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The Traitors Arc is the third story arc of the series Soul Eater NOT! This arc not only provides more background information about Soul Eater characters such as Kim Diehl, Liz Thompson, and Patty Thompson, but also introduces Shaula Gorgon's plan to use her venom to brainwash NOT students against the DWMA.
Attracting the Witch of the Girls' DormitoryEdit
Kim Diehl convinces the NOT trio to work for her as cleaners at a local Death City pool, as she plans to have the trio do all the hard work while she skims a percentage of their pay. However, Jacqueline O'Lantern Dupré joins the job as well, prompting Kim to worry that the straight-laced EAT student is trying to disrupt her greedy plans. However, over the course of the day, Tsugumi Harudori notices Jacqueline is not trying to disrupt Kim but actually seems to be trying to get closer to her, offering her assistance and then asking Kim out for ice cream. After Kim rudely rebuffs Jacqueline, claiming she is too serious to be around, the lantern weapon excuses herself to go to the locker room to change out of her work clothes. Tsugumi approaches Jacqueline, asking whether she is attracted to Kim. Seeing Jacqueline's look of embarrassment, Tsugumi offers to help Jacqueline attract Kim—to be her meister.
With the assistance of Eternal Feather and Kana Altair, Tsugumi and her meisters try different attempts to make Jacqueline appealing to Kim—which all fail. They prepare an omelette meal for Kim that they claim comes from Jacqueline, but Anya's poor cooking skills disgust Kim. They try to compliment Jacqueline's long, healthy hair to show Kim how helpful Jacquelin can be, but Kim thinks they are mocking her for her short hair. Tsugumi and others then procure from Misery Kim's secret file, which reveals her birthday is April 31, a date that does not exist. After trying to learn more about Kim from dorm residents, Jacqueline decides she has to let events unfold as they will: she cannot force Kim to be her partner.
Annoyed with all the attention, Kim has left the girls' dormitory to hide away in an alley in Death City. Upon seeing a stray dog hit in a nearly fatal accident, Kim immediately uses her Regeneration Magic, saving the dog's life—which happens to be witnessed by Jacqueline, who was walking through. As Kim decides she will have to leave Death City or be outed as a witch, Jacqueline instead promises to keep Kim's secret. Although annoyed that her secret is out, Kim thanks Jacqueline for her silence by offering to be her meister.
The Devils of Brooklyn Arrive in Death CityEdit
While Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn try to embody strong behavior based on crime films and television shows, they encounter actual thugs in the form of Deathbucks Café's newest waitresses, the ex-con demon weapons Liz and Patty Thompson. When Anya challenges the sisters to a duel in retaliation for their rude service, the Thompsons reveal themselves to be handguns, their weapon form putting Anya, wielding the bladeless halberd Tsugumi Harudori, at a disadvantage.
While Anya's loss in battle dissuades her and Meme from returning to Deathbucks, Tsugumi persists, as she is impressed how the Thompsons have such inner strength to survive as weapons on their own. Tsugumi's compliments to the Thompsons for their strength and beauty, as well as Master's advice to his new employees, encourage Liz and Patty to behave more professionally at work, starting by welcoming back Anya and Meme to Deathbucks.
Having made peace with the Thompsons, Tsugumi and her friends return to Deathbucks, bringing the new meister-weapon pair Kim and Jacqueline with them for a study session. After the students encounter rude NOT students at the cafe, who are eventually scared away by the Thompsons and Master, the students attempt to help with the increased number of customers during a meal rush.
Lost in the DWMA's underground rooms on their day off from classes, Tsugumi's uncertainty whether to follow Anya or Meme out of this labyrinthian structure prompts her to realize she faces a metaphorical maze: which person should she choose as her meister? This journey through the DWMA reveals its hidden rooms, as well as introduces the trio to the Eight Mysteries of the DWMA, and reveals that Akane and Clay are doing additional work for Sid in a newly discovered Anti-Witch Headquarters hidden in the Academy.
