Part 85: The Birth of Beatrice II
BGM: Ballade Continuer
It was so very sudden. I had just been drinking some milk tea, all alone in the rose garden arbor. Mama said that she had to talk about something important with Uncle Krauss, so she told me to go outside and play. Suddenly, she was sitting right there. I didn't know anyone who spoke that way. I quickly realized that she was someone I didn't know at all...
"...Who... are you?"
"You were the one who first said that you wished to see me. Here I am, welcoming the witch who came to visit my island, and yet you ask my name? *cackle*cackle*."
"Precisely. I am Beatrice."
"Yep. Really, really sudden. Witches and spirits always exist right beside us. They just choose not to show themselves. And, when they do show themselves, it's always sudden, as though they've been there the whole time. That's what I learned that day."
"And then, you and Beatrice became friends?"
"Yeah. She stayed and chatted with me the whole time, until Mama was done with her business. We talked about magic... and witches. And about how I was a child of the Holy Ghost."
"...And what was your impression of Beatrice then?"
"I don't like saying it, but I knew more than she did back then. At first, I thought she wasn't a very good witch."
"...Well, that was just my conceit. There are many different kinds of magical compendiums. Also, mine was based on self-study. I probably only viewed Beato that way because her magical compendium was different from mine. It wasn't long before I came to regret that and apologized."
"Apologized? Did Beatrice do something to win your respect?"
"I see. So, she showed you magic."
BGM: Ballade Continuer
"Very interesting. Maria. I see you have been quite diligent in your studies. At your age, to be capable of teaching a thousand year old witch such as myself is truly an accomplishment worthy of admiration. And what sort of magic can you use?"
"If you call yourself a witch, you must be able to show me some sort of magic, correct?"
I was stunned for a second. Of course, it should have been obvious. I was a child of the Holy Ghost, and since I'd studied so much of the occult, I was also a witch, not a human. Until that day, I had been so sure of both of those things. So, when I was asked what sort of magic I could use, it left me in a daze...
"When one knows of magic and can speak of it, they finally reach the rank of apprentice. One is only a witch if they can put such knowledge into practice and use magic, correct?"
"...So, I'm not a witch yet...?"
"You have studied well. And, I can sense a very rare talent within you. One day, you may become a witch so great that even I could not compare, or perhaps even a Creator as you have told me. However, you are still young and immature. You are... yes. You are an apprentice. A witch apprentice, you might call it."
"So, does that mean you can use magic, Beato?"
"Of course. I could not call myself a witch otherwise."
"Incredible... Show me! I wanna see your magic!!"
Until this day, Maria had never doubted the magic-related concept that she was the child of the Holy Ghost. However, no one had ever proven to her that occult phenomena actually existed. Maria could create a universe all by herself. However, she wanted to share it with a second person, so that she could believe in it even more strongly.
"You told me about that. You can't use your full power because of the shrine."
"It will take quite some time before my power returns. At this moment, I cannot turn rainbows to candy. However, perhaps I can show you a bit of that power with some simpler magic."
"I wanna see...! I wanna see your magic...!!"
"Very well. However, I must ask you for your assistance. As I have already told you, no matter how pure your soul might be, all humans are tainted and filled with the toxin that resists magic."
"Yeah, I remember. You told me about the anti-magic toxin. It wasn't in any of the books I've read. You must really be incredible to know so much."
Beatrice lifted up an empty teacup, then turned it around in front of Maria to show that there weren't any tricks or strings.
"How did you know?! You're incredible, Will! You even know about witch magic!"
"...Well, that's because... that was really basic witch magic."
"It was just a normal cup, without any tricks in it. I wanted to see. I wanted to see true magic."
Maria had wanted something. Because she wanted to believe that there was an occult side to her, she wanted to see the occult existing for others as well. That's why she agreed to help Beatrice with her magic. She didn't want her own toxin to ruin her chance of knowing the miracles of magic.
"...Ah. There's candy. There's candy...!!"
"As a gift to mark my meeting with a new witch, and as a sign of our friendship, I offer this to you."
This... was a true miracle of magic. For the first time, I felt shame and embarrassment at my conceit. I could feel that sense of omnipotence disappear, the idea that I was the child of the Holy Ghost and the most important and special person in the world. Instead of a child of the Holy Ghost who can't do anything, I'd rather be a witch who can use magic...! Ushiromiya Maria wants to become a witch...!! Starting off as a witch apprentice!! I was already fascinated by Beato.
"I want to become a real witch too! I want to be your disciple!!"
