Chapter 4:

Chapter 2 ⛸️ Nice Ice

✨ Nopan Mahou Shoujo ✨

The mentor meetings passed by in a breeze and it became winter. Most outdoor activities were not possible because of the freezing cold. Before it melted to a muddy mess, the thick layer of snow added a nice atmosphere to the otherwise so busy city.

This time, Marin was keen on inviting her friends to the ice skating rink.

Hanako and Kouhei also ended up getting invited, so they decided to go. The last member of the group was Saya, who belonged to the group of friends with Marin and Hanako.

After meeting up at the station, they took the train to their destination. Around half an hour passed before they arrived at the indoor skating hall.

Since it was a day off on the weekend, the train was not as filled. Especially when the group of friends could avoid the most busy time in the early morning.

"NICE ICE™ Skating... were the good names already copyrighted?" The initial remark of Kouhei when he found himself standing in front of the entrance sign was devaluing the owner's sense of humor.

"Hey, this place is actually not bad!" Since it was Marins idea to come here, she had good reasons to defend the place. It didn't look bad at all. It was a modern hall and there was a spacious parking lot where some cars were already parked.

"Alright, alright. Let's take a look then, shall we?"

Following Marin, the others passed through the entrance and were greeted by an indifferent part time worker at the register.

Each of them borrowed a pair of ice skates and moved to the room separating the reception desk and the rink. There were lockers to keep their valuables and a bench to sit down and put on their skates.

"Hanako, are you sure you aren't dressed too lightly?" Saya was asking in concern while eyeing Hanako up and down.

She was correct. Though Hanako did wear winter clothes to some extent. She had cozy mittens, a comfy muffler, a thick winter jacket and was just putting on the heavy ice skates over her winter-ready socks. To complete her outfit, she wore the skirt of her uniform... All according to Kouheis suggestions which they did discuss at the previous magical girl mentor meeting:

"Hanako-chan, I think the visit to the skating rink is a great opportunity to become more used to behaving like a magical girl."

"How do you mean? They aren't even skating."

"That's correct, but they are fighting to protect honest citizens day and night, in all different weathers. Also in the cold."

"Hoooh! I see, I see! As expected of Kouhei-senpai!" She decided to change the honorific to a more respectful one.

"I don't think my parents will let me go in the getup you are suggesting", was her frowning realization.

"I think they have a good point," Kouhei had no other option but to agree, but then continued, "they also don't know your goal, do they?"

"I never thought about telling them. They might put it off as stupid or childish..."

"I think it is not childish at all!" He said with a force in his tone, but he honestly thought it was quite childish. "In order to bypass the problem of your parents, I think you have to leave without them noticing."

It was a risky plan.

"That's a risky plan!"

"It is indeed a risky plan. What do you suggest then?"

"I have to do it either way!!"

Kouhei was glad to have predicted the flow of conversation based on his previous experiences of talking with Hanako.

"How should I return home though? They will notice for sure then..."

"You don't have to worry about that now. Just figure it out whilst you are sneaking back in."

It was terrible advice. She at least hoped for a bit of support in terms of laying out excuses, action plans or practice runs. But in the end she was agreeing to his suggestion.

Back in the ice skating hall, the correctly dressed Saya continued her speech in the locker room, "I think I have a pair of spare tights. You can borrow them if you want?"

Hanako took an inquiring look at Kouhei if this deal was acceptable or not. Very slowly and without emotion did he move his head from left to right, stating his opinion decisively.

"I'm good! Thank you!" Hanako replied to her friend with a smile.

After equipping the skates, the group entered the main hall of the skate arena. Below the ceiling was a big display showing the current time and the current temperature in the hall.

It was currently 10:52 and 7 degrees. Since this hall was also used for ice hockey matches, the display also had the possibility to show scores of two teams. No match was being held right now, so these lamps were not in use.

When spotting the temperature, Hanako shuddered. But she had to pull through. She is not a person who gets sick easily. So this little cold would prove to be no problem for her health. Even though constantly freezing at her legs was a bit unpleasant.

"I never understood this. Why is the ice not melting if it is over 0 degrees?" Saya wondered.

"Well you see", Marin started with a scientific explanation, "this is obviously because of physics stuff. Everyone knows that!" But it was lackluster.