Nice Day for a Death BazaarEdit
One day, Anya has the desire to explore Death City's flea market, known as the Death Bazaar. After persuading Tsugumi to join her so she may learn more about commoners' lives, Anya is joined by Meme as they discover the used items Death City vendors sell—even dangerous weapons! During their walk through the Bazaar, Tsugumi finds Maka Albarn has set up a booth, coerced by her weapon Soul Eater to make room in their apartment by selling her books. While Maka is hostile towards other customers, she offers to Tsugumi for free one book, Brave, encouraging the NOT student to read it.
Meanwhile, Eternal Feather has set up a booth, as she struggles to sell gaudy clothing that Kim coerced her to buy. Unable to sell her clothes, Eternal Feather prepares to leave when she notices someone has set up her own booth to sell scorpion-themed jewelry. Finding one piece of jewelry at an affordable price, Eternal Feather asks to buy it. The vendor, Shaula Gorgon in disguise, allows Eternal Feather to try on the ring first—its clasp stabbing into Eternal Feather's finger. The jewelry is actually laced with Shaula's mind-controlling venom. Now possessed, Eternal Feather enters into a daze similar to that of the Traitors, her body now following Shaula's orders.
As Tsugumi and her meisters continue to explore the Bazaar, they hear screams nearby. A bystander lies on the floor, bleeding from a wound to their abdomen, as they have been stabbed by Eternal Feather, her left arm transformed into a butterfly knife. Anya tries to talk down the possessed Eternal Feather, who responds by attempting to stab Anya. Before Tsugumi can protect her meister, Meme tackles Anya out of the way, then the newly arrived Maka and Soul block Eternal Feather's attacks. As Maka wields Soul, she struggles to have her words reach the possessed NOT student: although Eternal Feather tries to hold back her weaponized arm, Shaula's venom continues to take hold of her, commanding her to kill and to destroy.
From afar, Shaula observes Eternal Feather's fight. Although Shaula is pleased that her venom could possess someone as strong-willed as Eternal Feather, she realizes it is not yet successful enough to allow a noncombatant NOT student to overpower an EAT meister. Because she cannot allow the DWMA to examine Eternal Feather and hence discover her venom, Shaula gives one last order to Eternal Feather: kill herself.
Eternal Feather takes her blade to her knife, but she wavers, tears coming to her eyes, as if she is struggling to fight the possession. Then the blade slices across Eternal Feather's neck, blood gushing from the wound as her body collapses. While Maka and others struggle to stop the bleeding, no one notices the ring on Eternal Feather's finger evaporates, hiding evidence of Shaula's involvement. Overwhelmed by her failure to protect Anya, and at the shock of Eternal Feather's injury, Tsugumi swoons, falling to the floor.
Eternal Feather's RecoveryEdit
When Tsugumi awakens, she finds that Anya and Meme brought her to the home of an unlicensed physician that the DWMA keeps on retainer. The meisters explain to Tsugumi that the DWMA brought Eternal Feather to this location, where she is currently undergoing surgery after her self-inflicted injury. However, Anya is worried because of rumors that this unlicensed physician is known for making zombies out of his subjects.
At Patchwork Lab, Tsugumi and her meisters are summoned by the physician, Franken Stein—who they are surprised to see has a screw through his head. Stein takes the trio to Eternal Feather's bed—who now also has a screw through her head. Stein reveals that the screw is fake, just a joke he likes to play. After Anya expresses outrage at his joke, Stein confirms that he has successfully treated Eternal Feather.
But Tsugumi is distracted by the bandage over Eternal Feather's neck, realizing the dangers of being a student at the DWMA. Tsugumi also notices the blood in Stein's office, as well as that on Meme and Anya's outfits, likely from tending to the injured Eternal Feather, which only makes Tsugumi feel more guilt for her inability to protect Anya or Eternal Feather.
Tsugumi then notices Eternal Feather has both of her pigtails, even though she remembers seeing that pigtail cut off. The pigtail then moves, taking a pen and using it to write on her pillow, scaring the trio. Tsugumi and her meisters are then more horrified before Eternal Feather's head falls off and chases them. Stein picks up the head and reveals it is merely a robotic duplicate, and he reveals Eternal Feather is actually in another bed—with another fake screw seeming to be through her head.
