The Little Witch’s Sure-fire Techniques – 3

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The Little Witch’s Sure-fire Techniques Vol01 Ch03

The summer sun was baking hot, so hot that people’s skin could be burned off.

Noon. There were many pedestrians on the plaza. The women had a variety of exquisite, fancy-looking parasols, while the men tried to walk in the shade as much as possible, to avoid the invisible flames of the sun.

There was a fountain in the middle of the plaza.

Only a boy in his late teens stood by it.

A cup of bubble tea was in his hands.

The fountain leapt and fell, spitting out silver droplets of water.

The teenager had been waiting for ages.

His once-iced bubble tea had long melted.

The sun shone feverishly on him. His purple shirt was gradually drenched in his sweat, while his violet eyes gradually lost their sparkle.

“Kaoru——”

Finally, at last, a fiery red-haired girl sprinted towards him!

The colour instantly returned to the teenager’s eyes.

Beside the fountain.

Koizumi sprinted to where Kaoru was, panting heavily. The sweat dripped down her face as he caught him by the arm and huffed, “Sorry…sorry…I’m late…”

Kaoru held onto her and good-naturedly shook his head. “It’s okay, I didn’t wait that long.” He had only waited for two hours and that was already forgotten the moment he saw her.

The way she gasped for air while apologising made him laugh.

Suddenly, she frowned.

Kaoru’s face was red from the sun and his skin looked like it was about to peel off.

She hurriedly took out an apple green parasol from her bag and covered his head. She angrily muttered, “Geez, you should have found a shady place. Staying in the sun like that, it’s not unusual if you get burned alive! Stupid boy!”

Kaoru touched his face and smiled, “It’s fine, I think it’s alright.” They had promised to meet at the fountain and he had been worried that she wouldn’t be able to find him if he waited somewhere else.

Seeing her sweaty face, he handed her a packet of tissues and was about to give her the drink when he noticed that the ice had completely melted and that it was no longer cold.

Koizumi wiped away the sweat and noticed his frustration. “Kaoru, what’s wrong?”

Kaoru lowered the bubble tea and laughed. “Nothing, it’s just that the bubble tea isn’t cold anymore. I wanted to give it to you.”

Koizumi grabbed his hand with the drink and gulped the drink down. She sighed in satisfaction, “Ah, I was so thirsty. That really saved me.” She smiled again, “You know, drinking frozen drinks on a hot day isn’t the best for your throat. Warm drinks are better!”

Her hand was on his and for a moment, Kaoru was too stunned to speak.

“Where are we going?”

Koizumi smiled from under the apple green parasol.

Kaoru took the parasol from her. “You choose.”

“Have you had something to eat yet?” Seeing his peeling skin, she realised that he’d probably been waiting for her for ages and hadn’t had lunch yet. She rolled her eyes then in a sympathetic tone she said, “You haven’t had lunch lunched yet, so why don’t we go and get something to eat?”

Kaoru’s stomach grumbled a little.

The two laughed.

An Italian restaurant.

Koizumi swirled the noodles in her plate with her fork and looked across the table at the elegantly eating Kaoru, saying, “I had to go to Tsuka Sakura’s press conference this morning. It was suppose to start at nine and finish in forty minutes. I thought that’d give me plenty of time before meeting up with you, but Tsuka Sakura took up an entire three hours and I couldn’t reach you because your cell phone battery was dead.”

Kaoru stiffened, “She probably had to delay it for a reason.”

Koizumi laughed, “Yeah, it’s always explained like that. Celebrities always want reporters to wait. It’s rather common, so why would I be angry? It’s our fault I guess for living off their fame.”

Kaoru continued eating.

Koizumi stroked her chin and unhappily continued, “Why is the relationship between celebrities and reporters so bad? The two groups should be like helping each other. Without support from the media, the celebrities won’t ever be popular. Without the help of the celebrities, the reporters would never earn enough money. My senpai said that they used to get along pretty well with celebrities and they often invited each other for lunch or dinner. But now, so many stars view reporters as enemies, what a pain…”

“It’s because they’re always digging other people’s private life.” Kaoru put down his knife and fork. “They don’t like real news, but they love scandals.” Even if it was lifetime regret, the paparazzi would do their best to uncover it.

Koizumi bit down on a noodle and chewed it.

But only the best gossip and scandals could increase the magazine, newspaper sales and make the boss pleased. This system meant that——scandals were the connection between celebrities and reporters.

