Chapter 13 Shattered Pride - Nishizaki Riko, Part One-1

Riko, you're in a good mood today
Is that so? I'm the same as usual, though
 On Thursday lunchtime, Nishizaki Riko got an unexpected comment from her friend.
 Although she had a homemade rice ball wrapped in plastic wrap, which was in a bad shape, there is nothing wrong with eating it by herself. Indeed, when she thought about it, she realized that she might indeed be a little cheerful.
 The reason?
 It's because Izumi Chihiro is absent, she knew without even thinking this time.
It's nice and peaceful without that face
 She mutters to no one in particular.
 Then her friends, who love to gossip, especially bad-mouthing others, all joined in the conversation.
Oh, so it's about Izumi
Yes. Although I'm used to it by now, I have to be careful not to make eye contact with him
Especially Riko, you don’t like Izumi, right?
No, not really. He's just disgusting
That's called dislike, isn't it?
 No, she wanted to, but she didn't say it.
 Riko's feelings for Chihiro are not something that can be solved by mere likes and dislikes. No one would understand her if she said it.
 Izumi Chihiro.
 Perhaps the fact that he's resting is the result of the thorough beating he suffered yesterday.
 Well, it turned out to be a bit lenient due to Fukami Maria's interruption in the middle of the session, but still, if he took the day off for either treatment or fear, it was a great success.
 Riko hopes that Chihiro will continue to come to school less and less often and quit the school.
 After all, he's just an eyesore and a pain in the ass for her.
By the way, Fukami-san is also absent, isn't she?
I wonder what's wrong. A cold?
Eh, Fukami-san catches a cold?
 Before Riko knew it, the conversation among her friends had shifted to Fukami Maria.
 Apparently, people don't know that Riko and Maria were together yesterday.
 ...But Riko thought, "I'll have to revenge on her soon".
 After all, yesterday at the training ground, Maria used force to stop Riko from hurting Chihiro. She hit her stomach with all her might and then her shoulders and neck.
 Although she was much better thanks to Takatsuki Aika's meddlesome treatment, there was still some pain.
 Also, Maria said to her.
[If you do this anymore, I'll kill you]
 She didn't have any words to say back. Because when she saw her, she thought...
 ――This girl is bad. This girl is serious.
 Cold and steely eyes. There was hatred in it, but what was greater was contempt. It was a look of lowliness, of inferiority.
 Still, to be looked at like that.
 She would never forgive her.
 She gave up the fight because she thought it was dangerous, but she didn't lose.
 It's not a loss because she didn't give in wholeheartedly.
 And so, on the next time, she'll pay her back.
 It'll be hard to harm her directly considering her ability, so she'll use a trick. Give her a scare with an illusion and tie her up with a rope or something so she can't move. After that, she can make her crawl like a bug, or take a picture of her naked body.
 But first, she must know what she doesn't like.
 And so, Riko laughed secretly as she threw in the last bite of her rice ball.
 Nishizaki Riko's obsession with Izumi Chihiro began during a field training session right after they entered Shibahou Academy.
 On that day, Riko had played against Yuuki Kamishiro before.
 Kamishiro was extraordinary even then. In addition to his abilities as a [Lost Item], his physical abilities were also outstanding in terms of balance and perfection - to be honest, Riko was not even a match for him.
 But, Riko still had a certain amount of confidence in her ability to create illusions.
 After all, in the middle school, she had used her abilities to trick and tease many people, and had learned that her abilities could be useful in battle if used properly.
 However, it did not work at all against Kamishiro.
 No matter how scary it was, no matter how many bugs and snakes she showed to him that made him want to run away, Kamishiro was not intimidated. Also, despite her physical strength, which she thought was better than that of girls of her generation, she was no match for Kamishiro.
 And so, she felt as if she had been shown just how weak and small she was.
 Riko's family had always been poor.
 Her father was poorly paid and had a bad drinking habit. Her mother patiently followed her father, but one day, when he was hospitalized for liver failure, she changed her mind.
 Her mother quit the part-time job she had been working and started working as a prostitute.
 She paid for her father's medical expenses out of her salary, and did not spend a single penny of the money she earned from her job as a prostitute on Riko. She did the bare minimum to visit him and take care of him, but her eyes were completely cold. Probably her father noticed it too.
 Not long after, her father died from stress, and Riko's condition worsened.
 Her mother began to dye her hair and wear thick makeup. Although Riko still went to school, but her life became different because her mother called her boyfriend or something else at home.
[Riko. Even if you're poor, even if you have nothing inside, a woman can do anything if she dresses up and makes herself look good. You'll understand someday, remember that]
 She doesn't know when it was that her mother told her that.
 But those words were the greatest lesson and curse for Riko.
 With what little money she had, she bought cute clothes and went out with older boys frequently. And whenever a guy confessed his love to her, she said yes without hesitation, raised her likeability by smiling falsely and kissing him, which she did not want to do.
 But when the boy became unwilling to spend money on her, she switched her partner without hesitation, and so she learned various techniques to make her partner feel more in control. In the process, she began to hang out with a flashy group of girls, dyed her hair, and improved her makeup.
 Her ability, which allowed her to mug people and fool the cops on patrol, was also useful.
 ...and soon, she found herself doing the same things as her mother, even though she was very young.
 But she had no regrets. Dressing up and deceiving others gave her confidence. She was able to cover up her poor, weak and young self.
 She thought that if she believed in a lie, it would become true.
 Until she joined Shibahou Academy, she stopped looking for men in order to find a good career. She thought that she would be able to do well even if she did that.
 But then...
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