Jun 22, 2017

Majo no Tabitabi V1 Chapter 9

Chapter 9: The Apprentice Witch Elaina

Part 1

I think the reason for the beginning of this story was surely because of this conversation.

"Congratulations on passing the Magic Exam, Elaina."

"Isn't it amazing that you became the youngest Apprentice Witch? You are our pride."

I, who had returned with a bellflower corsage attached to my chest, was congratulated by two of them without reserve. However, I still remember just how complicated my mental condition was back then.
If I'm not mistaken, I said such thing after sighing:

"But, I don't have much sense of accomplishment."


It wasn't because I was hiding my embarrassment, but rather it was how I truly felt. I didn't have the feeling that I had won, or maybe I just didn't feel anything at all.

In other words, I wasn't particularly delighted.

"Hm? Did something happen?"

To father's question, I answered as such:

"Everyone around was way too weak so it was a disappointment. At this rate, it won’t be long before I become a Witch either."

".........Oh."

"Oh dear......"

The two of them had difficult expressions on their faces.

Perhaps it was because of this conversation, or perhaps the situation was called for because of the optimism and harsh tongue I had back then.

Because of it, I gained quite unpleasant memories.

Today however, it is but a reminiscent story.


Part 2

It was about four years ago from today.

At that time, I didn't have black tricorne and robe like today, but instead wore a white blouse and black skirt──it is a story of the fourteen-year-old me.

The me of that time had passed the Magic Exam in one try, and immediately decided to apply as apprentice under a Witch-sama.

However, for various reasons, I didn't make that request with the Witches that lived in the peaceful country of Robetta which was my birthplace──or more accurately, it would be useless even if I did.

Therefore, I decided to use underhanded methods. ....No, rather than underhanded, I should say that I just heard some gossip.

It was the following:

"There lives a mysterious woman called the Witch of Stardust in a forest near Robetta."


The moment I heard it, I immediately hopped on my broom and went there. If it's not a Witch from Robetta, they might accept to become my teacher, I thought as such.

According to that rumor, the Witch of Stardust seemed to be a vagrant who had settled in a deserted tree house located deep in the forest.

I was half-doubting whether such person really existed.

That's why, the moment I saw her demeanor in the forest, I was really surprised.

"Ufufu...... Ahaha......"

"........."

Her hair was dark as the dead of night, and as if to to match with it, she wore dark robe and tricorne with the star-shaped brooch on her chest.

That woman of unknown age──whose appearance was clearly Witch-like──was playing with the butterflies on the bush in front of the tree house.

Shall I turn back, I seriously thought so.

However, there weren't any Witches aside from the strange person before my eyes who I of that time could rely on.

".....Err, excuse me."

That's why, after some wavering, I called out to her.

She, who noticed me, bent her head while floating a smile.

"Ufufu...... Oh? Ohh? Could it be that you are...... Elaina-san?"

I was surprised. After all, this person who I was meeting for the first time knew my name.

"Do you know of me?"

Considering her disposition, I had a foreboding premonition.

And unfortunately, it hit the mark.

"Yes, you are quite famous. You are that cheeky brat who despite being fourteen years old won easily won in the Magic Exam by overwhelming all other Magicians."

"........."

"Of course, that's not my personal opinion. I'm sorry if I offended you."

"......It's fine. I'm used to it."

Since the Magic Exam was a narrow gate where only one person was accepted with each exam, I was conspicuous by having passed it at youngest age.

Of course, in a bad way.

It seemed that my appearance, as I easily defeated Magicians older than me, didn't fit well for the Witches living in my homeplace. All of them simultaneously rejected my request.

That's why I bet on the mysterious Witch that lived in the forest.

However, thinking that it would be hopeless since the gossip about me had reached this place, I had half-lost hope.

"So then, what business do you have with me?"

"......It's nothing."

I was about to take my leave. After all, I thought that it was already impossible.

She, however, said this to me:

"Were you perhaps trying to ask about apprenticeship? If that's the case, then I don't really mind. I have spare time anyway."

"Eh!"

I was surprised.

So much that for a moment, I didn't comprehend what she was saying at all.

"Why are you so surprised? Oh, could it be that you had some other request?"

"No, I certainly came to request to be taken as an apprentice, however......"

"Oh my. Since that's the case, then it's settled already. Starting today, you are my apprentice."

"No, but... uhhh, wha?"

With such an unexpected development, my confusion grew all the more.

I had thought that since she knew about me, she would reject me just like Robetta's Witches did.

"Hm? You have quite complicated expression. I know what you are thinking. But be relieved. For I'm different from those fragile Witches from your hometown. To me it's irrelevant whether the other party is just a cheeky brat or whatever."

