Jun 22, 2017

Majo no Tabitabi V1 Chapter 14

Chapter 14: The Royal Kingdom of Celestellia

Part 1

As I advanced above the prairie with my broom, the flowers dashed as if opposing it. The grass that received the light of sun wilted away with a gentle sparkle and a sound similar to a burbling stream.

Taking a deep breath, I opened my eyes.

The opposite side of the grasslands.

Located there was a country surrounded by walls.

Just how far does it spread out I wonder. I did think about circling around the walls with my broom, but it didn't feel like I would get back before the day darkened, so I gave up.

What's more, the gate was just before me, so there was no need to intentionally fly around it.

I advanced forward for a short time while enjoying the scenery, and then I descended from my broom.

The gate guard came out and silently bowed.

"Hello and welcome, Witch-sama. Excuse me, but may I hear your name?"

This was the usual inspection for entering the country.

"It's Elaina."

"How long will you be staying?"

"I think I'll leave within three days."

"And your Witch's Name?"

"The Witch of Ashes."

"......Witch of Ashes?" The gate guard stared at me.

"Huh? What is it?" I think he became puzzled.

"Ah, no. It's nothing. Excuse me."

The gate guard, who had fixed his appearance, withdrew from my front.

It seems the questions ended with that. I payed one silver as a fee for entering the country and passed through the gate.

"Welcome to the Royal Kingdom of Celestellia."

While receiving such words behind my back.


Part 2

I was put on guard because of its formal name, but the district before my eyes was overflowing with liveliness.

Royal Kingdom of Celestellia is still quite a strange name.

People were coming and going on the ground patterned like interwoven bricks. Happy-looking married couple with child in hands. Children chasing each other. The elderly having a stroll. Just about everyone was immersed in daily life.

I walked.

The tall buildings were lined up on each side of the road and ropes were going between them. Clothes hanging from the rope were sunbathing. It seems they were drying their laundry.

As I took a deep breath I felt a sweet fragrance. There was a vase by one of the windows. The beautiful flowers of various colors could be seen to be shining.

A lovely town was spreading before me, seeming to make me lose my sense of time.


As I walked aimlessly around the district, there appeared one quite imposing building. On that building which was so big that made me think whether it was a Royal Palace, a clock tower was standing. It seemed that the site was quite large, and as it was obstructed by iron fences, I wasn't even able to draw near it.

I looked at the clock tower while strolling along the fence.

Then, I discovered the entrance.

‘Royal Magic Academy’

That's what was written on the gate, so it must be such a place.

So such institution also exists....... there was nothing as kind as this in my country.

I'm quite envious for the kids of this country.

......I'm slightly interested about the interior.

Would it be fine to enter?

Should I just go in?

Let's go in.

I set my foot on its grounds.

"Hey, you. What do you think you are doing?"

Then after walking only a little, I was stopped.

My shoulders got firmly caught.

"Only authorized people can enter here. It is fine to look from the outside, but let's not go into the premises, okay?"

Turning around, there was a robust man standing there. He had swelling muscles and wore a tight suit. It appears he is a gatekeeper.

"............"

"......Oh?"

After dropping his sight to my chest, his attitude underwent a complete change.

"Pardon me. So you are a Witch...... please forgive my impolite speech."

"It's okay."

I shook of his hands and started advancing towards the school once more──

"I'm sorry, but I'd rather you don't go inside."

I was stopped.

"Ah, so it's no use after all?"

"No use."

"Even for a Witch?"

"The order was to unconditionally keep outsiders from entering."

"Whose order was that?"

"It was the order of the noble Witch-sama who manages this academy."

"......Haah."

"I'm told that it is in order to not let the knowledge about the ways of teaching leak out outside, because she can't bear the act of being imitated by foreign countries."

"Then, would it be fine if you just closed the gate?"

"We can't have that either. The noble Witch-sama is supposed to arrive at this school anytime now."

"......Haah."

Reluctantly, I left.

Bad luck.


It's too early to search for an inn right now.

I continued to loiter around the country.

This country is enjoyable just by walking.

"............"

Looking up, there were brooms flying above every house. And they didn't seem to only be flying, but the men sitting on brooms were dropping something down while flying above the houses in zig-zag.

I realized that they were newspaper delivery men after I saw a person coming out onto a balcony and opening up a newspaper there.

As I walked down the main street, I arrived at a street with stalls.

Fruit stores, greengrocers, butchers, and so on were crowding the both sides of the road.

There also appeared to be the bakery-san. There was a "Freshly Baked" signboard on it. There's no lie greater than this. Because it was all crusty.

"Excuse me, bread please."

The granny with good spirit smiled gently.

"It's one copper."

I took out a copper coin from my purse and handed it over to her.

The granny grabbed one loaf and shoved it into the bag. ......Did you grab it with bare hands?

"Here you go. Thank you for buying."

"Yeah......thank you."

After accepting the bread, I strolled the stall street while biting into it. The bread that was clearly not freshly made was hard as a rock.

While walking with bread in hand, I got out of the street stall district.

Then, the figure of a Magician appeared once more. A man with large luggage tied to the broom was talking with the shopkeeper of a cafe.

