In The Fox-Witch's Wake, Part 1: Memory's Oblivion




Prelude: Buckets of up-to-no-good

Three months after the conclusion of Mishio's Return

The bright rays of the afternoon sun light their way across the windowed halls of Takachiho Juniour High School. Two animated shadows cast their way across the opposite walls, rooted to two girls clearly up to no good. One girl lags behind the other, grunting with strained breaths.

"…Who the hell, does Saeko-'sama' think, she is, bossing us from, the hospital?" Her neck-length braided hair swings with each to-and-fro stagger, a bucket of sloshing water in each hand.

The other girl with ponytail-tied hair pauses from her calmer paces to icily glare at her compatriot. "If Saeko-sama says to jump, you best get your head stuck in the ceiling before she specifies how high."

The first bully pauses as well, putting down the buckets to sheepishly massage her shoulders. "Are you still mad over P.E.? I swear, I was trying to aim for the glasses freak…"

"My shoulder! It still hurts!" The second bully raises a sleeve for emphasis, revealing a purple bruise. She peers around the corner, looking out for a certain someone…

The first bully huffs and dismissively flaps a hand towards her partner-in-crime. "I already bought you a mochi to make up for it, stop complaining. Look, I'm just saying: If this doesn't work out, I'm quitting the gang. What's Saeko-'sama' going to do, wheel up to school in her bed and beat me with her IV rack?"

"Quiet! Glasses is in!" The first bully reaches down to pick up the buckets. The second quietly pushes open a swing door into a typical female lavatory; walls tiled pink and white, sinks to the left, stalls to the right. Regularly cleaned, otherwise unremarkable. There was only one locked and closed stall. Their quarry was in there.

"Now give me the other bucket and wait for it…" Both bullies rear back their throwing arms, water pails ready to be flung up. One nods to the other and both yell out aloud in unison, hurling their pail contents up and out:


The surging arcs of the thrown water, however, collide straight into each other. They did not arc over the stall door so much as they made a massive splash before it, splattering the would-be tormentors in a hail of water. Better yet, the water splashes across residual floor cleaner, making the floors all the more slippery.

"ACK! What-" Bully-one stumbled and slipped dramatically, grabbing onto Bully-two and bringing both to crash together into the mess. Both girls get up screaming in distress and agitation, sliding and slamming their way out of the lavatory.

"AAAAH! I told you! I told you she's a damn jinx ever since that unholy fox came to town…!"

As the two drenched girls squealing fades in the distance, a flushing sound echoes in the silence of their departure. The booth door slowly creaks open and Sarada Honoka gingerly steps out, carefully treading the water. She reaches into herself and pulls out a paper charm, the word 'suffer' scrawled across its surface…

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