1 – 7 : Chapter 1 ALMOST PARADISE : Good bye, WADATSUMI / He and a little witch of Tokyo Bay

 In Ho’ori’s impression, their first meet was not so bad. But after a short time, he was forced to notice a huge invisible wall standing on between Toyomi and himself. As natural, he couldn’t understand when or why such a barrier had been made.

 Whether the thickness of the dive skin’s cloth was thick or thin (she seemed to have learned the importance of suiting it to the seasonal water temperature), whether the place where they met was on land or underwater. Or whether the black frame goggles, which looked too larger to her small oval face, were being hanged from her neck or were being put on her face. Though such visible differences were there, basically she was showing a cool expression to him almost all the time, like now.

 Today too, letting the glossy black hair not being reached to the shoulders drift to the river breeze, the girl dressed in all deep black was standing at the place. In fact, almost all her clothes were black or dark gray. The summer dive-skin suit which was very fitting on her whole body from the throat to the wrists and the ankles, and fingertip-less gloves, diving footgear, even to a waist belt to hang the tools, all were black. So, these were making her slender healthy body show itself sharper and sharper, and for that, even looked as if that the small face of the girl was being pasted to a skinny shadow that spontaneously stood up under the sun.

 The fresh and youthful shadow shaped as a girl…, in the first place, under the brilliant burning sunlight, she may not suit herself to anything. Ho’ori felt so.

 To be exact, at this time the girl didn’t just stand.

 The tense situation was surrounding the two kids, Toyomi and a boy, who had a name Kajime. From other kids, Ho’ori heard that Kajime was the first person starting this conflict. They said that Kajime had tried to beat the girl.

 But contrary to his plan, she had quickly dodged a punch and took down the boy in a flash by grabbing his right wrist like twisting it to on his back and by kicking the back of his knee. As a result, Kajime was being forced to take a posture on his knees and seemed unable to move at all.

 The girl’s right knee was pushing him from the back against the ground and was restricting his moving perfectly. The captive, the chief mechanic of Tsukuda pirate made himself as a lump of anger and was letting large sweat drops fall down from his face one after another while boiling in the deep humiliation. The drops were falling down to the hot bricks of the promenade one after another.

 In a contrast, Toyomi’s face was not sweating at all. She didn’t even try to look at the boy. The girl was only watching at Ho’ori with calm but powerful eyes. He too replied to her sharply face with a sour face, in silence.

 Though there were not any words between the two, the place was not silent. The tiny children broke into between them and were explaining about this situation to Ho’ori like baby birds noisily chattering. And from the crowd, some boys, close friends of Kajime, were still violently glittering their eyes yet by looking for a chance save the friend from the evil witch hands. So first of all, Ho’ori had to make them calm down and move backward.

 “Release my arm! Fuckin bitch witch!”

 Kajime was twisting his own body and yelled, but after he said so, his voice changed to a scream. It seemed that Toyomi sent more power to her grip holding his wrist.

 “Hey, don’t hurt him.”

 “Of course, I don’t hurt him.”

 The girl answered very calmly.

“…Toyomi, please, release Kajime.”

 The girl was hesitant for some seconds, but after all, took her hand off the prey following the request, and moved backward one step softly.

 “oh, h…,”

 Kajime stood up making a moan. He was a boy who had a medium height, well-built but a lean outline, and crafty eyes. Contrary to that Tsubasu looked like a seashore baboon, this boy looked like a jungle baboon.

 “Thank you, sheriff, I owe you so much.”

 “Come here quickly, Kajime.”

 “OK, I know.”

 Kajime nodded and moved to Ho’ori’s direction one or two steps, but in the next instant, his eyes flashed cunningly.

 “This’s a feint!”

 He made his whole body toward the girl and tried to attack. His motion was quick enough. But after all, Toyomi dodged the fist more quickly, so the boy stumbled toward the river losing his own balance. At that moment, the surface of the river unnaturally moved. But almost all people didn’t notice that. In the next instant, Toyomi caught the rear of his life vest neck in a flash and pulled back him very strongly using her all power.