"I want to deliver this to Amana-san's house on the western district. Transport it with caution, okay? Because it contains an important lunch in it."

"All righty!"

"Will it really......?"

The man gave the grimacing shopkeeper a backward glance and slowly rose up, then flew off to somewhere.

I see, so he's doing delivery by using broom.

It appears that the Magician population of this country is quite high.

I also understand the reason of there being an academy that taught Magic.

Not only delivering things like luggage and newspapers, there were also Magicians who transported people. They were flying in the sky while fastened in the luggage carrier of the broom. ──That said, it appears that transporting people alone was impossible, so they were working in pairs. It seems that one side was managing the operation of the broom, while other was lightening up the luggage carrier’s weight with Magic.

There were Magicians not just in the sky but also on the ground.

On the shoulder of the main street, there were those who entertained people by demonstrating Magic.

People who moved puppets with Magic and did drama plays.

People who offered excitement by singing while livening up the place with Magic (by producing things like snow).

Every Magician was lively.


By the way, there's something that has been on my mind.

I do think that it's a good thing that these Magicians were living full of smiles, but isn't that difficult?

So I decided to ask.

Asking about something you don't know is the most efficient path, right?

"Excuse me―"

I found a square of the district by chance.

I called out to the Magician woman (she didn't wear robe nor had brooch, so I figure she is a Mage) who was sitting on the bench and was reading a book.

"Hm? What is it?"

The woman looked at me with a gentle expression.

"I'm a traveler and there's something weighing on my mind. Can you inform me if you don't mind?"

"Oh my, what a lovely traveler." The woman giggled and revealed a smile. "So then, what is it? As long as it's something I know."

After pausing a little, I said.

"Don't the Magicians of this country find it difficult to fly in the skies?"

She bent her head. "Difficulty with flying......? No, there's nothing like that?"

"Even though such thing exists?"

I pointed my finger. In that direction was a rope going in between tall buildings. With clothes hanging on it.

As she looked at that, she muttered 'Ahh......'.

"Well, that's something made intentionally."

"Intentionally?"

"Yes──There are a lot of Magicians in this country, right? So, it's hard to fly that way."

"......?"

I don't get the meaning.

"Oh my. Was the explanation insufficient?"

"Please give me a bit more details."

She put the book beside her and said,

"When you are flying with broom, the more you are distant from earth the more tired you become right? So everyone wants to fly as low as possible."

"That's correct."

I assented to it.

"But if everyone flies at a low height, it will get congested. They might even plunge into the houses when trying to avoid a passing by Magician. There being many Magicians brings about same level of risk."

Ah, I see.

"So, in order for them not to fly in between houses, it's being obstructed by ropes and clothes, right?"

She said with a smile.

"That's right. In this country, it was thought that Magicians should be considerate for the people who can't use Magic."

"......Were there no Magicians who complained about it?"

"Won't you understand that if you take a look at the state of this country?"


Part 3

Taking out my broom, I flew in the air.

It's not like I flew with some objective in mind. It's just that I felt like seeing the scenery from above as well.

"......Wow."

In the sky, the scenery was quite different from the one on earth.


Roofs of various tinges like red, blue, light blue, or yellow were lined up at exactly same height. The blowing wind felt comfortable, and I thought it would've been really nice to admire it while lying on the roof.  

It might be good to search for an inn to stay at for today from here on.

I flew around at random.

Greeting passer-by Magicians, returning waves to the kids who waved at me from the luggage carriers. While having a pleasant moments like that.

That reminds me.

In the country I visited before, didn't I abruptly collide with a girl all of a sudden. I wonder what she's doing alright now? Is she still undergoing training in order to become a Witch in her birthplace?

"............"

I stopped my broom. While forcibly stopping by broom, I stayed still in the sky.

Because I became sentimental after remembering about Saya-san...... of course it wasn't because of that.

Rather, it was because they appeared before my eyes that I remembered about her.

"Umm, what?"

A pair of boy and girl appeared in my direction as if to obstruct my flight.

Black pants, or rather, a skirt, worn underneath black mantle and white cutter shirt. A red necktie hanging from the neck.

If you looked at their chests, it would become clear that they were Mages.

"Hello. You are the Witch of Ashes right?" the boy said.

"Ah, w-we are the students of Royal Magic Academy," the girl said.

Royal Magic Academy.

I see, so that academy that didn't let me in.

"And what business do the academy students have with me?"

"Umm...... Err, would you come with us without asking anything?"

The girl said such thing with hesitation.

It's extremely suspicious.

"For what reason?"

"No, as I said, without asking anything......"

"I refuse."

I gave immediate reply.

"Eeh! Why!?" The boy became excessively surprised.

"I don't really want to, so I refused."

Although my identity was known, why do I have to go along with them? What's more, without asking anything? Doesn't that make it double suspicious?

No way, no way.

"Umm, but......"

"Let me hear the reason first. I’ll decide whether to follow you or not after that."

I resolutely said this to the girl who clearly seemed to be on the verge of fainting.

"That's...... impossible."

"Then, it's impossible for me as well."

The boy butted into the conversation. "Please somehow! I beg you, Miss Witch of Ashes! Please follow us without asking for a reason!"

"Again, I said I wouldn't if you don't tell me the reason, didn't I? You are persistent."

