form is not enough to take on Mifune directly, Tsubaki reverts to her kunai form so to perform Severed Shadow, then attack with a sudden blow.
But the battle is interrupted by explosions coming from Towers 3, 5, and 6 of Baba Yaga Castle.
Azusa Yumi spots black smoke rising from the forest, realizing the destruction of the Demon Tool Locks has begun. Sid Barrett announces that, with Black☆Star now fighting, they need to join this battle.
Baba Yaga Castle, Inside
Mosquito demands to know what has led to the alarm and the explosions. He suspects someone is attempting to destroy the Demon Tool Locks, which is disconcerting as Arachne is still working on her magic preparations in the Spider Queen Room. He orders increased security to Towers 1, 2, 4, and 7 while he will proceed to Tower 8.
Elsewhere, Medusa announces to Maka Albarn and Soul Eater that Eruka and her other members are progressing, which requires that they hurry as well. Soul expresses concern to Maka that they are following this witch's orders. Maka is not sure whether Medusa is telling the truth about Arachne's kidnapping of Crona to use as a human sacrifice, but she cannot risk this chance to save her friend. Soul is not convinced, prompting Maka to ask whether he has a better suggestion other than to "bitch and whine." Medusa can no longer ignore this discussion, confronting the two to trust her for this attack to work. Maka tells Medusa to ignore Soul and continue with their mission: "He's always like this. Always critical, like a sister-in-law or something." Soul grumbles to himself that he is legitimately worried.
Back where he separated from Ox and Harvar, Kilik Rung struggles to break up a fight—under his cloak atop his head—between Fire and Thunder. An Arachnophobia technician mistakes Kilik for a Demon Tool Soldier, escorting him to Tower 2. In this location, spying a range of Demon Tool Soldiers of various shapes (some with extra heads, some appearing like sharks and spiders, some as cones), Kilik is disturbed and wonders whether Ox located Kim.
Indeed, Ox Ford has located Kim Diehl—because the witch, brainwashed by Arachnophobia's Morality Manipulation Machine, stabbed him. Ox tries to talk sense into Kim—only to be attacked by a fire attack from behind by a brainwashed Jacqueline O'Lantern Dupre. On the floor, Ox looks up—to see underneath Kim's skirt, earning him a kick to the head.
Harvar D. Éclair finally arrives. As he tries to pick up his meister, Kim stabs at him with her Arachnophobia dagger—only for Harvar to cut at her hand, knocking the blade away. When Kim tries to play off Harvar as being rude, he silences her. Realizing she cannot be coy to Harvar, Kim orders Jacqueline to transform into her lantern form.
Ox urges Harvar not to fight their brainwashed peers, but Harvar refuses to believe that "good people can be brainwashed so easily": as a witch, Kim must have always been evil and has been manipulating DWMA students since the beginning.
Kim unleashes fire at Ox, Harvar tossing the flame away with his blade to strike back at Kim. Ox asks Harvar to stop, but his weapon says whether Kim is brainwashed or not, she is a threat right now, and he as a weapon must protect his meister. Kim stands, eyes unfocused, not moving. Ox begs Harvar not to fight. Harvar does not listen, saying even as a weapon he is more mobile than a meister like Kim. Kim regains composure, firing another fireball at Harvar, but the weapon dashes forward, striking the flames away as he pulls back his blade before reaching the witch. Ox screams for Harvar to stop.
But it is too late: with his blade, Harvar impales Kim. As blood gushes from Kim, Ox screams out her name.