As a recap page, all spoilers below have been unmarked. You have been warned.
- Ana: [Lucy] took everything — everything Id worked so hard to have. To be. I didnt just lose Merrylegs and my magic. I lost years of my life. Because they entered a contest they couldnt possibly win. What if I didnt have it? I know what its like not to have it. The difference between me and Lucy is I did something about it.
Broom Girl: cause you could do something about it.
The chapter opens on Magister Lapointe lounging in a rose-filled gazebo while January reports the events of the previous day. Unlike the last time they spoke, Lapointe is unimpressed and quick to criticize January. She grills her over her behavior, questioning why January prioritized Ana's, Philly's, and Siobhan's safety over pursuing either Lucy or Broom Girl. While January struggles to answer, Lapointe lectures her about the dangers of allowing others to take advantage of her.
January is over the moon, not having realized that Lucy and Broom Girl both being on the run from the law disqualifies them from the competition and thus means that she's won. Lapointe, amused, congratulates her and once again emphasizes that as the representative, she can only trust Lapointe. She dismisses January, still starstruck, but not before inviting her to a private celebratory dinner later that night.
Once January leaves, Lapointe stops smiling and asks what Dr. Brandt thinks of January's story. Cynthia Brandt, unseen until now, steps out from behind a pillar. She confirms that it matches what Siobhan told her, even if the truth sounds unbelievable.
- Cynthia: It still doesnt make sense. Magic isnt something you can just take. Ive never heard of anything like it. Its certainly not the work of a husk, theyre preoccupied with expelling magic, not absorbing it. Were dealing with a completely unprecedented event! Who knows what its limitations are! Its uncharted territory! The removal of magic!
The two speculate on how dangerous Lucy is as an unknown entity. Lapointe hurries away, ordering Dr. Brandt to uncover all available information about Lucy. As she announces that she has a phone call to make, the scene cuts to a very annoyed Rin Soga.
She and Joe Rothart walk through the marketplace, discussing the assignment. Rin sees it as unpleasant and unnecessary, since she's fed up with the teenage drama that goes on in her own family, but Joe speculates that since the teenagers in question already know him, maybe they'll be more friendly!
The cops' first stop is the bakery run by Neith and Isra Karim, where Testu's alone at the counter. Rin strikes up a conversation, trying to pry information about the test from Tetsu, but they offer only the least informative answers:
- Rin: You must know about what happened at yesterdays test, then. When the instructor was attacked.
Tetsu: Oh, no. Wasnt there.
Rin: We are aware of that, but we are also aware of your connection to the assailant.
Rin: Youre dating her.
Tetsu: News to me.
Rin: So you have no idea where we might find her?
Tetsu: None at all. Couldnt even tell you her last name. Or her first name.
Rin: I can see youre determined to be unhelpful.
Tetsu: I hear she likes brooms. If thats helpful, Officer~
After this unproductive exchange, Rin changes tactics, noticing the display case full of goat-themed pastries made by Su-Yeong. She starts grilling Tetsu about the current known employees of the shop, none of whom have a goat familiar, but she doesn't get very far before Neith steps in. The two exchange insults until Neith finally tells Rin (and Joe) to get out of her bakery.
Irritated but undeterred, Rin instructs Joe to send Romeo to peep through an upstairs window. Inside, Isra's holed up in a bedroom with both Broom Girl and Su-Yeong. The former two attempt to convince the latter to help Ana with her drained magic, but Su-Yeong is having none of it. Isra wants to learn more about magic, but Su-Yeong wants nothing to do with Ana, believing that she deserved to have her magic taken. Not wanting to jeopardize the three women's safety, Joe cuts off the spell, claiming that Isra's bare-headed and thus indecent for him to be watching. Rin's frustrated but doesn't question him, deciding to put official surveillance on the place so she can figure out what they're hiding.
Meanwhile, as a storm continues to brew, Ana's grandmother and sisters organize their fabric store. While Lela and Monica both want to check up on Ana after what happened to her the day before, Livia's less sympathetic, citing that not only has Ana looked down on both of them for not having magic, she's essentially treating having to live like them again as a tragedy. The sisters' brief argument is interrupted when Ana herself comes down the stairs and leaves without a word.