She spoke in a way to settle the topic.

Even to this day, I still remember how moved I was at that moment. Aah, I was finally able to meet someone who has recognized my ability, I thought.

"So then, are you going to become my apprentice? Or are you going to bow your head to the Witches of your hometown?"

Towards her, I bowed my head.

".......... I── won't return home. Please make me your apprentice."

This was how me and the Witch of Stardust──Fran-sensei──met.


Then, a few days after the training started.

Generally speaking about the training of Apprentice Witches, it would be their master teaching them Magic and further raising their Magic ability. Naturally, I thought it would be the same with me.

However, my relation with Fran-sensei was slightly different.

......Rather, it was actually quite different.

If I had to describe how a normal day was for the me of that time, it would be something like this.

"Good morning, Elaina. I'm feeling hungry so please make something."

"......What would you like?"

Making food for Fran-sensei had become my daily routine.

"Let's see...... I feel like eating a steak."

"It's morning, so wouldn't that be a bit too heavy?"

"Then some of the weeds growing out there would be fine."

"Aren't you compromising a bit too much?"

In the end, it concluded by eating the bread I baked yesterday.

And so, until lunchtime, I self-studied Magic. Speaking about Sensei, she was doing some suspicious research, had been going to the forest to gather some edible plants, and did as she pleased.

"Sensei, I wanted to be taught Magic......"

"Oh. I'm sorry, I'm a little busy at the moment, can we postpone for some other time?"

Even if I earnestly requested it, she usually dodged it in such manner. She didn't even once teach me Magic.

But instead,

"Elaina, you will get worn out if you study too much. How about you take rest from time to time?"

She kept saying such things.

The condition for an Apprentice Witch to become a Witch was to be recognized by the person who became their master──however, I had not the slightest idea whether she recognized me no matter what I did. Because she didn’t teach me.

Speaking of what one who had become an Apprentice Witch could do, it would be to work as hard as they can. At what you ask? Surely, that would be at everything.

Thinking that not teaching me Magic was so that I would become independent, I henceforth never asked a question even if there appeared something I did not understand.

However, Fran-sensei's requests started to worsen by the day.

“Elaina, we've run out of ingredients. Please go and buy them."

"Elaina, please head to the forest and catch about five geckos. I need them for research."

"Elaina, is dinner ready yet?"

"Elaina, there's a spider in bath. Please get rid of it. I'm scared of it."

"Elaina, please massage my shoulders."

Telling myself that this was also essential for becoming a Witch, I wordlessly complied with Fran-sensei's trivial requests day after day, just like a slave.

I still think that I did well enduring it.

I naturally had doubts of whether she simply wanted to use me. However, while it is true that I doubted her, I had no reason to run away. After all, there was no one at my home who would become my teacher even if I did return.

Endure it, endure it.

I just kept on studying and practicing by myself.


One night, before heading to bed, I indirectly asked to Fran-sensei:

"Why won't you teach me Magic?"

To my question, Fran-sensei while yawning, "It's because you don't require teaching," lightly replied so.

As expected, the me of that time didn't fully understand the meaning behind her words.


As I continued to endure it, before I noticed, one month had passed since becoming her Apprentice.

It happened when I was doing my usual strange training of chopping up trees with Wind Magic, then setting fire to the created firewood with Fire Magic and finally extinguishing it with Water.

"Oh my. You are quite violent aren't you."

Fran-sensei stood behind me.

Thinking about it, this was the first and the last time she visited the place where I practiced Magic by myself.

Stopping my hands, I ran towards Fran-sensei. After all, I believed she finally felt like teaching me Magic.

However,

"Hm? What's wrong? There isn't really anything to teach you, you know?"

My slight expectation was momentarily crushed.

In the end, it seemed that she really didn't feel like teaching me Magic, and merely gazed at the practice site behind me.

There must be some meaning behind it──While repeating such words in my mind like a chant, I earnestly continued my meaningless practice.

"It should be about time......"

I had a feeling I had heard such a muttering.


On the next day.

She clapped my shoulders and spoke.

"Starting today, I will be testing you."


Perplexed by her crazy proposal, I seriously thought what was this person even thinking. However, more than that, I was overcome with happiness.

If I fare well on this exam, she will surely teach me Magic──I thought so.

Following Fran-sensei, we arrived on grasslands. The vivid greenery fluttered to the wind and was spread as far as the eye could see.

Facing me, she grasped her staff and said without erasing her usual smile:

"Right now, I will have you fight with me."

I was at loss.

She was obviously not someone I could defeat. Something like that was obvious without even trying it.