"Wooow. This place is bigger than I thought!" Kouhei had changed his mind from before entering the hall.

"Hehe. You see! That's NICE ICE™ Skating for you! In the evening they even have a disco event with music and flashing lights!" Marin was not shy of being a big fan of this venue.

Several people were already on the ice and enjoying themselves. Each level of skill was represented. From the person pulling off trick after trick and being in the air, twisting and flipping more often than in the ice, to elementary school children performing their first slides.

...And then there was Hanako. Holding onto the rim on the rink's border for dear life while trying to walk on the ice rather than to slide.

"She is so out of place. She looks like a kid that's learning to walk", was the honest but true comment from Marin, who still was on the spectator stands together with Saya eyeing the possible competitors that would be available today.

"Is this your first time skating?" Help arrived in the form of Kouhei who approached her slidingly.

"I guess it is my first time... I watched an anime about it though, but that was more because of the relationship between the cute male characters."

"Don't worry! It's not that hard! Take my hands."

Kouhei extended his gloved hands to her in an inviting gesture. She managed to let go of the rink's border and connected with his hands.

Slowly sliding backwards, Kouhei gently pulled the insecure Hanako behind.

"That's it! Just follow my lead!"

Hanako lost her balance multiple times, always saved by Kouhei's gripping hands so she didn't end up falling.

As she was struggling on the ice, she remarked "It's cold. Are you sure not borrowing the--"

"Look, you are really good already!" A blatant lie to make her feel more comfortable while at the same time not giving her the chance to complain.

Carefully observing her legs as they do their best to keep Hanako upright, he instructed her how to move correctly. A perfectly planned out justification for staring at her constantly.

"The ice is too used up already, otherwise it might even reflect...--" he shook his head and stopped his thought before his wild ideas got hold of him.

After a while they finally reached the center of the skating area. It was a stressful journey for Hanako. Her mentor in becoming a magical girl, who incidentally is also her mentor in ice skating was enjoying the ride. Right when they entered the center...


A shrill sound engulfed the hall. It was time to reseal the ice. The ice needs to be refreshed every 45 minutes in order to give the best sliding experience. This was because the skates always carved a bit of ice off from the ground while people were sliding around.

All the participants had to leave the area for a while to make way for a vehicle that's resurfacing the ice by spraying some water that is about to fill the fine fissures and freeze quickly after that.

Everyone left the rink. Just not Kouhei and Hanako who were still stuck almost in the dead center because of her inability to move quickly. It still was her first attempt at skating.

All the eyes of the waiting visitors were focused on them while the spectators couldn't wait to get back into the action.

"Kouhei-kun. I don't like this!" She said with closed eyes slowly but surely blushing more and more. It would be unfair to say that she didn't like being the center of attention. She hated it.

"It's alright. You don't have to worry about anything. Just follow me."

After a few moments that felt like an eternity to Hanako, he managed to escort her slowly in a backwards slide off the ice, pulling her behind while still holding her hands.

The icing vehicle had an orange paint and a dog character who was wearing a construction helmet and giving a thumbs up gesture was printed on it's side as a mascot. After a few minutes, the ice could be stepped onto.

Following the intermission, everyone continued with their personal skating experience. Hanako got a little bit better and was able to slide without the constant holding hands with Kouhei.

Just as she felt a bit more secure, some of the elementary school kids were too unattentive and not able to stop quickly enough. This little boy ended up softly bumping into Hanako. The small collision was enough to send both of them falling to the frozen ground.

An instant later, Kouhei came to help her up again.

"Kouhei-kun, it's cold..." she said with her bare skin touching the ice.

"Yeah. This phenomenon is called ice. Actually, NICE ICE™." He extended his arm to pull her up while the kid wasn't even aware what he just saw for the first time in his life. He was already off chasing his friends who were slaloming the other guests, including Marin and Saya.

Everyone was skating and having fun until it was time to leave and get back home. It was an exhausting day for Hanako.

"How was your first skating experience?" Marin asked Hanako curiously.

"I had a hunch that it would be really challenging!" For additional reasons that Marin wasn't aware about. "It is so cold though. I can't even feel my limbs."

"Well, that's on you! I offered you my spare tights!" Sayas interception sounded through the locker room while they were removing the skates and putting on their normal shoes again.