We follow Ana out the door into the street, which is otherwise empty on account of the incoming weather. She wanders almost aimlessly until she encounters a spider, which she stops to talk to and hold.
- Ana: Look at you, pretty thing Youre not just a spider, are you? You work hard, you know what you want, and you get it. People are afraid of you because they dont understand. But you dont need anyone else. You only need yourself. Isnt that right?
With a thunderclap, it abruptly starts raining. Ana, stuck under an archway, looks up sadly at the rain until she realizes she's not alone: Broom Girl has come to check up on her. Ana's initially suspicious that Broom Girl has come to berate her or mock her, but Broom Girl instead tells her that she didn't deserve what happened to her. Of course, she's also quick to point out that Lucy didn't deserve what happened to them, and that she wishes she had been a better friend to them so they wouldn't have felt alienated and desperate in the face of Ana's bullying.
But Broom Girl isn't here to talk about Lucy. She brings up some of the things Ana was saying about Lucy and asks if maybe Ana was talking about more than just them. Ana tells Broom Girl the story of how she first developed magic:
- Ana: Nobody in my family has it naturally. We have to try to develop it. Most of them dont bother. Except my grandmother. She saved up for years to afford rubies to focus with. And she didnt develop it until she was forty. She made sure it wouldnt take me that long. My sisters never managed it. They both gave up. When mine came in, when when Merrylegs appeared, it was the proudest Id ever been. Theres nothing Im more proud of, and I should be! I worked for it. I put in the time, for years. Everyone else just gets it. I earned it. I thought if I became Representative Id prove that all that work was worth doing!
She then segues into a description of the first time she met Lucy and realized they were not what they seemed. When she realized not only that Ivy's blue eyes didn't match up with Lucy's grey one, but that nobody else was calling attention to this, she began to resent them for taking what she saw as the easy way out. She felt insulted that Lucy was able to simply borrow someone else's familiar and circumvent the years of work it had taken for her to gain magic.
Back in the present, Broom Girl points out that it's entirely possible Lucy didn't have the opportunity to develop magic normally the way Ana did. She reminds Ana that she doesn't know Lucy's side of the story and that they'd both benefit from talking their problems out. Remembering Broom Girl's comments the day before, Ana asks if she really thinks Lucy's life is in danger. Broom Girl sarcastically admits that while she doesn't really know that they'd be executed, their magistration isn't exactly merciful. As the two part ways, Broom Girl abortively offers to conjure a magic umbrella for Ana, but decides against it to avoid rubbing in her loss and simply thanks her for wishing her well.
Ana walks into the rain, passing by Rin and Joe. Ana shouts a warning for Broom Girl to run. Alerted to Broom Girl's presence, Rin turns around abruptly and instructs her familiar, Wolfe, to give chase. While Joe keeps an eye on Ana, the chase turns into something of a magic standoff: Broom Girl uses defensive magic to block Wolfe's path, but Rin uses offensive magic to clear the way. Finally, when Rin's backed Broom Girl into a corner, she fires a bolt of magical energy with her shooter glove to subdue her.
Broom Girl, visibly guilty, apologizes to Wolfe before kicking her into Rin's line of fire. The shot connects, causing Wolfe to dissipate into a burst of red magic that Rin begins to absorb. Rin initially yells at Wolfe for getting injured, but abruptly cries out and drops to her knees, clutching her chest in pain. As Broom Girl and Ana look on in shock, Joe rushes forward to tend to her. When he finds that she's unresponsive, he starts to panic — she should be walking this off. Alone in the rain, he wonders aloud what could have happened.
In summary: January's won the representative competition, which means she needs to be on her guard for people who would manipulate her. Ana takes losing her magic — and Merrylegs — poorly, especially since one of her sisters isn't on her side. Lapointe sends Rin Soga and Joe Rothart off in search of Broom Girl, which has disastrous results.
- Blatant Lies: Joe's visibly uncomfortable, tense, and deliberately unhelpful the entire time he's supposed to be helping Rin find out information about Broom Girl. She's annoyed, but doesn't seem to suspect he's being evasive on purpose.