"......Are you joking?"

"Oh dear. There's no way I would joke at such serious scene now would I?"

She didn't even teach me Magic at all and yet she wants to fight all of a sudden? This is insane.

"But Fran-sensei, no matter how you put this......"

"Alright, let's begin."

She easily disregarded my modest objection.

As she clapped her hands to signal the start, she closed the distance between us in one go. And then, released her Magic from a point-blank range.

I became flustered. And panicked.

Being told about the exam all of a sudden. Fran-sensei purposely drawing near and attacking. Thinking about it now, she probably did that on purpose in order to disturb my pace.

It was quite underhanded.

"......Kh!"

However, the me of that time was nicely toyed with those underhanded tricks.

She used Magic attacks with a clear intent to kill. Magic mass. Heat beam. Wind blades. Rain of rocks. Lightning spear.

The battle result was naturally me being at disadvantage and defending one-sidedly.

At times I rolled on the grasslands, and at times repelled the Magic. At any rate, I just kept waiting for the opportunity to strike back.

"What's the matter? Is the ability of someone who overwhelmed everyone on the Magic Exam only to this degree? It seems it's nothing much."

Without loosening her attacks, Fran-sensei calmly said so with her usual smile. It was just too ominous.

──It was as if she was enjoying tormenting me.

Then I thought.

In the end, this person is the same as the Witches of my birthplace...

So that means, she took me as her Apprentice just so she could crush me, is it. And not teaching me anything would also be in order to shun me, wouldn't it?

During this one month, deep down I constantly had that doubt, but averted my eyes from it.

This person alone is different. It will be fine if I just believe. I endured it while telling myself such words.

And yet...

"............Tsk."

I felt like everything before me turned dark.

Before I noticed, I stood still, dumbfounded.

Fran-sensei also stopped her attacks, "Oh my. Is that all?" and sneered at me.

That became the final blow.

The various emotions that had accumulated until then burst within me, becoming unable to be suppressed.

The despair of being betrayed by the person I trusted. The frustration of being unable to return the attack even once, although the opponent was a Witch. The sadness that despite trying my best, I was shunned, avoided, and wasn't recognized just because I was young.

The various emotions flowing endlessly shrouded my reasoning.

My patience reached its limit.

"U-Ugh...... Uwaaaaaaaaaaaah......"

I cried. I sank down at that place and cried hard.

The large drops of tears flowing from my heated eyes overflowed heavily, and didn't cease no matter how much I wiped them.

I bit down on my lip wanting to at least suppress the leaking of my miserable cries, but I lost the way to put power to it.

I just kept crying in the middle of the grasslands.

It was quite unsightly.

"Huh? Eh? Hey......"

Fran-sensei looked at my image while darting her eyes about. Then it turned into something bewildering.

With suspicious movements, she rushed towards my side,

"I-I'm s-s-s-sorry! I didn't think you'd really cry......"

And while apologizing as such, she nervously waved her hands about.

"Uuuuuuuuuuuuuu......"

"Oh my, oh my......"

She covered her eyes with both hands, not wanting to see my teary face. And the tears didn't stop at all. I put strength to my chin thinking I would be able to bite my lips this time, but it only did as much as tremble so it was no good. I gave up on my willpower and just kept crying.

Then, thinking about something, she started to search for a way to stop me from crying.

"I-I know......! Hey, please look Elaina. I made your favorite butterfly!"

Fran-sensei shaved the ice she made with Magic into the form of a butterfly and showed it to me. Even though it wasn't me who liked butterflies.

I continued to cry.

"Eh......? It failed......? Then, how about this? A crown made from weeds!"

Fran-sensei cut the surrounding weed with Wind Magic in one go and made a round crown. She came to put it on top of my tricorne so I avoided it with all my might.

"I-Is it no good......? Then, how about this? Look, a fireball!"

I did not know what I wanted anymore.

"It can't be helped then...... I'll make funny faces! Please look at me, look at mee!"

I ignored her.

"Uhhhh, then...... in that case...... Ah, I know!"

After exhausting every other way, she came to embrace me.

Thinking there was nothing else she could do, this seemed to be her last resort, but the effect was immediate. My raging emotions and tears have stopped in one go.

"Funununu......"

I immediately rejected her with all my power.

"Now now. Calm down now, Elaina."

"Stop it......! What, what are you planning......!?"

Perhaps she thought that I was acting embarrassed. She was off mark. I rejected it because I really found it unpleasant.

However, with the power that came from god knows where, her arms coiled around me and I wasn't able to escape.

"Really, I'm sorry. It seemed I overdid a little."