 Instantly Kajime’s fist, which moved at random, beat her mouth by chance. It seemed a hard hit in spite of a result of the unconscious. Toyomi unintentionally released the boy and covered the mouth with the hand, and made the whole of the body stiff just a moment. On the other hand, Kajime quickly made a posture for the next fight.


 Ho’ori roared and Kajime looked at him in startled. That moment was never overlooked. At the corner of Ho’ori’s view sight, something black moved so quickly. He noticed that and tried to warn, but it was too late. Just only once, a dry sharp sound happened. The boy whose cheek had been strongly slapped kneeled to the ground bending the body after showing some unstable stepping like tipsy. He seemed to get a light concussion. Some kids assisted him in a rush.

 “By this, it became a draw.”

 Toyomi walked up to the front of Ho’ori and said so with a cool tone. She didn’t give him a chance of moving his mouth. Certainly, for the present, by that sharp sound, it seemed that the crowd lost their fighting spirits all at once. But…, Ho’ori sighed deeply after looking at Toyomi, who refused a hand towel given from Kohada in a silence. Every time, she seemed deliberately putting herself in the middle of a problem.

 “How much have you earned until now by selling cheap fights?”

 By own joke, Ho’ori felt the edges of his own mouth getting loose a little, but contrary to him, the girl never showed a smile even a bit.

 (We don’t need collusion.)

 Her face was looking like saying so. Biting her own lips a little, she was just standing at the place.

 But after a while, in a subdued voice,

 “This is not my fault nor what I want.”

 “Really? I haven’t known it.”

 Ho’ori was irritated a little. It resembled itchiness of heart rather than anger. And he knew the cause of that was on her eyes. For some seconds, they were trying to steal each intention by peeping each eye, but in the end, Ho’ori felt as if almost all as nonsense, and sneered at himself.

 (Why are you so serious? She is a just girl!)

 The right eyebrow of the girl moved up a little and,

 “Something funny?”

 “No, nothing. Sorry.”

 In the end, she was just a kid. Ho’ori explained so again against himself in the mind. Yes, she was exactly an ordinary kid who was in the resistance period of a teenager. It was only that. That ‘the brilliant image’, which he had gotten at that moment in the night river, seemed unreliable, after all. Yes, it had been merely his mistake. Comparing her with Kohada, who was the same age and in the second grade of the same junior high school, she certainly had enough height suited for her age and had a slender but well figure. But even if so, her head top couldn’t reach yet even the shoulders of Ho’ori.

 Yes, she was an ordinary little girl. Why he had seen such illusion on her in the river of that night? Perhaps, because her eye’s shine had been being strengthened by the refraction of the night water.

 Yes, she was just a kid.

 Watching her under the sunlight of afternoon, she seemed a rebellious, impertinent, but thoroughly ordinary girl. In his mind, Ho’ori insisted on it so against himself again.

 A normal kid.

 Some days after the rescue event for the stray mammal, while watching at the dolphin, which had recovered from the injury, was swimming and chasing anchovies together with the pirate children, Ho’ori heard that the kids were regarding Toyomi as the other type outlaw.

 The children described the girl joining neither pirates nor Fins. And they had explained about her as the cute but eccentric girl, as the lonely but tough person, and…, 

 Ho’ori heard also about why she had gotten into this situation. Simply speaking, it was the result of the rumor being believed in between the children.

 “Cause she goes out to the night river.”

 It seemed that almost all kids were believing so. As mentioned by Kohada before, it was the best important taboo for the kids of the river. There were some kids also insisting that Toyomi’s purpose was probably to poach. And in added, some pirates were seriously suspecting that she was ‘the witch’ of the night river. It was being talked about as if the truth which had been already proved, in the folklore between unwise kids. In such stories, Toyomi was putting an evil curse against someone by witchcraft, at the same time poaching by mad scientific technology.

