14 August, Hiroshi Ishizaki

文字数 5,178文字

Even a Black Witch’s Training Can Be Done Online

It’s currently five in the morning. The sunrise is pretty, as usual.
  And I’m Chiyoko Kurotori, all dressed up as a goth loli for my morning Black Witch training session!
  For a normal girl to become a black witch, it takes three daily sessions—morning, afternoon, and night—365 days a year, including rainy days and snowy days, and even during summer vacation.
  Without further ado, let’s get witchy!
  Err, huh? The essential element of my black witch instructor, Gyubid, is missing. . . .
  Oh, maybe she’s on summer vacation? She’s always saying, Japanese people work too hard! You should follow French people’s example! all self-important. Is she off on that


thing they do?
  Idiot, vacant skull, lunkhead, nitwit, dum-dum!


That was the usual machine-gun attack, but did she slip a pun in there?
  More importantly, why is Mistress Gyubid’s face on my laptop screen?!
  It’s to combat the novel coronavirus, of course. You read July 17th’s Story for You, right? Okko’s Harunoya Inn is having remote banquets. We need to avoid the 3-Ds, too, so we’ll do our training online via Zuumu!
  It’s the Three Cs, not 3-Ds! And Zuumu is clearly a copy of Zoom! Honestly, the spirit world’s love of puns is exhausting.
  Okiedoke, morning training—let’s hop to it. The new black magic spell I’m teaching you this a.m. is Miraju.
  Mirage is the same word in English and French. It’s the phenomenon of something that isn’t really there, like mountains, or a city, appearing above the horizon.
  The same goes for Miraju. When you cast the spell, a phantom road and town will appear. If a traveler wanders in there, you can capture them and steal their soul!
  T-Terrifying. . . .
  But the spell is fun. It’s different from usual in that you sing and dance.
  No sooner had she said that than I saw her suddenly stand up on my screen.
  Mira, mira, miraju! Lucifooge, lucifooge, espejisumo! Now you try!
  Whaaat? So first you raise your left hand, and then the right, I think. . . .
  No! Right, then left. I’m dancing in reverse on purpose so it’s easier for you to follow. And I mean, if I danced it properly, I would be casting black magic on you!
  Ohh. So I can think of you as a mirror image of me, Mistress Gyubid?
  Yep. Okay, here I go! Mira, mira, miraju! Lucifooge, lucifooge, espejisumo!
  Huh? Right, left, right, left, both hands down, up. . . .
  Noo! It’s both hands up, then down! Then you spin and put your right foot forward. . . . Err?
  What is it, Mistress Gyubid?
  Dancing in reverse is hard. It’s actually right foot forward, left hand on your hip, so, umm. . . .
  Sorry. When your apprentice is a dunce, teaching is a pain, huh?
  Wait just a second, Choco. I’m going to put Zuumu in selfie mode and watch myself to check.
  Okay. I can wait however long.
  Then she disappeared from the screen, and for a while I just heard her Mira, mira, mirajuing and . . . left hand on your hip, right hand to your cheek, left eye winking to herself. . . .
  I remembered! Mira, mira, miraju! Lucifooge, lucifooge, espejisumo! Wah!
  Mistress Gyubid? What happened? Are you all okay?
  There was no reply. There wasn’t even any sign that anyone was on the other end of the call. . . . C-could it be that. . . !?
  She said, If I danced it right, I would be casting black magic on you! right?
  If she danced in reverse in Zuumu’s selfie mode, then what was shown on her screen was the correct dance.
  So Mistress Gyubid cast Miraju on herself?!
  And she got lost in the spirit world. . . . Well, she’s from there, so I don’t think she’ll lose her soul.
  Still, I guess online classes are chaotic no matter which world you’re in, ah-ha-ha. . . .

*Fifth-grader Yumin contributed Zuumu (頭ー夢), and ninth-grader Hayuma contributed Miraju (ミラー呪) via the





website. Thank you!

Translated by Emily Balistrieri/Arranged by TranNet KK

Hiroshi Ishizaki
Born in Tokyo. Graduated from Keio University’s Faculty of Economics. Won the Noma Literary Prize for Children’s Literature and the Japan Juvenile Writers Association Prize for







(The school for witches at the edge of the world). His main works include the Kuro majo-san ga tōru!! (The black witch is passing by!!) series, published by Kodansha Aoitori Bunko, the Kodan ehon (Kodan picture-book) series, published by Kodansha,






(Chiune Sugihara: The life-saving visa) and






(Yukuchi Fukuzawa: Creating ‘freedom’), both published by Kodansha Hinotori Denki Bunko, the Japanese translations of Mathew Kirby’s




, published by Kodansha, and John Grisham’s Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer series, published by Iwasaki Shoten, among others.




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