He woke up to the light leaking through the curtains, but Maria was no longer in bed.
But first, he waited until his consciousness became clearer, and then sat up.
Looking on the floor, there are no signs of his uniform.
Then when he checks his own condition, it's not as bad as he thought. Maybe it was because he'd eaten a good dinner and the session with Maria had been relatively light, though it had been intense enough.
Still, he didn't feel like he could continue living like this every day.
「Oh. Good morning, Izumi-kun」
「...Good morning, Maria」
When Chihiro went out into the corridor, he exchanged greetings with Maria, who was cooking. Apparently, the time she woke up was not much different from yesterday. Maria also wore the same underwear and apron as yesterday.
This is the second time he has seen her, so he has gotten used to it and is able to exchange greetings with her.
「Then, why don't you go take a shower?」
「Are you sure?」
「Yes. I've already taken a shower, and it'll take a little longer to prepare the meal... Actually, I think it would be nice if you took a shower with me, but I'll have to be a little more efficient with that」
「Then, why don't you wake me up earlier so I can help you?」
Anyway, Chihiro took a shower as he did yesterday to completely wake up.
And like yesterday, as soon as he left the bathroom, there is a change of clothes on the washing machine. It's a change of shirt and underwear that Maria had brought for him.
Well, it's a little embarrassing for him to think that a girl his age took care of his underwear.
Soon after getting dressed, they had breakfast.
The menu is Japanese, a change from yesterday's, consisting of a thick-boiled egg, rice, miso soup （radish and leek）, and boiled komatsuna.
There are not many dishes on the menu, but the taste is so soothing that his chopsticks naturally move forward.
「Umm, do you want me to come here after school again today?」
「Yes. The day after tomorrow too, if possible. It'll save time and make things easier, right?」
「...Well, I guess so」
Chihiro's dormitory is almost like an apartment, there is no roll call at bedtime, no permission to go out, and no common canteen. Although there are some problems with preparing meals, there is no particular blame if he stays out overnight.
Generally, he will live with Maria here.
So, it is more efficient to go back to the dormitory only when he needs to get something.
「It would be better if you moved in completely」
「That would be very difficult. I'd have to notify the school of the change of address」
If that the case, Chihiro should write down the same address as Maria and submit it. If the school find out, there's a good chance they'll ask some questions.
To this, Maria nodded.
「Right. Let's think about it a little later, after you get your grades up」
「...Grades. Will it go up?」
「I'm sure it will. I'm sure yesterday's P.E. helped a little」
「A little, huh?」
Normally he would have run away and done nothing, but he took the chance to beat Kamishiro. And he was able to throw the ball without being fooled by Riko's illusion.
Well, it's a little better than being unable to evaluate anything... at least a little.
「Well, even so, it's like when the dust piles up...」
「Yes, something like that. Good luck, my Master」
And then, same as yesterday, two of them went to school separately.
After arriving at the classroom, he went through HR and the morning classes.
Unexceptionally, there is no attack from Riko. And during break time, he quietly looked at her and found that she was talking with her friends without showing any concern for Chihiro.
Thus, Chihiro greeted the lunch break in peace and quiet.
There is nothing particularly difficult about the class. All he had to do is to sit at his desk, listen to the teacher's talk, and copy the notes on the board. If he had to say, he would say that there are many classes that are crammed because most of the time schedule is devoted to training.
「Izumi-kun, your grades in classroom lessons are good, right?」
But, suddenly, Aika said that when he is eating a side dish bread at his seat.
Today, Maria and him are eating separately. It seemed that she had been invited to lunch by a girl in her class, and a few of them are gathered right next to Chihiro, chatting and chomping on a rice ball from a convenience store. One of them is Takatsuki Aika.
When Chihiro looked back at her in surprise, he saw her unspoiled eyes staring at him. It was as if he was there, so she called out to him.
「No, it's no big deal」
Chihiro replied, averting his gaze from her.
「Yeah. My grades are almost the same as Takatsuki-san's」
In fact, as far as classroom lessons are concerned, Chihiro and Aika's grades are about the same.
Chihiro's grade is slightly higher than Aika's, but it's not enough to be proud of.
In this school, there is a tendency to divide the results of classroom lectures. This is because there are a certain number of students who are not good at studying, who mainly focus on their abilities as [Lost Item] and athletic abilities.
The students who can do well do well, and the students who cannot do well do not do well. Therefore, a student with a mediocre score will not stand out much.
「Well, still, I think it's okay to say you're good at something」
「Yeah, I guess?」
Aika smiles at him.
Then, a female student next to her put her ear close to hers.
「Hey, Takatsuki-san, don't bother talking to Izumi」
It was a small voice, but it barely reached Chihiro's ears.
It was a common secret. The person who said it probably did not intend for Chihiro to hear it. They know that Chihiro's ability is not well regarded in the class, so he is not particularly angry.
However, there is someone who heard the voice and reacted.
She tilted her head slightly and looked at the girl who had whispered to Aika. Chihiro sensed something in her voice and her mood that made him want to say something. It was the same as yesterday, when she had ordered Chihiro to come to the apartment.
The girl who was staring at Maria also seemed to feel an unfathomable pressure, and replied in a puzzled manner.
「...Eh? Well, uh... I see. Fukami-san doesn't know yet, right?」
「That Izumi's ability is mind-reading」
Of course, she actually knows.
But the classmates who didn't know what was going on between them seemed to think it is important and began to explain to Maria.
「When Izumi-kun and I make eye contact, he reads what I'm thinking most strongly at the time」
「But it's not like he can read everything you're thinking, right? And I don't think he's the kind of person who would use it for something weird」
「But it's still not a good feeling. Right, Izumi-kun?」
Where did the initial secret talk go?
Anyway, when asked to agree, Chihiro nodded without making eye contact with any of the others.
「...Yeah, I guess so」
If he thought about it from the other side, he could understand their point of view. No one wants to be told what they are thinking.
So, he doesn't feel angry.
However, Chihiro felt sadness at being excluded, and a small joy at hearing a positive opinion about his character.
But what he wondered about is Maria's reaction.
Fortunately, she didn't react in an unnecessary way.
She just nodded quietly and resumed eating - or so he thought.
「I don't mind that much, though」
She said and looked at him carelessly.
Chihiro is startled by the sudden action and his reaction is delayed. As a result, his mind-reading ability is activated, and Maria's mind entered his mind.
It's a tormenting urge that he could not get used to no matter how many times it was given to him and it burned in his chest.
Still, he quickly holds back a strange voice that threatens to leak out, and he also desperately try to hold back the physiological phenomenon between his legs.
If he made a bad impression now, many things would end.
「See, it's no big deal」
After that, Maria's gaze wandered away in less than a second.
Chihiro, who is relieved, looked at the people around him to see their reaction to his actions,
「Fukami-san has a lot of guts, doesn't she?」
The reaction of the girls is surprisingly positive.
Their interest quickly shifted to Maria, and no one paid any attention to Chihiro.
He probably doesn't believe that this is Maria's calculation, but...
Anyway, he can resume his leisurely meal now.
「You know, Izumi-kun, I don't mind either」
Aika smiled at Chihiro, who was about to move his face back to the front.
For a moment, their gazes met.
The emotion that came through is pure, untainted affection.
It wasn't love or anything like that, it just a feeling for a friend or a neighbor. Even so, a faint warm feeling is born in Chihiro's heart.
...However, Chihiro didn't notice that there is a cold glare from afar.