Part 183: Memoirs by Lady LambdadeltaMemoirs by Lady Lambdadelta
Original Translator: theacefrehley of AnimeSuki. Edited by Tiisai and oath2order
-- In gratitude for your previous letter, along with some appropriate Fragments.
Boredom is poisonous to us.
So, by whim, I sometimes grant humans their wishes.
'I will grant you just one wish.'
Aah, it really has a bittersweet ring to it. Those words alone sweeten my black tea so much that I could drink it without putting in any sugar for seven years.
Although even the humans who receive those words from me should be content with simply enjoying that bittersweetness.
Of course, it's fun for me too. What kind of a wish will they tell me this time?
After all, there's always the chance of coming across a new member of our kindred, contrary to my assumptions and anticipations.
Unfortunately, my expectations are always betrayed.
That girl said that expectations are like tea leaves.
Without them, you don't even get black tea. It's just hot water.
That's why, in any kind of world, it's necessary to have the right amount of expectations, hopes and dreams... It's a fitting example for her.
Likewise, if there's an excessive amount of tea leaves, it's not something you'd want to drink either. It's probably not any more drinkable than the hot water without a single tea leaf.
That's why I use the right amount of leaves, the way she taught me... or well, I use a little less than that.
I can't drink black tea that's too bitter... I try to use just a small amount of leaves.
I'm sick of listening to boring doubts like 'can I really wish for anything?' or 'what's the catch?'
And the most common of the annoying wishes that they come up with is this:
'I wish for more wishes.'
The creativity to increase the finite of 'one' to the infinite... Could it be that these shallow humans feel a creator-like profoundness and a sense of superiority in that...?
At any rate, my impression is the exact opposite of that.
'A wish to grant anything' is, on its own, a miracle that would easily allow you to even create a universe.
if that's unclear, let me put it this way: 'A wish to grant anything' is not something you need to count as one or two.
So, when they count their wishes by numbers, the miracles that humans imagine are on the same scale.
It's not even worth my time to observe what sort of trifling things these worthless humans wish for with their wishes increased to, say, one hundred.
If you make a hundred cups of black tea from the same small teapot, it's obvious it will become more and more diluted and unappetizing.
So, if they ask for such tedious wishes, I just bluntly say 'Yeah, sure, I'll grant it. See ya', and disappear.
They should just spend the rest of their lives coming up with more wishes than they can count and die without getting any one of them granted... Aah, the morons!
After that one, the next most typical wish is 'I want a lot of money'.
Needless to say, that is also a very tedious answer.
Is money really that wonderful?
Would a traveller in a desert, tormented by hunger and dehydration, leap into a mountain of money wads when he can't even eat or drink them?
It's a narrow freedom that can only be obtained within the system of rules called the currency system. The shortsightedness to desire something like that, aah, it disappoints me.
Do Japanese vending machines accept American quarters? Can a 100 yen coin be used at a street stall in Africa? How much money would it take for you to completely forget about grieving and mourning for a loved one who was killed?
'I want love', 'I want happiness'.
These are also wishes that disappoint me.
After all, all I need to do to grant those wishes is to say 'Don't worry. You are happy. You are loved.' Aah, how worthless.
Oh and besides, if I may say, there are as many forms of love and happiness as there are people. 'Love' and 'happiness' are just general terms for those myriads of unspecific emotions. These worthless humans who can't even explain their own feelings without relying on abstract words like that will never find true love or happiness even if they spent dozens of years searching. Aah, the dimwitted morons!
'I want the power to defeat anyone.'
I figured this kind of a wish could be a little interesting, but the term 'anyone' is a bit excessive here.
The will to use unbeatable power will ultimately falter when the user discovers they lack true opposition. Once they realize there is nobody they cannot defeat, those humans invariably end up losing the will to live.
Even though I could grant them the power to create or destroy entire universes, why can't they think outside the tiny little box called the human society?
Aah, I guess that's what makes them humans instead of witches.
Among boring humans like that, I once met a little girl who I thought was a little more savvy than most.
She told me what she was struggling with.
"Please guarantee that my efforts will certainly come true."
Every once in a while, there are humans feigning to be philosophical who propose weird things that no doubt even they don't actually understand. I was sure this kid was one of them.
'My efforts' is not something limited by number. Depending on how you'd take it, what she was saying sounded basically the same as if she had been asking for an infinite number of more wishes.
But the depth of her eyes seemed to tell me that she was a little different from the people who wished for that kind of thing. The hourglass had run out, but I thought I'd listen to her story for a little longer.