.............

I feel like we weren't making any progress.

The conversation would just continue without change if we keep it going  like this.

Shall I escape?

Let's do it.

As I changed the direction of my broom, "Ah, I'm sorry. I remembered an urgent business," I told a lie.

Then, on the side opposite of them──

"......Eeh―?"

I tried to advance towards the opposite side.

However, the Magicians once again obstructed my path. In addition, they were several men and women with entirely different getup than the other two.

Oh no, what's happening? It became more and more ridiculous.

As I looked left and right, I saw people with the same appearance gathering near me one after another.

I was quickly surrounded. By the mysterious student group.

They were about twenty in number.

"Hey, you guys. Let's play with cooperation from now on." "That's right" "If all of us do it, we will catch her, probably." "Un." "Understood." "Don't monopolize the achievement." "Same goes for you."

The students moved slowly.

While I was in a state of complete unawareness, there was just one thing I clearly understood──At this rate, I'll be caught.

I have no idea what would happen if I was caught.

"............"

I slowly descended my broom slowly, and then,

"Ei!"

Hitting the broom, I did a fast takeoff.

While holding the tricorne in one hand so that it wouldn't be blown away by the broom that suddenly dashed into the sky with full power, I flew about above the district.

In short, I escaped.

Looking back, I saw the students shouting something while coming towards me.

Thus, the curtains to the chase with unknown objective opened up just like this.


However, it appears that the difference between the ability of a Witch and Mages was, after all, too big.

"............"

Although they persistently chased after me, I saw the distance between us gradually grow bigger. It's also a just matter of time before I shake them off completely.

However, even if I shook them off, my movement was completely visible in this beautiful scenery. It would be quite obvious as to where I escaped.

So then, what should I do?

Let's do this.

"......Tou."

I lowered my altitude, turned towards the horizontal direction, and flew slightly below the roofs of houses. I saw the ropes going between the houses. As I passed through, the entangled clothes started to sway.

At this altitude, being obstructed by the roofs, I won't be seen from a distance.

If they lose me once, it should be difficult to discover me again.

Looking back, there were still several students persistently chasing me around. There were supposed to be about twenty in all, did others give up?

However, I realized that wasn't so as I turned to face forward.

There were shapes of several students on the path I was supposed to advance. They were facing towards this way and flying.

"......Ahh―"

They anticipated it. The students moved in scattered manner.

The advantage was theirs. Completely.

I turned my broom towards the right and entered the back alley. Since it had become like this, let's thoroughly escape.

After advancing for a bit, the exit became visible.

However.

"Ah, found her!" The girl coming from that side blocked the exit and extended her hand towards me.

They also anticipated this.

But, if it's just this much.

"Please get obediently cau──eh?"

When I got to one’s broom distance from her, I jumped down from the broom.

Then, after passing right under her, I called back my broom and continued flying.

It is a technique called aerial breakaway.

On top of it being used as a surprise attack, it's also somehow cool so I use it once in a while.

Even after I dealt with the girl, my path was blocked and I was trapped from the both the front and back. I had planned to hide by flying at low altitude, however it seems my position was completely exposed.

In that case, thinking so, this time I ascended towards the sky.

"............"

After rising to a certain degree of height, I overlooked the townscape.

From among the houses, or perhaps from the road, I could see that the students who noticed my movement had gathered. Apparently a little fatigue seemed to be accumulating as their speed wasn't much.

I waited in the sky until they approached me.

Before long, one male student from directly besides me,

"Doryaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

leaped at me while raising such strange voice.

I avoided him by lightly moving the broom

"Ahhhhhhhhhh!"

Again, the boy raised a strange voice while passing by me.

As if that was a signal, this time, the students from every side made their move all at once. Their number──I counted up to ten and then gave up since it was bothersome, it was probably everyone who surrounded me at the beginning.

It seems their composure already didn't let them speak human words, and the voice escaping from their mouths were nothing but strange.

"Gyaaaaaaaaa!"

"Nyaaaaaaaa!"

"Oruaaaaaaaa!"

"Hyaaaaaaaaa!"

"Shaoraaaaaaaa"

"Konakusoooooo!"

Like that.

I composed myself and avoided the rushing students. To the right, left, above, and below, sometimes even while turning around.

Anyhow, I continued to avoid.

They didn't start attacking me, so I didn't take out my staff either and simply continued to stick with just avoiding them.

"Gyaaaaaaaaa!"

"Ahhhhhhhhhh......"

"Aa......"

"Ua......"

"Haa......"

"Hiiiiiiiiiiii......"

"I-It's hopeless......"

I don't know just how long that continued.

Before I noticed, the students' movements became slow, and eventually no one was coming toward me.

It seems it was already their limit.

They all gathered in the same spot,

"I can't do it anymore......" Someone from them said while being out of breath.

"I-I'm about to die......" Someone said with a blue face.

While maintaining a calm tone to the end,

"Everyone, just what is your goal? What is it you want from me?"

I asked them a question.

However, there came no answer. But only breathing escaped from their mouths.

"I think you should understand it plenty enough now that you won’t be able to catch me even if you form a group. Please just give up."

Although I tried saying that, they didn't return the words after all.

