Jan 29, 2017

Majo no Tabitabi V1 Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Happiness in a Jar


Part 1


Calm plains. The wind was blowing across the grassland that seemed like it was dyed in faint green color. The flowers shined from receiving the sunlight, and swayed from the wind just like the water surface.

Looking up, a cloud so small it seemed like it could be touched by hand was leisurely swimming through the sky.
Among such breathtaking scenery, one Witch was flying upon a broom. Her age was in later teens. She was clad in a black robe and black tricorne, and on her chest was a star-shaped brooch. There's no need to say who that was, right? ──That's right, it's me.

While I was enjoying the pleasant scenery with a view that seemed to clean my heart, I saw a figure of a person standing alone in the middle of grasslands. When that person saw me, they started waving their hands.

There were no signs of hostility. I also waved back. With utmost elegance.

"Heey! Heeey!"

That person was jumping up and waving hands to make his existence known..... Come, is that what they mean?

I slightly shifted my broom and headed towards him.

"Ohhh! You came!"

The person standing there was a single boy. He was holding a jar in one hand.

"Hello."

I got down from by broom and bowed.

"Hello. Onee-san, so you were a Witch. That's amazing."

The boy glanced at the brooch on my chest and smiled widely.

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm searching for happiness."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Searching for happiness is what it sounds like," the boy said. "By the way, Onee-san, do you have some spare time?"

Is he inviting me on a date? Nono, there's no way it's that.

"If you are asking whether I have spare time, I have it, but if you are asking if I'm busy, I am."

"So then, you do have a spare time!"

.........

"By the way, isn't there a village or a city around here?" If there's no place I can stay at, I will have to sleep on the grasslands.”

I can't say if that choice would improve my mood.

"If you are looking for a village, it's over there."

At the place he was pointing at..... there certainly appeared to be something like a village standing there.

"Houhou"

"Incidentally, that's my village."

"So you are a village head? Nice to meet you. I'm called Elaina. A traveler."

"Ah, nice to meet you, I'm Emil── That's not it! I mean, that's the village where I live," Emil-san said with swollen cheeks.

"I know. I was just joking."

I gave a smile.

The sulky Emil-san held the jar with both hands and became silent.

As I dropped my line of sight to that jar, I saw something wriggling inside of it. Straining my eyes to look closely, it was a white mist. White mist seemed to be floating inside the jar like a living thing.

"What's that?" I pointed at the jar.

Maybe he wanted me to ask that. Emil-san answered back acting proud.

"This is a jar that collects happiness! When people or animals experience happiness, it transforms to magical power and gathers in the jar."

"Oh?....."

With magic, one can move things, change its form to fire or ice..... and manipulate it for all kinds of things, so it's possible to reproduce the thing in front of me. Using that to fly with broom, alter the wind, or change one’s appearance into a mouse is called Magic.

Collecting happiness when it's experienced, what that means is that emotions are converted into magic power, huh?

It seems a little interesting.

"Can I open it and see?"

"O-of course you can't!"

As I extended my hand, Emil-san gripped the jack with both hands even tightly and retreated back.

He declared with eyes baring hostility.

"This is something made for the person I love, so Onee-san can't touch it!"

"Houhou."

"A-are you angry?"

"No, I was just impressed."

I remembered a book I read long ago.

It was a tale about a husband, who for the sake of wife who couldn't leave house due to illness, wandered the world outside, and returned home to show his wife the beautiful sceneries he saw by reproducing them with Magic. How did that story end again? It's a story from long ago, so I seem to have forgotten.

"Who's the girl you like?"

"Hm? It's the servant called Nino who works in my house. Her face always looks gloomy, so I want to bring her happiness"

“That's why I'm collecting happiness in a jar,”

──Saying that, he raised the jar up and displayed it.

His expression looking at the jar like a lover was the very happiness itself. To the point that if his emotions were reproduced with magic, it would be able to easily fill up the jar with happiness.

After that, we got on broom and headed towards the village. I talked about how magic power worked from a while ago so I never got to ask, but he was a Magician.

That reminds me.

What in the world was Emil-san doing in the middle of grasslands?

"I was testing whether I could extract happiness from plants as well"

"How was it?" I asked to Emil-san flying behind me.