 Until that night, of course, Ho’ori had not admitted the rumor as truth and had not seriously cared about her loneliness on the river also. Almost all people would pass through an unstable young period. And he had thought also it had been not strange if this girl receiving jealousy from other children for her great diving ability. Because they were living in this ‘the river’.

 After all, of course, there was no reason that a witch really existed, and probably problems would not be on her.

 Until that night, he had thought so. She was simply the third force and was not relating with true bad things, such as selling youthfulness or buying drugs. As a lonely wolf on the water, as third power, she had been existing in his image. Judging must be done by watching her real actions. It should be a danger only watching at the surface. Considering envy mind against her, it would be enough he would seriously receive at the most a quarter of the evaluation to Toyomi by the children. It is not needed that all people would be dyed with the same color. And in the future, only if she would get in a really hard situation, he should do something for her.

 And, no, in the first place, before these solid reasons, the refreshing atmosphere of her which he had seen in the first encounter kept staying in his mind for a long time might have been the biggest reason. She had never hesitated to show her wonderful smile on the surface of the spring river, at that time, after rescued the dolphin.

 “She is not a bad girl.”

 He had been able to conclude so.

 “Only being not good at showing herself as a nice kid.”

 So, he would have been able to overlook her attitudes consciously if it was only that she was simply acting like an adolescent lone wolf. And he would have been allowed to finish a day with a peaceful mind if it was only that she was really a normal young teen girl who was in a resisting period. Because it was not his work to bring her back to the right track of a wholesome junior-high student. It was clearly the work of her teachers and parents. They must take responsibility for the duty, for their child. And basically, Ho’ori should advise from an adult perspective to her, only when she made trouble on the river. Because that was his job. And of course, on the other hand, he had also thought that warning against other children spreading rumors on the river and calling the girl as ‘witch’ was needed too. It was clearly a seed of needless trouble rooting on a lie. But…,

 But the situation had changed. It seemed that she was truly going out to the river almost every night. And also, she was probably a real witch. At now, Ho’ori was the only person who had known the truth of her, basing on his own experience. Honestly, though he had understood that he should pretend not to see it, somehow, he couldn’t stop considering that problem yet. He didn’t have any rights or duties for investigations but he couldn’t easily ignore also the responsibility of an adult who got the truth.

 When the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department opened an investigating committee about failed attack operation, Ho’ori also had to attend this. And he was so surprised to hear the conclusion by them. Maybe it had been already completely made before the beginning of the committee. They said that the reason for the failure of SAT had been simply due to malfunctions of their equipment, then, declared that it was the final report. In the first place, about the existence like a shadow which had attacked the police team from the illusion under the water, they didn’t even mention from the beginning.

 All team members who had joined their mission together with Ho’ori at that time also testified that they didn’t see any suspicious thing to their boss, but to Ho’ori himself was not given a chance to speak at all. He was puzzled. Surely, it might be very natural that the result that the special force was defeated by the one girl would be considered as too unrealistic, even if the battle had happened under the water and the girl had been able to move very lighter than them.

 However, how the story, that many special equipment which had gotten maintenance made errors at the same time all together, would be? Seeing from Ho’ori, it was also a too unreasonable conclusion. He had seen the scene, so he could not help feeling that the shadow strongly swimming in the night current had stronger persuasion power rather than their story. 

 After all, this seemed the compromise for protecting their pride as armed people. When left a conference room and passed the front of that team members sitting on chairs in the corridor, he felt so. They never tried to look at him even once.

 “Ok, I knew, I knew.”

 That night, Ho’ori took over drunk a little.

 (This case got ended by this.)

 He strongly ordered against himself again and again. But he had understood also that it would be difficult to himself to behave as a witness of a silence. Though Toyomi was not a pirate it was true that she is a kid of the river. If he would set the purpose as educational programs for a juvenile delinquent who has a territory in this river, his action would not receive criticisms for investigations exceeding boundaries of rights.

