Miyoko no Naku Koro ni
A Higurashi / Umineko Fanfiction
Miracles Chapter (final arc)
Episode 2: Certainty
“You did extremely well, Miyo-chan,” said Kaneko, Witch of Intellect.
“Your magic was most impressive,” added Kashima the cat as he stretched.
“That was an entertaining world,” Frederica rejoined. “I’m grateful that you tried so hard.”
Lambda thought she was dreaming. Instead of being chained to the wall, she was seated at the table, between Kaneko and Frederica, in the white tearoom. A cup of warm Earl Grey tea was in front of her. Her existence was still weak, so when she looked at herself, Lambda was partly transparent. But her appearance had changed. Instead of looking exactly like Miyo, she looked a bit older, had dark red eyes, and wore a simple pink gown. The fabric felt lovely. The tea, when she sipped it, was the best she’d ever tasted. This couldn’t be real, though. A Witch wouldn’t put her opponent, with its flimsy existence, at the same table as herself. Nobody here would thank or congratulate Lambda. And Frederica couldn’t possibly be that gorgeous.
“What a pleasant dream I’m having,” Lambda said with a sigh.
“It’s real,” said Kashima, jumping up into her lap. “So you should stop staring at Lady Bernkastel with those obviously lustful eyes.”
Once she was finally convinced she was awake and in reality, Lambda grinned. “My goodness,” she said in a sarcastic but cheerful tone. “How nice of you Witches and Devils to give me clothes, tea, and a chair! Maybe I’ll forgive and forget being killed and tortured ten times!”
“But you know you’re enjoying yourself,” Frederica said with the tiniest hint of a smile. “Even I can tell that much. Now, don’t think that any of us really value your existence. This is simply a bit of encouragement in case you try to back out of this next game. I won’t forgive you this time if you kill yourself again before things get interesting.”
Lambda had absolutely no intention of giving up on the game. It was what defined her existence and continued to strengthen it. The repeating worlds were wonderful, as well, because of the chance to see and interact with Frederica. However, Lambda realized this was a rare opportunity, being pampered by the Witch. In this fleeting moment, she had room to bargain.
“I might consider taking you on again in another world,” she said to Bernkastel. “If, that is, you promise to add a reward when I win. Serving me tea doesn’t motivate me much compared to what your godlike magic can offer.”
“That’s a splendid idea,” Kaneko interjected. “As I am basically the mediator of these games, I approve of Lambda’s suggestion. What about this, Bernkastel? In the event that Lambda/ Miyo wins the game, you will grant any one wish of hers.” Frederica frowned and looked hesitant to agree, so Kaneko said, “You’d better take us up on this, dear friend. Lambda deserves at least three wishes, really. One wish is a compromise. Besides, we can’t have her give up the game.”
“Oh, fine then.” Frederica seemed moderately irritated. “Now, shall we begin the game?”
“Ah, so I get a wish granted,” Lambda said dreamily. “That’s wonderful! As entertaining as these games are, Frederica-sama, I must apologize in advance. I’m going to win this time.”
“You seem decidedly sure of yourself,” Kashima observed.
“Of course I am,” Lambda answered matter-of-factly. “I’m absolutely certain. Because I’ve never wanted anything as much as this wish. Congratulations, you goddamn Witches and Devils. You have succeeded in motivating me.”
Miyo decided to be as straightforward as possible with Eriko and the girls. She’d also be nicer to them this side and try to get them on her side. By the time she arrived in her room in Sky House, the other girls were already asleep. But once Ebina was gone and the door was shut, Miyo woke them all up. She introduced herself and got right down to business.
“I’m aware you don’t know me,” she said, “but please hear me out. My parents… both of them died in a terrible accident. But I have someone who’ll adopt me right away if I can just contact him. His name is Dr. Hifumi Takano. I tried telling the grown-ups about him, but they wouldn’t even contact him because he’s not a blood relative. So, look. I don’t know what kind of place this is, but even if it’s a great orphanage with friendly staff, I don’t care. I want to escape.”
Miyo was sitting on her knees Japanese-style while she whispered this to her three roommates. Sayuri looked sleepy and a bit scared, so she was clinging to Fumie, whose long black hair was unusually messy. There was obvious suspicion in her dark eyes which were flecked with green. Eriko sat a little closer to Miyo than the other two, and though her expression suggested a cautious attitude, she also appeared keenly interested. No matter what world it was, Eriko always looked so alive. She wanted to trust, include, and save others, and the passion shone like a small golden light from her deep brown eyes.