"It's complicated. I managed to reproduce something like the emotions of plants, but for some reason, their color became impure so I abandoned it"

"My my"

Well, they were plants in the end, huh. If you asked whether plants had distinct emotions, I would only bend my head in wonder. If by chance I learned that they had emotions, there's a chance that I would not eat salad from now on, so I want to avoid clarifying that fact as much as possible.

"Ah, it's that."

He pointed at the village that appeared in front of us.

It was a tiny village. To the extent that if you walked along the fences full of shortcomings that were lined up instead of outer walls, you would return to the same place in less than one hour.

The amount of houses was about several dozens. Houses of similar appearance were scattered, and as if to fill up the gaps, small fields and wells were placed in between.

Well, it's how it is.

"It's a quiet village."

"Right?"

Getting down off the broom, we passed through two trees that were there instead of a gate and entered the village.

Up ahead the straight road, there stood a fine mansion which was clearly bigger compared to other houses. Although I said big, it was to the degree of inns of other countries.

"Is that the house of village head?"

As I pointed at the mansion, he assented.

"That's right. And it's also my house."

"Oh?"

Then saying this village was Emil-san's wasn't necessarily wrong.

"...That reaction was quite weak, Onee-san."

"Would it be better if I was surprised? Wow, amazing! You are so rich!"

"Yea....... whatever, never mind already......" Emil-san became gloomy, as if shadow was cast on him.

"By the way, Emil-san, when are you going to give that jar to her?"

Instantly, his face was lit up. He's an interesting boy with extreme jumps in emotions.

"Now! I will give it to her after today's meal at noon. Ah, that's right, Onee-san should also come to eat. The food made by Nino-chan is absolutely delicious!"

"I'm thankful, but I already ate just recently."

"Then try just a little from Nino-chan! Ah, do you have any food you dislike? I will request to avoid it."

It looks like I have to eat by all means.

However, I have no reason to refuse right?

"I don't have anything I dislike, but I really ate just recently so just a bit, okay?"

"Leave it to me! I will give you food that's absolutely delicious!"

No, the one who's going to make the food isn't you but Nino-chan, right?


Part 2



Like that, I ended up visiting the village head's house.

Compared to its outward appearance that was quite big, inside it was pretty ordinary.

In the dining room where Emil-san guided me to, there was old-looking furniture lined up. Just like the modest situation of the village, the village head didn't live in prosperity it seemed. Rather, there was an impression that they couldn't handle the place that was too large.

"Now, lets sit."

Emil-san pulled a chair and urged me to sit so I sat.

"That you──By the way, where is the servant?"

"Who knows? She will probably come soon."

"How about the village head?"

"Will come soon, I guess?"

"What's with that nonchalant expression?"

It was a time when Emil-san and I exchanged such words.

I felt a presence behind──no, to be more accurate, I just heard the sounds coming from behind.

In any case, I turned around.

"......Ah."

There was a girl standing there. Just as our eyes met, her shoulders flinched, so she gave a small nod, seeming as if she was scared of something. It was quite an innocent attitude.

Judging from the attire, she was a servant. She wore a slightly largish apron dress (Maid clothes, in other words) on her petite build.

"Why hello──Are you perhaps a person of eastern origins?"

She had charming, straight black hair and dark brown eyes. She had an appearance like that Apprentice Witch-san of eastern origin that I met in some country once. That Apprentice Witch-san's hair was a bit shorter though.

"Ehh? U-Um......"

Asking about someone's origins was impolite after all, huh──As if asking for help, her gaze shifted to Emil-san.

"That's right. My father picked Nino-chan from an eastern country."

"And then had her work in this house as a servant."

The girl called Nino-chan gave a small nod. "Y-Yes...... I have received a great amount of kindness from village head-sama."

That reply was so mechanical that it seemed like she was reading an already prepared manuscript.

"Where is that village head-sama right now?"

"Ah, erm.... Now, he is in the office, doing work......" She said while grasping the hem of her dress. "Um, would you like to order something?"

"Nothing in particular," I shook my head.

In any case, it seemed I would meet him at dinner, and there was no need to expressly meet him either.

