Jun 22, 2017

Majo no Tabitabi V1 Chapter 11

Chapter 11: The Country that Oppressed the Uglies

Part 1

It was a straight road with trees of similar height on both sides. There was no pavement or such, it was simply an uneven ground where trees weren't growing stretching ahead.

Above it was a girl flying on the broom. Back where she had passed by, the trees whispered whilst shaking branches, throwing leaves as if raise a toast of something.
That lovely girl was both a Witch and a traveler.

Her ashen hair received the sunlight and reflected it dazzlingly, and her azure eyes didn't look at the road ahead, but instead seemed to be gazing somewhere afar. It wouldn't an exaggeration to say that her Witch-like appearance of black robe and tricorne and a star-shaped brooch existed for the purpose of enhancing her charms.

Who in the world was that girl that anyone and everyone would only describe as lovely?

Right, it's me.

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

I already got the information about the country up ahead.

Such as that among the merchants that do their business around it, they have come to call it with strange names such as "Big yet small Country", "Country with just handsome guys and beauties", "Country with walls", "Worn out Country", "Somewhat hard to enter Country" and "Country of every strangeness". I wanted to say, at least make them more compatible to each other.

At any rate, the only thing certain about the country up ahead is that it is abnormal. Maybe there's something strange in it, or maybe mysterious. I didn't discover anything regarding that when listening to the merchants.

Anyway, if I want to learn about that country, then I have no choice to ascertain it with my own eyes.

I started to look forward to it a bit.


In a short while after that, I saw the country. Along with it having not high walls as I expected, its gate, made from wood, was open.

I descended in front of it.

Thereupon, the gate guard promptly approached from nearby and bowed.

"Why hello──oh, a Witch-sama? Now that's unusual." Looking at the brooch on my chest, the gate guard widened his eyes. "What business do you have to come here?"

"I'm a traveler."

"Hohou. That's also quite rare."

"Is that so?"

The gate guard nodded two, no three times.

"Yes──By the way, Witch-sama, are you aware of this country?"

"Well, more or less..."

"Is that so? It's alright in that case."

"......?"

Oh my, what?

Did he want to say something, this is puzzling.

"Well then, Witch-sama, please answer these simple questions to enter the country. First──"

Cutting off my meager doubt were the usual questions. Such as where I heard about it, or my name. My age. The duration of stay and the journey purpose.

I simply answered them all.

"Understood. Well then, go ahead."

"Alright~"

While urged by the gate guard, I set foot towards the country.

Now, what kind of country will this be?


Part 2

It was impossible to judge whether or not the country was reputable just through a bit of walking.

Passing through the gate, the country inside was spreading a relatively usual sight, with no particular change in appearance.

It's just, rather than a country, I feel that calling it a village surrounded by walls would be more suitable instead.

This country had way too many wooden buildings, after all. Every house you looked appeared as if it was made by carving out the trees. Perhaps they were houses made by cutting the trees that grew on that road that I followed. Furthermore, every house was completely wrecked up. They were tattered in a way that gave off a feeling as if an evil wolf targeted them from front and blew them away.

By the way, the ones living inside weren't pigs......... but actual humans. Well, that should be natural.

Coming out of one of the houses was a woman, slender like a thread. The woman who came out with a basket under her arm shifted her attention to me just for an instant, and headed somewhere without change.

That reaction was one that you would direct towards an object of no interest.

Perhaps it's not so unusual for travelers to come here.

Not only the women who had a basket, but the reaction of the people of the country was really indifferent.

Rather than indifferent, I guess normal fits better.

For example, a woman who put a stick between two trees in the garden and was drying laundry there. Or the guys who had a friendly chat while surrounding and sticking branches in a faintly burning bonfire. Or maybe the youth who was wholeheartedly cutting up the firewood with axe.

I was able to look at the country residents from afar, but whenever our eyes met, "Ah, a traveler? I see." They immediately averted their eyes in that manner.