Over part of the spring and the summer, Stein keeps Eternal Feather at his laboratory, under orders by Sid to examine her to determine whether she was a threat to the DWMA and to determine whether she was possessed by Shaula. While Stein tells Sid that he has found some toxin in her system and a small pin-prick on her finger, he does not realize the mark is from Shaula's jewelry and still cannot determine an antidote to the toxin. Until he can determine what possessed Eternal Feather, Stein releases her back to the girls' dormitory, reasoning that her recovery will be expedited by returning to her friends.
Eternal Feather returns to the girls' dormitory to find her friends are preparing for summer, wearing looser outfits and Tsugumi sprinkling water on the grounds. While her friends are happy to see her, they are surprised to find a screw growing out of Eternal Feather's back! She removes the screw, realizing her and Stein's prank was realistic but still annoyed Tsugumi and Anya. Eternal Feather also learns that, since her admittance to Stein's lab, Kim has broken up with Jacqueline, leaving the demon weapon heartbroken. The friends try to cheer Jacqueline up with reassurance that the break is likely only temporary before bringing her and Eternal Feather inside for drinks to cool down.
Meme's Forgotten DayEdit
One day, Meme awakens in the girls' dormitory kitchen, covered in Death City souvenirs, missing one eyebrow, sitting next to a bag full of money—and underneath a ceiling full of bats. After the bats escape through an open window, Meme discards the souvenirs and leaves the dormitory with the bag of money in order to retrace what she cannot remember about yesterday.
Running into Kim, Meme learns she had been jogging earlier on Grissom Road. In this seedy neighborhood, Meme is approached a man giggling about how impressive she was, and another man demanding that Meme return his "baby." Hearing these comments, Meme assumes the money she has must be a ransom payment for this man's child. Scared by what she must have done, Meme runs away. Meme then finds herself in front of a local casino, its manager asking that Meme leave immediately because she wiped him out yesterday. Confused and scared by her own inability to remember, Meme runs away again until she finds herself in a park, where a small boy approaches her.
Seeing the boy, Meme remembers what happened: this boy had insulted Meme as looking fat, so she immediately started jogging to try to lose the weight. Passing through Grissom Road, the giggling man she met today had jokingly suggested Meme improve her exercise by pulling a nearby souvenir cart. Meme did so, shocking the cart's owner. Meme ran around a corner too sharply, destroying the cart. Realizing she had to pay for the damages, Meme took the souvenirs with her and entered a casino, where she won the jackpot, saddening the casino manager who lost all of his money. But Meme, forgetting that she had to return the souvenirs and the money, instead returned to the girls' dormitory, where she tried to lose weight by shaving off her eyebrow.
As Meme regrets these memories, she repays the cart owner but worries that forgetting an entire day is an indication of a deeper problem: what if she forgets more, including her friendships with Tsugumi and Anya?
Meanwhile, Tsugumi and Anya find one of Meme's souvenirs, a bat whistle. Tsugumi blows on it without any sound emanating—but its high pitch attracts numerous bats into their bedroom, scaring the duo.
Mira Naigus recruits Tsugumi Harudori, Anya Hepburn, and Meme Tatane to organize DWMA missions' paperwork under the supervision of the chief receptionist, a former EAT student Auntie. As the trio sort these missions, Tsugumi wonders about what it means to be in the EAT.
- In the anime, this arc gives the first appearance of Shaula Gorgon, revealing her as leader of the Traitors. This revelation occurred earlier in the manga in the How To! Arc. In this arc, Shaula reveals her plan is to test her venom on NOT students until she can perfect it to possess students en masse. Her experiment, beginning with Eternal Feather, will reach fruition in the final story arc.
- This arc provides additional background information about Kim Diehl, not revealed in the manga and as of yet not in the anime. Kim is discovered to be a witch by Jacqueline, as she explains her Regenerative Magic made her an outcast. Fearing similar treatment at the DWMA, she changed her appearance and behavior to keep people away, as well as falsifying her school records to list her birthday as the non-existent April 31. Jacqueline's promise to keep Kim's identity a secret begins their partnership as meister and weapon.
