Pumpkin Scissors – 22
Facing her opponent head on, Alice allows herself to be sprayed with the brown liquid from the blade knowing that it can’t be poison because otherwise it wouldn’t be used so close to the person her opponent is protecting. Outside the mansion, the 1st Section has closed off the road, but they let a particular car through. The driver of that car asks the person in the back seat – the masked man – about how someone is having fun being in danger even though their infiltration of 1st Section isn’t complete. The masked man explains that young lions learn to hunt and the ethics of life by playing with their siblings. Because of this, lions don’t do any unnecessary hunting, but the person they’re talking about didn’t have any equal enough siblings to play with. He grew up with fangs and claws but didn’t learn ethics, so he wants an opponent to play with. At that moment, Leonir is watching Alice’s fight along with everyone else. Her opponent explains that the brown liquid is mud from the marshlands of Loderia, and he uses it to remind him of the green hell and to create his territory. He then strikes with such speed that he manages to shave off some of Alice’s hair, so she retaliates by stabbing her sword at his glasses. Without flinching, her opponent blocks before the sword point can touch his glasses. Alice then briefly experiences an illusion that she’s in the marshlands of Loderia, but she manages to dodge her opponent’s swings. Unfortunately, he then steps on her dress to prevent her from moving any further. With no choice, Alice cuts her dress to free herself in time to avoid the next attack.
Oreld then notices that the peasants are slowly inching towards Marquis Paul with weapons drawn. He yells for them not to kill Paul, but since they don’t want to listen, Alice springs into action to save him. Oland, who is on the run from the other Loderia bodyguard, happens to see her now engaged with the peasants inside the building. However, because he’s just standing there, he then gets a metal ball to the face. His opponent doesn’t think that Alice can quell the riot and calls her naive, but Oland feels that Alice isn’t wrong. After Oland gets hit in the face again, he thinks to himself that Alice always is dignified no matter the situation or the enemy. Back inside, the peasants who are fighting Alice explain that they’re not going to wait for the duel because even if they win, Paul can use his money and power to get free. As she stabs the hand of one of the men, Alice thinks to herself that nobles must fight against foreign enemies to protect the people, but they must also sometimes fight their own people. The leader of the peasants takes this as a sign that she’s not their ally, so he draws his gun towards Alice. To everyone’s surprise though, Alice’s sister jumps out to protect her and to make a plea about how nobles have families and are people too. She feels that it’s the peasants who are using their class as a shield to do whatever they want. Oreld and Machs are ready to swoop in to help Alice, but her other sister stops them. When one of the peasants comes over to accuse her of trying to escape via the car, she makes it clear that she’s not like them in how they band together and get drunk on violence.
The leader of the peasants then questions why Alice is so fixated on the duel, and she answers that it’s because she can’t permit unfairness. She doesn’t believe in nobles not being punished and commoners being allowed to do what they want, and says that she’ll punish those who commit crimes and attack those who are evil, regardless of whether her opponent is a noble, a commoner, or even the emperor. Outside, having decided that he’ll fight to protect Alice, Oland opens his blue lantern and points his gun point-blank at this opponent’s head. The Loderia bodyguard barely manages to dodge the bullet, and he then laughs uneasily as Oland reloads to shoot him again. Although the second shot also misses, it riles up the horses being kept in the nearby stable. They come charging out as a result, and although the bodyguard trips Oland with his chain, Oland still grabs onto his opponent’s leg. Both men get trampled by the horses and the carriages they are pulling, but the bodyguard gets the worst of it when his right hand gets crushed underneath a wheel. Afterwards, Oland takes his opponent and throws his body back into the mansion through a window. He then steps through that window and approaches Alice even though she tells him not to get closer. When he doesn’t listen, she says that she’s a noble and must be alone. Oland responds to that by saying that he also has something that he must do alone, and if that means she’s going to be a noble, then he can’t do anything. Oland believes that she and he will probably remain alone for a long time from now on, but the person he met wasn’t a noble or a soldier – it was a second lieutenant of the Pumpkin Scissors. And thus, he wants to protect her because he is a corporal of the Pumpkin Scissors. Although she’s a little embarrassed, Alice soon regains her composure and tells Oland to take off his coat. She then starts giving out orders to her men, starting by telling Mach to get out of the car and turn off the engine. Alice orders Oreld to protect Paul while Oland is to watch her back so that no one can interfere with the duel. After smelling his coat and the scent of 3rd Section that it carries with it, Alice unclips her hair and declares that this is now the operational domain of the Pumpkin Scissors.
Alice got a lot of cool shots in her fight this episode, but I kind of wish she was battling with the Mähne she was using back in episode 17 because it was a much more impressive weapon. This episode also makes me wonder about her relationship with Oland since it seems less than a romance, but they’re more than just co-workers or friends. I guess you could say they have a special bond of some sort. In any case, I liked the young lion comparison with Leonir that the masked man drew because it made Leonir’s line from episode 20 feel more important and less amusing. Still, with only two episodes left, I’m beginning to question what Leonir and the masked man can still do in the story and how Alice can resolve it before the end of the series.