Miyoko no Naku Koro ni
(A Higurashi/ Umineko Fan Fiction)
Enchantments Chapter (5th Arc)
Episode 1: Bewitchment and Devilry
After the fourth world where Miyo had gotten so close to contacting Hifumi Takano, three more worlds or “games” followed. Throughout those worlds, Miyo/ Lambda underwent many struggles, endured much suffering, saw many tragedies, and occasionally felt a sense of happiness during times with Eriko and the girls. At the end of every world, Miyo wanted to give up, but somehow found it within herself to keep trying.
In the fifth world, she didn’t make any progress with understanding or learning to use magic. It’s not as though there were any books to study on the subject. That was a miserable world overall — not that any of them ended well. Miyo was too eager to start the escape plan again, so she revealed that she knew a lot about Eriko, her friends, and the staff members. As a result, they suspected her of being some kind of spy. Unlike last time, Miyo was unable to convince Eriko otherwise. The three girls weren’t outright nasty to Miyo, but they tended to avoid her after that, and wouldn’t open up with her.
Miyo, therefore, decided she needed to escape alone. She stole the birdcage key from Sayuri and tried escaping all by herself. Sure enough, staff members heard her leaving and gave pursuit. When he caught her, Hosoda grabbed Miyo’s short hair and started angrily bashing her head against the muddy, rocky ground. Miyo found back by turning her neck and biting the man’s thumb with all her might. Hosoda let go and reeled back with blood streaming from a deep wound on his thumb. Again, Miyo tried to run, but Hososda caught her and used his uninjured hand to strangle her to death.
In the 6th world, Miyo, Eriko, Fumie, and Sayuri worked together on an escape plan, but were immediately pursued after they fled. Hosoda caught Eriko, and another man caught Miyo. Later the same day, Miyo heard screaming, and went into the men’s bathroom to see what was going on. There, Hosoda had just finished drowning Eriko in one of the pit-style toilets. He went on to kill Miyo for witnessing it. The 7th world was similar because the escape plan worked out the same way, and Miyo had even managed to bring a ten yen coin. But some of the staff caught her, and gave her over Kashima. He tortured her in various ways before killing her.
As the eighth world began, Miyo found herself playing with that same old toy truck on the path behind her house.
“You have been giving me boring games lately, Miyoko Tanashi,” said Frederica Bernkastel.
“You haven’t been giving me a chance!” exclaimed Miyo. “You goddamn Witch.”
“On the contrary. I gave you a very good chance — if not at winning the game, then at least providing something entertaining by trying something new. Didn’t I tell you were allowed to master one magic technique or spell, plus Sayuri’s poems?”
“How the bloody hell am I supposed to learn magic?” Miyo demanded.
“I can’t simply tell you that,” replied the Witch. “Why don’t you try thinking for yourself? Even as dumb as you are, you might realize the way if you search your memories thoroughly.”
“Maybe,” suggested the human girl, “I’ll just give up. I won’t make another move ever again. That will end your game. It won’t be remotely entertaining anymore. You’d just kill me over and over.” But Miyo was just trying to get a reaction out of Frederica at this point. She didn’t intend to quit. Not yet anyway. Not after she’d been given a hint.
“Let’s you and I be honest for a moment,” Frederica said in response to Miyo’s threat. “You won’t give up, and you won’t disappoint me.”
The Witch wrapped one arm around the child’s shoulders, and her other hand gently propped up the child’s head to look at her. Frederica’s face was only inches away from Miyo’s, and rather than being overcome with hate, Miyo felt dazzled. Frederica was truly beautiful. The emptiness in her eyes was too sad. If only something would give them life again.
“This is what you thought, just now,” Frederica said in a soft, alluring tone. “Her eyes are so deeply empty. I must bring them back to life. You are wonder-struck and awed by me for some reason. It puzzles you, but you don’t completely reject it. You can’t. Because throughout this 7 worlds, some small part of you has always been in love with me.”
“Not true!” screamed Miyo, breaking away from the embrace. “That’s just not true!”
“You’re not out of your mind or anything,” Frederica assured her with a smile. “You’ve been bewitched; that’s all. There’s no need to be so shocked. Now, I can’t stay any longer or I’ll violate the rules. Miyoko Tanashi, do you wish to avoid pain and suffering? You think you do, but is that true for certain? Think about that until we meet again.”
The Witch vanished, and Miyo was left cursing, with her face flushed and angry tears in her brown eyes. She beat the dusty earth with her fists, muttering, “You goddamn Witch, you goddamn Witch, you goddamn Witch!!!”
Still, the hint was helpful. Miyo poured over her many memories, ignoring all proceedings in reality as the decision was made to send her to Sky House. Finally, on the way to that hellish place, she remembered Frederica’s words about Kashima. “He believed in magic as a child and even taught himself a few magic techniques. … He was trying to become a Wizard.”
That settled it, then, thought Miyo. No matter how much she hated Kashima’s guts, she needed him. She would make him teach her magic. On her first night at Sky House, Miyo sneaked out of her room and went stealthily into the chapel. Kashima was there, sharpening a set of knives.
