Then, while enduring the pain, he went to the school nurse and received treatment, which relieved the pain considerably. Probably, by the next day, it would not bother him at all.
「You should do more training that is easier on your body」
The school nurse gave him a good talking-to, and when he went back to the classroom to change his clothes with Maria, HR had already finished.
As they entered the classroom together, the remaining students looked back at them. One of them is Aika.
「Izumi-kun, you look a little shaky, are you okay?」
When she saw Chihiro, she shouted in concern and immediately ran to him.
「I'm fine. I've been healed to a certain extent」
「I see... But, since you're here, let me heal you too」
She smiles and looks at Maria.
Maria nodded silently and went back to her seat. It could be taken as a statement that she had nothing to do with it, or that she would leave it to Aika.
Aika then made Chihiro sit in a nearby seat and unbuttoned his uniform and shirt. As soon as she did, there is a deliberate scream from the crowd.
Aika's cheeks are also slightly dyed.
「Izumi-kun, you have more muscles than I thought」
「...Umm. Well, it's not like I didn't exercise at all」
「Oh. T-That's right. I'm sorry」
Aika must have been imagining his body like a girl's.
The thought almost made Chihiro feel sad, but he tried not to show it on his face as he received Aika's treatment.
Takatsuki Aika's ability is healing.
Unlike Maria, the target is arbitrary. She can heal injuries, minor illnesses, and physical fatigue. However, it requires a great deal of mental energy, and at present it does not have a dramatic healing power, so its rank is D. However, it is said to be as close to C as possible.
When Aika puts her hand on Chihiro's chest, a faint light is produced from her palm.
From the area where the light hits, heat spreads slowly throughout his body, and he suddenly feels at ease. The treatment ended in a few seconds, and Aika tilted her head and asked Chihiro.
「So? Do you feel any different?」
「Yes. I feel a lot better... Thank you, Takatsuki-san」
「Well, that's good」
With that, Aika smiles at him.
When their eyes meet, her affection is felt directly in his chest.
Having feel that, Chihiro let out a sigh of relief and looked away, noticing that Maria is looking at him. She seems to be in a slightly unhappy mood.
"...Is she worried that I'll be home late?", Chihiro thought.
But, when Maria noticed Chihiro's reaction, she turned her gaze away without a trace. She grabbed her bag, stood up, said goodbye to her classmates, and left the classroom.
Chihiro, who saw that, should not stay too long and go home.
「Um, Izumi-kun. I... also healed Riko-chan earlier」
Riko was in the classroom too?
It should be natural, since her bag is still there, but it means that Aika saw Riko's injury too.
Chihiro couldn't see it with her eyes, but from the sound of it, she must have been swollen or worse.
「I don't think she went to the school nurse either, and she wouldn't tell me what happened when I asked her. Did something happen with Riko-chan?」
He's not sure what to say.
Chihiro could be honest, but in that case, who would be blamed?
Wouldn't Maria be the one to blame, as Riko had said?
「It's just training... You see, Nishizaki-san has that personality」
The explanation that Nishizaki-san would get heated up if she was attacked back was convincing to some extent.
In fact, this explanation is not wrong in the main.
Aika nodded her head, but her expression clouded.
「But, don't do anything too dangerous. We have special powers, but we're not all-powerful」
「...Yeah. Thank you, Takatsuki-san」
With that said, Chihiro left the school and went to Maria's apartment.
He used a duplicate key to enter the apartment and found Maria waiting for him in the living room. She had already changed into her casual clothes and prepared a cup of tea.
「Sorry to keep you waiting」
「No need... So, tell me what you know about the girl?」
It seems he'll get dressed later.
And so, Chihiro sat down first, and took off his blazer and tie. He is offered a plastic bottle of iced tea and a cookie for tea.
As he moistened his throat and reached for the cookie, Chihiro cleared his head.
「To tell you the truth, I don't know Nishizaki-san that well either. I haven't met her since I entered the school, and as you can see, we're not really close」
「Is she always bullying you like she did today?」
He felt a little uncomfortable when she said that.
But he didn't mention it and answered Maria's question.
「No. Normally she didn't use weapons. She also never had anything stuffed in my mouth. And I've never been hurt that badly before」
Maria gave a small nod and narrowed her eyes.
She seemed to be thinking about something.
「So, when was the first time she treated you with hostility?」
「...I think it was during the first combat training」
At that time, Chihiro still had a little confidence in his abilities.
He thought that if Shibahou Academy was a school for [Lost Item] like Chihiro, he would not be blamed for using his abilities.
But when he confronted Nishizaki Riko, that illusion was shattered.
[...Do you saw it?]
He remembers her saying that when he first read Riko's mind.
Immediately afterwards, Chihiro was tortured by a vicious attack and was easily defeated.
That was the beginning.
Riko began to describe Chihiro as "disgusting", and several students agreed with her. Thereafter, other students began to avoid being read, and Chihiro was forced to live with his head down, avoiding eye contact with others.
In addition, Riko continued to be hard on Chihiro both in training and in daily life.
He doesn’t know what made her do so. However, he thinks it is certain that she felt superior to Chihiro by hurting him.
Maria muttered boringly.
「I suppose that's true. She can't be sure of her own worth without it」
Her own value.
「...Come to think of it, when I first read Nishizaki-san's mind, I couldn't feel her Superiority」
「Then what did you feel?」
With a twitch, Maria reacts.
But, trying not to meet her straight gaze for now, Chihiro replied.
「A feeling of inferiority」
「...It's the exact opposite of what you feel」
「Yeah. That's why I was wondering」
Besides, Chihiro had read her mind before they'd even had a proper meet.
He didn't understand why Riko felt inferior to him.
Maybe it was feelings for someone else, but he didn't know who that someone was.
All he could do was to be puzzled, and suddenly he was struck down with hostility.
"I see", Maria nodded.