"Like I said, if you ask me I can grant you any wish right now even without any effort. Well, just one wish though, you know?"
"...I'm telling you, my wish isn't something you can count as one or two wishes."
"You mean you want a huge amount of your dreams to come true? What a greedy girl you are."
"That's not it. There is only a single point I must reach. But the path that I must take there will surely be complicated and full of difficulties. A countless number of them, I'm sure. But if I'm aiming without fail at a single point then I will absolutely, inevitably, definitely reach it."
Definitely reach it.
That is no longer a wish. In human terms, it would be called "determination". In witch terms, it would be... 'fate'.
A wish that will certainly come true cannot be called determination. It's already called 'destiny'.
The creation of fate is not the domain of humans.
At that moment, I saw the unmistakable radiance of my kin glittering behind her eyes.
...The girl had only made one wish.
A wish she would definitely grant, a destiny... 'I want you to make me believe in it.'
I thought it was interesting. Might as well grant it, I figured.
But before that, I wanted to confirm it one more time.
I wanted to know about the final goal of her 'destiny', her wish that she had boasted she would certainly grant on her own.
In the end, she might be boring and not break the limits of humanity.
...However, I piled up more 'tea leaves'.
I was 'certainly' convinced that she would meet my expectations.
"Tell me, what is your true wish? What is this destiny that you say you will certainly grant yourself?"
With those words, my heart was settled.
I granted her wish. I gave her the guarantee that her efforts would certainly come true.
The determination she spoke of was, to me, already 'fate'.
And the guarantee I gave was, to her, also 'fate'.
That's why the stories she authors from now on will all be 'fate'.
Well, there is also a weak point in her fate.
Since it's based on her own efforts, if her resolve wavers, so will her fate.
Besides, I may have guaranteed that her efforts will certainly come true, but I gave no guarantee about how much effort is required for it.
So I didn't think it was possible for that girl to create an eternity.
I guess you could've said that it's an eternity as long as she doesn't lose heart.
Well, anyway. If she just had frankly wished "please make me a god" then she would've gotten full marks from me, you know.
...Well, even if I turned a human into a god all of a sudden, their mind would just disperse, though.
Maybe it's also necessary for them to take these steps known as effort in order to gradually accustom their bodies to the atmospheric pressures of the world of the almighty.
Maybe our world is just like going down an infinite ladder that leads to bottomless depths.
You could descend all nervous and timid, wondering how much longer there is to go until you reach the depths, or you could plunge down in excitement and hurry.
But if you lose your footing... you'll fall forever towards the bottomless abyss.
In that sense, I'm sure she was the cautious sort.
But, well... I can't deny that excessive caution made me a little disappointed.
---Because I wanted her to hurry up and descend as far to the depths as I had.
I think that girl really tried hard.
I may have overestimated her in some aspects, though. Unfortunately, she was far from reaching the world I had expected she would.
But that's fine.
After all, she created a new witch and sent her to my side.
And then, for a long time, I drifted through countless worlds.
Sometimes, upon finding an interesting-looking human, I raise them the same question.
But I never again met a human asking for a wish that could surpass that girl's.
That's right. Until I happened to meet a certain child.
[Actual translator's note: The above note is included in (and translated from) the original Japanese text. This mysterious person of an ambiguous gender will henceforth be referred to with the pronoun they.]
Straight to the point, huh... That's right... Those were the words I've been longing for.
But I decided to stay calm and press the point.
"...Make you a witch. Huh... Do you want to fly through the skies on a broom? Or do you maybe want to try putting a biscuit in your pocket and multiplying it to two?"
"It's obvious that a witch could do things like that... As a witch, I can create anything I want. People, hearts, everything. And now, there's nothing I can't do... Because I am already a witch."
In this child's eyes there was the same kind of radiance as the one I nostalgically recalled seeing in that little girl's eyes back then.
I felt the spicy and sweet fragrance of tea leaves that I hadn't come across for many millennia.
Yes, it was just like with that little girl.
They would grant everything on their own. They would create. They would accomplish. They had sharp eyes that grasped destiny.
And the point that the little girl said she was going to reach, this child declared they had already reached it.
I was greatly interested in them.
"What a loudmouth. You're already a witch...? Can you assert that you are someone can stand side by side with me, the Witch of Certainty, who holds the title of a Lady? Know your place, you puny and meager human...!"
"Yes, I am already a witch. There's only one thing I want: a recommendation from another witch, acknowledging me as a witch."
That was the exact same wish as that little girl had.