"How modest. You already have an abundance of talent and diligence. Also, though it may have been different when I was at my full power, I cannot take on a disciple in my current state."
"...So I can't become a witch's disciple...?"
"Yes. From this point forth, we shall be friends. Let us continue to talk of the deep and profound world of witches."
"Uu-!!! Thank you, Beato!! Can I eat this candy?!"
"No, let that be a souvenir. Instead of eating it, keep it in that lovely bag of yours."
"Right. I'll eat it at home...!! Uu-, uu-uu-uu-uu-!!"
"Maria. That candy was brought into being by magic. Therefore, it is fragile. If you deny my existence with that toxin of yours, it will melt and fade away."
"Uu-... No. I don't want Beato's precious magic to disappear."
"Then be sure that you do not forget your meeting with me. As long as you keep my little promise, I will greet you the next time you come to this island."
"Uu-! I'll keep it. What's the promise?!"
"Well, to start... When you get home, wash your hands. Then, rinse out your mouth. You must not complain about this, for it is an important part of a witch apprentice's training."
"I'll do it! Every day, when I come home, I'll wash my hands! I'll rinse out my mouth! If I do that, will I see you again?!"
"I promise it. If you keep your end of the promise, your body will be cleansed, and I will regain even more of my magical power. If that happens, then I will show you magic that is even more incredible the next time you come."
"Uu-! I'll keep my promise! No matter what!! I'll do it! I'll become your friend and a witch apprentice!"
"Your resolve is heartening, Ushiromiya Maria. I hope that you will quickly grow to become a full witch and my close friend."
BGM: In the Sun
"And was that candy still there when you got home...?"
"Yep. But I doubted a little, so it was half-melted. I regretted almost doubting her. If I had doubted her more, maybe the candy would've disappeared. I almost lost the proof of the magical miracle that had happened before my eyes."
"The candy melted?"
"Yeah, that caramel started melting. It was all lumpy."
"About what time of the year did this happen?"
"I'm not too sure. But I remember that the milk tea had ice in it. Why does that matter?"
"Never mind. Did you tell Rosa about your meeting with Beatrice?"
"Yep. I told everyone about it at dinner that day. Uncle Krauss laughed at me. Then, Mama, who was sitting next to me, got mad and told me to stop talking about it. Uu-."
"Next to you...? By your family's ranking system, your seat shouldn't be next to Rosa's."
"It wasn't a family conference. It was when just Mama and I came to visit. So, there was only Uncle Krauss's family, Mama, and me. There were fewer people, so we didn't sit in the same spots as a family conference."
"...And Rosa was sitting in the seat next to you?"
"Yeah. Why does that matter?"
"...It doesn't. Have you ever met with Beatrice outside Rokkenjima?"
"No. After all, Beato's body is fragile, so she can't go wherever she wants. I told her she could just possess me if she wanted, but she said that she couldn't leave the island."
"And after that, you met her every time you came to Rokkenjima."
"Yeah. We became really good friends. The more I talked to Beato, the more I realized what an amazing witch she was. She showed me wonderful magic every time I saw her. Then, she told me about a magical compendium that was different from mine, and we both talked together about the mysteries of magic. I wanted to reach her level as soon as I could. I wanted to become the kind of witch Beato was."
"Did you ever introduce Beatrice to your mother?"
"Nope. She said Mama's toxin was too strong, so they couldn't meet each other yet. Almost all adults are no good when it comes to the toxin. They're all tainted. Kihihihihi."
"Was anyone other than you able to see Beatrice?"
"They couldn't at first. She said her magical power was weak, so her body would crumble if even a little bit of the toxin reached her. But she gathered magical power bit by bit, and she could eventually appear in front of other people who had small amounts of toxin."
"And who was that?"
"All of the servants here today. Uu-? But not Gohda-san, I think."
"So, there were four of them: Genji, Shannon, Kanon, and Kumasawa."
"And Doctor Nanjo too."
Apparently, they would sometimes come to visit Maria and Beatrice's witch tea parties. Of course, it had only been for small things, like bringing them extra tea. However, they were certainly aware of Beatrice, and even talked with her.
"...How did the servants react to Beatrice? She was a guest who shouldn't have existed. Weren't they surprised?"
"No, they weren't. After all, Beatrice is the other master of the mansion."
She said that the servants treated Beatrice as an honored guest. And, sometimes, they were permitted to witness the new miracle of magic along with Maria.
"So, on the Rokkenjima of 1986, the ones who could actually meet with Beatrice were you, Nanjo, and the four servants excluding Gohda, for a total of six?"