Without minding it, I added,

"So then, you guys, just who──"

ordered you? – I swallowed the words I was about to say.

Because I lost my words.

There appeared... a Witch.

Someone from the students was looking at the same thing as me and leaked a voice, "Ah, Sensei......" Caught by that voice, all the students fixed their appearances at once.

The girl who came approached us on a broom, faceing towards the out-of-breath students and spoke, while floating a truly wide smile.

"Good work everyone. How was it? Even after you tried to catch a Witch with all your might, you were no opponent to her, right? This is the difference between you and a Witch. Age doesn't have relation to it. Because the Witch of Ashes over there is so powerful that she can't even be compared with you──"

Hair, black as the dead of night. And a matching dark robe and a tricorne. Shinning on her chest, was a star-shaped brooch.

She who hasn't changed a bit in the past three years smiled at me.

That person was my teacher.

"It's been a while. Elaina."

It was Fran-sensei.


Part 4

"I'm sorry, Elaina. I'll explain the full details myself──but first, shall we go to the academy?"

Fran-sensei said apologetically while guiding me and the students to the Royal Magic Academy.

Refusing her request wasn't even a choice. After all, there were mountain of things I wanted to talk about with her.

Perhaps the appearance of the twenty frail Magicians gathered up and flying together looked quite like migratory birds.

While I blankly stared at Fran-sensei's back and thought things like, 'she hasn't changed at all, huh, how old is she now I wonder', before I noticed, we had arrived at the academy.

Then, Fran-sensei spoke while coming down from the broom on the academy grounds.

"Everyone, today's extracurricular lesson has ended with this. That's enough for today──I hope you submit your thoughts about today at morning tomorrow."

"Yeees!", "Thank you very much!" After giving quite spiritless responses, the students dispersed.

It appeared they were quite tired, as some where unsteadily flying in the sky, while others gave up on it and were returning home by foot.

Fran-sensei revealed a smile in such situation.

"Oh my. Did you torment them too much, Elaina?"

"Is it my fault?"

"It's not my fault either."

"......You are acting as a teacher at this academy, Fran-sensei?"

"Yes. I was invited by the King-sama of this country a little earlier than when I trained you."

"............" First time hearing it. "That means you left school for a whole year? You are lucky you didn't get yourself fired."

"Yes. Well, it's because I'm not usually in charge of the lessons. Occasionally like this, I give extracurricular classes to just interested parties, or give guidance to teachers, that's my specialty. Besides──"

Fran-sensei, while looking at me,

"When I told them I taught Magic to you, all the teachers understood it."

And added that.

Huh? How come?

"To me, you say?"

"Yes. If the other party wasn't you, I might perhaps have been fired."

"Although I'm not supposed to be such an outrageous person."

"I wonder about that."

She said in her usual smile.

Then,

"Well, come inside. There are lots of things I want to talk about with you."

She said and pointed at the academy building behind her.

My feelings were the same.


The inside of the building was extremely modest.

Desk and chairs were lined up at equal intervals in square rooms. In front of them was a large blackboard. There were no useless ornaments on it.

Similar landscapes were lined up on one side of the corridor.

On the opposite side was a window. The vast academy grounds could be seen from here.

"You see, this academy was originally a place where they taught normal scholarship."

Then I was told, "But the new school buildings are being newly established──So as this place became unnecessary, they let us use it as an academy that taught both Magic and scholarship."

"The students who tried to catch me...... are also students from here, right?"

Sensei nodded.

"Yes. As a part of the extracurricular lesson, I asked them to bring you to me without letting you know about the circumstances, or even forcibly drag you here."

"......Why did you do such a thing?"

"You won’t get it unless I tell you?"

"I wouldn't."

"............"


After staying silent for a short while, Fran-sensei hit my shoulders with both hands,

"Because I wanted to meet you."

And said so in a tiny voice, as if whispering.

"............"

I felt gloomy feelings being born inside of me.

I thought this person was sly. If you tell me something like that, I can't get mad anymore.

I changed the topic.

"Why did you notice that I came to this district?"

"You tried to enter the academy on a whim didn't you?"

"......Ah."

A huge gate could be seen outside the window. I was certainly stopped there by a robust man.

Fran-sensei followed my sight and nodded.

"That's right. The gatekeeper told me when I returned to academy. "A young Witch with ashen hair tried to enter here. She might be a spy from a foreign country." – Is what he said."

"A spy......"

That was quite a leap in logic......

"I realized it the moment I heard about your characteristics. "Aah, that's undoubtedly Elaina," I thought. I then swiftly went to the gate guard and confirmed whether you had really entered the country."

We came to the end of a corridor.

Fran-sensei turned around the corner and went upstairs. I also followed her.

"There was indeed your name in the country entry records. You came to this country this morning, right?"

"Yes."

I nodded.

"......My apprentice came to this country. After realizing that, I couldn't contain myself. So I decided to search for you──by using the students."

"............"

"When I returned to the academy, it was just in time to do extracurricular lessons for just the most prominent students. So, I gave the students the following instructions."

After climbing the stairs, what appeared was a single door.

Fran-sensei touched and opened it. Perhaps the fitting was bad as it gave an unpleasant creaking sound.