 But, as a result of that, if he would objectively reveal that she directly had a connection to the case itself, what must he do? He should make reports to a proper section. He had understood also that very well. And, at that time, everything would become the end. The rest of things about her would get out from his hands, and another proper person would undertake that. In the next morning, he would probably notice that he would have gained the fresh perspective can to look around the river carefreely. …But,

 (Will it be enough?)

 The query stayed in his mind yet. Why? Because, she was…,

 (No! It was just a misunderstanding.)

 He thoroughly denied the possibility, in his mind. She was certainly tough, but just an ordinary girl. There was no doubt. And, of course, the illusion under the water of that night also must have been merely just an illusion. He couldn’t help warning himself by such words often, since that night.

 Honestly, he was puzzling yet. Because there was no one teaching him how to deal with a real witch. Moreover, she was a difficult teenager! After all, it might have been only that.

 “How is your hand?”

 By Kajime’s punch, it seemed that she had cut the inside of the mouth. Spitting the blood to the river a little, and Toyomi suddenly asked Ho’ori.

 “My hand?”

 “Yes. I’ve hurt you with my knife. Wasn’t it?”

 “Oh, I see. Yes, it has recovered already. Thank you. That was only a tiny wound. You needn’t mind.”

 He showed his back of the hand which had already become not to need even a Band-Aid.

 “I have never minded about it…, but if so, it’s good.”

 She murmured so. And then,

 “Why haven’t you come to meet me?”

 asked about the core without hesitation.

 “I think you have the theme what you have to ask me. Don’t you?”

 “Of course, I’m going to do it. I was seeking to meet you for a long time. Because I have met you in such an unordinary situation like that. But…, unfortunately, I don’t have any rights for investigation.”

 “Oh, the investigation rights! I knew.”

 She said coolly and stared up at him. Oppositely, Ho’ori got confused a little by her eye’s shine. So, he pasted the next word in a bit of hurry, 

 “What happens in this river now? And you, what are you doing?”

 But Toyomi did not reply for some while. She continued to keep her eyes on him with silence. A breeze from the river passed through between the two. After that, she said quietly but clearly.

 “…Yes, you must know about it.”

 “Yeah, you think so too? For that, I felt I should hear your opinion as possible before beginning everything. And, you are here now. This is good timing.”

 Your lip is too smooth…, in a heart he warned to himself. It was the reason why kids must take caution against adults… However, the girl was keeping silent yet. So, for the awkward atmosphere of the situation, Ho’ori didn’t have any option except keeping to move the mouth.  

 “…But I was very busy with many troubles. In addition, I expected I could meet you on the shore also soon, but you didn’t appear. So, as a result, this is the first chance to meet you since that night. Oh, but I have never forgotten about you and that fight.”

 “It’s a great honor. Me too. I was too busy, so I didn’t have any time to come here to explain to you.”

 Her face seemed calm and not to mind anything. But it looked like also the surface of the ocean in a calm soon before a storm. So Ho’ori felt it was difficult to choose appropriate words. He couldn’t catch yet the atmosphere between himself and the girl.

 So, after long thinking, at last,

 “It seems you can’t be taking enough sleep. Do you know? The night owl is very harmful to health especially in kid’s growth phase.”

 “Oh, I really thank you for your very important advice.”

 “Don’t you think recently you are working too much?”

 “Simply I’m just making many chances of the protection and guidance, for you. I think these are really helpful to you.”

 “oh, I have never known you are a bad girl like so.”

 I believed you are not a bad girl…, Ho’ori crossed arms and said so jokingly. However, in the next instant, the tip of the small chin was made to him sharply.

 “It seems we both feel it as same.”

 She was showing a stern look.