She laughed. “The newest stars always love their entertainment reporters. Even if the articles were made up of false scandals, they’d be happy so long they were published. Most of them are worried that if they’re ignored by the press, they won’t get popular.” Her face was unhappy once again, “But the moment they get popular they start being mean to the reporters, who were just like their parents. Gah, it pisses me off!”

Kaoru was a little curious, “How long have you been a reporter?”

“About a month.”

“Then how could you be so emotional?”

“I heard it from Senpai.” Koizumi jabbed at her plate randomly with her fork, “Let’s not talk about such unhappy things, it’s not like you’re interested anyway.”

She did not know that Kaoru was patient.

The sound of romantic piano.

Koizumi licked her fork and grinned at Kaoru. “Hey, we’ve known for a while now, but I don’t know you that well.”

Anxiety flashed in Kaoru’s eyes, “I…”

Crap, if he revealed his true identity, would she feel cheated?

“What colour do you like?”

Phew——So that was the type of things she wanted to know. Kaoru sighed in relief.

“Purple.” She had said that his eyes were a little purple before.

“What do you enjoy doing the most?”

“Observing people.”

Koizumi stared at him in surprise as her guess had been ‘sleeping’. His schedule at work was tight so she had predicted that he would go to sleep at any chance.

“Why?” she asked.

“Seeing those who busily pass by seems to mend the hole in my heart.” Kaoru’s expression darkened. No one would believe that he had always felt lonely and shy.

“Was that why you were staring at the people who passed by, when I first met you?” Koizumi reached out, patted his back and whispered, “Are you lonely?” Her voice was as gentle as the breeze lightly dancing on water in spring.

Her hand was as hot as ever.

The warmth on his back warmed his heart.

Kaoru’s eyes twinkled happily and took her hand in his, “No, I have a friend.”

Koizumi’s heart felt as if it had been squeezed tight.

Crap, would she get punished by God if she betrayed this person who whole-heartedly believed she was a ‘friend’?! She clenched her teeth and fought in her mind. That was when an evil voice flashed through her mind——“As a reporter, only by being ruthless, can you succeed!”

She withdrew her hand and smiled ‘innocently’. “Yes, we’re friends. How could people with friends feel lonely? But, as we’re friends, we ought to understand each other more.”

She explained, smiling to convince herself and him.

Then, she started to ask many questions——“Do you like flowers? What kind?”

“Whose songs do you like best?”

“What are your favourite movies?”

“Do you like animals?”

“Which part of your body do you like best?”

“What are your views towards plastic surgery?”

“What do you think of homosexuals?”

“Have you ever crushed on another celebrity? Who?”

…Finally.

Koizumi closed her notepad and drank some water. She explained to the gradually quieting Kaoru, “Don’t misunderstand. I’m so used to interviewing stars that it has become a habit to ask so many questions. Ah, please don’t be angry.”

She gave him a silly smile.

Kaoru looked at her strangely. After a while, he muttered, “It’s fine.”

“Awesome!” Koizumi excitedly waved her fist. “Can you answer one last question for me?”

Kaoru didn’t reply.

“What’s your ideal woman like?”

He headed for the restaurant exit.

Koizumi eyed the place where he had been then ran away from him like a gust of wind, leaving the words, “Wait there!”

Kaoru stood there, waiting.

People came and went.

Suddenly, a group of teenage girls stopped by and studied him. “Hey look, doesn’t he look like Senya Kaoru?”

“He looks different…”

“Senya Kaoru is cold and indifferent…”

“He looks a bit like the pretty guy next door…”

“His eyes are purple…”

“So pretty…”

“He looks a bit like…”

“His nose is so straight…”

“Those thin and sexy lips…”

The girls surrounded him, calling, “Senya Kaoru! Senya Kaoru! You’re Senya Kaoru!”

Kaoru hated being studied as if he were an animal. His face went back to being cold but it did nothing to hide
his impatience.

“I am not.”

“Uwah, he’s angry. You’re even more like Senya Kaoru when you’re angry!” The girls grabbed at him, not letting him go. “You’re Senya Kaoru right? We’re your fans! Give us your autograph! We love you!”

“Go away!”

“Senya Kaoru! Senya Kaoru!”

The girls started to chant!

“I’m back!”

Koizumi came like a gust of wind, to his side.

Her eyes studied the other girls and she grabbed his arm. She broke into a smile, “My friend is hot isn’t he? He’s one hundred, no, one thousand times better than Senya Kaoru!”

The girls were a bit suspicious of her.