And now that you mention it, I feel like there are only beautiful boys and girls here, and it can also be said that it's worn out. But at the moment, the only thought I held about it was a "Normal to the point of boring country". I have to disagree with it being reputable.


"Oh my. This is rare."

As I absentmindedly walked, someone called out to me.

As I turn my face towards the voice, I saw a magician walking up to me. As our eyes met, she made a bright smile.

It was a smile overflowing with enigmatic tenderness. It was apparent, but her age seemed to be about the same as my parents.

Just in case, as I turned my head, I made sure that it wasn't some sort of embarrassing misunderstanding,

"Do you mean me?"

And so I asked.

The woman nodded. "Yes, you. You are a traveler right? It's quite strange to be coming to this country."

"Is that so?"

"That's right."

"I heard that this country was different so it caught my eye."

"Hmm, you sure are an oddball."

"Is that so?"

"Yes."

For some reason, I ended up in a friendly chat with this sudden Magician, and was treated as an oddball with strange tastes.

What is this? I don't get the reason.

"However, I can't see anything too unusual. I can't think of anything but absolutely, completely normal country."

"By the way, I wonder if you heard what kind of country this was?"

"Uhhhm......"

I told her of the nicknames that the merchants have been calling this country.

"......Hmm. Country with only beauties huh...... ufufu. I feel embarrassed."

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

Did she just pick out the good part?

This Magician,

"Then, are you feeling disappointed that it ended up being too normal despite your expectations?"

"Well, yes. Something like that."

"......I see. In that case, you should come see the country from the inside. Perhaps you will discover what you were expecting."

"Inside of the country......? What do you mean?"

"Just like it sounds. Come here for a bit."

"Eh, w-wai──"

Pulling my sleeve, I was dragged along by the Magician whose even name I didn't know.

......Why?


The place I was dragged to was the front of the gate.

Not the gate we passed when entering the country, but a more extravagant one. On top of a wooden gate, iron frames were added to it. Deep down, I felt that it was taller than the castle walls as well as the other one I saw when I entered.

The gate was open and the cart was stopped near it. Packages of various sizes were carried by overweight old men from the cart which was attached to the horse that was plucking grass in a bored manner.

Now, what could this be?

"......Is there another country inside a country?"

With my question, the Magician let go of my sleeve and said:

"Yes. What's more, beyond this gate is the real country."

"Huh? In that case, what is this side?" I pointed at the ground.

"I will tell you if you hear what I have to say."

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

I have a bad feeling about this.

"Won't you do a trade with me?"

"A trade you say?"

"That's right."

"Depends on what it is."

As I said so, the Magician's eyes sparkled as if saying "I've got it!"

"A request to go and buy a book. I will pass you the money."

"......Book?" As I thought about what it could be, it turned out to be a normal thing. "Won't you be able to buy it yourself? Or are there circumstances that prevent you doing so?"

"That's right. I can't buy it due to circumstances. Can I entrust it to you?"

When I asked what was it about, she clearly dodged it by saying "That, let's leave it to after you buy it, okay?"

Well, it fine as long as it's at the level of an errand.

I didn't feel like becoming the Magician's errand girl, but I was really curious about the other side of the gate.

"I will take up the request."

I said.


Part 3

Slipping by the listless horse and the working oily old man, I passed through the second gate.

And what awaited there was a different world.

The state was different to the point that I became wanting to say what in the world was that worn down place until now.

The ground on which I walked was not a ground that's is not even paved──rather it was made from what looked like hard rust-colored bricks lined up in a fixed manner. No, rather than hard-looking, it was really hard.

Even the houses that followed along the slightly winding road were upgraded from wooden to bricks. With this, it should be fine even if the wolf attacked.

As I walked, the the aroma of coffee came from somewhere. There was a coffee shop──And every person from inside of it was smiling while looking towards me.

As I walked on, I even found my favorite bakery. There didn't seem to be stalls in this country, so there were no people doing business by the road. Bakery-san was also opened up inside a pretty ordinary house.

Because of the good fragrance assaulting my body, my stomach raised a growl as if it came to a realization. That reminds me, I haven't eaten anything since the morning.