 Basically, this girl had an engaging face that looked to be stemming from the ancestries of exotic islands of the Pacific Ocean. If she didn’t be making an expression like so, and if she didn’t be staring at him with stern eyes like that, her lightly suntanned face which had a shapely nose should look so healthy and be noticeable very well. Especially on the river shore of the summer, of course in a good meaning. But on the actual shore, her face tended to become more severe against him. Now also, she continued to talk with a suppressed but clear tone, in such a face.

 “Of course, you have the right to project any character onto me. But, at the same time, I want you to know someone is feeling about you as same as you do.”

 “…Are you saying you are being disillusioned at me?”

 “Maybe, more than you.”

 “Hey, I think I have never disillusioned at you.”

 “Really? Thank you so much.”

 Toyomi said so and cast down her eyes quickly. Ho’ori was at a loss what to say. Comparing with the time when he started to make a connection with the children here, he pretty accustomed himself to whimsical words from the kids being in growing age. But soon after being directly beaten by a word like this, it was so difficult to pretend not to hear anything.

 “What illusion did you have to me? …I cannot find any reason to let you say so.”

 “oh, yes…, yes, you are maybe right.”

 The root of her pointed little nose swelled up a little, after a few seconds, she slowly breathed out the air from the holes. When she looked up again at his face, somehow it seemed that her eyes had lost that unique powerful brilliance. Of course, the eyes were holding the original glister, but it was clear that the girl perfectly had lost any interest in the former theme. Ho’ori also felt not small fatigue within this short time, so,

 “Anyway…, I have what I must tell you, after this. OK?”

 He said gently but clearly. The girl lightly nodded with an indifferent face. Now, it was a time when the theme should be changed and they two were clearly noticing this fact. The adult showed a model to the kid by restarting the talk with a nonchalantly face.

 “Well…, why did you disturb them, today?

 “First, …this is the reason one.”

 As a reply to his question, she pointed at some small digital tools which were scattered around the feet of Kajime.

 “Cause I thought perhaps it’s Kajime’s treasures. So I thought I would have to deliver these to him.”

 “What’s this?”

 Kohada, who let the sharp eyes work very quickly, walked up to them and picked up one of the tiny machines quicker than Kajime who tried to hide his inventions.

 “I think these are very small waterproof video cameras with night-vision.”

 Toyomi said.

 “They seem trial version, for holding some weak points yet. But they have even sensors for measuring each stream’s speeds and water temperature. So, thinking from a balance of costs and benefits, I feel these are almost perfect. His ability in these fields should be praised, really! I believe so from my heart. At many bridges’ legs, I found these hanging on the surface of concrete walls. They looked to be hidden in crowds of mussel, but of course, it would be my misunderstanding. Oh, these were there just on the borderline of the air and the water. It seemed Kajime had forgotten his machines, so I removed and brought them for him.”

 Toyomi finished explaining so in one breath while keeping a cool face.

 “What? Hey bitch! These were not just hanging! That setting was my…,”

 The boy got very angry and tried to reattack by words against the girl soon, but,

 “You! What did you try to do by this!?”

 Captain Kohada walked up to and pushed the chest of the boy and asked with a voice like thunder. Kajime obviously got flurried, and,

 “No! Nothing! I tried nothing! I planned nothing! … I just, only wanted to watch fish in the water…,”

 “I know that you can steal a back of a swimming black sea bream, even can touch them. It’s enough only to dive into the river if you want to watch fish. So, I can’t understand why you need these gadgets. Especially about night-vision. Why did you need them?”

 Kajime couldn’t say anything against his captain’s furious tone. And Toyomi was watching this situation showing an ironic smile. Ho’ori felt this witch was mean a little.  

 On the other hand, Kohada was shooting the boy with words like bullets from a machine gun more and more without rest.

 “Hey, maybe, what you tried to was…,”

 “No, No, No, I never do anything that you’re suspecting me about. Never! I swear that’s true! Oh, Hey, sheriff! Toyomi disturbed our fishing! It’s true without a doubt! I think you are wanting to hear about that rather than my episode. You need it, don’t you?”

 “The bottom here is dangerous, now.”