"There is a Witch of Ashes in this country. Bring that Witch here without telling her of the circumstances. Or, if you are even able to forcibly drag her here, then I'll raise your grades──"

"Why did you use such roundabout ways......"

Wouldn't it be fine if she just normally searched?

Sensei released a sigh and spoke.

"Don't you think it's close to impossible to search for you in this vast country by myself?"

Then, as she stood next to the opened door,

"Now, come in."

She said.

While urged, I passed by her and entered inside

It appeared to be a room that served as both reception and a study room.

In the middle of it was a sofa across the table. Opposite of it was a desk, and various documents and books were piled up on it without order.

I heard the door behind me closing. Again, it was an unpleasant sound.

"What's wrong? Sit down." Sensei passed before me and went towards the sofa.

"Ah, okay."

I sat on the sofa in a way to face Fran-sensei. It was soft.

"I was really surprised when I discovered that you came to this country, you know? Although I knew that you became a traveler."

......? Oh?

"You knew it?"

“Yes. Of course I knew."

"I don't believe I've talked with Fran-sensei about becoming a traveler."

To begin with, I’ve just met her for the first time in several years.

The people who know about me becoming a traveler only include my parents and the residents of the Peaceful Country of Robetta. Fran-sensei knowing about it is really strange.

Fran-sensei told to me who was bewildered,

"Elaina, do you still remember what I told you when the training was over?"

──Goodbye, Elaina. I will come to visit again someday. Please look forward to it.

No, well, she certainly said that, but...

She revealed an impish smile. "I had business so I went to Robetta once more in the year following training. Then, Elaina's parents told me, "She left on a journey"."

"So you met with mother?"

"Yes──she was really worried about you. If you pass close to your birthplace, please visit home once."

"I plan to do so."

However, I have come quite far from it, so meeting them once more is still a thing of future.

"Then that's good."

Then, Fran-sensei paused for a bit,

"That reminds me, Elaina, why did you think of becoming a traveler? Was it your mother's influence after all?"

She asked me.


......?

Why did mother appear here? I inclined my head.

"No, that's not it...... I read the novel called "Nike's Tales of Adventure" as a child. It had the biggest influence on me."

"............Oh." Fran-sensei raised her eyebrows just a little, "Hmm...... I see," and started to ponder on something.

That was a strange reaction.

"Um, what is it?"

Fran-sensei shook her head towards my question.

"No, it's nothing──rather than that, "Nike's Tales of Adventure" was it? You have a nice taste. That book is also my favorite."

"Ufufu. I have read it so many times that I can recite all five volumes of short stories from my memory."

I boasted.

"Oh my. ......By the way, which was your favorite story? My favorite was the last story "Apprentice Witch Foula"."

"......! That's also my favorite."

If I remember correctly, that story was about a Witch Nike visiting a certain country and taking an Apprentice Witch girl called Foula as an apprentice and raising her to be a Witch.

At the end of that story, Nike abandoned her way of life as a Witch spent her life in a rural area as a simple woman. Then, Foula, who had become a Witch, became a new traveler──that was the content of that story.

"Apprentice Witch Foula, by the way, could be talking about me."

Fran-sensei said something strange.

"What are you saying?"

"Now, I wonder what indeed." Ufufu, Fran-sensei smiled. ""Nike's Tales of Adventure" is a masterpiece, and is greatly popular even in this country."

"But, it's quite an old novel, right?"

"Good works live long."

"......That's true."

As an old fan, there's nothing as delightful as that.

If something, personally advertizing "Nike's Tales of Adventure" as a link to my journey might be good. ......It would probably fall into a setback due to budgetary reasons.

"That reminds me."

Breaking my thought process, Fran-sensei said abruptly, "Elaina, when do you plan to leave this country?"

"......I was thinking of departing on the morning the day after tomorrow."

"Day after tomorrow huh?"

"Yes."

I can't stay for too long, after all.

──All the more if Fran-sensei is here.

"Do you have plans tomorrow? Is there something you have to do?"

"Tomorrow? No, nothing in particular......"

"Then, do you have free time?" Fran-sensei nibbled.

What is it?

While being slightly in a loss, "Well, I do have...... free time." I replied so. I don't mean that there is nothing to do, but it wouldn't be mistake either to say that I don’t have a free time because I'm just going sightseeing.

"That's good."

Fran-sensei smiled.

"What's the matter?"

"Well, there's something I want your help with tomorrow."

"Ah, okay. I don't mind──What is it you need help with?"

"I want you to help me with guiding the students."

"............"

It sounds somehow suspicious.

"I want you to help me with guiding the students."

I was told that twice for some reason.

Super suspicious......


After that, we talked about lots of things. We forgot the time and engrossed ourselves in talking.

It was a talk about various people I met across the journey. The tales of countries I had visited. Tales of some others, even names of some whose I didn't know.

On and on, our conversation didn't know of interruption.

How good it would be if time stopped like this? I thought of such thing. However, it seems the fun time passed in the blink of an eye, and before we noticed, the outside darkened as if it was painted over.

"Oh. It's already this late. Shall we head home for about now?"

Honestly speaking, I wanted to keep on talking some more.


"Do you want to stay at my house?" I was invited by Fran-sensei when we got out from the academy building, however I refused.