Koizumi added proudly, “Maybe one day, he’d enter the entertainment industry and be even more popular than Senya Kaoru!” Her smile was very innocent. “As he’s still unfamous, I’m sure he won’t mind giving his autograph for one thousand yen. You’ll save lots of money when he becomes a megastar! So, what do you think? Pay up!”

The girls exchanged looks, stopped smiling and walked away.

Koizumi let go of his arm and stared at the disappearing girls. She laughed, “The more you don’t explain, the more sure they are of your identity. If you brag and lie a bit, they’ll give up soon enough.” Humans after all, were just interesting animals.

“…”

“Being alive means mastering many skills, or else it’s impossible to succeed in life. Sometimes you should be flexible – when this plan doesn’t work, swap to another.”

Kaoru shook his head, “I’m very stubborn and will continue my reasoning to the end.” Even if he encountered many obstacles or got beaten up along the way, he decided to never abandon his principals.

Koizumi’s smile was even happier, “That’s good, our morals complement each other. Firmness plus flexibility equals invincibility!”

Kaoru laughed too.

That way, she could easily abandon him if needed. She really was a clever fox.

“For you!”

Koizumi took out a tube of white cream.

“What’s this?” Had she bought it specifically for him?

“It’s a cream for sunburns.” She stuffed the tube into his hands, “Remember to apply some on your face, neck and arms every day. You got really sunburnt today so remember to use it.”

Kaoru clutched onto the tube and he felt his heart swell. So that was why she ran away, leaving him behind.

“Three times a day, don’t forget!” Koizumi ordered, “Wash your face with clean water before applying and don’t rub it off. It’s colourless and odourless so no one will notice.”

“Ok.”

“You have to use it. If I see a trace of that sunburn the next time I see you,” Koizumi threatened, “let’s
see——”

Kaoru’s gave her an innocent look.

He wouldn’t forget to use it.

Koizumi pretend to be cold, “——I will send a complaint through to the chemist.” It was the most expensive brand of sunburn cream and the chemist had assured her that it had a magical effect, so she had bought it for more than twice as much as the other brands.

His happiness came from his heart as Kaoru smiled. “Thank you.”

Koizumi widened her eyes and grabbed at his hand. She gave him a sneaky-looking smile, “Hey, are you really thanking me? This isn’t a dream?”

Kaoru nodded and answered, “Yeah.”

Koizumi’s eyes brightened and smiled again slyly. “Then, why don’t you give me a present?”

“Sure.”

He would give her anything she wanted.

Victory!

So easy!

The fruits of victory had to be picked early on, or otherwise it’d drop away when it grew too big.

Koizumi grabbed his hand and ran!

They ran into a shopping mall!

Through the jewellers!

Through the cosmetics area with awesome posters!

And stopped at a small cartoon-looking ‘house’!

Koizumi shook Kaoru’s hand and her smile seemed to reach the tips of her ears. “Hey, let’s take some pictures!”

※※※

Deep into the night.

Senya Kaoru could not fall asleep.

The living room felt empty.

He sat cross-legged on the white carpet. His silver guitar was in his arms as his slender fingers gently picked out a melody.

Your hands are
As hot as the sun
It feels like
I’m in the sun

You’re a bad girl
You always have countless
Reasons to hurt me

But as long as ya
Hold on to my hand
Even if it’s a stupid reason
I dun’t mind you hurting me

Hold on to my hand
Intuition
Tells me this is
Love

He picked up his pencil and scribbled down the lyrics. He titled the song ‘Intuition’. Images of the red-haired girl seemed to flash in his eyes. His eyes rolled as if he was thinking of something funny and his expression was contented. He wasn’t suspicious of her at all.

She was like the flame that had an infinite amount of life and energy, as if nothing in this world could possibly extinguish it. Her way of thinking was weird yet she could pull it off successfully.

Kaoru laughed aloud.

His warm laughter echoed in the living room.

His eyes fell on the coffee table.

The huge tube of cream.

He gingerly picked it up, his thumb gently stroking its cap.

It seemed that her scent was still on it.

…She had personally…given him this cream saying…‘You must use it!’ and ‘Wash your face with clean water before applying and don’t rub it off.’

Water flowed out of the tap with a crash. He washed his face in clean water and the handfuls of water he cupped felt fresh to his thinking mind.

The face in the mirror was fresh and moist.

A childish delight danced in his violet eyes.

Senya Kaoru studied himself in the mirror and smiled.

How long had it been since he last smiled?

He suddenly remembered.

