Part 112: Ange's Recollection II
"...Hoh. I see, he is called Sakutarou. So this is your best friend!"
'Uryu... Nice to meet you, I'm Sakutarou...'
"Uu-, Sakutaro's shy, so he's nervous. It's okay, Beatrice is also a great friend of mine...!"
'Uryu. Are Maria's friends... my friends...?'
'Uryu. Then, am I Beatrice's friend too?'
"...Maria, does something like this happen frequently for you in your everyday life?"
"Is breathing a spirit of magic into inorganic matter and giving it life like this... commonplace in your everyday life?"
"...Uu-. Sakutaro isn't inorganic matter, he's a lion cub."
"Hmm... A stuffed animal makes for an excellent vessel. It is not uncommon for spirits to be made to reside in them...when they are spoken to by innocent children with no toxin."
However, because of their innocence, the power imbued into such a vessel is very weak. If they get struck with even a tiny bit of the toxin from a Human's common sense, which says that there's no way a doll can talk or move, they instantly revert to being non-speaking dolls...
"However, this Sakutarou stuffed animal of yours is different."
"Uu-! Sakutaro is a stuffed animal, but he isn't ooone!"
'Uryu-! I'm a lion cub! Ro-, ro-, uryu-!'
"Sakutaro is a lion cub, but he's still a kid, so he can't roar sometimes. Uryuuryuuryu♪"
Gazing at Maria, who was playing around with Sakutaro by the table loaded with tea, Beatrice let out a sigh of admiration.
"...How incredible. This Sakutarou, with a cloth and cotton vessel as a shell, has completely materialized into the human world. He has his own personality, talks with the summoner freely, and even moves by his own will."
"...And even more surprising... is that Maria did not summon him using the name of a person from another world, but created him out of the sea of zero."
After that, Maria boasted to Beato that Sakutarou wasn't her only friend, and that she had many more of them back at home. It seemed there were other similar stuffed animals and dolls who could talk and move of their own will like Sakutarou. It was something natural for Maria. It was natural for stuffed animals to talk, move, and become her friends of their own will. When she saw that Maria accepted this as something natural, as a witch, Beatrice felt a respect bordering on awe.
"...Maria, without a doubt, that power of yours is magic."
"It's magic...? I'm still a witch apprentice, so I can't use magic yet, right...?"
"Indeed. In your case, it may even be fitting to call it creation. A piece of inorganic matter that would have no soul at all in another's hands can have a soul sent into it through your magic."
"Furthermore, that strong magical power lies in the human world. In this era so filled with the toxin that denies magic, summoning a magical power that can materialize a single life-form is not easy even for me."
It isn't hard to give birth to any number of soulless beings. However, giving birth to a being with a soul is very difficult. This is what Beato asserted.
"...I don't really understand what you're saying, Beato. You're saying Sakutaro is amazing...?"
"Both you and Sakutarou are incredible. You should be proud. I see, that which Kinzo desired above all else seems to dwell most strongly within you."
"I don't have a clue why Beato is praising Maria so much. Right, Sakutaro?"
"...What should be truly admired is not only that a soul has been made to reside in a stuffed animal. Even more significant is the fact that you have changed your own worldview. When it comes to giving birth to something from nothing, you stand out from the crowd."
"...It is easy to make 100 from 1. However, giving birth to 1 from 0 is not. When you do become a full witch, beyond just becoming a match for me, you might grow into a Great Witch that even I must acknowledge as superior."
"A Witch of Origins, perhaps. I'm really looking forward to your future."
"Uu-! Beato said I have talent as a witch!"
'Isn't that great, Maria?! Uryu, Beato, thank you for praising Maria.'
"*cackle*cackle*! No need to thank me, Sakutarou. That red muffler truly suits you. And I am envious of the talent of your master, who was able to give birth to a friend like you."
'Uryu-! Thanks for complimenting my muffler. This is a present I got from Maria. It's my favorite.'
"Uu-? Beato is giving Sakutaro a present...?"
"Of course, a gift from a witch must be something with magical power. In that case, so that he can be your friend for all time, and so that you can have even more fun playing with him, I shall give Sakutarou my magic power. With that, he should be able to materialize even more strongly."