"......Stop messing with me! Even though you enjoyed yourself by tormenting me, now you are acting kind? Even though you had no intention to make me a Witch from the start!"

"What...... enjoyed myself.......?"

"Please let go of me......! I can't take this anymore, I hate everyone! The Witches of Robetta, and also you! Aren't you all the same in the end?! And you said you were different from the Witches of Robetta so I trusted you!"

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

"You don't even know just how hard I worked! You are scorning me by just looking at the results! Why won't anyone ever look at myself!? Even though, even though I only wanted...... to be recognized──"

The strength of hands embracing me had increased.

"I'm truly sorry, Elaina. I perfectly understood your true feelings," she said and gently brushed my hair, "You’ve endured it well until now."

"Didn't I say to stop it......!? Acting like that again, are you trying to deceive me!?" My voice trembled.

"──No, I won't deceive you anymore. Lets talk about everything."

Because you see, I myself am at the limit as well──saying that, she placed her hands on my shoulders and started directly at me. Her usual smile appeared to have traces of some sorrow.

And then, she slowly opened her mouth.

"You see, I came because of a request from your parents."


Part 3

After returning to the isolated house in the forest, Fran-sensei told me everything.

"About one month ago when I met with your parents, they came to me with large amount of money along with such a request.

‘Please give the hardest test you can to our daughter.’

I didn't understand what they were trying to say at all.

As I listened to their story, they said they were concerned about Elaina's future. If she continues on like this without learning of a failure, then when she strays from the right path one day, she could very well not get back from it.

I will say this for your parents, but please know that they did not propose this because they wanted to bully you, okay?

There was also a reason on why they came expressly to me. Your home──it is the Peaceful Country of Robetta, right? The Witches living there were intimidated by your ability. ‘I won't be able to teach someone like her,’ it seems they were saying such things. Well, as the name suggests, that country is far too peaceful, so it can be said that there aren't any Witches with real power there.......

So, anticipating that the country's Witches would reject you, they decided to come to me.

Well in a word, because you were getting ahead of yourself, they proposed to quickly teach you a lesson.

Reluctantly, I went along with their story.

And then, you came.

You did not have an impression of a mere cocky little brat unlike how your parents described it, so at first, I planned to give you an extremely difficult exam and completely break your spirit.

However, as we were together practically all the time, I noticed that you were completely different person compared to my image of you.

You are an extremely covetous person who is willing to work as much as possible in order to achieve your goal. And you have the ability to match your actions.

To the degree that you were as good as a Witch since the very start.

As I spent time with you, I gave up on the ‘Letting Elaina who got carried away from nothing but success learn failure’ that I initially planned. Surely, your parent's wanted to teach you that "Sometimes things don't go as planned", however they realized that it was futile.

As soon as I forced you to make a mistake, the result was visible. I was sure you would stand up to me once more without giving up: enduring your failure. I did not expect that I would break your heart.

And because of that, because I'm your teacher, I was able to discover it – your weakness.

Elaina, you are enduring everything too much.

Exactly because you understood of your youthfulness and ability well, you endured things that were more or less unreasonable.

No matter how insincere I was or how absurd my requests were, you didn't complain about them even once, right? Why was that so? Was it because you thought that you had no one else to rely on?

What did you think when Robetta's Witches rejected you? Wasn't it that you told yourself that ‘It couldn't be helped’? Did you even once object to those Witches?

And so I waited, until your patience would run out. And yesterday, as I looked at your Magic, I guessed that it would come soon.

Today's exam was the end of it.

By the way, if the exam went on like I had planned and I won, and yet you still endured it without a word, I was planning to preach you about it. Because what I did was simply unreasonable.

It's no good to merely endure it all and hide your true feelings. Because, you see, one day you would have ended up falling apart.

That said, I didn't really expect you to cry.....

So you went through such painful experiences, huh. Because of you being unusually mature for your age, I completely forgot that you were still a fourteen year old girl.

So I'm truly sorry."

Then finally, Fran-sensei added this at the end.

"It's no good to endure everything. If there's something that doesn't sit right with you, then oppose it. You should learn to clearly say what you don't like. Please let your feelings out sometimes and protect yourself."

What I felt back then when I accepted those words from Sensei is something I can't recall anymore.

However, it was the first time in my life that anyone had ever said those words to me.

Do not endure.

It could be thanks to those words──that I am here now.

But well, even now, I sometimes end up accumulating a lot of stress.


Part 4

My training under Fran-sensei lasted for one year.

After being told not to endure everything too much in the first month, the real training had finally begun.

"Good morning, Elaina. I'm feeling hungry so please make something."

"Here, have some weed."

"......Umm, what is this harassment?"