It had already been ages since then. At first, he always smiled. The little him wasn’t afraid of anyone and everyone praised him as——“Kaoru-chan is just like an angel!”

“Kaoru-chan is so pretty!”

“Why don’t you come with us, we love you Kaoru-chan!”

“Kaoru-chan, be a good boy and smile for us!”

“Sing a song for us Kaoru-chan!”

“Kaoru-chan’s so good, so obedient. He’s the cutest child in the world!”

…Back then, he had always smiled and smiled as easily as he breathed air. He wanted everyone to love him, particularly his busy dad who was often away from home and his somewhat depressed mom. He wanted his dad to visit more often and his mom to be happier, so he tried to be the best child in the world, doing everything they wanted him to do.

Despite everything he did, his mom would always look at him with a melancholic expression, “Kaoru, never talk to strangers. Don’t tell them who you are and don’t tell them who your dad is. Adults are bad people and they will hurt us if you do.”

He didn’t understand why he couldn’t talk to strangers. Wasn’t that the only way to make others happy? Besides, other people talked to him first and ignoring them was impolite. He couldn’t afford to be a good child.

Then one day.

A man carrying a camera knelt by him and gave him a kind smile, “Little boy, who is your daddy?”

He had been nervous as he knew that his mom forbade him from telling anyone that. He smiled sweetly instead.

“Tell me, who is your daddy? I’ll give you lollipops!” Red lollipops swayed before him.

“Tell me, okay? I want to know! Please help, little boy!”

Yeah, people should help others.

He didn’t take the lollipops because he didn’t say it because of the food!

He told the man, “My father is Chii Mori.”

Everything changed in that moment…His family was surrounded and countless cars, trucks blocked every road. Several men and women, all with cameras, tried to grab a snapshot through the windows, while others climbed to trees of the second floor.

His mom and he couldn’t leave the house and the curtains were draped at all times, so there was no sunlight in the room. Their phone rang without stop all through day and night. When they opened the television, photos of his dad and mom were on every channel and the people in the TV said lots of weird things, their faces with ugly vicious expressions.

Mom had smashed the TV on the ground and had thrown the phone in the bathtub. She chose a corner and cried there, ignoring him. She never looked at him, as if he never existed.

His dad never came home.

He was scared and hungry.

There was nothing in the fridge. He had to be a good boy and although he was frightened, he took out some money, ready to run outside and buy some bread. If he didn’t, his mom would die of hunger too.

The door opened.

The crazy men and women swarmed inside like a flood. They pounced towards his mom in the corner. His mom cried and screamed like a dying animal and he felt a shiver go down his back.

The spotlight was like a barbeque on his head.

It was so bright he couldn’t open his eyes.

He was tugged and grabbed by the countless people and pressed against hideous faces. “Did you know that you’re his illegitimate child?!”

“How much money does Chii Mori give you every month?!”

“Did Chii Mori ever mention the name, ‘Motomu Kitsune’?!”

“Will you inherit the Chii family?!”

“Will Chii Mori ever openly admit your identity in public?!”

…He had only been nine and he had no idea what to say. His mouth opened and closed like there was a disgusting rotten fish in his mouth. He wanted to spit it out yet couldn’t!

Those chaotic days full of horror gradually subsided, but his life could never be the way it used to be.

His dad never appeared once.

His mom got even more depressed and her tears were like a river. Her body got thin and she stayed in bed all day, always crying.

He started cooking for his mom.

His mom wouldn’t eat and spilled her food over him, causing blisters.

His mom didn’t care whether he was hurt and scolded him while crying, “You damn loudmouth brat. Why did you say that, now I’m ruined because of you! Ruined because of you!”

He had ruined his mom’s life.

His mom died.

In the bathroom.

A peaceful death.

The water droplets on Senya Kaoru’s face had long evaporated.

He was silent as he squeezed some of the cream on his hand and applied it to his face.

The cream felt cold.

His freezing hands seemed to burn against his skin.

The girl with a head full of brilliant red hair seemed to have infinite magic. She was always laughing, begging, threatening, and she seemed like a bolt of lightning, disrupting his everyday life. She had the job he hated the most, but for some reason, he couldn’t resist her.

He liked being with her.

When she had held onto his hand, he had been flustered. It had been a mixture of confusion, anxiety, excitement and an overwhelming childish feeling he couldn’t understand. But, she never noticed once as she laughed.

Could she be his angel?

Or his demon?


Translation Notes:

  • -chan: Endearment, usually used for females and young children.
  • Yen: Set in Japan, this is Japanese currency.

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