After she ended the talk with me, she downcast her eyes as if trying to avoid making any eye contact with me. It seems talking to people isn't one of her strong points.

However, the boy in love wasn't worrying about that at all. Walking as if jumping, Emil-san rushed over her side and cut in her line of sight.

"Hey hey, Nino-chan, what's for lunch today?"

His back was turned towards me so I couldn't see his expression, but it was probably no different from a wide smile.

"Ah, t-today...... We have a grilled fish as demanded from village head-sama."

"Ohh! Hey, if it's alright, can you make a portion for her as well?

Emil-san pointed towards me, and Nino-san quickly glanced towards me and made a small nod.

"How about it, Onee-san?"

"That would be good. Thank you very much. But, I'm not really hungry so only a bit would be enough."

"......Y-Yes"

Just as Emil-san said, Nino-san's expression was gloomy indeed. Judging by her expression, it looked as if we were teasing her.

"Ah, that right. Nino-chan, I have a present for you after this meal"

"Eh, f-for me......?"

"Yes. Look forward to it."

"N-no...... It's okay. If you give present to a servant like me...... village head-sama will be angered......."

Her expression changed to the point that it went beyond humbleness.

"It's fineee, I will properly explain it to father."

"But......"

Getting tired of Nino-chan's indecisiveness, Emil-san took a forced action. "Then, this is an order from me. How about this?"

"........."

His honest feelings should have reached her for certain. Nino-san slowly gave a nod saying, "If it's an order...." and faintly smiled.

Looking at her, I felt that he also smiled.

After that, I got very bored.

Emil-san went to lend a hand to Nino-san and left me, the guest alone in dining room. I also headed towards the kitchen to help, but he refused with a smiling face saying "Onee-san just sit! The two of us will make the food!"

There was no one to talk to, nor was there anything to do, there was just time that ticked and ticked, in short, it was extremely unproductive. I couldn't ease my mood. I wanted to read at least a book. But I wasn't carrying any, so I couldn't do that.

In the end, I just sat on the chair and passed the time in idleness.

I waited several minutes.

"It's unusual to have visitors."

Saying so, a plump man sat on the opposite side from me. He couldn't be called old, nor was he young, and his age seemed to be somewhere between mid-thirties to forties. Probably. Maybe.

"Hello. Are you perhaps the village head?” I asked while holding such firm conviction.

"That is so."

As I thought.

"I am a friend of your son, Elaina. A traveler. Nice to meet you."

"You are quite polite. I'm Emil's father."

I know.

However, he appeared with great timing. I have too much spare time after all.

"How long have you been acting as a head of this village?

"I have been a village head ever since this village was built."

"Is that so?"

"Yes."

"It's a lovely village."

"Yes."

"By the way, are there any special things in this village?"

"There aren't."

"At all?"

"Yes."

"......Is that so?"

I think I continued the useless talk with village head after that, but honestly, I don't remember what we talked about at all.

In short, it was somewhat fine conversation.

Then, after a short while, Nino-san and Emil-san returned while carrying the cookery.

While two of them were setting up the dining table, along with the faint sense of hunger, I felt unease because of that which couldn't be seen.

"........."

I think I asked for a small portion of food, but...


Part 3



"Eh? Have you sized it down it properly?" To my question, Emil-san blankly answered. "Look, it's a little fish, and the salad isn't much either."

Well, now that he said it, it indeed appears to be small. But I would've been fine if it was about half of your portion.

"Um..... I-Is it perhaps a bit too much......? If you can't eat it all, it's fine to leave it......"

"........."

I was silenced. Next to Nino-san, Emil-san was narrowing his eyes as if trying to say 'don't leave anything!'

So in the end.

I ate it. I ate it all without leaving anything.

It was certainly delicious cookery, but I only enjoyed it at the beginning. And ended up cramming the remaining part into my stomach. It was too much.

"Thank you for the food! It was delicious, Nino-chan."

"T-Thank you.... very much," Nino-san bowed shyly. "I will tidy up the tableware......"

Then she stood up and collected plates and glasses. Emil-san also assisted with it as if it was natural.

In that case, I'll also help── Thinking that, I stood up, but I was once again stopped with a smile saying, "Onee-san, it's okay."