“I’m also aware,” Miyo continued, “that you might not trust me or my words at first. You might think I’m an agent for the Headmistress, trying to root out the troublemakers. All I can do is try to convince you otherwise and open up to you as much as possible.”
“Why are you telling us all this?” asked Eriko in a friendly but careful tone. “
Miyo told her, “Well, I doubt I can pull off an escape alone. I need a handful of others to help.”
“Hmm.” Eriko thought for a moment, and then looked over at Fumie, who nodded her head once. “Come to breakfast with us tomorrow,” said Eriko. “And after that, I want you to play a game with us. It’ll be a long game. If you play it in a way that satisfies me, and hold out till the end, I’ll welcome you into our group. Let’s start there. Once we’re all used to each other, we can discuss making an escape plan. Are you up for the challenge?”
“Certainly,” replied Miyo confidently. (At first, she worried this would all take too long, but then she remembered there was no real hurry. As long as the escape plan was put into a motion within a week, Frederica wouldn’t kill her or otherwise interfere with the gameboard. Any feelings of worry within Miyo were short-lived. She felt oddly certain of herself and her plan.)
As Miyo had expected, Eriko’s “challenge” the next day was to play the talking game, as they had in two or three of the previous worlds. Eriko would make it all seem like casual conversation, but really, she’d be interviewing Miyo, reading her reactions, calling out any lies or inconsistencies, and trying to piece together her personality. Even with kids like these, Miyo had to be careful.
“You start the talk, Miyo-chan,” Eriko said. “Reveal something about yourself and then ask a question of the next person or of the group.”
Miyo’s back was against the far wall of the room, with Fumie on her right, Eriko straight across from her, and Sayuri to the left. The youngest girl was lying on her stomach and writing something with the floor as a bear-board. Meanwhile, Fumie wore her pink towel-shirt and, for a change, pigtails. Her arms were folded and she had a disdainful expression. Eriko, however, was smiling, and tapping her fingers on the floor excitedly.
“I recently learned some Hanakotoba,” stated Miyo. “I hope you all know some, too. Sayuri, here’s my question. I speak only of White Chrysanthemum. What do I mean by that?”
Sayuri barely had to think. “That flower means truth,” she asserted. “So, you only speak the truth.”
“Very clever,” Eriko said with a chuckle. “Ok Sayu-chan, now give me a flower message.”
“Alright.” Sayuri gave a shy smile. “Eri-san, I want to give you daffodils.”
Daffodils meant respect. Eriko grinned and said thanks to the younger girl. Then she turned to Fumie. “You are like a Jasmine flower.”
“I don’t remember what that means,” Fumie huffed.
“Friendly and graceful,” Sayuri interpreted.
“Oh — well, thank you,” said Fumie, a little flustered. “Ah, Miyo-chan. I am like a hydrangea.”
“Boisterous, energetic, proud,” Sayuri translated in response to Miyo’s temporary silence.
But then the blond-haired girl smiled and looked right into Fumie’s strangely sad-looking eyes. “I’m pretty sure,” she said casually, “that the hydrangea has another, lesser known meaning. I could have sworn it was the same as the Winter Cherry.”
She had been playing the part of the determined but soft-hearted Miyo, when really she was Lambda, and awfully tempted to tease and manipulate the other girls. She figured this might be a wonderful opportunity to bring them all closer together. But if it didn’t work out, it could also drive them apart. Lambda didn’t care either way. No matter how things turned out, no matter how she had to adjust her original plan, she still felt certain she could win this “game.”
Fumie now looked much more flustered than before, but it only lasted a moment. Then she settled down, shot a glare at Miyo, and said, “There is no other meaning.”
“I don’t… um… well, I don’t know of another meaning for hy-hydrangea,” Sayuri interjected in a timid voice. “But… I know Winter Cherry. It, um, is the sign for treachery or betrayal.”
“Well,” said Miyo, leaning back and stretching her arms. “That’s an interesting thought. Wouldn’t it be something if Fumi-senpai was a traitor to our group? Maybe she feels guilty and so she chose that flower to give us a hint.”
Fumie turned pale, but Eriko cut in sternly, “That’s not funny, Miyo-chan. If you say things like that, I’ll start to think you were sent here to break us all apart.”
“Wait,” said Fumie. As all eyes turned to her, she took a deep breath and braced herself. Then she told the others, “There’s something I should confess.”
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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
Episode 1: Passing Worlds
Episode 2: Fairy Dust
Episode 3: Force of Nature
Episode 1: World Ten