Because I'm sure that more I get spoiled by her, the more difficult I would find to return back to journey.

The parting would become painful.

In the midst of the darkness, I walked in search for the inn.

In the middle of it, a window of some house suddenly caught my eye. The window illuminated by the moonlight was vividly reflecting the outside scenery.

And there.

Was the appearance of me with a face brimming with smile.


Part 5

Early morning of the next day.

I, who woke up at the cheap inn that I found after walking about, quickly changed into the Witch-like outfit and went outside.

I mounted on my broom in front of the inn's exit and ascended into the sky. My direction was, of course, the Royal Magic Academy. I flew while exchanging light greetings with the young men who dropped newspapers in houses from morning, and the pair who acted as the carriage and flew. The morning wind was chilly and my still-remaining drowsiness was blown far away.

Thanks to the large tower being a landmark, I was able to arrive at once without losing my way.

As I overlooked the academy from the sky above, I saw the shapes of people scattered throughout the its grounds──they were students.

Their number was approximately twenty. It was practically the same number as the people who chased me yesterday.

There was also the shape of Fran-sensei among them.

I got off the broom and stood on the ground beside her. The hard sensation of the ground traveled through both legs.

"Oh, good morning. You are quite early. Although I don’t think I have specified the exact time."

Fran-sensei gave me a smile.

"I came early because you didn’t specify the time."

"Oh my. Are you blaming me?"

"No no. I just want you to praise me."

"You are great, great."

"Why yes, thank you."

"However, with this we can start earlier than usual──"

Then Sensei clapped her hands twice.

With that, the students hurriedly finished the Magic practices and gathered. Moreover, with full speed. Perhaps because of hurrying, there were also students who threw the water that had been used for training on the ground.

"Everyone, this is the Witch of Ashes, Elaina. You meet her yesterday so you should know her, right?"

Fran-sensei introduced me while facing the gathered up students.

I swiftly bowed, "Ah, hello," and said just that.

"I was thinking of letting her act as a guest lecturer today. Although her age is near yours, she's a splendid Witch. I hope you don't look down on her."

Then, after confirming that students have nodded few times,

"Are there any questions for her?"

She addressed them.

The one who quickly raised his hand was a bright-looking, refreshing young man.

"Me mee! Boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend?"

Whoops, I made a mistake. He was a slow-witted, impure young man.

"I don't. I'm a traveler after all."

"Please only questions related to Magic," Fran-sensei rounded off with a clap. "Any others?"

Next one to raise hand was a timid-looking girl. If I recall correctly, I think it was the girl from the first pair that confronted me.

She hesitantly looked at me and asked.

"Umm...... What's your specialty Magic......?"

I'm glad it was a normal question. "I don't really have a particular specialty. Attack Magic, Manipulation Magic, Transformation Magic, and everything else, I can use it to some extent."

"Anything else?"

Someone raised their hand.

"Which was your favorite from the countries you have visited so far?"

"This country."

"Oh, is that a flattery?" Fran-sensei interrupted.

Then someone raised their hand once more.

One after another, without ceasing.

"What was it that made you decide to be a witch?"

"I read the novel called "Nike's Tales of Adventure"......that would be my biggest reason."

"What's Elaina-san's country of origin?"

"It's a far, distant border country called the Peaceful Country of Robetta."

"Please teach me the secrets to Magic!"

"It's only about putting effort."

"Is being a traveler fun?"

"Yes, amazingly so."

"Me mee! How about panties? What's the color of your pan──"

Fran-sensei physically put an end to the slow-witted boy's question time.


The morning extracurricular lesson went smoothly.

However, I didn't know how to guide the students at all, so for the time being, I looked at what kind of teaching Fran-sensei was doing.

She was:

"Oh my. Your Magic flow is disordered. Calm your mind some more, stabilize your Magic Power."

"You released too much Magic Power. Suppress it some more."

"Hey. You shouldn't play with a sword-shaped water."

......Like that, she was walking among the students one by one and giving them proper guidance.

Fumu fumu, I see.

Then, let's mimic her actions──I walked between the students at a slow pace.

It seems that Magic control training is ongoing. Just like before, the students were moving the water that was inside the bottle. It's just a basic practice, but freely moving objects like this is the first step to improving your Magic ability.

While I was walking around in proper manner,

"Ah, Elaina-sensei. I can't turn water into a perfect sphere, what should I do?"

Asked the male student.

Although the water was floating on the tip of the staff he held in hand, the water was swaying around as if it was boiling.

I see, I see.

"You seem to have added a useless amount of Magic. Remove some more power."

"Yes!"

Following that:

With a splash, a puddle of water appeared under the male student's feet.

"......Looks like suppressing it didn't go too well."

"You suppressed it to much."

Too bad.

As I gave a compassionate look at the dejected male student, "U-Um......" I head a small voice that lacked self-confidence from behind.

Looking back, it was the hesitant girl.

"Hm? What's wrong? I bent my head in wonder.

"Ah, yes...... Um, there's something I want you to teach me......"

"Sure. What is it?"

After pausing for a little,

"Um, my water manipulation never goes well...... I can just barely elevate it....... what should I do?"

She said while looking down.