As both of them went towards the kitchen, I asked to the village head "Where did you meet Nino-san?"

While pouring the remaining glass of water down his throat, the village head, "In the east, I bought her," said that as if it was natural.

Bought her. In short, that means: "Is she a slave?"

"Yes. It's a matter from few years ago. It was a time when my wife left the house, and I was troubled about housework."

"........."

There were things I wanted to say, but I endured. Staying silent, I urged him to continue.

"At that time, I was in some business on eastern country and met her there. She was slightly expensive, but she could somewhat do housework, and what's more, she had a face which seemed like she would become a beauty in future. That's why I bought her without wavering. Just as I anticipated, she became a good servant."

The village head laughed indecently.

"Is Emil-san aware of that?"

"I should've told him, but he seems not to particularly mind her being a slave."

Emil-san said village head picked her up so there's a probability that he isn't aware of her being being a slave.

Even if Nino-san was a girl bought as a slave, I feel that if it's him who isn't two-faced, he wouldn't change at all even now.

Nino-san, who quietly came back from kitchen while our conversation was in halt, confirmed that our glasses became empty and took them away one by one. The fact that she was constantly looking down while doing that means that she overheard our conversation.

"Nino-chan, where should we put the big plate again?"

"Hii......!"

She made a ear-piercing sound.

Emil-san, who suddenly came out of kitchen, and Nino-san, collided directly with each other, and the glass she held fell down.

Fragments of various sizes have scattered below their feet.

"What are you doing?!"

An angry voice came from the opposite side of me. The village head quickly stood up and gripped the collar of dumbfounded Nino-san.

"Clean it at once! Can't you even manage this?! When will you be able to finish any work perfectly?!"

"I-I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry......"

"Stop it father! Wasn't it my fault just now?! Stop blaming Nino-chan alone!"

"You be quiet!"

Flinching his shoulders, Emil-san hung his head down.

Perhaps he was tired of yelling, he let go of her and jerked his chin while saying, "Clean it up!" With tears in her eyes, Nino-chan nodded over and over and bowed towards them and me many times, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry......" while repeating that like an incantation.

To be honest, I couldn't watch it.

It was extremely unpleasant. It was disagreeable.

I pulled the chair, squatted down next to the glass fragments, and took out my staff.

"If I fix the fragments, there would be no need to clean."

Time reversal magic is convenient for things like healing injuries or repairing things. Something white as the mist grazed the fragments gently and turned back their time into it's original form.

I handed the glass which became same as before to Nino-san. "Be careful not to drop it from now on, okay?"

The girl in question had an expression that said she didn't understand what just happened.

"No, my bad. I showed you a shameful thing and you even repaired the glass," butting in the conversation, the village head said in a calm tone.

"Hey, you thank her properly as well."

No, thanking isn't something to do by being enforced.

"......I'm sorry"

Furthermore, Nino-san who was interrupted quietly said something completely different. That's not it.

"It's not 'I'm sorry', It's 'Thank you', Nino-san," I told her.

Then, Nino-san raised her face that seemed about to burst into tears at any time and squeezed a voice, "Thank you, very much."


Part 4



"I can also do that level of Magic."

After the village head went to reading room, and Nino-san returned back to dish-washing, Emil-san's face became sullen.

Even though it would be fine if he stopped forcefully acting tough.

"Oh dear. I'm sorry. Was that unnecessary?"

"No, I wasn't able to do anything after all. Thank you, Onee-san."

"You are welcome."

"But, even I could do that much."

"........."

It was probably embarrassing to show such shameful sight to the beloved girl.

"You shouldn't worry about it," I hit his shoulders with both hands. "By the way, Nino-san is feeling down now right? Isn't this the best chance to give her the present?"

"! Onee-san, are you perhaps a genius......?"

"Fufufu. You can praise me some more."

Emil-san, who found a hope, had his mood easily brightened. What a simple kid. It's nice.

Emil-san, with the jar held behind his back, was waiting for Nino-san to finish her work.

"......"

Nino-san, who came out of the kitchen with a dark face, flinched from Emil-san's sudden appearance. It was a reaction like that of a small animal. She surely remembered about the moment they collided.

