|This article is about the third chapter of The Case Study of Vanitas. You may be looking for the character, Jeanne.|
|Memoire 3: The Hellfire Witch|
|Release Date||February 22(nd), 2016|
Memoire 2: In the City of Flowers
Memoire 4: Femme Fatale
The Hellfire Witch is the third chapter of Jun Mochizuki's The Case Study of Vanitas
As Noé storms out of Galerie Vivienne, Vanitas asks him to wait a second and whether or not he even knows where he's going. Noé admits that he has no idea, which Vanitas had initially assumed and proceeds to grab Noé by the shoulder and tell him to calm down while they figure things out; much to Noé's discontent. Before he make much of a fuss however, a bat flies into Noé's face, though Noé only gets to examine it for a short while before it turns away and flies back to its master, Dante - who remarks that Vanitas looks to be having some difficulty.
Vanitas is stunned to see Dante again, while Noé passively remarks that Dante was the one who'd helped Vanitas break into La Baleine, while running over to Dante Vanitas accuses him of simply leaving Amelia and running off to save himself, to which Dante explains that it wasn't his job to protect the target; mentioning that he does more work than he's paid for as it is. After a quick trade of insults, Vanitas notices that Noé seems rather confused and out of place, deciding that he'd better introduce Noé to Dante, adding that Dante is an information broker he uses frequently - only to correct himself by calling Dante a "jack-of-all-trades" who is willing to do pretty much anything so long as you pay him. Dante voices his surprise that Vanitas is working with Noé, prompting Noé to remember that Vanitas had called Dante "baldy" on La Baleine - frustrating Dante, who'd rather not be remembered like that, as he's not even bald.
A proud Vanitas mentions that while he doesn't know why Dante's there, Dante's out of luck, as he's been replaced as a shield by Noé - which Noé immediately denies - only for Dante to voice his shock before adding that he'd never been Vanitas' shield. Vanitas continues, saying that Noé is much stronger and sturdier than Dante and doesn't cost him any money - making Noé the perfect partner - again, something which Noé denies. Telling Dante that it's simply the way things are, Vanitas brushes Dante off and returns to Noé's side; claiming that if Dante wants to earn pocket money he'll have to do it somewhere else. Amused, Dante says that it's too bad things have to be that way, as he'd figured out how to find the "nine-fold murderer" and had sought out Vanitas in order to tell him. Immediately, Vanitas drops to the ground and praises Dante at his feet, calling him splendid and incredible all while saying he knew that Dante could do it.
Dante holds out his bat and explains to Noé that he has a friend, Riche tailing the "nine-fold murder" and that the bat would lead them directly to her. Meanwhile, Vanitas weeps over the cost of the information Dante had supplied them with - only for Dante to tell Vanitas to shut up and that he should've expected as much for information that Count Orlok doesn't even have. Looking around, Noé realizes that it'd be much quicker if they traveled by rooftop - grabbing Vanitas and jumping to the top of the nearest building in order to follow Dante's bat - making Dante question what Noé's all about. Unexpectedly, someone from behind asks if he'd just seen Vanitas, mentioning that Vanitas has a pretty dishy face. Turning around, Dante is surprised to see that he was followed by Johann - who states that Dante was being rude before parading over to him to say that he'd unearthed some "extra-special" news and that he wanted to deliver it in person. Wrapping his arms around Dante, Johann tells him that Lord Ruthven's Bourreau is in town and is no doubt after The Book of Vanitas - proclaiming that Vanitas might just get himself killed.
As Noé carries Vanitas across the rooftops of Paris, Vanitas explains that the Vampire they're after is named Thomas Berneux, with Thomas having come from across The Border two months ago and has devoured nine people since then in rather rapid succession. Vanitas reveals that he'd been tracking Thomas up until he received a letter from Amelia - making Noé realize that Vanitas was the doctor who Amelia told him she intended on seeing about her condition while in Paris. Confirming this, Vanitas explains that from Amelia's letter he deduced that her symptoms could manifest at any moment - so he set aside his search for Thomas and boarded La Baleine to treat Amelia. Vanitas then mentions that Thomas' previous crimes would suggest that his symptoms are cyclical and that if he were to strike again he'd likely do so today. Suddenly, a large booming sound fills the air, and looking to the source of the sound, Vanitas states that it'd come from the Riverside Factory District; imploring Noé to hurry.