Fumu Fumu.

"Let me see it for a bit."

"Eh? Ah, yes......"

She clasped the staff with both hands and sent Magic Power towards the bottle with water.

The bottle moved in about ten odd seconds after that.

At first whole bottle had parted from earth, but then, as if remembering it, only the water was raised after it. Then, the lump of water raised up to her height and stopped.

──When I thought so, it suddenly splashed into the ground.

"Oh?"

"......What should I do?"

She teared up.

The situation appeared to be grave.

"It seems you haven't got the grasp of it yet──I think it would be better if you work on getting the water out of the bottle for start."

"Y-Yes......"

"After taking the water out of the bottle, quickly return it back, then take it out once more. If you continuously repeat this process, I think you will get used to it to a certain extent. Carefully take your time, find the best way to do it for yourself. That's the biggest shortcut. Do your best."

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

That was the the most what I could give as advice.

As I saw her running off to fetch the water, I once again continued walking.

Thereupon, someone called me from behind.

"Hey hey! Elaina-sensei, look! Doesn't this look cool?"

The slow-witted impure male student made a water crown and put it on.

I ignored him.

All students (except one) were very enthusiastic, so they asked for advice without me even calling out to them. It looks like they found it easy to ask me who was around their age.

It wasn't a bad feeling.

Their training continued on until Fran-sensei clapped her hands twice.


Looks like Fran-sensei's work for today ended with the end of morning extracurricular lessons.

From how it was yesterday, is there extracurricular lesson in the evening? I thought so, but according to Sensei, "When we do it in the morning, we don't do it in the evening. And when we don't do it in the morning, we do it in the evening," seemed so be the case. In short, it was a once-a-day extracurricular lessons.

"Why don't you do it more than once a day?"

I tried asking her.

"Wouldn't it be tiring?"

Was the immediate reply.

"So you are being considerate that the students would get tired if you did it more than once?" I see I see.

"No, I'll get tired so I'm not doing it."

"............"

I feel something indescribable.


Part 6

After the extracurricular lessons were over, I was led by Fran-sensei and left the building. Then, we calmly flew in the sky, and ahead was a high hill. Fran-sensei descended on top of it.

I followed after her. The soft lawn raised sounds.

Looking down, the greenery stretched while drawing a gentle arc.

The townscape was spread beyond the wooden fences.

The private houses with various tinges. The trees before us drifted by the wind and their leaves were stolen somewhere far away. Opposite of it was the academy with tower that became a landmark proudly claiming its presence.

In the sky of fine blue, the clouds drifted. They were white clouds with no stagnation.

"This is my favorite spot."

──Isn't it a nice view? Fran-sensei said.

"Yes. Absolutely."

"I'm glad to hear it."

Fran-sensei's black hair faintly swayed by the gentry blowing wind.

Then she,

"I wanted to show it to you once before you left this country. My favorite spot."

Said so and smiled.

Tempted by her, I also felt my cheeks loosen.

"Thank you very much."

"You're welcome──you are living tomorrow morning right?"

"Yes. I can't stay for too long after all."

"That's a shame...... Because my students appear to be extremely fond of you."

"A young Witch is only rare." Or maybe a traveler.

"Even so, being liked is a wonderful thing. I'm being avoided by students even now."

"............"

Rather than being avoided, I think it's just them not understanding the sense of distance because of Sensei's ungraspable character.

I won't say it though. I can't say it.

"What's wrong?"

"......No, nothing."

I looked at the academy that was seen distantly in order to avoid Fran-sensei's gaze. "That reminds me, you are teaching Magic at that school, right?"

"Hm? That's right?"

“What will you do after the graduation?"

"I'll just normally work in the country. For example, luggage delivery work, or giving rides to people. If you went for sightseeing, you should have seen it several times, right? The Magicians flying above the roofs.

I see.

"Are the people who performed at downtown also the graduates from this academy?"

Demonstrating Magic on the shoulder of the road. Manipulating puppets. People singing while surrounded by Magic productions.

Was every Magician who I saw on streets the people who studied in Royal Magic Academy I wonder?

Fran-sensei assented.

"Yes──But, well, they are just doing it as a hobby. It's not an official business."

"A hobby you say...... But they are receiving money, aren't they?"

"Well, they are receiving it. Although a very small amount. But they aren't showing Magic because they want to earn money."

"Then for what?"

"Just because they love to," Fran-sensei clearly said, "Elaina also loved journey and went on it because of it, right? It's the same. They also do it because they like to make people happy."

"............"

Not for the money but for themselves.

Or maybe for others.

Because they like it.

After entering this country, I thought many times that it was a lovely country. It had a beautiful townscape and a vast territory. People spending time full of smiles. I was moved so much that my breath escaped every time I came across them.

It might be because the country named Royal Kingdom of Celestellia──overlapped somewhere with my journey itself.

"Speaking of which, what is Elaina's favorite thing?"

Fran-sensei abruptly said.

"Travelling." I gave an immediate reply.

"Aside from travelling."

"............"

Aside from travelling, what else it it?

After all, it would be what became a trigger for my trip.

"It would be books I guess."

"Books......" After a short pause, "Aside from that?" Fran-sensei asked once more.

She's quite suggestive.