"Uu-? I'll be able to have much more fun playing with Sakutaro...? How's that?"
'Uryu...? What could it be, Maria...? Is it something scary...?'
"Don't worry. Beato won't do anything scary. Right, Beatrice?!"
"Indeed. I believe you will like it. So, to make him materialize even more strongly, a stronger image will be necessary. Well, well, what to do. Hmmmmmmmmmm..."
Beato crossed her arms and thought about what she could do to please them even more.
Virgilia truly was a Great Witch. Since Maria already thought of Beato as a Great Witch, this person Beato called a Great Witch must've been a Great Great Witch. According to Beato, she still didn't even rise up to this witch's feet when it came to magical power.
"My, my. I thought I heard some cheery voices. What a fun tea party this seems to be..."
"Oh, Teacher. Perfect timing. I want you to look at this lion cub. I hear he's Maria's new friend."
"Ho ho ho. What a lovely little lion. I wonder if he can greet me? Hello, nice to meet you...?"
'U-Uryu-! I-I'm Sakutarou.'
Sakutaro fell to Maria's lap, greeting Virgilia with half of his face poking out over the edge of the table. It seemed he was very nervous, since this was a witch that even Beato called Teacher.
"Ho ho ho. What an adorable name. As a reward for giving such a good greeting, here's a sweet for you."
After waving her hands about, Virgilia held the palm of her hand upwards, as though she was lightly grabbing at the empty air. Then, she held her fist out in front of Sakutaro.
'Uryu-?! Maria, it's candy, awesome, awesome...!!'
"Uu-! Isn't that great, Sakutaro! Make sure to thank her."
'Uryu. Thank you very much for the candy. *gulp*.'
Even though Virgilia was a Great Great Witch, she still treated a stuffed animal like Sakutarou to an elegant greeting.
"Still, Teacher. Cough drops? Are you someone's granny or something...?! Can't you at least pull out some strawberry-milk candy?"
"How rude. In that case, I won't be giving you any more."
"Kuhhyahhyahhya, sorry, sorry. Well then, Maria. Take out your grimoire. And, of course, your writing tools."
"Uu-? Yeah, I'll take it out. What should I write?"
"...Oh, what are you starting?"
"I will use a magic I learned from you, Teacher. Magic to make a resident of another world materialize into a vessel. I think that by applying that, we may be able to further strengthen the power that makes this friend of Maria's materialize. I wanted to give that as a gift to Maria and her friend."
"I see. For a being that has already materialized, it shouldn't be that difficult. That could become a wonderful gift. Well then, I shall help too, if only a little."
"It would be very reassuring if you would sign for this magic as a witness, Teacher...! Be glad, Maria. This will be a wonderful gift...!"
"Don't know. But I don't think it's scary. What could it be? I can't wait."
Beato borrowed the grimoire from Maria's handbag and majestically flipped through the pages. Then, she found an empty page among those with magic circles drawn on them... and flattened it out. After gazing at Sakutarou with a grin, she suddenly started moving her pen.
It was something like a written declaration made by witches to a high-order world. It was magic whose effect could be controlled if Beatrice wrote and Virgilia signed. Maria didn't understand what Beato was writing at first, but partway through, she figured out the wonderful magical power of this document, and her eyes began to sparkle...
'Uryu?! Uryu?! What is it, Maria, what's she drawing?! Uryuuryu?!'
Sakutarou was on her lap, so he didn't know what was being written on the table. But even if he had seen, Sakutarou probably wouldn't have understood.
"Awesome, Sakutaro!! Wait a bit, almost done, almost done! It's amazing, Beato, amazing!!"
"...When it comes to writing documents of power, this child's talent is magnificent. You might even serve well as a Secretary in the spirit world."
"How's this...?! Not so bad, right...?!"
After finishing her writing with an intense amount of concentration, Beato looked over the document again from a distance. It seemed she was fairly satisfied with her work. And Maria, who was also peeking in at it, let out a cry of wonder.
"...Awesome, Beato!! Cuuute!! Uu-uu-uu-!!"