Riche is seen running through the streets of Paris out of breath when Dante's bat greets her. Thomas then slams his mutated fists into the ground, sending Riche flying forward. From above, Vanitas sees Thomas moving in on Riche, confirming that it is indeed Thomas and ordering Noé to stop him. Thinking that he understands what Vanitas means, Noé throws Vanitas at Thomas, only for Vanitas to bounce off of Thomas' shoulder and rebound into a stack of nearby crates. Rising from the wreckage, Vanitas asks if Noé is trying to kill him before realizing that Noé has successfully pinned down Thomas. Vanitas then hurriedly takes out The Book of Vanitas and uses its power to administer a shock to Thomas that temporarily tranquilizes him; which would allow them to tie Thomas up now and bring him back to Count Orlok.
While Noé is relieved that they dealt with Thomas so quickly, he doesn't truly understand the danger of the situation. From the shadows emerges Luca and Jeanne, who applaud Vanitas tactics and the effectiveness of his ability to paralyze a Curse-Bearer. Asking if Vanitas is indeed the man they believe him to be, Luca introduces himself and Jeanne. Curious, Vanitas asks if the two are humans or Vampires - earning Luca's sincerest apologies as he reveals his fangs and proclaims that both he and Jeanne are Vampires. Though he admits that it's impudent of him, Luca knows that there's no other way and asks Vanitas directly if he'd give them The Book of Vanitas. Amused, Vanitas laughs it off and outright denies Luca's request, stating that The Book of Vanitas is not a toy for little children. Suddenly, fire spills forth from the coffin that Jeanne's been carrying - confusing both Vanitas and Noé. Vanitas asks why Luca even wants The Book of Vanitas and whether or not he really knows what it is. Frustrated, Luca elaborates that he knows that The Book of Vanitas is a catastrophic grimoire that will bring about the destruction of all Vampires, that its power allows one to interfere with the true names of Vampires - often being called an analytical engine in the shape of a book as a result - and that The Book of Vanitas is an evil device that creates Curse-Bearing Vampires.
Both Vanitas and Noé are shocked by this accusation, with Vanitas asking if Luca's trying to say that by using The Book of Vanitas he's creating more and more Curse-Bearing Vampires. Luca confirms this, suggesting that Vanitas himself may be a victim of The Book of Vanitas' power. When Luca sees that Vanitas is confused by what he's suggesting, he reveals that he'd heard of a type of grimoire capable of taking control of your consciousness the minute that it's picked up, thus if Vanitas is being controlled by The Book of Vanitas the only way to save the cursed is to dispose of it, however unfortunate that may be. Finally, Luca states that as its bearer, Vanitas would likely have to receive the appropriate punishment alongside The Book of Vanitas as well.
Noé steps in and asks that Luca not destroy The Book of Vanitas, reasoning that Luca and Jeanne could do whatever they wanted to Vanitas, but at the moment they're in a hurry and it would be best if they had this conversation another time. Angered, Luca insists that he doesn't have much time either - as someone very close to him has become a Curse-Bearer and is suffering and the only way to save them is to destroy The Book of Vanitas; demanding that Vanitas give him the grimoire. Hearing that Luca believes the Curse-Bearers will revert back to normal if The Book of Vanitas is destroyed, Vanitas asks Luca who told him such nonsense. Vanitas asks Luca to listen to him, telling Luca that he's a doctor and that he's using the power of The Book of Vanitas to save Curse-Bearers. Furthermore, if Luca really does want to save the Curse-Bearer who's so important to him, then Luca can take him to them and he'll heal them as soon as he's done with Thomas. Enraged, Luca claims that the Curse of the Vampire of the Blue Moon is why his elder brother is suffering, writing off Vanitas' suggestion to take him to see his brother as absurd. Drawing attention to what Luca had just said, Jeanne motions forward, while a regretful Luca puts his hands over his mouth in shock. Vanitas then thinks over the fact that Luca's older brother is a Curse-Bearer - pondering what that might mean for Luca.
Taking matters into her own hands, Jeanne slams her coffin into the ground, sending Vanitas flying backwards - only to be caught by Noé. Luca is shocked that Jeanne would act in such a way - but Jeanne assures him that further talk is pointless and encourages him to give her an order while continuing to swing her coffin at Vanitas - who effectively manages to dodge her attacks and retaliate; cutting off Jeanne's hood in the process. As Jeanne falters, Luca rushes to her side, though she's now more determined than ever. Luca asks if Vanitas is set on his decision to not give them The Book of Vanitas willingly no matter what - to which Vanitas smiles - although he is deeply hurt by it he knows the situation calls for more extreme measures, with Luca addressing Jeanne; who knows what Luca wants and promises to do her best to take Vanitas in alive. With appreciation for Jeanne's dedication, Luca orders Jeanne to do everything in her power to take The Book of Vanitas from Vanitas.