"...You sure are a strong-willed witch. Indeed, as long as you call yourself one, nobody can deny you're a witch... But tell me. A god is a god and the Creator is the Creator even without anyone acknowledging them, you know? The same should go for witches. If you're a witch even without anyone acknowledging it, then you should be a witch even without me acknowledging it. Am I right?"
"That's right. I understand that I have already begun to transcend humanity. From my point of view, I can assert that I am above all humans. However, in order to observe that I have have transcended humanity, I need to be observed by a being superior to myself."
"...So even a human can recognize when a human has transcended humanity, but only a witch can recognize when they've reached the level of a witch? Is that what you mean?"
"Exactly. I am aware that I have risen beyond the world of humans and reached the world of witches. I would like for you too to acknowledge that I've reached it, from the standpoint of a witch."
"...So a witch needs a witch's recommendation to become a witch? That's interesting, but in that case, I wonder who acknowledged the very first witch in the world?"
"Humans must have given that name to the beings whose existence transcended their own."
"So what you're saying is that regardless of whether or not I acknowledge you, you're a witch."
"Correct. Because I am already a witch... for that very reason, it's why I wish to be acknowledged as a witch by a superior being."
"...It feels like I'm being deceived by some twisted reasoning. What if I say no?"
"You don't have to acknowledge me against your will. Because in that case I'll just make you acknowledge me as well... Not even you will be able to deny that I'm a witch."
"...*cackle*cackle*, ehehhehhahhahaha...! What kind of a magic system could this puny human have created, huh? ...Can I try it out? ...*cackle*cackle*!"
And then, as I helped myself to the composition formula of that witch's magic system... I realized that she had constructed a vast magic system using an interpretation unique to her, one that I hadn't been aware of until then.
[Actual translator's note: From here on Lambdadelta starts occasionally using 'she' to refer to the witch.]
This kid was still inexperienced, no question about it. Her magical world was still only half finished. However, the composition formula leading to its formation was flawless and had infinite possibilities.
I'm sure it'll take a long time to learn to master that infinity, but there was no room for doubt that she had already opened the door and was reaching for the other side.
And above all, the unique point of this 'witch' was that she had succeeded in establishing her magic system in the human world.
Witches are proportionally released from their constraints as they seek for more freedom and power.
Restrictions here meaning the physical world. In other words, in order to do that, witches such as myself and those of the same rank will reach the point where we steadily drift off further and further from the physical, human world.
But this witch accomplished it in the human world.
That is, even with the body of a human, her feet are treading upon the same world as ours...!
No... On the contrary, her composition formula is too deep.
While I've been climbing down the well on the ladder one rung at a time over the course of millennia, it's as though she opened up a parasol and used that as a parachute to swoop down to the depths... and at what speed...!
...Naturally, there's the danger that that parasol might break, sending her plummeting down to abyss just like that.
Because of that recklessness, impulsiveness of youth and despise for the likes of humans... as well as my interest in seeing how far this witch would be able to go, I decided to shed some light on this world yet unknown to me and felt honoured to be able to smell the sweet fragrance of this black tea that I had never savoured before.
This is just my opinion, but hear me out.
It could be said that all beings are placed somewhere between two extremes: the side that gets tossed about by fate, and the side that brings about fate.
Beings that have completely lost all constraints... In exchange for gaining everything, they have lost even the limitation of their own 'meaning'.
...When even the notion of life and death and the meaning of existence has been lost... they reach the level of zero. Or rather, they fall down to it. Crash down. Crumble. Vanish like mist.
I think the ones placed in the middle are us, the witches.
We create fate and play with it. We move around in that interstice.
However, we accept certain restrictions and limitations, leaving ourselves some footing so that we won't tumble down.
To the witches who are not afraid of it, the ones who are far, far ahead of me... these restrictions don't exist.
Will she become the cup of black tea to alleviate even a moment of the boredom of my millennia-long journey?
Or will she become a witch far superior to me who will shine a light on the depths where cowards like me might never be able to reach and show me a new world?
Either one would be fine.
If we supposed that I'm not a traveler towards the abyss of hell, but a disaster victim thrown into the ocean and struggling to avoid drowning...
Then to me, this kid would be a splendid block of wood to cling on to.
Will she become a rescue ship guiding me to a new world?
Or will she be nothing more than a cup of black tea to make the few hours of my afternoon more elegant?
...To savor this wonderful black tea all by myself would really be such a waste.
I should call my friend over too, right?
I have to surprise them with a wonderful tea party.
※Translator's note: Lady Lambdadelta's signature, maybe?
[Actual translator's note: Λ and Δ are the Greek characters for lamdba and delta]