But let’s eat after doing a quick round of the country. It's a good chance, so I want to eat this country's specialties.

"Hey hey, mommy. one of the uglies is walking. Despite being ugly."

"Shh! Don't look."

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

......Oh my.

What was that just now.

As I looked towards the direction where that absolutely rude remark came from, I saw fat parent and child holding hands while looking towards me with disgusted expression.

Did they just say that about me? The moment I met eyes with those child and parent that were moving away,

"Hyaa, the ugly glared at me!"

"Hey, stop it! You'll be turned ugly!"

They followed up with such words.

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

What in the world just occurred?

Even if I thought deeply over it, there would be no answer to it, so in the end, I concluded in my mind that it was just my misunderstanding.


The more I advanced, the more it grew.

Or perhaps, the more people I passed by, the more numerous the unpleasant eyes directed at me grew.

People, at times pointing and scorning at me and at times whispering to each other, have said:

Ugly.

"Goodness! Such ugliness!"

"Such a terrible face. It's something unable to look at."

"How can she even walk so calmly? I feel respect."

"She's too slender, huh."

"She's like a skeleton."

"It's bad for the kids’ education, so why won't she just disappear."

"What's more, a Witch."

"Aah, that's right. it's an ugly Witch."

And so, something like that.

As expected, I wouldn't become angry when it's this plain.

Oh me, oh my? Could this be jealousy? I became wanting to say such things.

However, after walking around a place with such plain discrimination as this, it's natural that something troublesome would happened.

For example, being laughed by a man (that looked like fat pig), saying, "Hyahahaha! Too ugly! She's just like a slave!"

Or making an old man (that looked like a fat pig) frightened, saying, "Hiii! It's a death god! Does this mean that my death is drawing near......?"

Or being thrown rocks at by kids (that look like fat pigs) saying "Go away you ugly!"──Although their power was weak compared to their physique so avoiding them was easy.

Incidentally, in order to reduce my stress, I blew away the kids who threw those rocks with wind, but they had fat on their bodies so there should be no problem.

But even if I do a bit of revenge, the inconvenient incidents wouldn't end.

"Hey, you are a hindrance! step aside, ugly."

Neither would the words uttered at me when passing by me and hitting my shoulders.

Now, just how beautiful is the person who ascertained me as ugly? Turning away with that thought, waiting there was a meat-like woman.

Oh, such lovely meat. Just like a pig before shipping it away.

To express it in different words, it was an overly fat Ojousama with an overly crude face. That round girl, wearing a fluttering dress on her body, was walking in the middle of the road while displaying a proud face.

But for some reason, she was bathed in cheers.

"Oh how beautiful!"

"The girls should be like that after all."

"Isn't she a bit overweight?"

"It's fine that way. You don't get it huh."

"What a beauty......... I want her to be my bride."

"Compared to her, what's with that Witch?"

"She's all bones."

"She's too slender."

Something like that.

It was very unpleasant that the flames somehow reached to me.


"......Fuuh."

For the time being, I turned around the way I came from, and rushed towards the coffee shop.

I escaped. Because it was too unpleasant.

"Welcome. Your order? ......pff." The dog-faced man (which was the very fatness itself) said so with a disgusting smile on his face.

"Umm, how about the morning set."

I chose the topmost thing on the menu. I choose the cheapest thing.

"As you request."

The employee quickly went away and started to whisper something with another employee.

Well, they should be ridiculing my appearance.

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

Needless to think, needless to say.

Apparently in this country – the other side of the gate seems to be a place where the concept of 'ugly' is far from ordinary.

"Hey look...... the ugly is sitting there."

"You fool! Don't talk so easily about the ugly ones. You'll get infected!"

"D-Damnit! ......My bad."

"Good grief......"

Putting aside whether ugliness was infectious, it seems that even inside the coffee shop, the other customers were showering me with piercing glares.

I don't really get it, but it seems that I somehow belong to the objects of discrimination in this country.

