When Miyoko Cries #20

Miyoko no Naku Koro ni
(A Higurashi/Umineko Fan Fiction)
Enchantments Chapter (5th Arc)
Episode 2: Fairy Dust

Unbeknownst to Miyo, Ebina realized she was missing and went looking for her in the dead of night. In the chapel, Miyo had passed out from pain and exhaustion, so Ebina carried her back to her room, and told all the staff to leave her alone until lunch the next day.

When Miyo woke up, she was in so much pain it was hard to move. She managed to introduce herself weakly to Eriko and the girls, who then helped her get down the stairs to the dining hall to eat lunch. As she ate the tasteless rice gruel (mixed with half-rotten vegetables and unidentifiable meat crumbs), Miyo made herself remember every word Kashima had said last night.

That’s when it started bothering Miyo: she didn’t know how much time she had to spare. She figured she’d need at least three days — probably more like five — to get to where she could craft a spell. But by three days from now, Eriko would already have the birdcage key, as well as telling the others about her escape plan. Ebina would probably prevent it, and Eriko would get into trouble. She might be killed. But then what, thought Miyo? If she didn’t involve herself with the escape plan, couldn’t she live on for a while?

No, she realized. The goddamn Witch would ensure Miyo’s death by manipulating some element on the night of the attempted escape. The Witch’s goal in each world, after all, was to create an entertaining story and kill Miyo within it. A given gameboard, or world line, would only last about a week at most.

It was a miserable dilemma, but the solution stared Miyo in the face. It was obvious. She had to allow trouble and suffering to befall Eriko and company, and she had to allow herself to die when the time came. She would use this 8th world– and maybe more— to learn magic. She’d need to use Sayuri, too, without being able to offer anything in return. It was the only way. The Miyo from the fourth world couldn’t have done it. She wouldn’t let her friends suffer and she wouldn’t just use them. She’d be against submitting to the certainty of death in a few days. But over the course of the worlds since then, Miyo became a different person.

She was Lambda, the existence which had lived and died seven times already. The existence which had slowly started to see everything as a game. The one who was entranced by Frederica Bernkastel. That form of herself accepted the cruel truth and committed to the necessary evils for her plan. In her head, Miyo apologized to Eriko, Fumie, and Sayuri. Last of all, she apologized to this world’s Miyoko.

Miyo spent the next three days doing exactly what Kashima told her to do for practicing magic. She also formed a friendship with the girls, as guilty as it made her feel. On the first day, she watched Sayuri and Fumie’s gentle love for each other, and saw the respect and admiration they both gave to Eriko. She couldn’t feel any sense of wonderment, only mild interest. Also, until night fell, Miyo practiced tricks using the cards, dice, and plastic coin that came in a set with the instructions booklet.

Once the other girls fell asleep, Miyo lit a candle with a stolen match, and dragged out one of the huge books Ebina let the girls borrow. The one Miyo chose was a thick and exhaustive Encyclopedia. She read all the parts that had to do with mythology and fantasy. It did, more or less, give her a little thrill to read about the legends of heroes, gods and goddesses, sorcerers, witches, and magical creatures. Miyo’s dreams that night were on fire with vivid color and sound, plus wild imagination. Parts of the dreams were frightening, but remembering all of them when she woke up filled Miyo with wonder and inspiration.

After breakfast that day, Miyo went outside with Eriko, Fumie, and Sayuri, all being supervised by Ebina. Miyo played with the others for only a few minutes, and then turned to looking at the trees, the little wildflowers, and the pretty tulips and daffodils the girls planted in their secret mini garden. On another day, she might have grown bored with such an activity quickly, but today it was surprisingly warm and sunny, with a slight spring breeze and the smell of earth and flowers everywhere. A day like that is full of magic no matter how you look at it, thought Miyo.

For the rest of the day, Miyo practiced magic tricks inside. She could do three now. One was making it look like a bouquet of fake flowers disappeared. The second was a card-counting trick so she could always draw the card she wanted from the deck as long as she knew where she placed it. The third was making a third die appear under a bowl when only two dice were there before. Miyo showed all these tricks, and a few more she hadn’t mastered yet, to Sayuri. While practicing them, she envisioned performing them without the “tricks,” using real magic instead.

On that second day of practicing — the third day in the 8th world — Miyo also made sure to ask Sayuri for a song. The younger girl reluctantly agreed to try, but she looked nervous and self-conscious as could be. This would be the test to see if Sayuri really trusted her. That evening, Miyo could tell without asking that Eriko had the birdcage key and was planning something. The look on her face was easily recognizable after seeing it in seven other worlds.

The song Sayuri wrote for Miyo was done by late early the following afternoon. There was no melody, but the words were enough for Miyo. They went like this.