"Yes, yes. By my name, I witness and acknowledge this oath. It is done."
Virgilia signed, completing the written declaration. It was a document with the power to proclaim to the beings of a higher world that Sakutarou had most certainly materialized in the human world. Sakutarou, who had been born from Maria, was nominated by the two witches, Beatrice and Virgilia, and just now, his existence had been acknowledged by the higher world. That itself was the great magic of materialization.
According to Beato, it was apparently quite fortunate that Virgilia was there. After all, depending on the number and quality of witches that signed proclamations to the higher world, the power that resided in them could change drastically. Virgilia in particular had many friends in that higher plane, so her signature gave the proclamation a power with which Beato's couldn't even compare.
"By this proclamation, I accept you, Sakutarou, as an individual with his own ego. And I welcome you as a friend in accordance with the contract of Mariage Sorcière. From now on, Sakutarou is our common friend."
"And for that, I shall bestow upon you a fitting form as a gift. Accept it."
With the grimoire still opened to the page with the proclamation, she turned it around and handed it to Maria. Maria showed it to Sakutarou on her lap. When Sakutarou beheld that proclamation, he felt something hot and bright begin to dwell... in his body made of cloth and cotton.
Even as he looked around, nervous at this sensation he'd never felt before, that power strengthened, and eventually, a bright light completely swallowed him up...
Then, when that light disappeared...
BGM: Sakutarou's Adventure
"Uu-uu-uu-! You're cute, Sakutaro! Reeeally cute!"
'Uryu...? Uryu-... Does it really look good on me? It isn't embarrassing...?'
"Ho ho ho ho. It is a very lovely form, Sakutarou-chan."
"I figured the muffler was his charm point. And the ears! Animal ears sure are nice, truly cute! Let me nibble 'em later. *cackle*!"
"Thank you, Beatrice!! Thank you very much for the wonderful present!!"
"There is no need for thanks. This is out of respect for your wonderful magic and your friend. And, now that you have reached this level, it would not be odd for you to graduate from being an apprentice at any time."
"A Witch of Origins...?"
"Indeed. It is the title of a witch who seeks to become a Creator. Right now, you are just an Enchanter (a magician specializing in forms of magical enhancement) who has only enough strength to breathe magical power into the small objects around her. But after one thousand years of training, you could conceivably use the magical compendium that resides inside your heart to create a galaxy."
"...The talent of a Witch of Origins is very rare. Even though everyone has it when they are young, no one can continue to hold onto it. This title is also proof that you have not lost your untainted heart."
"Uu-!! A Witch of Origins, awesome! I'll become one! I'm Maria, an Apprentice Witch of Origins!"
"Maria, that's so incredible...! A Witch of Origins, incredible, amazing, uryu-!"
"Eventually, you will be able to call yourself a full witch: Lady MARIA, Witch of Origins. It may be a good time now to give not only Sakutarou, but you as well, an appearance fitting for your rank. Here. I shall give a proper outfit for one who, while still an apprentice, is worthy of using the title of a witch."
When Beato waved the pipe that was her cane, many gold butterflies that had appeared out of nowhere grouped around Maria, giving her a wonderful dress.
BGM: In the Sun
"Amazing...!! Awesome awesome awesome awesome!! Cute, cute! I wanna show these clothes to Mama too...!! Can I?"
"The full dress of a witch must not be shown indiscriminately. It's value increases if you're stingy with it. *cackle*!"
Then, the Great Witch, the witch, the witch's apprentice, and their new friend, Sakutarou, enjoyed a lively tea party...
"Please, don't be afraid of being happy. Becoming happy isn't the same thing as accepting your current misfortune. It means creating a new happiness out of your current misfortune. That is the Magic of Origins."
"...I... didn't want to acknowledge my current world. I couldn't bear to accept such an isolated and painful world. That's why, even though I was entranced by your world, Maria onee-chan... I couldn't cross the final line."
"...I'll teach you. About my Magic of Origins. No, I taught you before, right? And you used it before. Did you forget...?"
"You were also a witch apprentice, Ange, with your name entered into Mariage Sorcière, weren't you?"