|Claymore Manga Chapter 4|
|Romanized title||Kuro no Sho|
|English title||The Black Card|
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The fourth chapter of Claymore by Norihiro Yagi, first published in the May 2001 issue of Shonen Jump.
While camping in the wilderness with Raki, Clare meets with Rubel, who gives her a new outfit to replace the one that was damaged and something else far more urgent: a Black Card. The next day, she and Raki set off to Mount Shire. She explains how a Claymore's human and Yoma sides are in a constant tug-of-war with each other and, once the human side reaches its limit, Claymore become fully-fledged monsters. In an effort to prevent this, a Claymore who has reached her limit sends her Black Card to her dearest friend as a request to kill them. The one who sent the Black Card soon appears: Elena, Clare's only friend during the hardships she endured while training. Ignoring Raki's protests, Clare kills her and buries her on the mountain, using her sword as a gravestone.
Cooking for a ClaymoreEdit
The chapter opens with Raki complaining of hunger saying that they had been walking all day with nothing to eat since breakfast. He finds it strange that Clare does not feel the same hunger. In response to this, Clare throws her sword to the side, narrowly missing him, striking a lizard dead and asking a shaken Raki whether that would be a sufficient meal.
The night, Raki roasts the lizard, saying that it looks awful but tastes great, and intends to dry the rest to keep them for a few days. He then proceeds to wolf down his food with extreme vigour. Clare however only takes a few small bites before she puts it down. Far from disliking it, she explains that Claymores only need a very small amount of nourishment; only a few bites every few days. In fact, they could easily go a week without food. She adds that just seeing Raki eat so much made her jealous. Then, she leaves the campsite, ordering Raki not to follow her.
A Message of DeathEdit
She walks a little way into the woods, finding Rubel leaning against a tree. He comments on how impulsive and sentimental she was in taking Raki under her wing, saying that he will only get in the way and slow her down. She merely replies that he is just a cook and asks him what he has for her. He presents her with a new uniform to replace her damaged one. When she takes off her old one, Rubel demands to inspect the wound.
He comments that it looks bad and reminds her that she will die if she gets hit in a vital spot like that. However, the wound is healing nicely and Clare is alright for now. Rubel warns her not to be reckless with Raki: if she gets attached to him, she could get hurt. Before he leaves, he presents her with a Black Card. Clare immediately is distressed by the sight of it, demanding why it was sent to her. Rubel mearly replies that the one who sent it insisted that it was sent to Clare. When he leaves, Clare opens the card and sees what looks like a Claymore symbol within.
When she returns to the campsite, Raki immediately sees that something is wrong by the grim look on her face. She merely says that they will be moving on to Mount Shire first thing in the morning.
The Black CardEdit
That day, they travel to the mountain. Raki finally plucks up the courage to ask her if they are hunting a Yoma. Clare corrects him: they are hunting a Claymore. Bewildered, Raki asks why. Clare explains that, when people say they are half-human, half-monster, they mean that they have monstrous strength with a human mind. Monsters with human heads, in essence. They are mankind's only weapon against the Yoma. However, there is one drawback. Claymores do not last forever: they eventually become Yoma themselves.
She goes on to say that, if they led the life of normal humans, it would not be a problem. The more they use their Yoma abilities, the closer to a Yoma they become. The human side will eventually break down and they will become Yoma. To prevent this, the Organization has come up with a plan: the Black Card. Raki correctly identifies that the symbol of the card is much like Clare's symbol on her neck and sword. Clare elaborates by saying that, when they are fit to work, Claymores are given a unique symbol that represents them within the Organization. She shows him that a Claymore's Black Card is concealed within the hilt of their Claymores.
When a Claymore knows she has reached her limits and wishes to die with dignity as a human, they send their Black Card to their dearest friend to kill them. The one who sent the Black Card to Clare was Elena, who comforted her in the darkest hours and when her body was wracked with pain from the Yoma blood in her. She is interrupted in her explanation by the arrival of Elena.
An Old FriendEdit
A long-haired Claymore, Elena greets Clare as a friend, saying that she has pushed back her Yoki as much as she could to meet her. She reminisces about the past, saying that, though there was much suffering, she only remembers the good times. She started fighting Yoma after Clare and yet she reached her limit first. Elena condemns herself for her weakness and, as her face begins to distort, she tearfully pleads Clare to kill her.
Raki, also in tears, pleads Clare not to do it, as Elena is her friend and she could not just kill her. However, Clare ignores him and cuts Elena down. As Elena dies, she thanks Clare for allowing her to die as a human. She is buried on the mountain, overlooking the landscape, with her sword stuck in her grave as a gravestone. Though Raki is in tears, Clare is outwardly calm. She says that Elena was her only friend during her time at the Organization. Raki tearfully asks her why she fights when she knows it's killing her. She simply says that is her only reason for living.