"Thank you for waiting. Here's your morning set."

The employee that looked at me as if belittling left behind a coffee and a bread. And also jam.

A very modest amount. As expected from the cheapest thing.

Then, while displaying an unpleasant smile, the employee said,

"Ms. customer, I'm sorry but could you leave the shop quickly after eating this? We're getting complaints from other customers......"

"Alright......"

The laughter leaked out from some seat.


After eating the morning set extremely slowly and elegantly, I headed towards the bookstore.

I wanted to promptly escaped from here, but I can't because I made a promise.

Reluctantly, as I walked while being pointed and laughed at, I finally arrived to the bookstore.

The inside of the bookstore was engulfed in silence. As expected of the sacred place of ladies and gentlemen. The people inside (All fat without exception) were engulfed in bookshelves, or perhaps in the books they held in hand, so they didn't start looking towards me.

So this is a safety zone.

"Lets see......" I loitered inside the store while recalling the book title requested by the Magician.

After a while, I finally found it. It was stacked in the corner of new books.

Taking one copy in hand, I went towards the counter.

"Weeelcome." The shop assistant that gave off unserious feeling accepted the book. "Shall I wrap it?"

"Please do."

She didn't take a blatant attitude, but she might be laughing deep down.

As I leisurely moved my eyes away, I saw the bookmarks of books with bad taste piled up on the counter.

They were crushed and flattened spider husks that were disgusting to even look at. They had "Bookmarks" written on them so they must be one. There is no doubt.

"Ah, could you put one of these bookmarks into the book every fifty pages?"

"Customer has a bad taste, eh."

Then why are you even selling those bookmarks.


When I left the store, I was surrounded by the adults.

I don't know what I'm saying, but I myself didn't understand what had occurred.

Surrounding me were the fat gentleman I remembered.

"Hey, you are the traveler who slipped in this country aren't you?"

The oily fat man spoke towards me. As I recalled who it was, it turned out to be the guy that was carrying down the luggage from the cart near the second gate.

"What do you mean by slipped in?"

I frankly said.

"You secretly entered while we gate guards were carrying the luggage didn't you. It's a misdeed to enter this country while knowing that uglies aren't allowed."

"What?" I shouldn't have entered?

"Don't play dumb. When you passed the first gate, the guard of that side should have given you the explanation. That the second gate is a special location where only select few can enter. Still entering in spite of that is extremely bad deed."

"Haah."

Now that I think about it, I think the gate guard asked me whether I knew of the country or not.

"What's with your attitude!? In the first place, it will make the citizens troubled if someone like you stays here. Get out at once!"

"I intended to do just that even without you telling me."

I already finished my business here.

"......Hmph, and don't come back."

I don't plant to come back even without you telling me that so relax. I wanted to say that.

But I'm not stupid enough to add oil to the fire so I just replied with "Is that so~".


Part 4

"Oh my. So you finally returned."

It was the worn out place outside the prospering country.

She stood before the second gate as I left it. It was good that it saved the trouble of searching her, but I think that my timing to go meet her was predicted somehow.

It was as if I was dancing on her palm all this time.

It's probably just my imagination.

"Hello. I obtained the promised item."

"Oh. Thank you."

She tried to take the book from my hands.

"But before that, won't you let me hear about this country? Handing the book over comes after that." I said while raising up the book.

She drew back her extended hands, and said,

"That's right──then, shall we go sit somewhere?"

So the place I was led to was a bench that didn't have any life in it. It seemed to have been neglected outside for a long time, as it had moss twined around its legs, and the wood on it also had holes here and there.

It gave of a cracking sound as we sat. It was a little scary. It felt like the plank would break with a 'Baam!' any time now.

Opposite to me whose heart was pounding as if holding a time bomb, the Magician gazed calmly at the tranquil scenery and spoke.

"Compared to the other side, it feels good here. It's calm."

"......Well, that's true."

Though I wonder if it isn't a bit too calm.

"So, what do you want to hear?"

"You know what I want to hear, don't you?"