"Um, what is it? Since some time ago."

"No, well, something was slightly on my mind."

"Are you planning to give me a parting gift?"

I jokingly said it.

"Well, yes."

To my embarrassment, it was affirmed readily.

Ooh. Such thing.

"......Ah, no, it's fine, something like a parting gift. Your feelings alone are enough."

"Now now, you don't have to say that. How about you try to talk about your favorite things? How about flowers for example?"

"Aren't you taking the leading role already?"

"How is it, the flowers? Ah, maybe something like a butterfly as well?"

"That's Fran-sensei's favorite thing."

"Since it's my favorite, then you who's my pupil should also like it, right?"

"What's with that unreasonable theory?"

"You don't like butterflies then?"

"Just normally."

"I see. You just normally like it."

"It seems it would be better if I said it's somewhere between liking and disliking."

"So how about it? The flowers."

"You went back to them."

"How about them?"

"Well, I do like them......"

"Then that's good."

"......? What is?"

"It's a secret."

Fran-sensei said with the ever unchanging smile. While I was bombarded by questions by her, she didn't answer the one thing I asked.

After living together with her for a year, even after meeting her after a long time, Fran-sensei was the same as ever. Even now, I don't fully understand what kind of person she is.

But not understanding her is the point that makes her her.

I already got used to it.

"What is it? Won’t that make me curious?"

I expected the returned words, but I still tried asking. Then, predicting my words, Fran-sensei said,

While impishly closing one eye,

"Look forward to it tomorrow."


Let's see, I wonder what you're saying.

"I'm planning to depart tomorrow morning though......"

"Yes. That's why, I'm saying to look forward to it before you leave the country──tomorrow morning, let's meet up in front of the gate.


Part 7

Then, time passed and the next morning arrived.

I slowly walked on the main street──following back on the road I came with and headed towards the gate. While passing through the shopping district, watching the Magicians flying in the sky. While passing under a rope passing through between buildings like an arch. While feeling the sweet fragrance of the blooming flowers from somewhere,

I continued to walk.

So reluctant to part with it.

"............"

But it's natural that if you walk, you will arrive at your destination. And I arrived near the gate.

Noticing me, the gate guard bowed. I also gave a delayed bow.

If I advanced just a bit more, I would be leaving this country. However, looking around, there was no sight of Fran-sensei.

......As we had not specified the exact time, she might have not yet arrived.

"............"

Unexpectedly, it may be better to leave the country without saying anything like this.

I don't know what Fran-sensei will give me──but, well, judging from yesterday's talk, she probably plans to give me flowers. However, I will only become troubled by receiving it.

When they rot and I have to discard them, it will feel empty.

Also, whenever I see similar flowers, at that time, I would probably be reminded of Fran-sensei and this country.

That's not a very good tendency as a traveler.

Because I would become sad.

"............"

If I leave like this, then it probably won't leave bitter feelings.

In that case, it's after all better for me to leave like──

"......Eh?"

I stopped the foot I was about to step forward in its tracks.

It was because flower petals started to fall from the sky. Red, blue, yellow. Pink, violet. The petals of various colors fluttered down just like snow. Fluttered silently, while drifting a sweet fragrance.

I immediately realized that something like this was impossible if you thought about it normally──and as I looked up, there was after all, her figure.

"You were quite early──Elaina. Our preparations barely made in time."

──Our.

Around Fran-sensei who was waving at me, there were shapes of the students. They flew in the sky while dropping down the petals from the baskets they held in hands.

Each and every one of them was smiling.

"Elaina."

Fran-sensei said from above the broom. "I do not have right to detain you who became a traveler by your own desire. This is the most what I can do."

"......Sensei."

"Have you been pleased?"

"............"

I replied.

While Inhaling air with all my might, "Yes, absolutely!".

And then, I started to walk. I passed while the multi-colored flower petals whirled around me.

"Elaina."

Fran-sensei called out to me, "The academy students and I will be cheering for your journey with all our hearts. Please don't ever forget that."

"............" I replied as I gazed up at the sky, "I also won't forget about everyone!"

Before long I stood in front of the gate.

The gate guard bowed and opened the doors.

Stretching beyond it were the gentle plains.

"Elaina."

Just one last thing──Fran-sensei said from the sky, "Let's meet again someday. Until then, farewell."

She said such thing.

Surely, she was smiling just like usual.

That's why, I also returned the smile.

"......Yes!"


Part 8

A broom traveled across the plains.

The flowers shined as they received the bright sunlight and swayed to the blowing wind. The cloudless blue sky continued without end.

The one mounting the broom was a Witch and also a traveler.

Her age was still young, being in latter teens.

Her ashen hair swayed and her azure eyes were directed towards the boundary between the never-ending grasslands and the sky.

Wearing a black tricorne and a black robe, with a star-shaped brooch attached to her, she continued to fly while scattering the flowers.

Pointing the broom towards the direction where there is the world yet to be seen.

What kind of country will the next one be? What kind of people will I meet next? Will it be a country full of Magicians? Or will it be the country with excessively high prices? Or perhaps, the country that might be destroying itself.

With such thoughts in mind, the traveler continued to fly.

Who in the world was that traveler?

It was me.

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