Emil-san stopped at one step’s distance.

"Nino-chan. I said I had a present for you after the meal right?"

"......Y-Yes."

Nino-san answered back hesitantly.

"Here. This is the present."

Emil-san took the jar he was hiding and carried it before her eyes. Having no idea what it was, Nino-san stared at the white mist wriggling inside with a puzzled face.

"This is a jar filled with happiness."

Emil-san touched the jar cap.

"Inside, It's packed with happiness of various people that I met in various places."

"......Happiness, of people?"

Nino-san inclined her head and Emil-san smiled.

"You won't see it with just a glance, so look carefully."

With a pleasant sound, the cap came off.

From the jack that had lost cover, white mist leapt out and reached to the ceiling. Then, as it covered the ceiling in white like a cloud, it started to slowly rain down in small drops.

The glass-like drops reflected the sunlight and shined, and created an illusion. These were the fragments of people's happiness. The grains of light reflected the happiness that he gathered.

The happiness from the childbirth. The happiness from seeing a beautiful scene. The happiness from lovers walking together. Meager happiness from discovering pretty flowers. The happiness that resembled pleasure felt when overcoming hardships. The gentle happiness felt when falling asleep when reading a book on a day off while basking in sunlight.

"You see, the outside world is full of such happiness,"
Emil-san said while holding Nino-san's hand.

"That's why, stop having a gloomy face. Because I will make you happy"

Nino-san...

Looked at the grains of light in pure amazement, and before long had started to quietly cry. She shed tears while holding a hand over her mouth so that her voice wouldn't leak.

Emil-san, who laughed as if troubled, had silently embraced her.

The flowing tears...

Burst and shone just like the fragments of happiness.


Part 5



"It would be alright even if you stayed a bit longer."

A pair of trees lined up instead of a gate. Emil-san, who expressly escorted me to the village exit, felt despondent like an abandoned puppy.

Next to him stood the servant Nino-san. Since her expression wasn't great since the start, I couldn't see whether she was saddened about parting with me.

I shook my head.

"I'm sorry. But, I can't remain for too long."

Saying so, I took out the broom.

"......Come and stay again okay? At that time, me and Nino-chan will treat you to even more delicious feast. Right?"

"Y-Yes...... We'll be waiting."

Nino-san bowed.

"Yes. I'll come again──I will for sure one day"

Perhaps when I finish the journey.

They waved their hands as I grew distant. Emil-san waved his hands in full spirits. Nino-san quietly waved just the part up to the elbow.

".........?"

Suddenly, my eyes met Nino-san.

They were eyes like deep darkness. However, that wasn't simply the dark color, but like the kind of dark that seemed they essentially carried the darkness.

As if full of some kind of despair. Just like a dead person.

They seemed to be different from when I saw them for the first time in village head's residence.

......What was it?

While I was recalling that, the next town became visible.

It was the end of the book I read long ago.

The tale about husband who for the sake of wife who couldn't leave house due to illness, wandered the world outside, and returned home to show his wife the beautiful sceneries he saw by reproducing them with Magic.

Even though it left quite bad memories as an aftertaste, why had I forgotten it until now?

The wife, who deeply yearned for the dreamy sceneries, unreasonably moved her body which originally couldn't be moved, and died far earlier than what was left of her lifespan──That was the conclusion of that tale. In the end, "Believing that you are doing something for someone isn't always correct," - it was a story that had hints of such preaching.

When Nino-san saw the contents of that jar, I wonder what she felt. What did she decide?

Perhaps...

"........."

No, it can't be. There's no way right?

Turning around, the wind was blowing through the grasslands that stretched and dyed everything in a pale green. The flowers shined from receiving the sunlight, and swayed from the wind just like a water surface.

It was truly a beautiful scenery.

But I will never visit it again.

After all, I would most likely end up feeling nothing but sad even if I come.


4 comments:

  1. ...nonono don't give me this type of tragedy

    it's a sin to add despair in a happy-go-lucky slice-of-life story like this (except maybe for gakkou gurashi manga)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It gets darker. :3 Some stories are dark, some are light. Well, it'll take a while till I get to that point tho =3=

      Delete