"Yeah. Beato said that she'd need to store up much more magical power before she could appear in front of anyone else."
"So, she intended to show herself in front of more people sometime in the future?"
"Yep. She said that the day she made all of the humans acknowledge her would be the day of her resurrection."
She had probably appeared before new humans, starting with the ones whose anti-magic toxin was weakest. Beatrice's game was to increase the number of humans who could recognize her, until she could make everyone on the island acknowledge her. Of that, there can be no doubt... In that case, the last person for Beatrice to appear in front of... would be Battler, the one said to have the strongest anti-magical power.
...Does this mean Beatrice thought that Battler would be the hardest one to convince...? It seems true that Battler was one of Beatrice's goals. However, if we go with Battler's chessboard thinking... We might say that Beatrice, who wanted others to acknowledge her existence, was a character who could not exist unless she was acknowledged.
Battler reached this thought himself back in the first game. Yes, there is something different about the Beatrice of 1986. She's different from the Italian Beatrice or the Kuwadorian Beatrice, both of whom certainly did exist. The Beatrice of 1986, the one whom we are so familiar with in a mysterious way, yet who has no existence. What does it mean to 'kill' the Beatrice who has no existence?
However, Maria had said that even a single person could give birth to a universe. And yet, Maria had desired a second person. A second person to nurture the world she had given birth to alone. Because if it was born and not nurtured, it would die and disappear?
...Let's replace the word 'universe' with 'Beatrice'. The minimum number of people required to create Beatrice is two. However, even a single person could give birth to her. And yet, that single person desired a second person. A second person to acknowledge the Beatrice created by the first person. That meeting with a second person is the scene that Maria has just described. The single person who created Beatrice had looked for a second person to acknowledge Beatrice... and selected Maria.
We don't need Furudo Erika's heartless reasoning to know that the tea cup magic was a sleight of hand. Maria, believing in the story about the anti-magic toxin, would close her eyes whenever magic happened. Any sleight of hand would be possible while she had her eyes closed. The caramel Maria had been given as proof of her meeting with a witch had melted a little because Maria had doubted. In a season where one was likely to put ice in their tea, it was only natural for a caramel left in a bag to melt.
Beatrice appeared first in front of this girl, who had, in the language of witches, very little of the anti-magic toxin... If we liken the creation of Beatrice to the laying of an egg, then when a single person creates her, it is no more than a delusion. Like a chick inside the egg. If, and only if, a second person acknowledges her, the shell cracks, and she appears. She only appears when a second person comes to warm the egg. When Maria acknowledged Beatrice, she finally hatched, and the chick was born. In that case, Mariage Sorciere, which nurtured Beatrice and her magical compendium, was like a nest.
Beatrice is the one with the dignified presence, who calls herself the witch of Rokkenjima and who claims to have lived a thousand years. This sounds less like the chick Beato, and more like Beatrice the Elder, who appeared in the previous game. So, does this mean that the meeting Maria has just spoken of marks the birth of Beatrice the Elder...? The egg itself had already been created by 'the first person'. Then, until the meeting with Maria, it matured fully inside its shell, becoming the 'character' with the dignified presence of a thousand years. Then, when Maria acknowledged it, it hatched, and the witch of Rokkenjima finally gained a form.
Perhaps, that moment marks the birth of the Beatrice of 1986. The younger, chick Beatrice was born out of love for Battler. Since that birth has not yet occurred at this point in time, then the birth of Beatrice the Elder and the existence of Beatrice at this time must have nothing to do with Battler.
Are you enjoying this reasoning, Bernkastel...?
BGM: L&D Circulation
"...What kinds of things?"
"Lots and lots. Kihihihihihi. Not telling."
"So, you wanted to protect your Mama from the black witch."
"How did you know that? You're incredible. Uu-!"
"...And you were already sure that your happy world would never return, without a witch's help?"
"Yep. I love Mama. She's so nice. I want to be with her forever. For all eternity."
"...Now I'd like to hear about Mariage Sorciere."
"I'm thirsty, so I'm gonna go get something to drink. See you later."
Maria became suddenly formal, bowed her head, and left without waiting for a reply. It was a very un-Maria-like thing to do.
I see. So, the Game Master has moved the piece. Apparently, she's telling me to ask about something different.
At some point, Lion had started chatting with the other family members. Jessica seemed to be getting irritated at having her butt pinched so much, and George was trying to calm her down.
Compared to Maria, the anti-magic toxin is very strong in these two. At least at the beginning of the other games, they didn't acknowledge Beatrice.
Maria showed me the point of view of one who believes. Now to hear from those who don't.