“Teach me magic,” said Miyo simply and directly.
“Oh, so you finally figured out that clue,” Kashima observed. “And well, magic is a little different for everyone, so things might not be the same for you as they were for me.”
“If you’re using that as some kind of cop-out, I’ll hang you by your cat tail and let a pack of Dobermans pick off you like a pinata.”
“Rest assured, I’m not trying to get out of this. I’ll teach you a little. But of course, you know that coming here uninvited and unsupervised will get you in trouble, especially at this hour. So the ‘payment,’ if you will, for my services is this. You’ll let me play with you for a couple of hours.”
Miyo had expected that much. It made her dizzy and sweaty to think of surrendering herself to this Devil, but she nodded and said, “Just don’t do anything so bad that I can’t practice what you teach.”
“I suppose that is fair,” said Kashima, taking a seat on the front pew, which he had lined with several black cushions. He indicated for Miyo to sit next to him. She reluctantly did so, and the Devil began his lecture about magic.
“The nature of magic cannot be adequately captured with words. However, it’s something like a force or a formless energy that must react with your mind and your heart in order to have any effect on anything. Now, to a smart girl like you, the next part will be difficult to swallow. It may seem childish. But you’ll have to deal with it, or magic will never be yours.”
“What is it?” Miyo asked.
“Have you ever heard of Peter Pan? Probably not. It’s a play and a children’s book over in England. The children in that book need three things in order to fly: faith, trust, and fairy dust. The point is that you need to believe in this power, and in your own ability to use it. If you reject belief and faith in those things, it’s impossible to even begin to learn magic.
“After a few years of experience,” Kashima noted, “it’s possible to organize and create your own systems of magic, and categorize others according to it. Rules, measurements, and limitations will apply. But at the start, and for young people most of all, magic is by definition absurd. It cannot be organized or observed according to logic and measurements.”
“So I have to embrace nonsense,” Miyo summarized. “I should be able to do that much. But how do I make spells? How do I make my magic have any effect?”
“There are two things I believe beginners can and should do to practice,” answered Kashima. “They worked for me as child. Practice enough and keep believing, and you can’t go wrong. The first way to practice is to increase your perception and and acceptance of magic by learning to observe it around you. The second way is to start rehearsing the physical components of the technique you desire. Since you aren’t sure what you want, I’ll start you out learning simple ‘magic tricks.’ The kind used by entertainers and magicians.”
Miyo cocked her head to one side. “Are you saying magicians really use magic?”
“Some do. Most do not, however. The ‘tricks’ I teach you are, of course, performed without magic — at first, that is. The goal is to incorporate real magic of your own into it. Eventually, you’ll have a technique like making a dove invisible, and you can do it with real magic instead of any physical tricks.”
“Oh, I guess that makes sense,” Miyo responded. She felt disappointed that the process sounded so long and difficult. “Oh,” she added suddenly, “I don’t understand the first way of practice. How do I observe magic around me? Can you see or sense magic somehow? I thought it was non-measurable.”
“Well, what makes you feel a sense of wonder?” inquired Kashima. “Or a level of pure delight that’s almost insane? Or something that brings a strong feeling of admiration? For me, it was prayers, poems, and chants. Another source was reading about mythology and modern myths. Do you have anything like that?”
Miyo considered for a while. “Um… the love and friendship between Eriko and the other girls in my room. It sometimes brings a sense of awe. And, let’s see… looking at trees and flowers? Magician’s tricks have always been pretty interesting to me. But I guess what’s made me feel most strongly lately are Sayuri’s songs.” If Miyo were being completely honest, she’d have added that she was in awe of Frederica and her beauty, but that was much too shameful to admit.
“Those are all decent starting points,” Kashima told the girl. “Meditate on those friendships and watch them closely. Spend as much time as you can among the trees and flowers. I’ll give you a booklet containing instructions for a few magic tricks. And have Sayuri write a song or two for you. That would be my advice. When you have those feelings I mentioned before, you are observing magic. All magic, you know, begins with a sense of wonderment.”
Miyo could tell the lecture was over. “I don’t suppose you’ll let me take that booklet now and go back to my room?” she asked dryly.
Kashima shook his head. “My dear, I am what the Witches call ‘Akuma.’ That is, a Devil or a Demon. If there’s one things that’s almost universally true for Demons, it’s that we always demand our payments.” He smiled wickedly. “Perhaps I’ll make you suffer with the fire and hearth tools tonight.”
To Be Continued
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Episode 1: Sudden Tragedy
Episode 2: Sky House
Episode 3: Mistake
Episode 4: Witches’ Tea Party
Episode 1: Companions
Episode 2: Their Plan
Episode 3: Eriko
Episode 4: Fumie
Episode 5: A Nameless Penalty
Episode 1: Hope
Episode 2: Memories
Episode 3: Lambda
Episode 1: Sky House Staff
Episode 2: Let’s Talk
Episode 3: The Spy
Episode 4: Magic
Episode 5: So Close
Episode 6: New Rules