|Zero & Ichî ~Encounter~|
9 (POP 8)
← Nina is Zero and Zero is Nina?!
Zero & Ichî ~Bond~ →
Zero & Ichî ~Encounter~ is the ninth chapter of the manga series Mamotte! Lollipop and the first part of the two-part chapter “Zero & Ichî”.
Nina is with Zero and Ichî, hanging out in their room, when she notices that Ichî’s computer has gotten a mail notification. Ichî asks who it is from, and Nina reads “Sarasa”. Ichî tells Nina to let him see his computer, and Zero is excited to hear it’s from Sarasa. Ichî and Zero start talking about Sarasa and the time they first met, and Nina reminds them that she has no idea what they are talking about.
Hearing this, Ichî tells Nina that Sarasa was a woman he once had feelings for. He then asks her if she would like to hear the story: the story of Sarasa, the Magic Exam, and the first time Zero and Ichî met. The setting is three years ago, the Magic World in a city. Ichî is pinned against the wall by two men who noticed he had stolen one of their wallets. Ichî tells the man he robbed, Guy, that it was his fault for allowing himself to get robbed in the first place. Infuriated, Guy is about to throw a punch at Ichî, but Ichî manages to hit him first, and then punch his friend, Gomez. Ichî walks away, saying that the two men are nothing but talk. As Ichî walks away, Guy tasers him, but Ichî easily dodges the attack with a magical defense barrier. Guy and Gomez are shocked when they realize that Ichî is a wizard.
A young Zero on his skateboard approaches Ichî, saying that he saw the confrontation, and asks Ichî to fight him in order to test his strength. Ichî smiles and then pushes Zero back with his defensive magic. He states that he won, and tells Zero to leave. Ichî departs, and now Zero is sure that he wants Ichî to be his partner.
Ichî walks home, thinking of his strange encounter with Zero when he notices Sarasa talking to an unfamiliar man. An overly protective Ichî rushes to Sarasa, getting between her and the man and telling the man to stay away from Sarasa.
Back in their house, Ichî asks Sarasa what she was doing talking to that man, and Sarasa explains she met him at work a while back and has been dating him; she intends to marry him. Ichî pins Sarasa against the wall, telling her that she is being deceived and that there is no way a rich man would want to be with someone like them. He kisses Sarasa, who then slaps him and tells him not to do that because they are siblings.
Ichî argues that they are not related by blood, but Sarasa says that she loves Ichî as a younger brother. Sarasa is Ichî’s step sister, and when things started falling apart at home she and Ichî left and started living together. Sarasa was the only person Ichî could trust. Ichî tells Sarasa that he loves her and wants to protect her and to be the only person in her life. Sarasa tells Ichî that it cannot happen, and that she can never return his feelings. She then asks him to attend her engagement party, but Ichî refuses. She hugs him and begs him to come, crying as she explains that she wants his approval. Ichî tells Sarasa that he will always be by her side, and Sarasa asks why he won’t understand, and then retreats into the corner of the room, crying.
Ichî sits back-to-back with Sarasa and tells her that he understands. He tells her that he will go to the party, though he still doesn’t approve of the marriage. Sarasa is overjoyed, and hugs Ichî, telling him that she loves him. Ichî is secretly shocked, as Sarasa is never the one to hug him. He wonders: if Sarasa is happy, where does that leave him?
Ichî attends the engagement part at Sarasa’s fiancé Jeff’s mansion. Everyone adores Sarasa and approves her. Ichî watches Jeff and Sarasa together, noticing how happy Sarasa is being with him. Unable to watch anymore, Ichî retreats to a fountain, sitting on the edge and brooding. Ichî finally realizes that there is nothing he can do about the marriage, and that Sarasa really sees him as nothing more than a younger brother.
Suddenly a boy on a skateboard appears, knocking Ichî into the fountain—it’s Zero, who is thrilled to see Ichî, saying that it must be fate. Ichî tells Zero to get out of the way, and Zero reminds him who he is. He then tells Ichî that he wants to be his partner, and asks Ichî if he is willing.
Sarasa comes rushing over, asking Ichî and Zero what they are doing in the fountain. Ichî asks Sarasa who the “brat” is, and she explains that he is her fiancé's younger brother. She says that she was unaware that he and Ichî were friends, and then goes to get the two dry clothes. After Sarasa leaves, Zero turns back to Ichî, who tells Zero that he refuses to be his partner. Zero points out that he didn’t even say anything, and Ichî says that he doesn’t care who Zero is—he is never going to hang out with him.
Zero chases after Ichî as he walks away, explaining that his family owns a major Magic Cram School company and that Jeff will eventually become the president, meaning that Sarasa will be the president’s wife. Ichî asks if this is why Zero wants him to approve of the marriage, but Zero assures him that this is not the case. He says that he admires his older brother’s magical prowess and wishes to be successful like him. To do that, however, he needs a partner in order to pass the Magic Exams. Ichî points out the difficulty, which Zero acknowledges, and Zero says that he is aware and has been looking for a strong enough partner and has finally found one: Ichî. He wants Ichî to be his partner; Ichî feels his heart beating, his chest aching, and he then laughs, telling Zero that he has to be kidding.
Zero insists, saying that he and Ichî could even go together to the Magic Cram School his family owns to learn. Zero presses, saying with a smile that he won’t give up until Ichî says yes. Ichî finally says he is willing to give it a try, secretly thinking to himself that Zero is a spoiler little rich kid. He then takes Zero by the hand saying that if they are going to be partners Zero will have to do as Ichî says. He then explains to Zero that he and Sarasa are having financial problems, and instructs Zero to loan him 30,000 shel (currency used in the Magic World) by tomorrow; they are partners, after all. If Zero gets him the money, Ichî says that he will definitely be his partner. Zero agrees, and Ichî tells him to meet him at the central park the following day at 4 PM with the money. Ichî walks away, and Zero ponders this. He figures that if Ichî and Sarasa need the help then there is no other choice.
The next day Ichî is with a couple of girls. One kisses him on the cheek, telling him to hang out with them. Ichî relents, and then Zero appears with his skateboard and an empty bag. Ichî asks him what the bag is for, and Zero explains it is for the money. He asks Ichî where he can sell his skateboard for the money, and Ichî asks Zero why he can’t just get the money from his family since they are rich. Zero explains that he only gets enough of an allowance to get what is necessary. He says that he treasures the skateboard, but if it means learning magic with Ichî, he is willing to sell it. He leaves, telling Ichî that he will see him later at 4. Zero leaves, and Ichî can’t help but laugh at the young boy’s stupidity.
Later at the park Zero arrives with the money. Ichî takes it and leaves, and Zero follows him, talking about how they can start with their practice. Ichî tells Zero to stop following him, telling him he is an idiot. Zero, still not grasping that he has been tricked, tells Ichî that he will be waiting for him at the park the following day at 10 AM. Ichî thinks to himself that he has no intention of going, and that if he stays around Zero any longer he will start acting weird.
The following day at 9:50 in the morning, Ichî and Sarasa are inside. Sarasa notes the bad whether, and on the radio a storm warning is announced. Ichî tells himself that he won’t go, and meanwhile, at the park, Zero sits in the rain, smiling as he wonders when Ichî will come for him.
- This chapter reveals that not everyone in the Magic World possesses magical powers.