- Brought Down to Normal: Ana after having her power drained. While her sister Monica is sympathetic to the loss, Livia's sore from being looked down on by her own sister.
- Rin Soga loudly complains about being sent to talk to teens in the same way Philly complains about Sylas paying her a visit.
- When Neith kicks Rin and Joe out of her bakery, the panel layout echoes chapter three again.
- Joe uses the same spell to look through Romeo's eyes that Ivy used to look through Piper's the day before.
- Caption Humor: Tetsu's "WHAT, WHY" newspaper.
- Character Overlap: Dr. Cynthia Brandt of Riverside Extras reports to Lapointe after the latter's conversation with January.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: Although January won her fight with Philomena fair and square, she wins the competition two rounds early because both victors of the other rounds are disqualified.
- Empathic Environment: As the story tension rises, storm clouds gather and distant thunder rumbles. It finally starts raining when Ana admits to herself how lonely and lost she is without Merrylegs.
- Empty Piles of Clothing: Wolfe's collar falls to the ground when she dissipates into magic.
- Energy Weapon: Rin Soga shows off her standard-issue shooter gloves. Unlike the toy versions Emilia and the contestants used, Rin's are embedded with red gemstones to enhance their shooting power.
- Faux Affably Evil: Lapointe drops her saccharine demeanor as soon as January's out of earshot.
- Familiar Shield: Broom Girl avoids being shot by kicking Wolfe into the path of Rin's shot.
- Flashback: Ana tells Broom Girl her history with magic, her magic-impaired family, and Lucy.
- Friend to Bugs: Ana has no problems reaching out to hold a spider, even when it bites her finger.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: After Rin absorbs Wolfe's dissipated magical energy, all sound effects are replaced with that of a pounding heart.sfx: THUMP THUMP
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Rin fires a subduing shot at Broom Girl but ultimately hits her own familiar.
- How Dare You Die on Me!: Rin yells at Wolfe after she inadvertently shoots her.Rin: WOLFE, you idiot! We dont have time to wait for y--
- Lapointe, a manipulator who preys on the trust of vulnerable people, impresses upon January that she's in danger of people preying on her trust and using their relationships with her to escape the law.
- Ana's treatment of Lucy. She says she doesn't like them because they act like they're better than everyone, even though she looks down on her own sisters for giving up on their magic training.
- Imagine Spot: January guiltily reflects on Broom Girl cheerfully waving her goodbye as she absconds over the hedge. Lapointe twists the mental image to make Broom Girl seem monstrous and menacing.
- Manipulative Bastard: Lapointe deftly steers her conversation with January to direct the latter's emotional state.
- Muggle Born of Mages: Runs in Ana's family. Although it can be overcome, Ana and her abuela are the only members of her family in at least three generations to successfully develop magical ability.
- Mood Whiplash: Ana's conversation with Broom Girl is quiet and pensive, ending on a somewhat uplifting note as Ana prepares to walk home in the rain. Then Rin Soga and Joe Rothart show up.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: When Ana sees guard members, she shouts a warning to Broom Girl to run away. Unfortunately, this tips them off to Broom Girl's presence.
- No Body Left Behind: When familiars are killed, their bodies are typically converted into pure magic, which their magician absorbs until they regenerate.
- Pietà Plagiarism: Joe cradling Rin after she collapses.
- Present Company Excluded: Neith to Joe when she makes a dig at the city guard.Neith: I see the guards still just the magisters pet dogs. No offense, Joe.
Joe: None taken.
- Psychological Projection: Ana makes several assumptions of Lucy's attitude that more closely echo her own.
- Resurrective Immortality: Familiars can be killed like any other animal, but they won't stay dead until their magician dies - or loses their magic. Ana takes the latter scenario poorly.
- Right Behind Me: Livia complains floridly about Ana's behavior, which Ana overhears.
- Smoking Is Cool: Rin lighting up while Joe spies on the Karims.
- Symbol Swearing: Monica cussing Livia out for making Ana feel worse.
- Visible Sigh: Lapointe lets out a huff once she no longer has to keep up a pleasant face around January.
- Wham Line: "Miss Singh, you have realized that you are representative?"note