Jeanne confirms her orders, saying "Oui, votre altesse" (lit. "Yes, your highness") and reveals that within the coffin there is a Crimson Gauntlet. Concerned, Vanitas tells Noé that it's time to run, and as Noé asks for clarification, Vanitas reveals that Jeanne is Lord Ruthven's Bourreau. While Noé is confused he follows behind Vanitas, who explains that during the war, when thousands of Vampires betrayed their kind and sided with the humans, one Bourreau is said to have wiped them all out, she who wields the Crimson Gauntlet -Carpe Diem- one who slays her own kind and was given the name of a saint: The Hellfire Witch, Jeanne.
Having put on her Crimson Gauntlet, Jeanne sends a blast of fire in the direction of Vanitas and Noé, throwing them, as well as Thomas and Riche, to the ground. As Jeanne swipes at Vanitas with her gauntlet - Vanitas jumps over the attack and thinks of how Jeanne has no intention of taking him alive. Noé jumps in front of Vanitas and grabs Jeanne's arm, stating that he can't have Vanitas dying on him yet. Unexpectedly, Jeanne's gauntlet begins to spin, putting Noé off balance while Jeanne draws her sword. Before she can strike however, Vanitas lassos the arm with her sword. As Jeanne looks to him, Vanitas tells Noé to run, only for Jeanne to blast more fire throughout the alley they're in. Once the fire clears, Jeanne is shocked to discover that Vanitas and Noé disappeared but before she can seek them out someone throws a flashbang grenade which blinds Jeanne long enough to allow Vanitas and Noé to escape.
Running through a nearby factory, Noé exclaims that he'd never seen a weapon like the Crimson Gauntlet before - though Vanitas tells him that this is no time to be impressed. Just then, a nearby wall is blasted open with Jeanne running through and digging the claws on her Crimson Gauntlet into Noé's shoulder. Before Jeanne can finish Noé off though, Luca comes running into the factory - distracting her long enough to let Vanitas and Noé flee the scene. Luca tells Jeanne that it isn't safe there and that she needs to hide, while also reinforcing that she mustn't kill. Luca reminds Jeanne that she's not a Bourreau anymore, she's his Chevalier - which Jeanne realizes is true and apologizes to Luca for the way that she's acted.
Elsewhere in the factory - Vanitas tells Noé to take off his coat so that he could stop the bleeding, but Noé assures him that it'll heal on its own so long as he leaves it alone. Vanitas admits that a Vampire's healing capabilities do surpass humans' - but before he can finish what he's saying Noé recalls Count Orlok's reaction to them and now with Luca and Jeanne he assesses that city Vampires aren't good at listening when people are talking. Vanitas asks what Noé's getting at, as Orlok's, Luca's and Jeanne's reactions are the usual type of reaction Vampires give when they encounter him. When Vanitas sees that Noé doesn't quite understand, he explains that it's normal for Vampires to have some knowledge and fear of the Vampire of the Blue Moon drummed into them, and that's why when he finds a patient he neither tells them his name or about The Book of Vanitas.
Vanitas admits that it's only natural, as the Curse-Bearers believe that what's happening to their bodies is the Curse of Vanitas, additionally what Luca had said wasn't entirely inaccurate. While it's true that The Book of Vanitas can interfere with Vampire's true names, if one were to warp those true names they become malnomen - but alternatively one can also use The Book of Vanitas to restore those true names - which he considers to be treatment, meaning that it's all in how one uses its power, so it's only natural to fear The Book of Vanitas. Noé retorts that whether you can or not and whether you did or not are two completely different issues, because even if The Book of Vanitas was made to destroy Vampires, Vanitas undeniably used it to save Amelia - and to him that is something he felt was overwhelmingly right. Noé then admits that it's because of that that he wants to go back and save Amelia - which makes Vanitas laugh as Jeanne would find them again if they did. Vanitas tells Noé that he really is an interesting fellow - standing, Vanitas claims to have steeled himself and he really has no idea whether "it" is going to work, but if it does then it will get them back quickly. Before Noé can question what Vanitas is talking about, Vanitas tells him that he's found one, and only one, way to win against Jeanne.
Characters Edit(*) - Denotes that the character did not appear physically, but as a part of another character's memories.
- Secondary Title: Jeanne