Pumpkin Scissors 23

Summary: Sergeant Major Stekkin is still at the food distribution point and manage to find a bit of potato left from what they served the commoners. She places it in a bowl intending to serve it to Mer-kun, their military dog courier, when she gets back to the base. The sudden arrival of Mer-kun startles her, he being accompanied by Captain Hunks. Hunks teases her a bit about stealing food and wonders where the others in her company are.

Back at the ball, the machete bodyguard again uses the mud to make Alice hallucinate, but she smells Oland’s jacket, which she’s wearing, and is able to dispel the illusion. The bodyguard is having no trouble reading Alice’s attacks and the natives get restless again until Oland steps in to prevent them from doing anything rash. The sight of the other bodyguard still quivering in terror helps enforce Oland’s will.

As Alice and the bodyguard continue to fight, Paul asks Oreld about what was so bad about embezzling a little money, assuming he did it at all, leading to a long speech from Oreld about how the money wouldn’t have amounted to much for the peasants, but every little bit helps.

Machs, posted near a window, sees street lights in the distance leading up to their location are going out, meaning the 4th Axe is likely on the move to surround the building. They won’t care about any deals most likely and so Machs knows they need to get the peasants to lay down their weapons.

At the base of the hill where the road leads up to the ball location, Section I 4th Axe troops are there and prevent Captain Hunks from proceeding any further. As they talk to him, a blur dashes up a retaining wall at the side of the road, which Hunks tells the troops must have been a cat. He returns to where Stekkin is waiting with the two prisoners. She figured he has some great plan that he gave to Mer-kun to deliver. He doesn’t really answer her, but tells her that Alice may not always be the right answer.

Alice is wearing out in her fight and is in danger of losing the match. Leonir takes a butter knife and hides it, prepared to use it as a weapon if required. The bodyguard has Alice down and trying to catch her breath. He feels the fight is over, but Alice shifts her short sword to her left hand and stands up again. This time, as he attempts to attack, Alice is able to not only defend against the attacks, she’s able to turn the attacks away. She does this repeatedly, causing the bodyguard concern. She informs him that her grandfather received three gifts from the former King — the nickname “Noble Flamme,” the great sword “Noble Flamme,” and the defense technique “Main Gauche.”

The fight continues with Alice’s sisters, Leonir, and others amazed at her grace and beauty as she elegantly turns away all of the bodyguard’s attacks. She uses the time to catch her breath and put her attacker to wasting energy. He realizes his mistake and when she shifts back her sword to her right arm, she uses it to knock him down rather than slay or seriously injure him. They bodyguard concedes defeat.

However, the leader of the commoners is not impressed and still wants to kill nobles. He realizes that Alice has messed things up for him and he decides to attack her. Oland jumps in to defend her, but Mer-kun suddenly arrives on scene and disarms the attacker’s knife. Oreld and Machs check the documents Mer-kun is carrying and Machs discovers that the orders aren’t for Alice, but for them. Oreld knows the commoners need to be disarmed and Alice decides to challenge them.

Thoughts: Alice’s short sword has gotten shorter over the series I think. It just seemed really small to me this time. Mer-kun got a little action, which was amusing to me, considering he’s normally just some passive dog. To see him in his “military hound” mode was also amusing. The duel at least came to an end with Alice using this new technique. While I didn’t expect the left-hand sword usage, this being a shounen title meant that she’d be doing something unexpected to win.

Note: Machs’ official name may be Martis and Oreld’s may be Oreldo based on the documents which were typed up in good English.

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