Misaki's mother left her daughter when she was three. Now, she's twelve and in Tokyo, looking for her mother, who is supposedly working.

When Misaki arrives in Tokyo, she sees two 'battle dolls' fighting and instantly wants to try it out herself. Eventually, she won many rounds, ending up at the championships with her doll, Hikaru. Little does she know that the champion is really her own mother!

The battle before the final, she figures the champion is her mother because of a photo. She reunites with her mother, Shuko Suzuhara, and Misaki, the 'Miracle Rookie', wins the title of Champion. Here, this is a version of the aftermath.

"I'm glad that you were able to find me," Shuko Suzuhara smiled as she walked to Piffle Princess* with Misaki.

It had only been a week since Misaki had become the Champion. She had been moving her things that week to live with her mother and the Angelic Layer crew. Ohjiro** was particularly happy for some reason. Mr Icchan's** face was expressionless; his words were just as discrete.

Misaki just smiled in reply. The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. Layers covered the room and many were filled with 'deuses'** and their dolls. Some danced, some fought against others, others watched eagerly. Athena and Hikaru entered the Layer and practised. Hikaru swooped from varying heights, attacking Athena, but Athena gracefully dodged every single one.

Music poured from somewhere and both agreed to dance to it. It was Ohjiro, holding a mini CD player in one hand; the other carried a stack of three bento boxes. Lunch was ready. Hikaru stopped dancing and pointed at the bento boxes.

The three walked to the café below, sat and ate silently.

"Hey, it's Misaki-chi!" Tamayo shouted. She ignored the angry stares from the surrounding people. An embarrassed Kataro followed her lamely.

"Hi. I haven't seen you two since school ended," replied Misaki, after the crowd resumed to their meals. Her mother began a conversation with Ohjiro, but Misaki couldn't hear it over the rowdy voice of Tamayo. Kataro didn't say anything. Tamayo suggested they should celebrate Misaki's victory with a party, but both Kataro and Misaki disagreed instantly. The last party Tamayo hosted had ended in disaster. Too many people had come to celebrate!

Lunch ended after Kataro was finally able to convince Tamayo to leave. The mother, the daughter and Ohjiro walked slowly home, talking about how Angelic Layer relieves stress and anger.

"We all have to sleep well tonight. You've got a lot of training to do tomorrow. Remember that I told you that I want to teach you some flying tricks? That's tomorrow," Shuko told her daughter.

Misaki pondered. She did remember her mother saying that. Come to think about it, it was exactly a week ago. That seemed strange; her mother didn't usually set a time for things. She hated timetables and set limits.

She glimpsed her mother's face for clues. It seemed as discrete as Mr Icchan's face. She sighed softly. She knew that if she wanted an answer, she'd have to wait until tomorrow.

Finally, it was time to leave for Piffle Princess again. This time it was to learn new flying tricks. She hoped that for once, she could make Hikaru look daunting, which was difficult to imagine.

Misaki concentrated on her doll flying in the air. Hikaru fell face-first, then somersaulted and lastly glided down to the layer silently. The next move was harder. It involved Hikaru flying and doing attacks in mid-air.

"Okay. That's all for today. We've finished our time here." Misaki's mother showed her the card, which had landed in the tray.

When they arrived at the house, Misaki opened the door to let her mother in, but was astonished by what she saw.

"Surprise! Congratulations for winning the championships!" It was Tamayo and all her friends – from school and Angelic Layer.

Misaki just grinned. She had figured her mother's secret.

Footnotes:

*Piffle Princess is the store which the battle dolls are sold and Layers are rented. A Layer is the rink or arena where the battle dolls come to life, elsewhere they are just like ordinary dolls - lifeless.

** Ohjiro and Mr Icchan are step-brothers. Ohjiro is in university and the 'deus' (controller) of Wizard. His skill at battling with Wizard isn't bad; he lands himself in the final twelve every time. Mr Icchan is the engineer of the whole battle and created the doll for research, but that got out of control.

The introduction seemed better without mentioning these things, so I put it here.