 Before Ho’ori nodded to him, Toyomi told so as if slashing with a thin knife.     

 “The tide is bad.”

 After clearly declaring, the girl straightened her own back and stuck out the chest while staring up at the sheriff with confidence. Such her outer look made people imagine a young lynx and a baby of a killer whale at the same time. The soft skin with moisture and the slender body being decorated with the dive skin wear or the accessories such as the goggles hanging from her neck was telling that this girl was exactly a messenger from underwater. Her dark hair containing the water was glistening. The eyes were shining strangely as if to challenge him, the lips which were tightly shut were showing boldness and prudence attractively in a silence. But,


 Kajime tore it loudly.

 “No danger! Don’t you remember? When we were preparing for shrimp fishing in rest time, you, bitch witch suddenly sold the fight to us! I know, she only wants to try to monopolize even the river of daytime as same the night river. I know! She hopes to conquer everything! It’s the truth!”

 Other children also approved Kajime’s loud impeachment with claps and showed their hostility against the girl by repeatedly stamping the ground. But the girl seemed not to mind them at all and very calm.

 “Maybe, it’s true.”

 Her cool and ironic way of talking and challenging eyes poured the fuel oil onto the hot feeling of children. This girl didn’t try even to glance at Kohada and Tsubasu, who were trying to advise her and to soothe the kids too. When watching at such calm face of this girl, somehow Ho’ori was forced to get the oddly irritated feeling every time as if himself getting criticized by someone for what he didn’t know.

 (Why you are always in a situation like this?)

 Suddenly, Toyomi looked back and stared at him again. He felt as if he himself got directly stabbed by the strong light. The little witch might be reading his mind. So then,

 “Hey, is there tiger prawn around here really!?”

 Ho’ori asked the kids around him with a cheerful voice deliberately. After all, there was not any choice for him except to fend off her aura by making the theme ambiguous. Faintly he could see that the girl, who stood at the corner of his sight shrugged, but he pretended not to notice the existence of the slender shadow itself. If he caught her every attitude, he would get too exhausted within fifteen minutes. Because of that possibility, such attitude like this also has to be allowed…,

 Suddenly, from the crowd of the kids a box-glass was given to him, and,

 “Try to search them, Sheriff!”

 Prompted by the children, Ho’ori lay on his belly at the edge of the terrace, letting his upper body sticking out from the edge to above the water surface.

 “Oh! …Thank you.”

 To hold his body on land, some kids wildly rode up to his hips or legs, so he lightly moaned. Then Ho’ori thrust the box into the water and started watching around the river bottom through the glass. About one minute after, laying to next him, a little girl, maybe in the lowest grade of an elementary school, shouted to him with a tone getting tired of waiting,

 “You must find lots of shrimps immediately!!”

 But he couldn’t find shrimps at all.

 “Where are they?”


 “Where is there?”


 While lively talking with around kids, Ho’ori sometimes glanced at Toyomi with a side-eye. The little witch seemed just to stand in indifference. But sometimes she also sent a sightline to him, so he forced to take his eyes off the girl in a rush every time.

 “Hey, I can’t find shrimp! Even their shadows!”

 He shouted so. And after a short silence, almost all children started laughing all at once.

 “Oh, you thought shrimps are directly walking on the bottom surface? No way!”

 “It’s ridiculous!”

 Such innocent but harsh words rained down on his back one after another.

 “Eyes. Search their eyes, sheriff.”


 According to the children’s explanation, it was said that tiger prawns usually hide their whole body in the sand bottom for daytime and are having only their eyes stick out onto the surface of the bottom to pay attention around them. After the short biology class, the little girl lying next to him asked Ho’ori with a precocious tone,

 “I was thinking you are a specialist about animals in the water. But why you don’t know even such basic things?”

 “Cause I’m a specialist about only what I knew.”

