Claymore – 18
Since she feels that her life is owed to Clare, Jean continues following her around until she can repay the debt. Clare, on the other hand, feels that the debt has already been repaid because it is due to Jean that she learned how to control the Quick Sword technique. However, before the two of them can get very far on the next leg of their journey, they get found by Rubel and the Organization’s Number 5 Rafaela. With the two of them surprised because they weren’t able to sense her at all, Rubel explains that Rafaela is the best at suppressing her Yoma energy. He also jokes that Galatea was executed, but he then admits that they actually let her continue on as a Claymore because she still has her uses. As for Clare, the Organization is willing to give her a pardon, but she needs to go on a mission to the North where a group of Awakened Beings have appeared. As an added incentive, Rubel also mentions that Raki has gone North, and although Clare doesn’t like the circumstances, she does end up heading that way with Jean.
In the snowy landscape, the two arrive at a town called Pieta where many other Claymores have started gathering. Clare immediately gets attacked by Helen, and a small fight almost breaks out when Jean tries to protect her and Deneve responds accordingly. Helen had only attacked as a greeting, and she’s dumbfounded as to why a single digit like Jean would be with Number 47 Clare, so Jean questions why ranks are important when Clare had saved her life. After the girls introduce themselves and apologize to each other, the Organization’s Number 8 Flora calls all of the Claymores there to assemble so that they can outline the operation. Helen thinks that Flora is the leader since she’s the highest ranked one there, but Flora reveals that someone else is: Miria. When the Number 6th ranked Claymore gets down to the details of how they’re up against numerous Awakened Beings, the others are shocked at how this could happen and how the enemies are grouping together. One Claymore who isn’t afraid is Number 11 Undine, a girl with plenty of muscles and two swords, but Deneve thinks that Undine is just showing-off with those muscles, and the two soon start arguing.
In order to shut them up and call everyone to attention again, Flora unleashes her own technique and blows all the snow around her away without even seeming to have drawn her sword. Seeing this, Jean explains that Windcutter Flora is known for how fast she can draw her sword, swing, and sheath it again. Flora and Miria then call up the other high ranked Claymores – Jean, Undine, and Number 13 Veronica – so that they can split up the 24 Claymores present here into five normal sized groups. Explaining that their overall strategy will be to use the normal one team versus one Awakened Being, Miria then places Deneve in Undine’s team and Helen in Veronica’s. Later that night, Clare sneaks away to a cave to meet with Miria, Deneve, and Helen privately. She is followed by Jean, who she explains is in the same situation as the rest of them, and she proceeds to tell everyone what happened with Jean and Riful.
Miria can’t believe what she’s hearing, but the thing that she’s particularly interested in is how Clare’s arm is different from before. Since Clare doesn’t want to talk about it, Miria concludes that Clare’s situation isn’t very good, and Clare responds that that could be said about all 24 of them gathered here. When she questions what Miria thinks their chances of success are, Mira admits that she thinks they are zero. The reason is because she believes that there is someone behind all the Awakened Beings, someone who Clare knows to be the Abyssal One Isley. Miria suspects that the Organization is just trying to buy time with this operation, meaning that they’re just sacrifices. At that moment, on the outskirts of Pieta, three male Awakened Beings who were sent as reconnaissance decide to attack the town. One of them immediately jumps into the middle of Pieta and starts killing civilians, so the entire force of Claymores responds. Miria can sense the other two too, so she assigns one Claymore team to each of the Awakened Beings and puts the other two on standby.
As the battle begins, Miria’s team attacks the Awakened Being in front of them while Flora’s team heads for the one on the nearby rooftops. Flora’s team includes Numbers 39 and 47, but Flora thinks that those two won’t be much use, and she personally attempts to finish off their opponent before he can transform. Her attack, however, appears to miss the Awakened Being, and she’s stopped from using it further because her teammate attacks her. Clare quickly realizes that this enemy can control Yoma energy, and it proves to be quite strong because he is able to pin four of them to the roof while he uses their fifth teammate to try to kill them. Clare reacts by powering up her borrowed arm to cut the building to pieces, and it succeeds in freeing them. Flora then attempts to finish off the Awakened Being one more time, but it dodges and transforms. Nearby, Jean and her team are having trouble with their Awakened Being, so Veronica’s team come to help. Undine’s team also comes to aid Flora’s, and Deneve in particular wants to draw their opponent’s attention so that they can finish this in one go.
Seeing all these Claymores gathered together makes me wonder how many of them Clare is now stronger than. With that arm and Quick Sword technique, she’d could probably be re-ranked somewhere in the single digits, though probably not as high as Miria. If nothing else, this battle seems like a good place for her to shine, particularly when someone like Flora thinks that Clare won’t be of much use because of her low rank.
Still, this first battle up north seems to be just introducing new characters and reintroducing old ones more than anything else. In the scheme of things, it’s hard to imagine that three Awakened Beings would give too much trouble to 24 Claymores, especially with the likes of Miria and Clare with them. So while it’s interesting to see the various abilities and Claymores working together, the threat of Isley and Priscilla is a lot more compelling. Hopefully they’ll make an appearance once this relatively forgettable reconnaissance group is defeated.