"You told me not to endure it, so I settled with my feelings that ‘Making breakfast for Sensei is a pain’.”

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

"Just kidding."

In the end, we decided to eat the bread from yesterday.

The thing about me looking like Fran-sensei's slave continued on, but taking in mind that she compensated me by teaching Magic, it wasn't all that bad.

Ehem, so I'm not enduring it, okay? it's tuition fee.

According to Fran-sensei,

"You both have skills and talent. If there's something you don't have, that would be experience."

I was told as such, so I competed with Fran-sensei many times in order to gain experience.

Those were very fulfilling days.

Those days felt so short compared to the hellish first month. Almost every day, I had special Magic training while studying Magic after returning to the forest house. It was fun, very much so.


There is one particularly memorable event from among the training sessions that Fran-sensei gave me.

This is about one time when I as usual was practicing Magic in front of the forest house.

"Elaina."

Fran-sensei said abruptly, "There's a bottle over there, right? Can you see it?"

Certainly, there were two sake bottles in the direction she was pointing.

"Yes, I can see it──but what about it?"

"Try to hit one of them with Wind Magic."

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

The distance to the bottle was about one tree's length.

To put it simply, it was quite easy. To the point that I thought if she was messing with me.

"Eii!"

I swung my staff and moved the wind.

With a whoosh, the ball of wind went straight at the bottle I was aiming at and hit it. The bottle flew away while spinning, and began to towards the bushes.

"I did it, so?"

However, Fran-sensei shrugged her shoulders looking somewhat disappointed.

"Did anyone say to send it flying?"

"......No, but you said to hit it, didn't you?"

"Is that okay? If you are an Apprentice Witch, then sending it flying would be counted as a success. However, for Witches, a more reliable and accurate skill is essential."

"......Haah."

"If it was a Witch, rather than knocking the bottle down, they would instead aim for the situation where the bottle would end up in between falling and not falling. In other words, something like this──"

Fran-sensei swung her staff.

The wind produced from the staff plunged straight towards the remaining bottle and directly hit it. But the bottle didn't fall, and instead stayed standing with it's top shaking from side to side.

Fran-sensei revealed a smiled and said.

"Ah, great, it was a success......... Well for Witches, it is essential to be able to control their Magic precisely just like that. That's why making it fall down is not good."

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

I understood what she was trying to say, and there was also reason behind it.

However, was it really necessary for her to make me fail at it at start.........


After one year had passed since becoming her Apprentice, I became able to compete with Fran-sensei fairly well.

And just once, I was able to win against her.

That day became the final day of my training.

"There is nothing to teach you anymore," she told me with the usual smile, "You have become strong, really strong."

I still don't get why was I able to win at that time. Probably, it was just luck.

Fran-sensei took away the bellflower corsage from my chest, and attached what was the proof of being a Witch in its place.

That was the star-shaped brooch.

"Congratulations, Elaina. The Witch of Stardust has now officially recognized you as a Witch──speaking of your Witch Name, what do you say about the Witch of Ashes?"

"......Isn't that a bit too plain?"

Did you decide it while looking at my hair color?

"Eeh? I thought it sounded really nice......"



"Speaking of which, why is Fran-sensei called the Witch of Stardust?"

"Because it sounds cool, isn't that given?"

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

"S-So how is it? The Witch of Ashes."

"That's fine with me." I didn't have anything against it.

"In that case, it's settled. You are the Witch of Ashes, Elaina. Please do your best from now on."

She hit my shoulders with a clap sound.

Taking a deep breath, I replied with "Yes."


While having a reminiscent talk, we returned to the isolated house in the forest and Fran-sensei immediately collected her luggage. In truth, although she called herself vagrant, she actually was the great Witch of a certain country. That was the first time I heard about it.

That's why, ‘it might be quite bad that I have left the country for a whole year’, she said with a smile. Although that was no laughing matter, was it......? I was the one at fault, however.


In that case, why did she come to a place like Robetta, I thought. I tried to indirectly ask her about that, but the only reply I got was "Because there was someone I had to see by any means."

"I would very much love to take it easy some more, however I have to go now. For there are many who await me in my country."

And so, this is goodbye──Saying so, she turned her head towards where she used to chase butterflies one year ago.

"Goodbye, Sensei."

Those parting words chilled my body just like a cold wind.

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

"......Yes!"

Then, Sensei got on her broom and ascended in the sky.

I continued to wave my hand.

Towards her silhouette slowly becoming smaller, on and on.

Until it faded within the blue sky.

At that moment, I didn't hold back my tears.

2 comments:

  1. I really like your this series XD
    thankyou for ur hard work

    ReplyDelete