 In practice, his confidence in biology which he had seriously studied at the age of university seemed to tend to be upset since he had started working here. Especially the understanding about each species on taxonomy by photos or specimens which he had learned on land, often got overturned when a kid asked him about a real scene of a species. After getting appointed to work here, he had tasted many times such chances to become conscious about the fact. Now too was the same. Until just before, he had thought that tiger prawns are always directly walking on the surface of the bottom, as same as being in a fish tank in a market.

 “But it doesn’t mean you’re perfectly wrong. Certainly, in the night time, I heard they are doing so to seek their bait, as same as your image.”

 One of the kids around him cheered up Ho’ori kindly.

 “Let’s look for on the gray sand bottom carefully, and you can find that two small balls are there as a pair unnaturally. Different from other mineral fragments, each ball should look almost perfectly spherical. That is the eyes. Tiger prawn’s eyes.”

 At the same moment when he grasped that advice, the sight of the underwater dramatically changed itself at once. Ho’ori could immediately found a two balls pair like glass beads being on the surface of the whitish-gray sand bottom. That was very tiny and glowing in mysterious color like which couldn’t be described.

 “Hey, you said about them? Oh, one pair is here, two pair, three…, how many are they here!??

 “You finally got their eyes. By this, you understand here is a big mine of shrimps, don’t you?!”

 “Yes, this is really amazing!”

 Just after he was startled and shouted, a big splash wildly happened just near, and a black shadow which looked like a kingfisher or a cormorant smoothly appeared to his view sight. The slender silhouette, which was diving toward the bottom deeper and deeper, was the thing of a really wonderful swimmer and let him imagine the image of a kingfisher diving to hunt a baitfish or a mischievous otter showing off the glittering graceful fur holding the tiny bubbles, …but it was Toyomi.

 Through the glass plate, Ho’ori saw that the girl kicked up the bottom, again and again, like digging it. And every time when she scattered a lot of sand up, some big tiger prawns which had a just-right size for Ten-don or fried menu jumped out from the bottom in a hurry and desperately ran away far and far. A storm of shrimps and sand was trying to hide the world. It seemed that the girl was trying to scare the shrimps thoroughly. And she looked succeeded. As a result, this place would not suit a fishing place of shrimps at least for some days. Even if the person was just an amateur, everyone who saw this scene should think so.

 For that,

 “What are you doing?!”

 Ho’ori tried to scold the girl, who showed the face on the surface of the river, but the problem had already jumped out from the personal matter of only the two. Though the kids being here had each different born place, but from the moment when they soaked themselves into the river even if once, all of them start growing as children of ‘the river’. So, as natural, they had been short-tempered fishermen of Edo-mae already. Because of this hot blood, they never forgive the destruction of their fishing territory, at least by their words and gestures.

 While being beaten by the heavy rain of the dirty booing which nobody knows where the kids had learned it, the witch was exposing only the upper part from the neck to the air and leisurely swimming. And then, she glimpsed at Ho’ori with a face which seemed not to be mind about the curses at all. The eyes met. Ho’ori couldn’t let frowning loose. Some seconds after, no, maybe after an instant, she showed the back, and started to leave with the light breaststroke. Reached the sports type bayak, which was in all of the black and had been moored at little distance, the girl climbed and rode on that and pulled up the anchor. Her silhouette which started pedaling without looking back even once was becoming smaller and smaller gradually.

 “Hey sheriff, I didn’t know you are cultivating friendship with Toyomi.”

 Kohada, who had stood by Ho’ori before him noticing it, talked to him quietly.

 Ho’ori showed a bitter smile.

 “Did you see there is something like a friendship between us?”

 “…Yes, probably.”

 Kohada smiled in a strange tone. Ho’ori canceled his own smile and stared at her. But after all, the girl said nothing while keeping a faint smile at the edges of her small mouth.

Ⓒ2016 Takagi Tokio

2 thoughts on “1 – 7 : Chapter 1 ALMOST PARADISE : Good bye, WADATSUMI / He and a little witch of Tokyo Bay

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