- This arc also provides additional information about how Liz and Patty Thompson came to Death City. This arc reveals that the two were not initially Kid's weapons, instead assigned by him to work as part of a probation work-release program at Deathbucks. This arc also reveals their more antagonistic demeanors before assuming their friendlier personalities seen throughout Soul Eater.
- Meme worries that her memory losses will worsen, compromising her friendships with Tsugumi and Anya. Meme's worries foreshadow the manga's final arcs: Meme's forgetfulness drives a wedge between her and Tsugumi, and Shaula's possession over Meme allows her to turn her against Tsugumi and Anya.
- Tsugumi and Anya discover a whistle to summon bats. As Meme uses messenger bats to communicate with Shaula, Tsugumi and Anya will use this whistle to follow a bat back to Shaula's hideout in the final arc.
- In this arc, Meme gains access to information about EAT students and Sid's research on Shaula Gorgon, based on her time organizing EAT missions at Reception for Auntie and discovering Sid's Anti-Witch Research Headquarters. As well, this arc shows that, when entering the Anti-Witch Headquarters, Meme is examining Shaula's sketch. Later arcs reveal that Meme, sleepwalking under the possession of Shaula, breaks into the Anti-Witch Headquarters to read its research in her sleep. A later arc in the anime also confirms that materials missing from the DWMA include information on both NOT and EAT students. These coincidences may suggest that Meme's work at Reception and discovering the Anti-Witch Headquarters helped provide Shaula with information about the NOT students she intended to possess and turn against EAT students.
- In the manga this arc provides more information about extracurricular lessons for both EAT and NOT students. For NOT students such as Tsugumi and her meisters, extracurricular work includes working Reception with Auntie. During this Reception work, they learn that lessons for EAT students include capturing suspects related to murder and even adultery.
Manga and Anime Differences Edit
- In the anime, when Tsugumi attempts to return to Deathbucks despite the bullying Thompsons, she passes the new meister-weapon partners Kim and Jacqueline, who are confused by Tsugumi's determination to return to the café. The duo then join Anya and Meme to meet with Tsugumi at Deathbucks, where Tsugumi teases Kim for spending more time with Jacqueline and Kim demands Tsugumi pay for her meal. In the manga, Tsugumi never runs into Kim and Jacqueline on her way to Deathbucks, and only Anya and Meme join Tsugumi at Deathbucks.
- In the anime, when Tsugumi struggles to face the Thompsons during repeated visits to Deathbucks, a customer confronts Patty for her wrong order and rudeness, prompting him to throw water in her face. As Liz attempts to punch the customer, Tsugumi intervenes, with Liz inadvertently punching Tsugumi and causing her to bleed. Master threatens the customer to leave while he and the Thompsons tend to Tsugumi's injuries. While Anya is outraged by her weapon's injuries, Tsugumi laughs off the attack and redoubles her efforts to meet with the Thompsons. Upon her next visit to Deathbucks, she runs into Death the Kid, who adjusts her pigtails and her forehead bandage for symmetry. In the manga, the Thompsons' confrontation with the customer never occurs, Tsugumi is never struck and hence not bandaged, and Kid only adjusts Tsugumi's pigtails, not a forehead bandage.
- In the manga, the Study Group story precedes the Labyrinth story. While both stories are adapted as part of Episode 7, they are ordered differently, "Labyrinth!" preceding "Study Group!"
- In the manga, Meme's forgotten day takes place long before the trio plant pumpkins in the girls' dormitory backyard. In the anime, the events of her forgotten day occur between when the trio plant the pumpkins and when they harvest the pumpkins.
- In the anime, Meme's forgotten day includes her accidentally stealing the boy's pet sloth, Marianne, whom Meme leaves with Eternal Feather, the sloth proceeding to torment the NOT student. In the manga, Marianne never appears, nor does Eternal Feather, during Meme's forgotten day.