The Magician, for a short while, became silent.

Then, she started to speak bit by bit.

"──You see, in old times, when this country was yet undivided, there lived one really ugly princess."

"Huh? Ugly princess you say?"

I inclined my head. With the meaning of "What do you mean?"

"Well, she would be a beauty by the standard of that other side──well, in short, it was a princess that would be ugly by your standards."

"That was pretty harsh."

"But it's true."

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

"Let's return to the topic──that ugly princess was self-conscious about her own ugliness. At that time, the general idea of a 'beauty' was still normal, so she didn't have self-confidence in her appearance."

Fumu Fumu......?

The Magician continued the talk.

"That's why, the princess asked one traveler Witch. "Make my appearance beautiful". However the Witch refused. She didn't know of a Magic that could tamper with person's looks, and she also thought that it wasn't right thing to do ethically."

"Was that traveler Witch you?"

However, she shook her head. "No. I'm but a mere Magician. Look, I don't even have a brooch, right?"

Saying so, she pulled the chest of her robe and showed me. There wasn't anything there for sure.

"Then, how do you know of the request that the princess gave to that traveler Witch?"

"Because I'm the friend of that Witch──we got to know each other when she came to this country. But she is a traveler, and we were together only for a little time."

"Haah."

"Both mine and her age were exactly the same as yours, and our appearances were also just like yours. We were absolutely bright and beautiful."

"Haah......"

Was she admiring me? I don't understand.

"Well, anyway, the traveler Witch turned town the princess' request. It seems that she was quite persistent and eventually even turned into a quarrel. Then, the angry princess exiled the traveler Witch from the country saying "You have some nerve to deny my request"."

"By the way, I was just exiled as well."

"I thought as such."

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

It seems she used me despite knowing how it would all end up.

"Then, the princess reversed the concept of ugly and beautiful and drew away everyone who was ugly from her perspective outside of the gate. And thus, the princess lived in harmony. And they all lived happily ever after."

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

"How was it?"

"No well, even if you ask how......"

It somehow became a headache.

For now, let's ask what I want to ask.

"However, was that okay? All of you were driven away from the gate, right? I don't think it would be strange if dissatisfied people appeared from there."

"And they appeared of course. Although there wasn't anyone who thought of revolt."

"Is that so?"

"The dissatisfied people grabbed a large sum from the country and left from this place. Right now, they are starting their lives from scratch at some other place I guess? Can't say that it's a wise idea though. If you want to leave in comfort, then staying in this place would be the best choice──You get minimum amount of money and food without even working after all. This side is seems poor, but it's actually the other side that's poor."

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

"Thanks to the bad-looking princess who forced her sense of values, we are all living peaceful and ordinary lives. On the other side as well, the people are living a life with no discomfort──and by scorning at people like us, they vent their daily stress.

"......Yeah."

I see.

Looking from the other side, the people here are depraved existences that make them think "I don't want to become like that".

So, by mutually keeping the existences lower than themselves on the other side of the gate, they are maintaining the peace, that should be it.

It's skillful, or maybe poor, or indirect.

"──Well, my talk is done with this. How was it? Did it answer all your questions?" She held her hand out to me.

I said while putting the book I bought in her hand.

"Yes, more or less. My questions are done." Although I'm still stressed. "By the way, why did you want this book?"

"This is a new edition book, but they don't really distribute it here from the other side of the wall that. So I thought I'd use miss traveler."

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

I see.

I was used with quite worthless reason.

"Well, you got to know the other side, it's fine, right?"

"That's right huh──although I got somewhat angry while getting openly discriminated on the other side.

"Oh...... sorry about that." She honestly apologized.

"Don't mind it."

I already inserted my small revenge once every fifty pages.

"What did you think after traveling this country?"

Suddenly she asked while opening the book.

The two in one countries, they were really peaceful yet with really strange relationships. If I had to express it in a word.

"I think it's a strange country."

I guess that word would sum it up.

And she,

"That's also what I think."

Said so and turned over the page.

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