Disappear and reappear;
Never reveal your tricks!
Doves, dice, smoke and flowers,
But all you want is this:
A crowd cheering loud
As you draw coins from ears;
Since I trust in your magic,
Believe and face your fears.
Bewitch the world, Bewitch yourself,
And fight, as you must.
Beware the Devils, and remember
Faith and Fairy Dust.

As she read the words aloud, Miyo most definitely sense the magic in those words. Like Kashima said, it wasn’t something that could be adequately described with words. It was a bit similar to wonder, to passion, to thirst, to thrill, and to mania, but those were just precursors to the real feeling. It was otherworldly. Miyo gave Sayuri such a hug it almost knocked her down. She felt like covering the younger girl in kisses, but then, if she did, Fumie would likely kill her.

“Thank you so much, Sayu-chan!” cried Miyo, helping Sayuri regain balance and restraining herself form doing more. “The lyrics you wrote are perfect! You’ve truly helped me out.”

“I’m glad,” said Sayuri, blushing lightly. “It was hard, but it was kind of fun. You know… writing a poem for someone else.”

“You should write Fumi-san a love poem!” Eriko suggested laughingly, looking up from where she and Fumie were drawing pictures with Ebina’s extra pencils and lined paper.

“Shut up,” snapped Fumie, and her blush was brush pinkish-red. Incidentally, she was drawing a rose. In her mind, it was a yellow rose: the Hankotoba sign for jealousy.

Miyo smiled at the antics of the girls. She was surprised she could talk to them and giggle with them so easily, even though she was knowingly letting them die in this world.

That evening, Miyoko Tanashi performed the dice trick without the trick. A third die that she had never seen before ended up under the bowl. It was bright yellow with dark red dots. That magic die landed on a four. The other two landed on five and six. Eleven and four, thought Miyo. Those are my favorite numbers. But that little touch of magic almost didn’t matter in comparison with the magic that had produced her yellow die. It was her magic, and Miyo made it alter reality!

Thinking she would talk to Kashima in the morning about what was next, Miyo made the mistake of falling asleep. She awoke in the middle of the night to see empty bedding all around her. Eriko had gone with Fumie and Sayuri to try to escape Sky House. Miyo figured she wouldn’t go down without a fight, after all. Impulsively, she rushed out the door and down the hall, only to collide with Ebina and fall back on her bottom.

“Where are you going in the middle of the night?” asked Ebina. It was obvious right away that she wasn’t her usual self. Her dark green hair was unwashed and un-brushed, her posture loose and lazy, and the expression on her face empty and flat, but somehow menacing. “Answer me, Miyo-chan.”

Miyo almost gasped aloud, standing and backing away from the thing in front of her. She was trembling because she realized it. Meisa Ebina would never call her “Miyo-chan.” She would say “child,” “brat,” or maybe “Miyoko.” This Ebina right here, right now, wasn’t the real Ebina. Or if it was her real body, then her mind had been possessed. That could only be done by a Demon or perhaps… a Witch. Of course, thought Miyo. The goddamn Witch can control any one element of her choosing on the night of escape. She chose to manipulate Ebina.

Nothing worked. Miyo tried to run, but Ebina caught up to her. She tried to hide, but Ebina found her. Nothing happened and no magic answered her even when the child closed her eyes in terror and recited the song over and over. “Bewitch the world, Bewitch yourself, and fight, as you must. Beware the Devils, and remember Faith and Fairy Dust.” Ebina held Miyo down by her throat and with one hand, and in the other hand she grasped a sharp, weighted letter-opener.

“No!” Miyo screamed, despite herself. “I don’t want to die again! I don’t want to die ever! Stop! Wake up, Meisa Ebina! It’s the Witch making you do this! The goddamn —”

The girl’s last sentence was cut off as Ebina brought down the letter-opener with great force, stabbing Miyo in the chest. But since the tool was still much duller than a knife, it took several more agonizing stabs before anything vital was hit. On the seventh stab, Miyo finally died from having her heart pierced. The curtain closed on the Witch’s 8th gameboard.

To Be Continued


Previous Installments
Punishment Chapter
Episode 1: Sudden Tragedy
Episode 2: Sky House
Episode 3: Mistake
Episode 4: Witches’ Tea Party
Betrayal Chapter
Episode 1: Companions
Episode 2: Their Plan
Episode 3: Eriko
Episode 4: Fumie
Episode 5: A Nameless Penalty
Desperation Chapter
Episode 1: Hope
Episode 2: Memories
Episode 3: Lambda
Escape Chapter
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
Enchantment Chapter
Episode 1: Passing Worlds

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